For the month of October (extended to November) I collaborated with Sarah Neubert of The Weaving Kind to create a weaving challenge called 'Woven Language'. Sarah has inspired an incredible community of weavers through Instagram that participate in monthly weaving challenges to bring a new generation of weavers together - to help us understand our connection to the craft, to ourselves, and to the outside world, through the medium of fiber.
As part of the collaboration I will be posting segments of the submissions on the Weaver House Studio Journal, which will include weaving and text. For a full description of The Weaving Kind & the challenge description/details visit here.
James Davis // @engagedweaving
In my hands.
Fulfilling your unrealized dream
with a hereditary dexterity.
In my heart.
Prying myself open to the world.
Living a life
Walking along your compassionate path.
In the fiber.
Speaking with your symbols:
Tower, swirl, tower, swirl,
Perfectly gauged stitch.
Telling stories of flying and stillness.
Where once I was absent,
I now sit with you at the loom.
Weaving your spirit
into every space
where row meets row.
Learning to forgive and begin again.
On the lake i am a queen
No- a god
On my back
The mountains rising up
At my feet, as if
I summoned them there
Strange, the mist,
The stranger loon
Crying, calling out
Across the lake
I thought i had been
Released from gravity i thought
I could still feel the gentle
Rolling, rocking, endless
Small fingers pressing on me
But i was only drowning
And you were only watching
From the dirt path down
The dock was sinking
You were holding her
By the wrist
And you wouldn't
In weaving I am brought back to my hands,
to my body,
and to my feeling self.
It takes on form and metaphor for my life,
and for me,
for my thoughts and feelings
and experiences that move me so deeply.
I want to spend more time
laying these thoughts and threads out,
running them through my fingers,
and placing them softly, deliberately,
into their own woven form,
their own body,
their own being.
Then I can see the structures that my thoughts create.
Truths expressed fully and with the slow consideration
that my words vocalized cannot seem to do.
Weaving is what creates
a fabric that is unified mind and body,
heart and body.
Words and feelings
that create form and presence.
What I love is the intimacy
in these fibres.
From thought and heart,
flowing through my hands
into the threads.
In weaving is my reflection.
My mirror to my deepest truths.
My reminder that they exist,
and how I can get back to them,
by reconnecting to my own fibre
and feeling self
in the over-under,
in-out of my breath.
She Was Forgotten, But So Many Are; embeds nostalgic, female-based
narratives onto hand woven fabric panels. Textiles and text are related, sharing
both origin and vocabulary, processes of repetition enacted in pursuit of
communication. The weaving of words parallels the interlacing of threads, as
each medium works to convey meaning and narrative to its observer. Inspired by
texts, collected objects, and forgotten techniques, my practice centers on the
processes of weaving. I use weaving to create narratives that consider concepts
of life and death in an attempt to hold on to, recreate, or lay to rest physical and
emotional memories. The passing of memories and personal histories ultimately
leads to the loss of information, misinterpretation and ingrained biases. In
attempting to revisit these women’s lives who had great intelligence, who
accomplished many firsts, who were looked down upon, who paved the way for
feminism today and who were quickly forgotten; I’ve misspelled names, places or
lost pivotal details to the catching of keys or gaps in the weft and warp threads.
Karen Rafferty // @laceandloom
ASTONISHMENT as Woven Language
To aspiring writers, Pulitzer Prize winning author Annie Dillard advises "You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment." In crafting a woven language, her words compel allegiance. I weave to give voice to my own astonishment.
My axis of astonishment proceeds from the tactile source: Fiber. Sheep. Alpaca. Fleece. Shepherdesses. Fiber FarmHERs who grow pastures, trim hooves, vaccinate and midwife, shear, skirt, wash, card, spin, dye, and ply. All for a ball of yarn! This matter, this ecosystem, this universe rolled into a ball, this toil and bliss, this tangible text, this astonishment that I hold in my hand is applied as warp and weft to my loom.
Rotate my axis of astonishment and here is my tribe, women of brilliant radiance and cheeky fierceness. I am in process of weaving a personal tapestry for each, an intimate essence of her poetry made manifest. The particular tapestry shared here, for example, evinces a scientist, educator, explorer who "hears the earth breathe." The rhythm of weaving this astonishment, a gentle undulation of line and shape and looped repeats, evokes the rhythmic rise and fall of breathing.
Rotate again and here is gravity astonishing me with its benevolent earthiness and slight yield to buoyancy. In my weaving practice I actively cooperate with gravity and its buoyant echo by weaving in two layers. In one layer the warp is given to ground, and the other supplemental warp is given to loft.
Cherie Brown // @beulahofthewood
Words are not my friends
They stick in the craw, to be pried up with
a fork, mangled and half digested
Or mumble away under the breath and fall
to the grass unheard
But fingers speak without noise
The unraveled thoughts of the soul.
What has happened
What I perceive as what has happened
What you perceive of what has happened
What neither of us perceive of what is happening
re-experiencing an experience
we are filtering through the present
what to forget
and what is worth remembering
aware of our inattentiveness
how much do we think of the self and not the other?
currently in the past
previously in the future
we spend less time sitting in the present
Did i experience this moment or did I just observe it?
The whole process of weaving for me is all-encompassing and absorbing. The finished piece is a victory, evidence of a kind of endurance of trying something new each time: an uncooperative gold nylon thread, maybe, or a very fine yarn for a complex repeat pattern. I can redo it 4 or 5 times until it's just right. It will consume my days for months on end, and then exhausted, I leave it for weeks. Until my mind begins to get restless and I need to start making again. It’s meditative and mindful. It reminds me that progress is slow but so rewarding. Bit by bit the image I have in my head is revealed to me and shows me I’m capable of creating something when I feel so incapable and anxious and lost.
The process is key and I’ve learnt to trust it completely. It all works out eventually and if it doesn’t, I just start again.
Sketch – Design – Colour – Template
A scribble in a notebook, a refined technical sketch to size, the combination of colours that fizz or clash, the templates and stencils that help me retain the right shapes all are so equally important to me in translating the abstract idea in my head to a finished textile.
The process of weaving allows me to create my own woven language.
I practice weaving sweetly and quietly
with my thoughts, a podcast, and tea.
I breathe and move the shuttle
across across across,
and soon the weft is moving
up up up
And I breathe.
Weaving is my sister’s yoga
and my brother’s beer.
It is my mother’s cleaning
and my father’s football.
It is my subtlety in a bold world,
“It’ll be alright."
Meisha Synnott // @m_wcc
Falling Fall be still.
Breathe in. Tumble your colours.
Hold. Taste. Then, Breathe out.