Sunday, April 4, 2010


Spring Returns

Here's our first spring flowers! So the cycle starts over. I guess you could say this every day--every morning a fresh start; every evening a return to sleep. But sometimes it takes something remarkable to make you conscious of the passage of time and the recycling of events. The almost 80 degree temperature the last few days was certainly a jolt--but for me it was the jauntiness of these crocuses that really said, once again it is spring.

Weaving cycle: winding warp, tying knots

Weaving is all about cycles, repetition and movement. I am all over the house right now working on the next weaving. Winding the warp on the ground floor meant bringing skein winder, spool holder, bobbin winder, yarn, scissors, and tying thread downstairs so skeins of yarn could be converted to a new 4 yard warp. I am aware that my process is very inefficient--tying 880 ends, new to old, for just four yards is going to really get to me after a few warps--but I don't want to have the same ground on these weavings, and I don't want to paint my warps. I was talking to a friend about this, how a process that was once almost my signature has no draw for me now. I did consider it, it would enable me to wind a long warp and make each section different--but then I would be locked into the colors that I dyed now--and really, I want each piece to inform the next one. So I have opted for "slow" work--each warp short and distinct. The current one is stripes of white yarn--a silk and ramie mix, a silk and linen mix, and several variations of 100% silk. All 880 knots are now tied.

I took the knot tying as an opportunity to have a Bob Dylan festival--all Dylan all day for two days--one of my favorite events that has cycled through my life ever since I first became a fan. At one point I was sure I would meet him--it was inevitable. One of the first weavings I did was a guitar strap woven on a belt loom that an acquaintance of mine, who knew Dylan, supposedly gave him from me. That was back in 1969. I guess I hoped I would see it on his guitar at one of the concerts, or, even better, on one of his album covers. It was inevitable, right. Listening to him sing brings on such a weird combination of nostalgia and the present moment. How many classes did I cut when Blond on Blond was first released? I had never heard a sound like that album before--I just couldn't get enough of it. As soon as it reached the end, I would just get up to start it over, then lie down on the floor again, completely mesmerized. As often as I have listened to his music, I can still hear a new phrase, or get a jolt from a familiar one. So I will never get to say thank you in person, but these days I realize I don't need to meet him. I think the gratitude in my heart is enough.

Detail showing front and back of March weaving

One of the things I like about lampas is that the front and back of the cloth can be so different. Here is a detail of both sides from the March weaving that I posted last time. I used four wefts--and on the front you see distinct areas of color (plus you are seeing warp strips too) but on the back the wefts combine to give a completely different coloring. Sometimes I have combined both surfaces in one weaving, but not in this one; nor in the small weaving I squeezed out of the final bit of warp. I guess you could call this the cliff notes version of my March weaving, or Mini March. There are differences, the gold lattice is not outlined in black, the warp stripes run vertically here where they are horizontal in the large weaving. They are clearly related though: cycle and recycle.

Cliff notes version of March weaving

Both Mark and I have been busy in our studios these last few weeks. It's not like we aren't always doing something, we are, but some periods are just more productive than others. Again, a cycle. When we first met, as students at the University of Kansas, we would work late into the night, into the morning really. Around 2 or 3 a.m. one of us would go find the other (I was on the 5th floor, he was in the basement) and we would head home. Thirty years later we are still spending our finest hours alone in our studios--but this work, these hours, it is what makes our time together potent and interesting. Living with an artist means I have a partner who understands and honors the fact that making my work demands private time, lots of private time--just as I honor his work space and needs too. It is nice though, that I can tell him in person, periodically, how lucky I am to share my life with him. Personal cycles.

Drawing by Mark Goodwin

1 comment:

  1. your cliff notes is (are??)my favorite. there's something in the round rhythms paired with the verticals that i find appealing.
    wonderful to enjoy cycles and not have linear time!