Took My First Weaving Workshop!

Took My First Weaving Workshop!

Double weave sample woven with 20/2 rayon handdyed in navy and mt. aqua on bottom. Coral and pistachio on top.

Hey hey! It has been a bit since I came on here and shared what I am up too.  So I thought  I would start off with what I have been doing in the last month. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to do with my business. Something I have wanted to focus on this year, is in what direction do I want my weaving style to go. I want to develop my weaving voice further and push myself to explore ideas that have been brewing for quite some time.  I want people to see a scarf, blanket, or woven painting of mine and immediately recognize it as one of my creations.

To facilitate this idea I took my first ever weaving workshop!   I know, how have I been weaving for 15 years and never taken a weaving workshop, crazy right!!!   I have had wonderful opportunities to go to Penland, Arrrowmont, and Peters Valley, all world renowned craft schools. I studied marbling, book binding and paper making respectively.  I loved every minute of being in those immersive environments, learning new craft skill and being among fellow makers. Something that the pandemic has brought to light is just how much it means to be able to gather the maker community together and bond over the common passion of creating.  

warp and woven samples

 Here you can see the two painted warps and samples woven underneath.Warp one is yellow, orange and cherry blossom. Warp two is navy, deep teal, and deep purple and a two inch section of neon orange and grey.

It is understandable that I was so excited to get to have a dedicated time to study extended parallel threading, a specific style of weaving with Denise Kovant.  It was a time for me to fully nerd out about all things weaving! I have admired Denise’s work for years and spent many hours on her blog reading about how she designs with the extended parallel threading and painted warps! Denise guided the class through how to take one warping  and weave many structures on it. To do this you changed a few factors, such as treadling and how densely you sett your warp. I watched as marvelous fabric appeared over and over again in all the woven samples.

Woven echo sample in mt aqua
 An Echo weaving in an advancing twill woven with 20/2 Rayon handdyed in a light Mt. Aqua

 I was so excited to be able to dedicate three weeks to thinking about these samples and exploring where it was going to lead me. I have been playing with this style of weaving for over a year now, and I am still fascinated by it and all the visual possibilities that come with it. I fell in love with this complex style of weaving all over again.  It produces fabric that has glorious bold patterns. I dig big bold patterns and bright bold colors-so this is right up my alley.   The handwoven fabric can be used to truly highlight the beauty of hand painted warps as seen in these samples.The cloth itself is very strong and lends itself to many uses, from wearable art such as scarves to more complex pieces like clothing and soft sculptures.  (Hint of things to come. )

Brightly colored weaving in yelllow, navy, neon orange and blue.

A Jin /turned taquette sample woven with 10/2 handdyed tencel in medium blue.

One of the highlights of weaving up these samples was to see how the various color combinations shifted the appearance of the warps.  It is fascinating to see how different it looked when woven with a soft pistachio weft vs a dark navy weft.  The differences from the front and back of the cloth can also be very dramatically different. Colors do not truly blend when weaving, because you are working with multiple solid colored yearns, but they create color vibrations and optical blending to reveal  unexpected and unique color combinations.   I used colors that I would not normally use, such as  pistachio, cherry blossom pink, and bright neon orange !

woven sample with mutiple colored wefts.

Echo weaving sample woven in pistachio, navy, coral,  and Mt. Aqua from top to bottom.

The warp and weft colors come together creating luscious fabric with iridescent qualities.  These are the qualities of handwoven fabric that make my heart sing.  This workshop has helped me gain confidence to truly explore and design  patterns that will embody the stunning colors of birds and ocean creatures even more closely. Think of the iridescence of hummingbirds-that is the essence I want to capture in my pieces.  I want my weavings to be one with nature. Bringing that natural beauty of the world around me to life by  creating handwoven fabric that  captures the raw untamed colors of nature.

I am so thankful to Denise for giving this workshop and encouraging me to push myself and try new things and ask questions about how and why I got the sometimes surprising results from combining various color together. I of course fell in love with the most complex structure of the workshop - Double weave on an extended parallel design line.  This structure is 2x as dense as I normally weave, from 24 ends per inch to 48 ends per inch! In addition it is woven with two shuttles at a time.  It was not a surprise that I love it, because it if is complex I am going to want to figure it out!

Double weave sample woen on loom with two shutttles

Double weave sample on the loom with 10/2 hand dyed tencel in aquamarine and light lavender.

  Above sample after washing.

It has reinvigorated my weaving ‘nerd side’ and  I am enthusiastic to dive deep into designing. I will keep going down this rabbit hole or extended parallel threading and I am planning a challenge for myself that involves a lot of designing. I look forward to sharing this with you!

Double weave echo sample

Double weave extended parallel sample woven in several weft combos.

Detail of double weave sample woven up in 20/2 hand dyed rayon combing coral and pistachio on bottom, navy and mt. aqua at top.

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