Sunday, 20 February 2011
We have been told that it’s time to start deciding on our specialism of choice. Although undeniably drawn to weave I understand I must think this through and mull over whether this would be the right choice for me as a designer. I read this interesting summary of Weaving-
‘Weavers are a rare breed. Invariably the least popular pathway on textile degree courses, weaving is seen to be too slow, too technical, too prescriptive, too flat, too restrictive and with no margin for error. It’s certainly not an option for those who want quick results and instant gratification. The choice to weave is an unforgiving path to follow. But it is these very challenges that weavers relish. To be a weaver requires great discipline, patience and a commitment to ‘hard work’, but the rewards are palpable. Many years of study are required to build the requisite vocabulary- the weavers ‘craft technology’ skills are the foundation upon which design and artistry are built. You need to embrace the prescribed boundaries that the loom commands- the vertical warp and the horizontal weft- and then with an intellectual dexterity strive to challenge those very boundaries: to work with them and against them at the same time.’
Unfortunately, while culture ploughs its way forward with claims of progress, weaving can be counted as a field of diminishing rather increasing knowledge. Much of this loss can be attributed to our separation from the very act of weaving. Arthur Danto notes, “the industrialization of the weaving process has set between most of us and the reality of weaving a cognitive barrier.” Danto refers to this barrier as “opaque enough that it must come as a surprise that Plato should have found common to the arts of weaving and of statesmanship a quality of mind that is very central to the practice of an art, namely a certain kind of creative judgement- the ability to make decisions in the absence of rules or of laws.”
‘Weaving can be and mean many things. It is a network of connections. But weaving can also pay as much attention to the spaces it creates as the connections it establishes. Nearly half a century after Anni Albers celebrated the astounding accomplishments of past weavers, we must do the same. Historical examples of remarkably complex woven cloth are to be celebrated’.
I mentioned my thought to my tutor Mel. She thought that weave would appear a logical choice as much as my work is very constructed, process led, orderly and academic. The challenge of working within the prescribed boundaries of a loom also appeals to me.