Monday, May 3, 2010

What I want to be when I grow up

I recently found textile artist Claudy Jongstra and am extremely inspired by her work.  She raises her own flock of endangered sheep, harvests the wool and then hand makes felt for her tactile works.  She works with such architects as Stephen Holl and Rem Koolhaas for large scale projects within their buildings.  By working in an autonomous and sustainable manner she oversees the entire process from raw materials to end product including the use of natural dyes. 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'm Baaaack!

After a long hiatus, which I am most apologetic, I'm back sharing my experiences to the world.  My thesis adventure has ended with spectacular results, but I am looking forward to more weaving and architecture opportunities in the future.  I am going to do a little recapping to start by posting all the graphic, written and woven work I've completed  since the midpoint (December 2009) of my study.  I feel as if I have abandoned this blog resource and would very much like to awake it again as I start taking the first steps away from academia.

My study led me to working with the versatile and ancient tool of the back strap loom.  Below is an excerpt of my thesis describing how the back strap loom became an integral module for weaving space:

The final design concept of weaving space led to weaving objects off of the traditional loom and exploring weaving in three dimensions while still keeping the ideals of material memory and maternal structure. Additional research on the history of weaving in primitive cultures led to the discovery of the backstrap loom and its portable and modular characteristics relevant to this study. According to a textile exhibit entitled The Fabric of Mayan Life, the backstrap loom is “a fairly simple and mobile type of loom, as it largely consists of sticks and a strap worn around the weaver’s waist to apply tension to the threads as the fabric is woven.”  The loom is then attached to a stationary object, primarily a tree, to maintain and adjust tension. The basic design of this type of loom, as compared to the traditional heddle loom, allows complete flexibility in weaving, as it can be used anywhere. Additionally anyone can quickly be taught to use it and it also can be adjusted to any size body or weaving expertise.  The very elegant and simple fabric produced from the backstrap loom and its extreme versatility is an inspirational module  in the interpretation of weaving space to provide shelter. With a jump into the human scale and an extension into the vertical plane to wrap three-dimensionally, the woven section lends itself to creating a habitable space. The three realms of basic architectural shelter—roof, floor, and wall—are achieved through small planar adjustments to match these elements. Furthermore, with a repetition of the woven modules radially around a stationary object a complete enclosure is constructed.

The following images depict the human form using the backstrap loom and some inspirational graphics for the shape of the final woven construct.  

Sunday, March 7, 2010

ReMaking Shelter: Adventures in Collaborative Weaving

 Click here to see photos from my weaving event this past Saturday:ReMaking Shelter

Monday, January 25, 2010

Moving On

After a relaxing and contemplative holiday, I am back at weaving and am looking to take it to the next level--a habitable shelter based on woven tectonics.  In thinking about how to approach this task, I did a lot of research about portable back strap looms, which are the most primitive type of loom and are still being used to make tents of the Bedouin people.  I constructed my own back strap loom with a little help from some online sites and started weaving away.  It works in the very same way as my traditional four harness LeClerc loom, but to explain it a little better, its the difference between a standard or an automatic transmission in an automobile.  I am doing all of the work in the back strap loom, while my LeClerc has all these wonderful bells and whistles to do the process.  As my focus for this study highlights weaving as being more process-based rather than the product-based, this type of loom further stresses the notion of process. It attaches to your hips and another stationary object to create tension on the warp.  The plain weave, the simple over and under, is the only type of pattern available on this type of loom and is accomplished by yarn-made heddles that I manually pull up and down to create space for the shuttle. I've attached several pictures about the first loom prototype and the fabric it produces.  A little more on the big picture: I am looking to  arrange several back strap looms around a tree and have the resultant fabric comprise a shelter of my design.

Monday, November 30, 2009

"Piece de Resistance" far

Wow I know its been quite a while, but as you will see below I have been very busy.  I finished up the semester with a rather large weaving: 9'x3'!!  There were several concepts involved, but the overall goal was to embed meaning into the weaving, weather that takes place through materials, memories, or space. My favorite part was weaving with the 16mm vintage movie film.  When I ordered it on Ebay, I had no idea what images would be on it.  As luck would have it, it's a home movie of small children!! Perfect for woven memories! Other materials I used were fishing line, floral wire, welding wire, my grandfather's tie, copper and Plexiglas rods, plastic grocery bags, which I fashioned into yarn--or "plarn," hardware cloth, and a wooden dowel.  The first image gives a sense of the size of the work.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

the first construct

Just a quick note....after some inspiration from fiber artist Janet Echelman, I created this crazy woven construct  from floral wire and some very bumpy yarn.

Soft and structural.
Enclosed and open. 
Opaque and translucent.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

and so she shall weave...

After quite a battle with the fishing line, I finally got the warp  in place, all 12 feet of it!!  The fishing line put up quite a fight when I was trying onto the front and back apron rods.  (K)not staying put is the best thing that it does.  Also it obviously doesn't stretch similarly to the wool yarn, so that is making a difference in the tension I am trying to maintain.  Despite these difficulties I think it was a really great choice to use something with such a similar form but from a completely different origin as the wool. The purpose of this weaving is to express embedded meaning, communication, and memories.  As the current state and appearance of the wool yarn still give reference to the sheep that it came from.  I didn't shear the sheep, but most people are familiar with the shearing process and then the process in which raw wool is spun into yarn.  Physical properties of wool  traditionally denote warmth, comfort, protection, and softness.  All of these qualities in some form are all present in the yarn and are more apparent as I weave them into cloth.  The fishing line is a completely different ball of wax.  Other than being made from petroleum, I know next to nothing about what chemical processes and procedues are required to create the product.  Furthermore, it is traditionally used as part of a recreational activity, is transparent , and spends a lot of time being wet....a long way from the loom.  Essentially its in foreign territory, so lets put it to the test!!  What can and can't it do?  So far, all it wants to do is roll back up on the spool it came on...argh. But alas, we must listen to the materials!  Oh and I've got some old 16mm movie film on the way.  Nice!!