Archive for the ‘handweavers’ Category

Spring Forward

Spring is three days away. The smell of flowers blooming is in the air. We have already set the clocks ahead, and went around all last week feeling like we lost an hour somewhere. Today is St. Patrick’s Day, the LA Marathon was run this morning,  and it’s another one of those perfect days in LA. Of course, true to our wonderful weather: yesterday it was foggy in the Valley in the morning; then it was sunny and almost hot Downtown at noon, and by the time I left the Yarnbombing Granny Squares sewing party at the Craft and Folk Art Museum at 5, it was completely overcast and cool. As I wound my way up Laurel Canyon, over Mulholland, and dropped back down into the Valley, I drove into a hazy sunshine. The morning fog had never really lifted. I think it created an inversion layer, keeping it slightly hazy all day. As I headed west on the 101, I could see over the top of the hills, the heavy cloud cover sitting in the Basin.

DTLA, Saturday afternoon

DTLA, Saturday afternoon

But that was yesterday. Today it’s windy, clear and warm. Our orange tree, which wasn’t blooming three days ago, is in full bloom today.

Since returning from Stitches, progress on the window shade fabric has been slow. I had one week where I had four medical appointments over at UCLA and in Santa Monica – this was all follow-up on my thyroid surgery three years ago; and all the tests came out fine. But each trip over there takes a huge chunk out of the day.

I lead a twill weaving workshop for my guild, Southern California Handweavers. it was a great group, and we all had a wonderful time.

Weavers from L to R: Melissa, Elbert, Pat, 7 Myrna.

Weavers from L to R: Melissa, Elbert, Pat, & Myrna.

Carolyn Sell weaving on Elbert's loom in the Twill workshop.

Carolyn Sell weaving on Elbert’s loom in the twill workshop.

During these past few weeks I have been beginning to dye the 5/2 Perle cotton for the warp of the window shades and some to the fabric strips for the weft.


But now, I’ve got to start cranking on this project if I ever want to get it done in this lifetime. The picture shows a small portion of the yarn and fabric strips I’ll need to dye.

Coming up: I’m going to Vogue Knitting Live in Bellevue, Washington April 5-7. I’ll be in the Art Gallery portion of the Marketplace with my smaller coiled baskets and jewelry for sale.


I’m working on a new group of jewelry designs involving wire granny squares.

grannies1 The time has come for me to take over Michael’s bedroom – all of it, not just the half that serves as my photography studio. It is also time to pack up Samantha’s things and turn her bedroom into a guest room – so Michael has some place to sleep when he comes home from school.

Stay tuned.


Out in the Valley

A couple weeks ago I mentioned three things I had underway: my Designing Weavers piece addressing opposites, preparations for my Exploring Twills workshop, and the samples for the window shades.
November 17 & 18 was the twill workshop out in the Central Valley of California, and it was a great time. First, I had good weather for the drive out to Exeter, CA. Second, the Handweavers of the Valley are a lively and fun group of weavers.

I stayed with Judy Trimble at her beautiful home in Porterville. Her children are grown and she lives alone. Judy’s house has a room with two looms in it, just as every house should have, don’t you think?

There were 15 in the workshop, all at different levels of experience, and I had a great time spending two days with them.

I haven’t been able to work on the window shade samples. The week after the workshop was Thanksgiving week, which included Irv’s and my 25th wedding anniversary.

I have made a little progress on my DW piece, but not much.  The truth is I have more than three projects going at any one time. The Wells Fargo Green Team Trophy is an ongoing project that I needed to get a coiled piece completed for. This project came about during my long hiatus from blogging. Here is my Green Team Trophy,

Stash of Trash

and here is the second token, which I’ll be shipping soon.












It seems there are always side projects. This is one of the eight harness twills from my workshop. It will be a scarf, and it will be a gift for our Chanukah party on December 8th. 

This loom is sitting on a folding table in my dining room, and there’s another one on the dining table. So I not only need to finish the scarf as a gift for the party, but I’ll also need to get the looms out of the dining room so people can sit down to eat. And there’s a Baby Wolf in the living room I’ll be wheeling into my daughter’s bedroom. One of these years I should just leave all of the looms out and have everyone take turns weaving on them during the party. Wouldn’t that be fun?

What’s Next?

Again, it’s been a while since my last post. I did clean my studio. It took much less time than I imagined it was going to. Then I launched right into my next set of projects; and those are:

Woven fabric for window shades – for cousins Candyce and Adam; 18 yards, two warps, two different widths.

A new workshopExploring Twills

Designing Weavers 2013 annual project on the theme of Opposites.

I will be leading the Exploring Twills workshop for the Handweavers of the Valley in Exeter, California on November 17 & 18; and for the Southern California Handweavers in (the San Fernando Valley) Los Angeles, on March 9 & 10, 2013. I have compiled a notebook of twill drafts that range from beginner/easy: 4H Straight Draw to intermediate/more complex: 8H Elaborate Twill.

I will be demonstrating one of the twill patterns at the SCHG Weaving and Fiber Festival (WeFF) at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, 3350 Civic Center Drive, Torrance CA. The hours are 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. This is a fantastic Fiber-centered event. If you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve never been, and you’re interested in anything that can be done with fiber, you need to check it out.

There will be a wonderful variety of demonstrations throughout the day. My demonstration times are 10-11 am; 12-1 pm; and 2-3 pm.

The window shade fabric is in the very beginning stages of design. The warp is going to be a variety of white yarns with white fabric strips, and white, tan, & light blue yarn in the weft. I’m going to make some samples first with some different treatments for the weft.

I have about 10 different white yarns. I’m currently working out the arrangement of yarns for the warp.






I also have a coiling project underway. This is the 2nd token to go with the Wells Fargo Green Team trophy.








I have a piece started for the Designing Weavers Annual Project. Here’s a sneak peek, but I’m not going to show too much of it.

Four Weeks, Two Days

Plastic in the Trees II


The results from all of the Convergence juried shows have been received. I’m happy to say I had this piece accepted into Eye Dazzlers.  

My entry in the fashion show was not accepted. Regina and I entered our Four Seasons mantle and Crown that we made last year for the Association of Southern California Handweavers conference. They accepted the blanket, but not the crown. I was rather unhappy at being rejected at first. But then I received an award in another show that I have three pieces in, and that significantly took the sting away.  

I have pieces in two of the juried shows at Convergence, and that’s pretty cool. The thing that I find most interesting about my results is this: I was accepted into the two shows where I submitted three pieces, which were all pieces from my current body of work, the type of work I usually do. I was rejected from the two shows where I only entered one piece, which were also the kinds of work I don’t normally do – e.g. yardage and wearables.  

The conclusion I draw from this is play to your strengths. If I normally did wearables or yardage pieces, I might have had three pieces to enter in each show. Then the jurors might have found one they wanted to include. But  Unlike two weeks ago, I don’t regret doing the yardage. Daryl made a good point, “I think stretching oneself and stepping out of the comfort zone once in awhile is really important.” I think she’s right. That’s why we all take workshops occasionally, and it’s why we follow these wild hare-brained ideas that take us off our own beaten paths. There are treasures to be found when we get lost in the forest. However, I need to hunker down and get some new work done. I didn’t submit to Blue Planet because I don’t have any new work that hasn’t been shown in San Francisco.  

And. . . I still don’t have an annual project for DW.  The warp I put on my loom two weeks ago has not been working out, and I’m thinking of rethreading it in another pattern – which will mean adapting a pattern to fit the existing warp. Ah, just like the days when I would adopt abandoned warps from CSUN. The design challenge is to make the pattern fit the warp, not to make a warp to fit a pattern. I have four weeks and two days before I present at Designing Weavers, and I just accepted a charity project to design a globe the size of a basketball, and is due on May 20.  

Shoot, how did I get so far up this creek, and why didn’t I bring a paddle?


The results from the Small Expressions jury came today. I’ve had one piece accepted.

Two down and two to go.


Yardage not accepted


I’ve been rejected. My yardage wasn’t accepted in HGA’S Enchanted for Convergence, and I’m sad about it. I’ve been accepted a lot. I have a long list of recent exhibitions. I’ve won awards, a few. But make no mistake, rejection still hurts.   

HGA is cold about it, too. They don’t soften the news even a little. They don’t open with a ” Thank you for entering,” and there are no lines about how beautiful all the work entered was.  They just jump right into it: “Dear Julie, We regret that the exhibit entry listed below was not accepted. . .”  Then they quote the juror’s explanation for how she made her selections, “. . . if the piece did not have something that, in my opinion, was enchanting or captivating about it, it was not selected.” Wow, thanks for that.    

She goes on to say that the quality of the images, the printouts, and the touching sample are very important also. But how am I supposed to know if my photos were ok, and it’s my work that wasn’t enchanting or captivating? If someone really needs to improve the quality of her photography, how will she know? This letter gives too much explanation; but not any more real information than the (much more pleasant) letters that say, “Your work is wonderful but it wasn’t chosen for this show.”   

Anyway, the contents of the letter are distraction from the real question at hand, which is: What on Earth was I thinking? Now I have this piece of weaving that’s 18″ wide and three yards long, and no use for it.  There’s a reason I’ve never entered a yardage exhibit – not just at Convergence, SDA has had yardage exhibitions that I’ve also never entered. And that reason is: I Don’t Do Yardage. I know weavers who do yardage and maybe they enter it in a yardage exhibition; then a year later they make something from the yardage, and enter that in a fashion show or other exhibition. I don’t work that way.   

This rejection brings me back to the reality that you have to know what you want your work to be. Sylvia White says artists need to decide what kind of artist they want to be. Some artists don’t care about selling work, they want to be historically significant, be collected by museums. Some artists don’t care about that, they want to sell work. A few years ago I decided I don’t want to do weekend art and craft fairs. That decision gave me some clarity. I’ve focused on doing a certain kind of work and entering the type of shows that the work is suited to. I’ve enjoyed some success as a result of having that clarity and focus.   

This time last year I decided my Designing Weavers annual projects need to fit with my overall body of work. In ’08 & ’09 I did projects – each wonderful in its own way – that are different enough from my overall body of work that I can’t include them in either a portfolio or a juried show submission ( although I’ve shown Behind the Cotton Candy much more than I thought I would).  Any piece of work takes too much time and effort – I have to be able to submit it along with my other work.   

Deciding to do a piece of yardage for a single entry was a lark, it was a cute idea; and I would be singing a way different tune if it had been accepted. I did some grant writing as a parent volunteer at an elementary school about 10 years ago. The right (i.e. best use of your time and least crazy making) way to approach grant writing is to establish your programs and then find grants that fund those things. Too often someone would show up with an RFP saying, “We could do this!” and then try to come up with a program to fit the grant – with the deadline a month away.    

In deciding to make a piece of yardage for the Enchantment juried show at Convergence, I ignored all of the above. I forgot basic principles: know yourself, define what you want your work to be, produce a consistent body of work, and find exhibition opportunities to fit your work, don’t try to make work to fit exhibition opportunities. Could I blame the surgery? I had Surgery in October, by late December I was still recovering, my medication was new. . . yeah, yeah. In the early days of my grant writing phase, I was the one who showed up with the RFP, saying “We can do this!”   

But I did good things with that initial RFP. The circus piece has shown more than I expected, and who knows what will happen with the Crown of Colors. So, now I have a very interesting (however not enchanting or captivating) piece of yardage in overshot with fused plastic in the pattern weft. The thing is – and here’s the real problem with these self-indulged distractions – I now have to refocus, get my goals back in my sights,  and  find my way back to my real work.

I’m Warped

Last week a friend of mine, Luisa Villani, described me as a master weaver on her blog, Sew Me a Poem, and I asked her to change it.

 I learned to weave in the Fiber Art program at Cal State University Northridge in 1996, the same semester I met Luisa, incidentally. Fourteen years is not that long in weaving terms. In my primary guild (Southern California Handweavers Guild), as I suspect in every guild, there are people who have been weaving as long as I’ve been alive. And there are many more who’ve been weaving 2 or 3 times as long as I have.

The only objective measure of weaving mastery that I know about is the HGA’s Certificate of Excellence. I glanced at the criteria for earning the COE one time, I don’t remember why. What I do remember is that it’s not something I want to take on anytime in the near future.

In light of this, I offer my latest project, The Eight Shaft Shadow Weave.

8 shaft shadow weave
Eight Shaft Shadow Weave

I still need to do my annual project for Designing Weavers. Earlier this year I dressed my loom with a leftover abandoned warp in Johann Speck’s Design,  an overshot pattern from the Davison book.  The warp was this dark grey rough scratchy wool blend on huge cones that used to be in Bee Colman’s office at CSUN. This warp was 15 yards long, tied and chained, ready for the loom, then forgotten in a locker in the fiber studio. Like a lot of abandoned warps from CSUN over the years, this one came home with me. I used the first 10 yards of it to make a piece for a show in 2008. I joined two five yard sections to make a large piece 36” high by 14’ wide. It’s hanging above the couch in my living room. The last five yards sat on the loom for a year until I re-threaded it in Johann Speck’s design. It was kind of experimental. I did several panels with different materials for the pattern and tabby weft. I was disappointed with it, but I still hope to salvage these panels and do something with them.

Johann Speck’s Panels


Then I decided to do the yardage for the Convergence Yardage Exhibition. (see: I Don’t Do Yardage) It turned out alright, especially since the fused plastic was a whole new process for me. it turned out alright, but not really good in my estimation. I had thought the yardage would be my DW annual project – that is, until we saw the first annual project presentations at the March Designing Weavers meeting. they were really, really good. I have to do better than my 2010 Yardage, and I’m running out of time.

Along the way, I asked myself, “How did I manage to get it right with my Plastic in the Trees piece?” then I remembered how many times and different ways I had done the blooming leaf pattern before I put the green warp on the loom. I had threaded a demonstration warp on a table loom in a beautiful blue pearl cotton that I had lots of, and didn’t seem to be using up very fast. I had thought I would sample different materials – cassette tape, video tape – to see how they worked in the pattern. I did the first pattern repeat in some greenish-gold shiny nylon yarn that had been surplus from a sweater designer in Venice, CA. My husband saw it and said it would make a nice table runner for Hanukah. I finished the whole warp with the yarn, and it does make a nice table runner. Around this time I was reading The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers by Madelyn van der Hoogt, and I converted blooming leaf to an eight shaft pattern, did an entire draw-down on an Excell spread sheet, threaded it on my eight-shaft table loom (what a pain!), and hated it. Then I did my ’07-’08 DW annual project – the circus piece – in blooming leaf on four shafts. So by the time I wove Plastic in the Trees I and II, I had done lots of ground work with that pattern. Those two pieces have been on exhibit almost constantly since I finished them. They get accepted to almost every juried show I enter them in, and #1 won first place in the 2-D category in a show.

So now, I have decided to do an eight shaft shadow weave pattern. I took a great shadow weave workshop with Jannie Taylor at the SCHG last month. Jannie is a wonderful instructor. She gave us a notebook of patterns, and I purchased her CD of patterns as well. My ultimate goal is to do  wall pieces using a single repeat of the pattern in really large gauge yarn sett at 4 or 2 EPI, possibly using fused plastic strips as one of the weft elements.

I got some huge wool yarn from Bill Kleese, out in Riverside. most of it will sett at 4 EPI. And there’s some really huge stuff that will be two ends per inch. I don’t love wool, but I haven’t been able to find really large cotton, so now I’m going to be dying wool (I cringe as I type this. I don’t love dying either. Hmm this could be a set-up for a weaving adventure.)I got some acid dyes. I ordered a reed with 2 dents per inch – I’m so excited, I’ve been wanting to do this for a few years. I’m going to need large eye heddles, and I’ll probably have to rethread the heddles when I get to the 2 EPI stuff.  

I decided to practice the pattern by doing a piece with regular yarn, sett at 6 EPI. And since I may be doing the same pattern on different warp yarns, I decided to make a “waste warp” to roll on the back beam so I can tie on new warps and re-slay a new reed for different setts. For my waste warp I decided to use none other than the last of the black, scratchy woo,l abandoned warp from CSUN. I have about 20 cones of yarn lined up on my table and have been combining them in different colorways. I had to combine three yarns to make it 6 EPI. One of the yarns I combined was a shiny, slinky, space dyed rayon I’ve had for about ten years. It was awful, it tangled, then tangled some more; and while I was trying to untangle it, it tangled some more.

I gave up and threw the yarn in the trash – oh yes I did – and substituted another yarn in the dark warp. I had two colorways of the same sh**. I thought the light would work better because the balls were better wound and in individual sandwich size ziplocks. Half way through the 80 end warp that took hours to wind, it tangled. I tried for a little while to untangle it, gave up, cut it off, and substituted a different yarn in the light warp also. Its laying in its baggy on my studio floor where I keep walking over it.

The good warp is now threaded through heddles and reed with the waste warp at the back, under it. its ready to tie onto the cloth beam. I’ll be going to Camarillo four days this week for installation of Fiber 2010 West. I’m doing new, fused plastic work for the Blue Planet submission, due April 24. The Valley Artist Studio Tour application is due April 23, Bloomindales Santa Monica is due May 1, and I have 7 1/2 weeks until I present my annual project at Designing Weavers on May 26.

Game on.

I Don’t Do Yardage

Normally I don’t weave yardage which is then used to make other items. I generally don’t make garments (any more). I’ve never even considered entering a yardage exhibition at a conference, much less a juried fashion show. Until this year.

My yardage submission for Convergence

A month or so ago, when I was cleaning off my desk, I came across the CD of the exhibitions at Convergence ’08 in Tampa. As I flipped through it, I got this harebrained idea that I could enter all four of the juried exhibitions at Convergence ’10.
I already had a fashion show entry, my head piece from my collaboration with Regina Vorgang for last year’s conference in Riverside. I already had two coiled pieces for the Small Works entry, and another one in progress that I will now attempt to finish for next Monday’s deadline. I had a project on the loom that I thought I could make into a piece or pieces for the Eye Dazzlers exhibit. What I didn’t have was yardage, because I don’t do yardage. So I set out to make some.
The last time I blogged about it, the piece above was a half-formed idea going no where. At the time I had two challenges, the warp and the weft; which in weaving pretty much means nothing was working right.
The challenge of the warp involved trying to buy weaving design software, which I have since aquired, but haven’t really started using, so it actually remains a challenge.
Solving the challenge of the weft was a whole process of experimentation and discovery. I fused plastic bags into sheets using an iron. In my first attempts, I just used the iron naked on some bags and the results were very unsatisfactory. Then I thought, if there’s a way to do this, there must be a video about it on YouTube. I found a couple videos where the people were using wax paper between the iron and the bags, and they were saying you must use 8 layers of bags.
I questioned the need to make it eight layers thick. I started to experiment with the wax paper to see how few layers of plastic I could use to get something I could cut into strips and weave. I soon discovered I wasn’t going to be able to use the same piece of wax paper for very long. The wax seemed to come off on the clear dry cleaner bags and left a white haze, and at points the paper stuck to the fused plastic.
One morning I woke up thinking about the OffCenter in Albuquerque. Its a wonderful community art center I visited when I was in Abq last June. They do a lot of artwork there with reused materials. They make these increadible bags by fusing plastic with an iron. They use all kinds and colors of plastic to make a sheeting that can be sewn to make all kinds of tote bags and purses. they call them Offbags.
So I knew that what I wanted to do with the plastic was possible, and I continued to experiment. I decided to try parchment paper between the iron and the plasic and that was it. I could fuse as few or as many layers as I wanted to, and I used the same two pieces of parchment paper to fuse many, many yards of plastic at 24″ wide.
There it is on the loom. I finished weaving the yardage Monday morning at 1:00 am. I hemmed the ends and went to bed. When I got up again at 7:00, I still needed to wash and dry the piece, photograph it, prepare the 8″ x 8″ swatch, format the photos, and burn the CD for the submission package.
I’ve talked before about my adventures in photography, and I have improved. I still use my back porch, which is on the north side of the house, and doesn’t get direct sunlight until late in the afternoon. Every time I go out there with my work, backdrop fabric, camera and tripod, I am thankful I live in California.
To do my submission photos, I had to move the patio furniture. I laid out some medium grey felt I bought at Michael Levine’s downtown, arranged the yardage, and got up on a ladder to shoot. Thank you to Nicki Bair for telling me she shot her yardage from a ladder, with is laying on the floor.

Frustration and Rumination

plastic bags sorted on the dining room table

I’m stuck. I’m in the idea-not-formed-yet phase of designing; the not-sure-which-way-to-go-yet phase. I have the criteria for the next project: a piece of yardage to be a minimum of 18″ wide and 3 yards long, with an 8″ x 8″ touching sample, to be completed, photographed and ready for submission by February 1st. I have the basis of an idea: a piece entitled disposable/indestructible, with a yarn warp and some sort of plastic weft. OR maybe no plastic, yarn for the tabby weft and fabric strips? for the pattern weft. It will be an overshot design.

The challenges:

1) The Warp: I need design software. I should have bought it a year and a half ago. And now I’ve gotten to the point where I can no longer muddle through making my threading and treadling diagrams on Excel spreadsheets. There are three programs on the market, and the one I’ve decided to get is just not very easy to buy. I tried to buy it in person in Tampa, and that couldn’t happen. I’ve tried calling on the phone, and they don’t answer. I’ve left voice messages, and haven’t gotten a return call. I filled out an online order form, which doesn’t include a payment method. When I hit ‘send now’ a new email opened up, so I typed in a message. It feels like I’m shouting into a black hole. I know people who use this software, so it must be possible to buy it – right?

2) The Weft. I have this idea to create a collage of plastic bags, then cut the collage into strips and weave it in the weft of my yardage. I tried ironing the bags to fuse them together, Like Penny Collins does. I wasn’t pleased with the results. I tried adhering them together with Gel medium, and it doesn’t look like it will hold up to being cut, wound on a shuttle, and thrown back and forth through the shed. It doesn’t look like it will even dry, actually. I should try putting my samples outside in the warm Southern California Winter, but its gotten too late for today.

For now I wait for the software people to get back to me, but I can’t wait much longer. If I can’t accomplish a purchase of the elusive program, I’ll have to choose and buy one of the other two.

For now I ruminate on the materials and methods for doing the weft. I have some more ideas to sample. I have a couple hours till the end of my work day. Ok, back to the studio, back to the dining room, I have more experiments to make.

Process and Ideas

Ah, January 3rd. The first week of January is just about my favorite time of the year. It’s a new year, the momma of all fresh starts.

This evening I am going to Santa Barbara to see Kaffee Fassett give a talk and slide presentation. There’s a trunk show and sale beforehand, and I’ll probably go early enough to ooh and ahh, and possibly buy something.

I realized recently that I’ve been a fan of this man’s work for more than 22 years, since I was just learning to knit at the Knot Garden knitting store in Sherman Oaks [17200 Ventura Blvd Ste 211, Encino, CA 91316-4091 (map)(818) 986-6642]. Before I was married and had kids; before I was a fashion design teacher, before I went back to school and became a fiber artist;  I was a fan of Kaffee Fassett’s. So this will be a great way to start off a new year.

Daryl Lancaster’s New Year’s Day blog got me thinking about my creative process. Daryl talks about warming up her creativity by doing five-minute quick collages. She learned this from Donna Kallner, who writes about creativity exercises she uses and recommends for students “who are stuck / afraid / dithering.” Check out both blogs, especially Daryl’s collages.

Reading this, I know I’m not likely to do five-minute collages. For me, these things would turn into art projects in themselves, and they present a diversion that just doesnt seem to fit into my own process.

Which begs the question, what is my creative process? First off, I never have a shortage of ideas for projects. My brain just produces them non-stop. I used to have some anxiety over the notion that I could never execute all the ideas I had. There was a moment during my volunteer years when I realized that ideas are a dime a dozen.

It was during the playground renovation project when we needed to raise a large amount of matching funds for a large grant. All kinds of people would come up to me with ideas for great fundraisers – for me to do. They weren’t willing to put in the dozens or hundreds of hours it would take to follow through on their idea. But they thought they were giving me this great gift – an idea they were willing to invest a few seconds of their time in. After that time, I accepted the fact that there are some artistic ideas I will just never have a chance to get to. And I wouldn’t want the reverse: too much time and not enough ideas.

Over the past 10 or so years I have discovered and become comfortable with my own creative process. I remember Bee Colman asking us about this one semester during her fiber arts studio class. Her question was: what is your process? Do you come up with ideas and then go out and gather materials? Or do you sit among your materials and then generate ideas?

So how do I develope ideas? They come from everywhere: a story on the radio in December 2003 became the basketry piece Our Layer in April 2007.  When the time came to do it, I went to my materials stash, pulled out and laid out stuff. I did a quick sketch to show the other members of my Eco-art group.

When I get an idea, sometimes I write a note describing it. Then I sit among my materials, pull stuff out and line it up on the table. I might write out more ideas, tape bits of yarn twisted together on paper. Plastic in the Trees I & II started as a note on my yellow pad, “graduated green warp with plastic bags weft, blooming leaf pattern.” I pulled out and lined up every cone of green yarn I had. I gathered colored plastic bags, and laid them out  by color.

work table

Plastic in the Trees in progress

 Right now I need an idea for a piece of yardage. I got this harebrained idea to submit entries to all of the juried shows at Convergence ’10 in Albuquerque in July. I don’t usually do yardage, so now I need to develope a project. I made a note a couple pages back in my yellow pad, ‘disposable/indestructible.” I have a dozen or so cones and balls of yarn lined up on my table. I’m in the process of finishing the prior project on the loom. There will be lots of finishing work, dying and painting will be involved. And while I’m doing that, the idea for the yardage will be cooking on the back burner. When I’m ready to do it, I’ll twist together bits of yarn and tape them to a sketchbook page. I’ll pull out materials and line them up. I’ll pour over my weaving pattern books. There will be lots and lots of math. 

So why does this matter? I think its important to know your own creative process so you can set up your work space so it works best for you, and that includes your psychic work space. For instance, I know I’ll start thinking about the next project when I’m about 3/4 done with the current one. I allow myself to take some time out to pursue it. I’ll pull out yarns and line them up at the back of the table. After a little while, the undeveloped idea fizzles out, and I turn back to the current project. This little diversion is like a creativity warm up for me. I get more motivated to finish the current project when I have the excitement of starting the new one.

Now, will I get the yardage done and photographed in time for the February 15 submission deadline? Check back here to find out.

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