I rarely take the time out of my regular studio work to weave samples. Every once in a while I get a commission for a specialty fabric and it is a pleasure to follow the road of the client’s ideas to find a lovely woven idea.
The last two weeks, however, I decided to weave a series of samples on spec, for products that would eventually be handwoven by someone else. Flying without any clear plan, I have put multiple warps on the loom (trying to keep up with the legend that Jack Lenor Larsen wove off a warp a day when he was at Cranbrook).
I remembered early weaving classes where I resisted understanding weave drafts, and had loads of fun with the simplest renditions of summer & winter or honeycomb with unusual materials and colors. So I went back to my worn old copy of Marguerite Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book to begin, and spent a couple of days playing with simple twills and honeycombs, using linens and wools and odd knitting yarns.
Trouble is with shuttle weaving, I get bored easily, so samples are great for me, with their short lengths and narrow widths. Just about the time I think I will scream with boredom, well it is time to start the next one. I never have a set plan, because the fun is in the ideas that stream out as I go along. What about this color combo? How about varying the treadling this way? How will this look in metallic?
Friday I began a new warp with flat weave rug samples. I spent an inc and a half doing weft faced tapestry and quit from boredom; went back to shuttling stripes in colors which fascinated me. I hope to finish those tomorrow — pulled out Peter Collingwood’s The Techniques of Rug Weaving for some pattern based weaves to try.
My guess is that at the end of the rug samples, I will be very happy to return to my half-finished tapestry.