Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Leaving the Comfort Zone

Total Woven To Date: 15"
Woven Yesterday: 2"

To enter the unfamiliar we must leave the familiar. How hard that is! At least for me. And the area of weaving is no exception.

I am finding myself growing comfortable in what I am currently doing. Yesterday as I wove, I found myself thinking, I really like this! I want to do more like this! Then a thought slapped me across the face: I wanted to stay in familiar territory! Who, me? Yes, me. Guilty. All sorts of new things I had been wanting to try out had just evaporated from my head. I did not want to leave my current comfort zone.

Recognizing what was going on, I found it surprisingly easy to change gears. Perhaps it is true that recognizing a problem puts you half way towards solving it. So change gears I did.

Two ideas have been going through my head. One is doing a bit of ikat. I had been thinking very seriously about warp painting or warp ikat or some combination of the two. Warp painting is nothing new for me. I have done it several times and I really enjoy weaving off a painted warp. The constant changing of the warp is really exciting. It is exciting because it is fun just to see the changing colors. But it is also fun to figure out when and how to change the weft colors as the warp colors change.

Nor is ikat totally new to me. I have never done it on my own. I did, however, take a week-long workshop on warp ikat at Arrowmont. I had a very good time and learned a lot. And I took a weekend workshop the Chattahoochee Handweavers' Guild offered on weft ikat and enjoyed that as well.

Combining warp painting or warp ikat with crackle, however, is certainly a totally new thing for me!! I have thought for several weeks about this and, while It think it has some definite possibilities, I don't think it's quite where I want to go right now. Maybe it's too big a jump for me right now. Maybe I'm not quite ready.

If truth be told, my warp ikat ideas were really getting very complicated. Of course I am not ready for what I was conceiving!

But then there is weft ikat. I think I could get something I want to happen in the next warp with weft ikat. I would not weave the whole warp of as weft ikat. It would be just bits and pieces here and there. Kind of getting my toes wet, so to speak.

Weft ikat does pose some difficulties. It is not easy to get the weft to go exactly where you want it to, no matter how carefully you calculate and measure. The result is that usually with each shot you end up adjusting the placement of the weft thread. This has definite impact on the selvedges! But in this case, I am not viewing precise placement of the weft as critical. Or at least I think that right now.

There is a second thing I am thinking of trying on this next warp as well. I would like to use some kind of supplementary warps and/or wefts for occasional lines of black. I've got some ideas on how I might go about this, but nothing firm yet.

I think it is really important to move out of my comfort zone. If I don't, I will get bored and I will stop growing as a weaver. Probably as a person, too.

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