The Restructuring – Part 2

This post, and this project, are both heavy on process. Figuring out how to make this work, putting in the hours to make it happen, and sticking with, it I see as parallel to the changes that need to happen in society. Hopefully this won’t be too full of weaving ‘geekiness‘ so non-weavers will understand it. There are LOTS of pictures!

I finished weaving the very first part of the piece by the beginning of Passover (4/9). Then it was time to start shifting the tablet weaving warps around. First step was to split the center band.

To be able to move the tablets in the reed, I needed to re-chain the warps. I spent one evening just switching the warps from 40 tablets in the center band from a single chain, into 20 chains, each chain having the warps from just 2 tablets.

About 5 hours later, the tablets were moved, and it took another day to weave “Time to Share”.
(I have only been sporadically keeping track of the time I’m spending on this project.)

That evening I re-chained up the warps for the side bands into chains for each individual tablet. Once that was done, I realized that I actually needed to chain up the warps for the center band into individual tablets as well.

Before I started the process of spreading out the tablets, I decided to rearrange them so the threads would make diagonal lines.

I wove 4 picks in the new configuration and then the ‘fun’ began. I started with 3 tablets on either side of the center bands, and moved them over 2-4 spaces in the reed. To do this, I need to unweight the warp chains, then one tablet at a time, I pull the warp threads & tablet out of the reed, move them over 4 spaces and them pull them back into their new space. The warp chain has to go between the heddles in the correct spot (or I won’t be able to get a shed and pass the shuttle through).

This is probably the most intense piece I’ve ever done / worked on. As the world is unraveling I am slowly changing the the structure of this cloth. One tablet at a time, I pull the warp threads & tablet out of the reed, move them over 4 spaces and them pull them back into their new space, over and over again. Once the group of cards are in there new locations, the warps need to be re-weighted and the tablets aligned with the base warp. Everything has to be in exactly the right place to be able to get a clear shed. I weave 8 picks (weft threads – passes of the shuttle) then start the moving process again.

When the warps from the center band met the warps from the outer bands, it got even more challenging (interesting?). Now I had to decide how those warps were going to cross and the pattern of moving each tablet 2 empty spaces in the reed (4 dents) didn’t work as they crossed. Took some time to figure those challenges out. Made me think about how do we spread out the wealth in society, as well as how we re-integrate people who have been marginalized. What happens when those two movements intersect?

The photo on the right is how far I got after working on this for 2 weeks. The next step was to start spreading out the side bands. There were about 3 more moves and the first tablet from the edges will finally make it into the center of the cloth. Once most of the tablets have reached their new spot, I’ll start taking the warps out of the tablets and threading them into the waiting heddles.

Most of this post was written on April 28th. As of today (May 13), I’m still working on this project. I have just started removing tablets (4 so far) and threading those warps into the base cloth. I still have a couple more moves to get all of the tablets in the order I want them. More posts to come…

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The Restructuring – part one

As the Covid-19 pandemic really started impacting our lives and the stay at home order was given, another one of my ‘fiber-brained’ ideas hit. I’ve been working on this project for about 6 weeks or so and I’m probably about 3/4 done with the 2nd part. This has become a very involved project, so I’m going to be posting about it in stages. Much of this first post was written at the beginning of April when I had the loom set up and had just started weaving.

So, what am I doing?
I’m weaving an art piece that combines tablet weaving into a loom woven cloth. The goal / plan is to start with the fabric set up one way and then gradually restructure the cloth.

The Covid-19 pandemic is clearly showing, to anyone paying attention, the many things in our human world that do not work. It is also showing us how we are all connected. Wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of the few. Huge numbers of people, especially people of color and folks who don’t fit the dominant culture’s norms, have been marginalized. The result is a threadbare society where it is far too easy for people to fall through the cracks. This fabric is not very functional or sustainable.

It is time to weave a new cloth.
How do we do this? The simplest thing is to start over. Cut the old warp off the loom and put on a new one, simple, yet totally disruptive. Do we really want to throw out everything about our current society, and try and start over from scratch? It would mean massive sudden change, and could cause chaos, revolutions, and wars.

I am attempting a different process.
I have set up my loom with a foundational warp that is very sparse – 1/2 the number of warp threads per inch than usual for the size of the yarn. Added to this are 3 tablet woven bands. In the center is a green and yellow/gold one. On each side is a grey and tan band. the same yarn as the background warp. The center band will have a $ sign and the word “POWER” then “TIME TO SHARE”. One of the edge bands will say “FEAR – LACK” ➔ “ABUNDANCE”. The other will say “OPPRESSION” ➔ “LIBERATION”. This beginning represents our current society.

Sample bands woven to test out how the letters would look.

Weaving both traditional cloth and tablet weaving (two completely different structures and techniques) is going to be challenging enough. Then comes the really tricky part. My plan is to gradually spread out the threads from the bands across the warp. Eventually they will be removed from the tablets and incorporated into the background cloth. (I left heddles spread between the background threads.) I cut a nine yard warp, so after the transition is complete, there should be enough warp to weave nine hand towels, sturdy functional cloth, to represent the society we want to create.

I think this is going to work, though I’m not entirely sure how. Normally the warp is set up on a loom and you don’t change it. If the weaver wants to change the look of the cloth, they can easily change the weft or possibly the treadling, but the warp, the underlying structure of the cloth, doesn’t change.

The underlying structures of society need to change so everyone’s basic needs are met and they have the opportunity to learn, grow, and become the best version of their true self. How do we get there? I am sure there are a myriad number of answers out there. Some may be simple and / or quick. Others will be complex, and many will certainly take time. And I expect shifting the 272 warp threads (68% of the total) into new positions will be all of the above. My goal is to get the 1st section woven by the beginning of Passover. (I finished this part on 4/9 the first day of Passover.)

I’m probably crazy to be attempting this project. I am also feeling very compelled to do it. It is time to share, it is time to weave a new cloth of society. Wish me luck and wish us all success in weaving a better world.

5 colors of warp x 80 ends each = 400 ends
160 Dark green and Yellow/gold – 8/2 tencel – shiny – Represents wealth / money / power
240 Gray & tan – cottolin & white cotton – humanity
Weft – olive green cottolin – represents life / earth / spirit – connects everyone
10 dent reed – beginning background cloth 10 epi, when restructuring done, it will be 20 epi.

To see more progress pictures:
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Inward Journey, Search for Self – Solo Show

Newer pieces in the show.

There is still time to see the show, it runs through March 27th, 2017
@ University Friends Meeting & Friends Center
4001 9th Ave NE, Seattle, Washington 98105
The Friends Center is open M-F from 9am – 1pm. The show is in the social hall which is locked. You will need to knock on the office door.
Their worship services are on Sunday morning.
And for those who can’t make it to the show, here are a few pictures of the newer pieces.

Path of Liberation, hand-dyed fabric and beads. Background is 24″ x 24″.                                              The dyed fabric is a vintage linen napkin!

Healing the Mother: jigsaw puzzle, pins, threads. 14″ x 18″

Goddess / Tree: tablet woven band on silk and linen background. 23″ Diameter.                           Need to figure out a better name. Think I may title it ‘Ima Adamah – Mother Earth’.


Mother Tree – Asherah, Handwoven fabric with needle felting and needle weaving, net, mounted on padded wire frame. 43″ x 30″ x 7″ This piece has move to the Fiber Fusion show at Schack Art Center in Everett, WA. Fiber Fusion opens March 9th and runs through April 15th.




Mind the Spirals

Tiny Tales posterI was very pleased to be invited to participate in this show, the second creative challenge sponsored by Seattle Handmade. “Tiny Tales and Small Stories” is at Stunningly Strange Gallery, 407 Main Street, Edmonds, WA. You can go see this great little show for about one more week, until Sept. 17, 2014.

The challenge was to create a piece of artwork that was no more than 6” in any direction and it had to be accompanied by an original story of 200 words or less. My first couple of ideas weren’t going anywhere, I couldn’t find the materials I wanted, they wanted to be bigger than 6”, no story to go with them, hmm… now what? I had been ruminating on my swirly thinking, and the beginning of this story came to me. Ah… here was an idea, and a visual in my head to go with it! So here it is:

Mind-the-Spirals_P11_webMind-the-Spirals-Detail44_webMind the Spirals
Her mind swirled leaping from one thing to the next. Landing in one spot and staying only a short while before the next place called her on. At times she felt like a squirrel randomly leaping from branch to branch, her thoughts leaving a trail of mental bread crumbs.

She traveled the multi-verse, looking for connections between the random pieces she Mind-the-Spirals-Detail25_webfound, and then it came to her. She was a Time Lord, like the good Doctor. Who?

Materials: Painted plywood base, acrylic paint, copper wire, jigsaw puzzle pieces, thread, scale model figures at 1:100 scale. Notes: The scale figures were white, I liked the paint job I was able to do and they are between 5/8″ and 3/4″ tall. The base is 6″ x 6″, and overall it’s about 5″ tall.Mind-the-Spirals_P31_web