Saturday, 29 December 2012

Indigo on Linen. Perfection

 There has been too many mediocre pieces of cloth going into the indigo vats. It is time to start policing as it seems students cannot police themselves.  Grrrr. It is depressing to see mass-produced machine woven boring junk soaking up precious indigo.  It is better to dye a small scrap of good stuff than ten meters of stuff that will be much closer to the garbage bin a year down the road.

What is good stuff? 
This linen came from an old noren  curtain with an obnoxiously simplified rabbit-in-the-waves motif dyed with chemical red from the 60's.  It was hidden in a drawer in the new knit studio. Boiling it in some bleach with some slaked lime pretty much erased the rabbit. This stitching to create accordion folds is a useful shibori technique to master and expand on. It built on Serge's last piece's technique. 

Here he is proud of his most recent masterpiece. Serge also wants to become an indigo master. I am thinking of taking him on for a few years. From indigo seed to a perfectly crafted work. 

Kamei san was busy finishing up year end projects. She Persian knot wove/tied this small carpet to use as a pillow on the loom bench. It is so plush. Warp is camel and weft is naturally coloured wool.


There is plenty of warp left and she wove up a cool small leg warmer blanket.

She also spent a long time laboriously shibori stitching and tying round motifs on this Indian hand woven cotton material. Wonderful that she finished these up as the year comes to a close. I am sure she will have some beautiful projects finished in 2013 as well. Good work Kamei chan!






14 comments:

  1. i am in constant fear of mediocrity.so easy to slip into.

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  2. The surest way is to be toooooo busy. Arghhhh. It hurts to face up to this.

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  3. i agree with you both. i got teased badly once at our spinning gathering for speaking about my friend spinning a yarn with integrity. but i believe it has to have just that. even rustic things can have integrity, a dishcloth can.

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  4. I know that cool confident glowing groove that is so good to be in when everything goes right. Time spent wisely and consistently over extended weeks. I see others who guard their time and energy ruthlessly and their work has no lack of integrity but lacks generosity or humour or genius. There always seems to be an adjective waiting in queue to be fulfilled. Integrity takes a sharp eye, a keen radar and a mountain of 'No' to achieve.

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  5. so much to think about. in the culture I live in there is very little respect for textiles. no tradition or cultural history. I always believed that teaching could change that but after 35 years I don't think I've made even the tiniest scratch. so many weekend craft people just wanting to fill in time, impress their friends and produce quantities of "stuff". now, isn't that depressing!

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    1. Jean...I know. How is it possible to wake people up? I try hitting them from all sides, anthropological, historical, artistic. The often mundane truth is that people want something luxurious that is just a little better than what their friends have. It is hard to say what civilization is, but it is very easy to see what it isn't. And civilization and culture are preferable. And to built and maintain these things require some spirit that is also hard to define. But very easy to see when it isn't there. You have done a lot. Perhaps you didn't notice, but I remember a few of us tearing up when you put your weaving on the table to show us. Blandina let out a barely audible, "Oh Jean." I had to fight back the tears. Your talent and endless hard work hit us all. And I am certain that wash't anywhere near the first time it happened.
      You have blessed me time and time over. Thank you. bryan

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  6. funny, how important it is to honor the stuff we are doing, and to bring to the making a, well, a glow of sorts, so that it is fresh and beautiful. integrity, not mediocre.

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  7. thank you all for this conversation. it is the perfect way to start the new year, pondering about what is and what isn't.
    jean,barcelona was a textile center, but you would be appalled with the general lack of respect and knowledge of textiles. i live in a sort of interior exile in order to protect myself from becoming a cynic.
    i give thanks for the internet every single day.

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  8. thank you, Bryan - I am blushing. personally I think it all starts with respect...respect for the materials and the people/and animals that produced them, respect for your tools and all the craftspeople who came before. there seems to be so little respect for anything but money and ego dominates.

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  9. Great conversation here. I am paralyzed at the moment as most of my year is spent offering others an opportunity to excel. And then I am empty, as presently. All of your comments and thoughts are the best food I have eaten in weeks.

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    1. Steiner (Waldorf school fame) says you give away in your 40's what you learned in your 30's and spend your 50's going deeper into your own work.

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  10. I feel that it isn't necessarily our job to wake people up, but to plant a seed in them so they may wake themselves up. Both your's and Jean's work do this on an unimaginable scale.

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