Tuesday, March 25, 2008


How would I feel if I were to lose something I had woven? If something I had woven were stolen. Meg knows. To read her post about the event, "I'm a Victim of Art Theft?!" go here.

As for me, I do not know how I would feel.

Robert Genn recently wrote a piece about his experience of having had a painting he was working stolen. He describes how it felt to have lost it: it was as if he had lost a part of his own body. To quote him here:

I began to think my painting was the best thing I'd ever done,
unrepeatable, irreplaceable. The more I thought about it, the
more I boiled. Unlike the fish that got away, the art we make
is part of us, part of our very body, and unless we willingly
sell or give it, losing it like that is a supreme insult.

He thought of posting a reward for finding the painting. But then he changed his mind. What had suddenly become precious to him was not the painting, which he now realized was very ordinary, but the emotions arising from his momentary belief that this painting was or could have been a masterpiece.

I especially like his postscript at the end of his essay: "Angels fly because they take themselves lightly." (G.K. Chesterton)

But this is not the end, because Genn continues:

"When all is only exercise and experiment, where questions give more delight than answers, and results are the lesser of process, we are given a special kind of energy."

These words ring so true to my experience. In weaving, I love the process of exercise and experiment and questions being raised and possibilities being pursued. Hence my love of weaving samples. This is the kind of zone I like to be in and weaving samples can put me straight into it. I have so much enjoyed exploring this 8-blocks-on-4-shafts crackle. It has been an amazing experience. Probably the experience has been more amazing than the samples!

But now I am moving from samples to scarves. I am preparing to weave "something." Actually two "somethings." Something I might wear. Something I might give to someone else. Something I might submit to a show. But definitely a "something." Not a sample.

And so a certain kind of "seriousness" enters the picture. The greater this seriousness, the less energy there is.

Right now there are two things that are helping to keep the play and delight and energy going.

First, I do not know how these scarves are going to turn out. I do not know what they are going to look like. I have worked out the colors I am going to dye the silk. I have worked out the threading. I have worked out the sett. I have the yarns I am going to dye. I have worked out the treadling. And I have a general idea of how I am going to place the colors.

But as of right now I do not know the details. I have some idea of some of the details, but I do not know precisely how I am going to flesh them out on the canvas of the silk warp.

Each time I start I new block, I will have to make a decision as to what the colors will be, the order of the colors. I do have a general plan for changing the colors from block to block. But I do not know how that plan is going to manifest itself.

Even my plan to weave the blocks all the same size is subject to change, depending on what I see happening as I weave.

I am even planning to dye some small skeins in some spark colors that are not in my plan. And, once the dyeing is done, I am going to look at the silk yarn I have previously dyed just to see if there is anything there that strikes my fancy for using on this warp.

Second, I see this weaving as another kind of sampling. I see this weaving as preparation for the weaving that will come next, the weaving that will arise out what I am now doing. And I will be making notes of the ideas that come to me as I weave, ideas that I won't be able to use on the current weaving, but that may find a home in another piece.

Yes, for me weaving is about exploring. So, though I am sure that I would mourn a lost or stolen piece, I suspect that I would not mourn for long.

Go here to read the whole of Genn's piece.

Related Post: Originality

1 comment:

bspinner said...

Intersting. I know for sure I would be upset, get over that and move on. Not much else you can do.