Wednesday, January 9, 2008

End-of-Loom Sampling

I found this in a recent email newsletter from Robert Genn:

"Regarding order by size, small field sketches and studio
thumbnails have traditionally preceded larger, more ambitious
work. A valuable exercise is to make sketches as postscripts to
majors. This second look, perhaps an inconsequential toss-off,
rethinks previous commitments and becomes its own unique
personality. Funnily, afterthoughts are often superior to the
main thought."

Genn is talking about painters, but I immediately thought of sampling for weaving. The samples a weaver makes before weaving the actual items function very much like artists' sketches and thumbnails. The order for both the artist and the weaver, of course, is to sample and then to produce the final piece based on what was learned from the sampling process.

But what about sampling after I am done with a weaving project? This is why I try to put on extra warp. Other weavers do this as well. But for me the problem often is battle fatigue. "Battle fatigue" is probably not quite the right phrase; I usually do not feel I am doing battle with the loom as I weave. Unless the loom or the warp is misbehaving............. But the phrase does suggest how really tired I can be of that warp by the time I get to the end of the project. The thought of weaving samples on this same warp is sometimes more than I can bear. Yet I do feel guilt if I don't. There is still a bit of the Depression child in me who cannot waste things. The guilt trip, however, is not the point. I would like to figure out a way to combat this battle fatigue.

Often as I am weaving on a project other possibilities come to mind. If these possibilities include trying some different treadlings, it is not that hard to push through the fatigue. But often it is not that easy.

When end-of-warp sampling is not so simple, and if I still have a fair amount of warp left, I could just let it sit. Fatigue needs time and space to diminish. If, however, I simply must remove the woven fabric and I have enough extra warp, I can always do that and then reattach the rest of the warp. Then I can get away from the loom and get on with the more mundane business of finishing the piece.

When I am done with a piece, I am always really eager, however, not only to get the warp off the loom, but to get everything cleaned up, dusted, vacuumed, have my weaving space returned to its original pristine nature. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. I am not exactly a pristine housekeeper. But have the space returned to that point where the loom is ready for the next warp. I really like that. That makes me feel good. I think that might even make me feel good about thinking what to do with the remaining warp.


Susan B. said...

I totally agree with your last paragraph! Not a total neat freak here, but I enjoy the puttering between pieces!

Leigh said...

Hmmm. Somehow I missed the part that we have to clean up, dust, and vacuum ;) I do relate to everything you said about sampling though. My real problem though, lies in taking notes about my samples. I don't always do that and usually regret it.