Finishing, Finishing, Finished!

It’s not finished until it’s finished
a quote from my teachers

When our teachers told us this, it always meant that the woven cloth needed to be washed so the threads would relax and settle into the weave. I do wash or at least wet my fabrics and usually give them a hard press. That means when they are very damp, I iron and iron until they are dry or practically dry. I love this process and I do it as soon as I bring home the cloth if I can. I get to really see what my cloth looks and feels like. And it is always transformed into something much different from the “raw” cloth.

I have realized that a cloth needs to be made into something to be really finished. I am working at getting some of my woven pieces to be art. My basic idea is to make “scrolls” with fragments and background cloths. Sometimes a piece is for a background and sometimes it’s for the “art” to be mounted on the background. They don’t necessarily need to be long and narrow like traditional scrolls. I’m trying to match the background and the “show pieces”. I want the viewer to enjoy the textiles themselves as well as the overall “scroll”. And, I’m enjoying handling the pieces again and remembering how they came about.  [click photos to enlarge]

This scroll sort of came together by itself. The top 2 pieces were lying on my table together like they are here. The background fabric I wove with the idea of dyeing it someday. I liked how they didn’t match up at the edges, too. It is 8” x 26”.

The background cloth is from the warp I designed to make the needle pillows in a previous post. The slubby warp and weft are of handspun singles cotton from Bhutan. The skeins were horribly snarled and I spent a whole afternoon in the hotel trying to unwind one and finally discovered that there was a cross in the skein! I’d never heard of such a thing. Then I saw a woman unwinding a skein using two swifts—one at each end. When I tried this at home, the skein unwound beautifully and perfectly. I spent a lovely afternoon balling the yarn! I unwound one of the skeins and part of the second—the rest is still on the swifts waiting to be wound into a ball. I never thought of it as a warp but wanted to try it. I used some sizing for the first time. It was so easy to make with flax seed and brush on, I don’t know why I’ve always been afraid to use it. I brushed it on the loom—what was unwoven at the end of a weaving session. Then I left it to dry with the shed open.  The dyed pieces are also from that warp. I dyed the various cloths I got from that warp with black walnuts. I really like to see what different cloths I can make from one warp. I like the white one so much that I’m loath to dye it. I think it really shows off the yarns.

Here is a start at a little scroll using the satin and velvet cloths from previous posts.  I hope it works but am not sure. Any thoughts? It’s just pinned in place now.

5 thoughts on “Finishing, Finishing, Finished!”

  1. I really love your scroll in white and walnut. The shades and shapes are well balanced, and it gives me a feeling of something old and very precious.

    I feel your velvet sample, though, gets lost against the beautiful large white weaving. The white weaving competes with it and wins. The velvet piece is fantastic, but intimate. Is there a way to highlight it? Keeping with your scroll theme, Have you considered something like a Japanese rolled scroll, where you come across it (and other samples) as you unroll the scroll? Then it becomes something to be marveled at. I’m sure you have some fantastic samples that could even tell a story across a scroll.

    • Thanks for your thoughts–and the idea of unrolling a scroll. I had that ideas years ago and never went with it. Now, I’ll think of it again. But I want to be able to see them hanging! A dilema! Some of my things are too long, so unrolling might suit just fine. I knew the velvet didn’t work but was hoping I could get my with it. It has been removed and put aside for awhile. I’m glad you liked the white satin. I am not really happy with it as a satin –the diagonal shows too much. I looked up satin in the Olsner book yesterday and discovered it has to do with the tweist of the yarn. The treadling one way with one twist of the warp thread the diagonal shows, with another treadling, it will be smoother without the diagonal showing. Oh, how I wish I could go to my studio and try it out right now. I think I’ll make the peg plan here at home and have it ready for whenever I can go to my studio again. Fun to learn new things. Hope your books have arrived or will soon. Peggy

  2. These are beautiful. I am particularly drawn to the one at the top. My art professor Victor Caglioti said (thirty years ago) that for something to be art, it has to be a “felt image.” He never exactly defined that, but after looking at art over the years I think I have discovered what he meant. It has to move you in some way in your interior psyche, or you could say at the soul level. These pieces do that.

  3. Your scroll is magnificent. I started to say “lovely” then “intriguing” then “inspired” then “energetic”. But it is nothing short of “magnificent” in my book. It keeps growing on me too. And your description of each section just enhances it. It bubbles with your excitement.
    As for the white one, the velvet rainbows are not doing it for me. I think it is powerful enough as is but your “eye’ might find something of equal power

  4. Wonderful descriptions and pieces. The scroll idea is brilliant. Thank you for sending these. I always learn so much from your descriptions. Thanks.


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