Saturday, October 18, 2008

French Vanilla

Newly woven silk fabricsFinishing off these just-handwoven silk fabrics this afternoon, I had an epiphany of sorts, about what an awesome thing it is to weave plain fabric -- natural colored natural fiber yarns, simple plain weave, no frills...and I feel as though I've touched some ancestral vein in going back to basics. It's like tabula rasa, the blank canvas, beginning at the beginning. There's something so incredible about running a newly woven piece of plain fabric through my hands. I find it very fulfilling. All I want to do right now is weave plain fabric.

So these fabrics above, from top right and going clockwise are:

  • Heavy "duke" silk weft on dupioni silk warp. I have about half a yard of this in length, 22" wide (they're all this width).
  • Heavy "throwsters" silk weft on dupioni warp. Another half yard of this in length.
  • Linen weft, dupioni warp. I have maybe 2/3 of a yard of this, ran out of warp or I definitely would have woven more. This piece is probably my favorite of the bunch. I thought the linen was silk, it was an old cone I picked up somewhere down the road, and it was shiny and soft on the outside. Once I started winding bobbins, the bast fiber quality of it showed up. This was my very first experience weaving linen, and I'll definitely be back to do more.
  • Dupioni weft on dupioni warp. That's right, handwoven 100% dupioni silk fabric! But this dupioni yarn is too heavy for my liking used like this. If I were going to weave dupioni on dupioni again, I'd prefer that it be a really fine dupioni, like maybe a 60s in weight, not this 10s. I've got a yard and a half of this piece.
  • Silk noil weft on dupioni warp. I love this one. I really like silk fabric made with noil yarn, it has a grist to it and a lovely hand. Very organic in feel. I've got a yard and a half of this as well.
So on to the next batch of fabric, and coming up I'll be focusing on cellulose fibers primarily -- cotton, tencel, linen, rayon, and maybe a little silk thrown in for good measure.

Rusted junqueFriday afternoon, on my way down to Scotty's in Fortuna, I stopped by my new favorite haunt, a scrap metal boneyard, to prospect for cool rusted junk. This is some of the stuff I brought home. Until recently, I had completely forgotten how much I love picking through piles of old stuff looking for treasures.

I love good old stuff, stuff that had a use in the past, stuff with history -- NOT the detritus of modern living, the crap you find at garage sales these days. The old stuff resonates with that part of me that would much rather fix something than replace it, if at all possible. Although this has become almost impossible these days, nearly everything being manufactured with planned obsolesence in mind.

But I'm a tinkerer, and I love making things work again. I have a little lamp that I love that I've rewired probably half a dozen times. When I lived off the grid in Southern Humboldt, I was running that lamp on 12 volts, and the direct current fried the wiring about annually. I used to change the oil in my car, tune up my generator, service the deep cycle batteries that ran my 12-volt house system. It bothers me that so many things are made to be thrown away when they don't work anymore. Feels to me like a major metaphor for how we see old people in this country -- disposable once they've been dinged up a bit.

Well, I'm getting on some kind of a political rant, so I'll end here!


Bonnie said...

Connie, I continue to be amazed and impressed by your creativity, artistry, and productivity.

Geodyne said...

These fabrics are truly delicious. You're right to be so satisfied with a beautifully executed plain weave!