Over the last few months I’ve been planning the next steps for my weaving practice and — as part of the thinking process — I have been gleaning ideas, inspiration and practical advice from a variety of sources.
One of the inspirational things has been the PBS series Craft in America, which I am finally able to watch! When the two previous series were released my attempts to play the videos were unsuccessful but, when the new episode (Threads) was made available, I redoubled my efforts and for the last few weeks I have been regularly watching and re-watching. In spite of the fact that Threads was the motivating force, I should confess up front that the textile segments have engaged me the least – not that there has been anything wrong with them, just that the content has been quite familiar and unsurprising. The one exception was the Wisconsin quiltmaker, Terese Agnew, whose quilts really did amaze me. I have never seen anything like these in terms of composition and richness of ideas, and I would love to meet one of them in person for a really good long look.
Where the other crafts are concerned, I am much more easily surprised – which is fun – but in a way I am also less “distracted” by the technique and simply enjoy listening to the individual stories: the life histories, the things which inspire, what the craft means to the maker and so on. There is such diversity in all of these things that it really refreshed me. It is so unlike the two-channel broadcast which seems to be the dominant sound over here. Of course, these vignettes are simplified for our viewing entertainment, but they have lifted my spirits nonetheless and also given me a taste of some alternative vocabularies for speaking about craft practice. I am very grateful for that.
For the last couple of days I have been over on the west coast again, this time wearing my research hat. (Though a sunhat would have been more use, as it was unexpectedly bright and warm and we ended up having several sessions outdoors.) In that nice wee break between breakfast and the first talk, I went for a stroll and liked the brightness of these boats against the hills and the clouds…
…and the shadow cast by this whirligig onto the wall.