Tiree in Your Words is the title of the mini-project I’m doing in collaboration with the otther Art and Social Practice student on Tiree, glass artist Frances Woodhead. There are various things we’re doing for the project which I’ll write about soon, but the gist is that we’re collecting words from everyone on Tiree who wants to participate, and next weekend we’ll hold a community event to create a display with the words we collect. This morning Frances emailed me about an artist whose work is in the 2013 Venice Bienniale, Matt Mullican. I hadn’t come across him before but found this video and there is so much to think about in his work.
This is inspiring us to create some artwork around our own words to be part of the Tiree in Your Words display.
I made this little sample quickly yesterday and can’t wait to explore this further. I warped a tiny frame loom with some very rough hemp, and wove it with alternate picks of torn fabric and thick and thin Colinette yarn. Then I threw it in the washing machine with a load of washing.
When it came out I thought it looked quite interesting, with some parts firmly felted and some holes, especially where the yarn was thin. I hadn’t planned to remove the warp as well but once the idea occurred to me it became an irresistible ‘what if’, so I snipped the knots and pulled out the hemp. I wondered if the wool would hold the weft together and the answer is yes. I like the way it’s solid in places and fragile in others, just like memory. I also like the texture and structure of it, and the way the effect of the warp persists.
I’m going to have a play with handspun and unspun wool, and different kinds of fabric, and different warps, felting by hand, to see what emerges. I imagine a series of pieces, ragged yet strong, To do with prayer and memory and being made new. I am thinking about habits and quotidien rhythms and the structure of praying the hours, and how our outworn clothes embody our history and memory, about what we keep and what we waste, and about connections and inclusion and mixing things up. All sorts of things.
I always enjoy the way a current preoccupation takes on a life of its own and starts appearing all over the place, a bit like when you learn a new word and then it crops up in everything you read. Was it there all along and you just start noticing because you’re now paying attention? Or maybe it’s a kind of grace that delights in seeking out connections and charging them with significance.
In the last few days I’ve been finding some lovely insights and inspirations around combining strips of cloth with wool, especially from Jill at Centering with Fiber, and this wonderful woven fleece by Elizabeth Armstrong (Studiofelter).
This weekend I made some felt samples for our workshop tomorrow: including a piece to show add-ins of various kinds, some 3D felt using a template resist, and some samples using different types of pre-felts.
And this little bit is just for me, an experiment with torn strips of silk chiffon, caught between thin strips of drafted fibre and felted. Very fiddly!
But what if I wove something like this before felting, instead of laying the fibres out? I would need to put a little twist in the drafted wool, to stop it drifting apart; I wonder what difference that would make to how it looks and feels and behaves.
I’ll leave you with some netted inspiration from a walk along the beach,
I had heard this word, Saki-ori, before, but I never quite took in what it is. The Japanese tradition of creating new cloth from old cloth, weaving with thin strips of worn fabric. Akin to rag rugs, but on a fine scale, soft enough for clothing.