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…