Last April, I moved my Macomber loom to the Camera Obscura Art Lab in Santa Monica for a 3-month long Artist in Residence program. When I applied for the residency earlier this year, I had proposed to explore local color through watercolor studies of a nearby park and to translate these studies into a woven fabric while hosting 13 public workshops related to fiber arts. I have 4 weeks remaining - ample time (I hope!) to complete weaving my 40-yard warp and host 4 more workshops. Read on for the story of what I have been doing thus far. As the weaving will soon begin, it is now time to secure your place on the warp if you wish to purchase a piece. There is yardage available, which includes an opportunity to customize your weft and weave!
The workspace is unparalleled. Ocean views, a lovely tree nearby that provides ample shade; a room bathed in natural light with ocean breezes. Weaving can sometimes feel like tedious work. But in such a space, it becomes a meditation. I have never enjoyed it more!
It is an honor and a privilege to inhabit the space and a great joy to share it. Each week I welcome the opportunity to open it up to others. I have enjoyed discussing the progress of my work as it has taken shape and to engage in a fun side project that draws from some aspect of my work. The public workshops have been so much fun!
The Camera Obscura is about a mile from my house. When time allows, I love to ride my bike there. My route takes me through the gorgeous Tongva Park. When my residency began, this is where I would stop to complete watercolor studies to capture the colors of the landscape. A riot of greens - olive through sage to a bright green that sometimes transitions to yellow - burgundy and a subdued blue-green. Spring brought pops of orange and red with plants in bloom.
The watercolor studies provided inspiration for a hand-dyed cotton warp. I chose to work with a California-grown organic Pima cotton for this project. The yarn size is 10/2. I spent much of the first five weeks of my residency winding, dyeing, washing and winding again (and sometimes over-dyeing) this yarn. When it was complete, I wound it onto the loom at a density of 30 ends per inch. Across the 32" warp there are 960 ends. 60 ends were wound around the beam in each of 16 sections, having first been wound onto spools and mounted on a spool rack placed behind the loom. In the process of winding, the colors were grouped to create a gradation from the dark greens of the olive grove, though the brightest greens and Agave blues of the planting beds to the muted colors as painted under the dense marine layer of a spring morning.
Below are photos of the process.
As the project will be presented at the end of my residency at the Camera Obscura, I chose to sample a number of weaves to demonstrate the effect that different tie-ups and treadling can produce with the same sequence of threading. The differences between drafts are subtle but the results are so unique!
I threaded the loom in a straight sequence from shaft 8 to 1, repeating this over the entire width of the warp. I selected a number of drafts that would work with this threading, changing the tie-up after each 20" sample. The drafts were chosen for their dense interlacement from two trusted sources. I have yet to encounter a draft from either of these books that does not create a weave I love.
Each draft was new to me. Tie-ing up and weaving a new draft is a bit like finding an unfamiliar sheet of music and playing it to discover the song concealed within the notes. Adding to this process of exploration is the fact that the true nature of the fabric is not apparent until after it is off the loom and wet-finished. This should be clear from the photographs below, which may illustrate the importance of sampling.
The weight of the sample piece with each of the following weaves is approximately 270 grams/m^2.
Sample #1: woven with with Borgs 319 dark forest green cotton weft
Atlas de 4000 Armures, Louis Serrure handweaving.net pattern #35186
This is a dense, flat and moderately smooth weave with a subtle hatched pattern. Of all six samples, this weave is the most dense. It is not overly thick, however, and is nicely moldable. This weave will pair best with a cotton weft. It would make a wonderfully supportive 100% cotton wrap.
Sample #2: woven with Bockens 2064 forest green cottolin
Atlas de 4000 Armures, Louis Serrure handweaving.net pattern #35167
This has a visually uniform pattern with a pleasing texture. It is a light, airy weave. Being more open than the previous weave, this one would benefit from the addition of linen to add support, though 100% cotton would work in longer lengths with multi-layered carries.
Sample #3: woven with Bockens 2040 bright green cottolin
Atlas de 4000 Armures, Louis Serrure handweaving.net pattern #35203
This is a weave with a distinct front and back and subtle zig-zag motif. It is smooth and relatively flat. It would offer lovely support in any of the weft fibers shown.
Sample #4: woven with Bockens 2043 bottle green cottolin weft
Atlas de 4000 Armures, Louis Serrure handweaving.net pattern #35221
This is a weave with a distinct front and back and subtle wave motif. It is airy and light and has the most visual interest of the six samples. Being a more open weave, this one would benefit from the addition of linen to add support, though 100% cotton would work in longer lengths with multi-layered carries. It is challenging to weave as it requires all 16 treadles.
Sample #5: woven with Bockens 2033 teal cottolin weft
Dictionary of Weaves, E.A. Posselt handweaving.net pattern #10156
This is a weave with a pronounced zig-zag motif on one side. I would recommend a weft with linen to add to the support, though 100% cotton would work in longer lengths and multi-layer carries. Featuring a broken sequence in treadling, it requires greater focus to weave this draft.
Sample #6: woven with Venne peacock organic cotton weft
Dictionary of Weaves, E.A. Posselt handweaving.net pattern #10116
The most textured of the six samples, this weave has a delicately intricate interlacement. The weft samples further down the page were woven with this draft. This would be a lovely weave in any of the weft fibers.
In keeping with the concept of demonstrating possibilities with this project - I sampled 33 different weft yarns in a full range of greens and some greenish-blues. The majority of the yarns are cottolin and cotton - commercially dyed - as I have these readily available. Additionally, there are four special fiber wefts I sampled. These are available in smaller quantities and will limit the length I can weave with these wefts.
COLOR KEY FOR COTTOLIN WEFTS
BG 113 Borgs 113 dark forest green
BK 2064 Bockens 2064 forest green
BK 2043 Bockens 2043 bottle green
BK 2040 Bockens 2040 bright green
BK 2038 Bockens 2038 kelly green
BK 2063 Bockens 2063 dark green
BK 2059 Bockens 2059 dark teal
BK 2060 Bockens 2060 cadet blue
BK 2033 Bockens 2033 teal
BK 2032 Bockens 2032 mineral
BK 2034 Bockens 2034 light aqua
BG 281 Borgs 281 greenish grey
BK 2061 Bockens 2061 barely green
BG 292 Borgs 292 pale green
COLOR KEY FOR COTTON WEFTS
VN PCK Venne peacock organic cotton
BG 319 Borgs 319 dark forest green cotton
BK 1460 Bockens 1460 forest green Egyptian cotton
BG 247 Borgs 247 kelly green cotton
BG 332 Borgs 332 bright green cotton
BK 1296 Bockens 1296 bright green Egyptian cotton
BK 145 Bockens 145 avocado Egyptian cotton
BK 146 Bockens 146 moss green Egyptian cotton
BK 492 Bockens 492 teal Egyptian cotton
VN GG Venne gift green organic cotton
BK 3060 Bockens 3060 dark blue green Egyptian cotton
BK 1312 Bockens 1312 sea foam Egyptian cotton
MB Teal Maurice Brassard teal cotton
BK 1440 Bockens 1440 willow Egyptian cotton
BG 292 Borgs 292 pale green cotton
KEY FOR SPECIAL FIBER WEFTS
ORGANIC WOOL - Australian Organic Merino in Shamrock
SW MERINO MTOSH SHIRE - hand-dyed by Madeleine Tosh: Prairie lace-weight superwash merino wool
SW MERINO MTOSH JADE - hand-dyed by Madeleine Tosh; Lace superwash merino wool
SILK/MERINO/SEACELL - hand-dyed by Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Weaving will commence immediately upon my return from the ANWG conference, which I will be attending later this week. I am opening the warp up for 5 semi-custom pieces, available by random draw. The price is $110/meter for any weave or weft shown. If you are interested in purchasing a piece, please complete the form below. I will keep the form available through the evening of Friday, June 30th to give you ample time to consider the options. If you have any questions about which might be most appropriate for you, please do not hesitate to ask me!
Entries will initially be randomly selected, but as warp space is allocated, preference will be given to wefts I have in stock or can easily obtain. I have a limited amount of time in which to complete the weaving and I must be sure that I have all the materials needed to do so.
The drawing is limited to one entry per person and is non-transferrable. I will be in contact over the weekend with those selected. A non-refundable deposit of 10% of the cost of your wrap is required to hold your space on the warp. The balance will be due upon completion, which is expected to be by the end of July.
THIS DRAWING IS NOW CLOSED