Slowly, subtly, something is shifting. I am a knitter, a spinner, a sewer, a maker of things. I've dabbled in weaving, silversmithing, dyeing – all sorts of stuff. I am viscerally moved by colour and texture and form and shine, but I have a desperate yearning for the functional, too. I have real difficulty making a 'nothing', rather than a 'thing'.
This gets quite extreme: for me, lace shawls are close to 'nothings', because I rarely wear them. And I very, very rarely give my knitting away (except to some really special folks, anyway). I can't stand having multiple projects on the needles, because none of them ever seem to make any progress. So knitting, for me, can feel like a production-line activity, especially when you are fighting the yarn.
I've been immersed in weaving blogs this week. Should have been working, have been reading (but then, work are too busy to tell me what to do, so perhaps I can be forgiven for that). And I feel a spark somewhere deep inside me. Or an ember, perhaps; a long-banked, almost forgotten seed of a flame, dormant, waiting to be fanned back into life.
I think that little, dormant ember has something to do with play. With the sheer joy of colour, texture, rhythm. And weaving may be the breath of life to this wee flame. Until now, when I weave – even when I spin – I think past the current process to the 'finished item'. Weaving makes cloth, which is dyed/cut/sewn to make the finished, useful object. Spinning is even more so: spinning makes yarn, which is knitted or woven, making cloth, which… Yeah. I rarely start to spin without a final, ultimately motivating, use for the yarn in mind. Motivating, but perhaps confining. I learnt to weave so that I could make 'historically accurate' fabric for re-enactment purposes, which is a little OTT, even for me. It also means I've stuck with very simple weave structures – just tabby and a couple of simple twills – because they are 'right' for what I'm trying to do, and I've ignored the whole wide world of other possibilities out there.
I think I want to really learn to weave, just for the sake of making beautiful cloth. It doesn't matter if the cloth is a scarf or a wrap or placemats or a bag or just a sample. I want to play with colours, see them combine, make gradients, make contrasts. I want to experience textures, valleys of light and shadow, see the contortions of cloth as it comes off the loom (where it is under tension) and relaxes into its intrinsic form.
I'm playing with the idea of play, of apprenticeship, of learning in a non-project driven fashion, of failure-free experimentation, of fun.