I am finding myself strengthened by weaving today, with all the good conversations I’ve had during Artists Open Houses and the many people I’ve met this month, it seems that textiles have the ability to unify and connect us in a very special way.
Whether it’s the conversations with intergenerational women around craft in the home, a link to the past and as a trigger for memories, or the collectors of fine art textiles who ask about inspiration, technique and colour; I’ve been discussing the ethics of silk and wool with forest school teachers and exploring the folklore of yarn-spinning and cloth-weaving with professional storytellers. There is a lot to process and lots of things to write and follow into the future.
A few immediate motifs have stayed at the fore of my mind, the first being the intentional flaw that is part of some weaving traditions, and for slightly different reasons. The Muslim-Turkish rug weavers create intentional flaws as a tribute to Allah, who creates perfection, and therefore, as humans we must acknowledge our imperfect natures and be humble in our creative efforts. The imperfect is still beautiful, and an offering worthy of praise.
In the Native American tradition, the weaver creates an intentional flaw called the Spiritline as a pathway out of the finished piece, as the woven design acts as a container in a spiritual sense. The design, often surrounded by a border, has the potential to keep the weaver attached to their work; the Spiritline offers an actual route out across the weaving as an exit. This allows the work to be traded without a deeper and lasting spiritual attachment between weaver and work. This for me represents a very powerful moment in releasing ones work into the world, and an aspect of spirituality that works though many art forms, but textiles and weaving in particular hold a lot of (female) wisdom and power.
I found myself embracing the unexpected flaw caused by experimenting with warp yarns; a section of around ten warp threads in rough spun wild silk just couldn’t take the tension or heddle action, and so throughout the woven length they gradually disappeared, leaving a laddered effect which was beautiful, and individual as it was design-by-chance and an act of fate. I felt that was symbolic, as life is not perfect, and that is important to acknowledge. This came before I was given the folklore references above, and so feels like synchronistic perfect timing to learn about such symbols in craft.
More updates to come concerning some very special yarn!