Things have changed dramatically even in the short time since I warped up the Eeva, ready to start working on the Shift Canada project. Lockdown has thrown everyone into a world we don’t quite know how to navigate, and it has taken a few days for life to fall into new patterns.
I’ve learned that, although I am accustomed to the shapelessness of working from home, I depend on the regular to-ing and fro-ing of S to give my week its rhythm. Now that we are in shared confinement, I mostly have no idea what day it is.
As for socialising, though, my life has lurched in the opposite direction. My usual solitary state has been overturned as my diary has filled up with scheduled coffee break chats with friends and colleagues. Online meetings have also been in greater abundance as projects need to be reconsidered and deadlines renegotiated. This has inevitably involved more grieving for plans that cannot be realised as intended, but also a strong sense of solidarity and shared gratitude that (i) we are safe and well and (ii) we have opportunities to do things we weren’t expecting.
It’s all kept me pretty busy and I haven’t been at the loom as much as I expected. However, there’s obviously no need to rush…. I mentioned that the Shift Canada deadline was approaching, and it still is, but from a much greater distance. This has given me more time to develop my ideas in detail using Photoshop, a process which is still quite new to me.
I’ve already completed a sample warp and know a lot about how I want to continue. The final piece will involve rya knotted fabric scraps (which are themselves the product of a recycling process) and I have determined how dense I want the knots to be, and hence where they will need to be worked into the structure. The ground cloth itself will be woven in a broken twill, which I like for its integrity and the contrast between warp- and weft-faced variants. So that the piece will be suitable for the next stage of the project, I am planning to use warp- and weft-faced broken twill to create a background ‘grid’ in the cloth.
The grid will be completely independent of the pattern made by the knotted fabric, and this is where I have been using Photoshop. As I am not used to working at these two different scales simultaneously, I am doing quite a bit more planning than usual, and in more detail. I need to develop the liftplan for the ground cloth, but also to visualise the layer of pile over it. I was drawn to using a honeycomb structure, so I made an attempt at a few different versions of this, from strictly geometric to more organic hexagonal shapes.
I really like the textured weave this creates, but it is not right for this project. I’ve gone back to an earlier and simpler idea, which worked well in the sample warp, and have been putting in the Photoshop-hours to really nail it down. Eventually I’ll get back to the loom…
* This hexagonal grid was created in Adobe Capture, which is one of my favourite apps for messing around. The base image is literally a photo of the back of my phone’s case, folded back and pressed over the camera so that the light just seeps in at one corner.