Thursday, 18 May 2017

Weaving by Trail or Bushwhacking

I've enjoyed different forms of transport over trails and I've also worked in the forest, creating my own path through the woods to take measurements or mark plots. I find a huge mental contrast between following a trail or 'bushwhacking' on my own. Both are nice, but they are just very different. This even applies to weaving.

Taking a trail when I weave means creating a pattern in my mind and then following it to the end of the fabric's length, whether it's a blanket, scarf or towel. I might have a set of colours and weave patterns in mind and then change them as soon as I begin, but it's a trail by the time the design is established, and then I simply follow what I've set for myself. Like this:

In contrast, my artistic blankets and towels are like bushwhacking. I have to create my own path throughout the full length of the fabric. This means having a picture in my mind, such as my Georgian Bay blankets and towels, and needing to loosely plan the proportions of water, rock, trees and sky. Then I must determine what colours to use, how to make possible colour gradations, and how I show wavy water, smooth rock and big sky with the weave patterns I have available.

And - how do I make the current piece a little different from all the others? That's all the bushwhacking part.  It takes more physical and mental energy but it's totally worth it. I just can't do a lot of it.

This concept of trail versus bushwhacking probably has endless other applications - painting or stitching geometric images versus abstract, cooking creatively versus following a recipe (someone else's trail), and much more.

Notice that people may wish you "Happy Trails" but never "Happy Bushwhacking"?