Twill and an upcoming event in NYC
I learned to weave tapestry in 2008 in my first semester of textile art school in Canada. It was the first form of weaving introduced in the two-year intensive program, and I’ll admit it was daunting at first. We were weaving on Archie Brennan-style looms, and without shedding devices. That means in order create a shed we were picking up every second warp, one at a time. It was time consuming but totally satisfying. Looking back it was the best possible and most intimate way to be introduced to this ancient art form.
I’ve always been very entrepreneurial, and back then I was constantly trying to find ways to speed up these slow textile processes so I could make things to sell, and quick! So, I was not immediately drawn to tapestry weaving as a viable medium. Today I’m the antithesis of that girl; I’m not keen on making multiples, I consider myself an artist not an business person (per se. Are they inextricably linked?), and instead of obsessing about having an inventory or a production line underway I’m more interested in the meditative actions of making, as well as social engagements that can occur while I weave, dye, knit, embroider.
My interest in the social aspects of making textiles has resulted in my including skill-sharing as part of my artistic practice. As part of this series I’ve been teaching weaving in the subways in NYC and this weekend I am co-hosting a free weaving skill-share event from 5pm at Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor in Greenwich Village, NYC. I’ve already warped up two looms, one 16″ Mirrix, and one makeshift one that I made out of a tall folding stool. (I also have a new in-box 16″ Mirrix with shedding device for sale for anyone who is interested.)
I’m into the slow movement, but that’s not to say I won’t take you up on a shedding device or two. Above is a shot of my twill weaving made with two shedding devices on my Big Sister Loom. It is blocked and ready to be used as an insert in the leather laptop case I’m dreaming up. If it turns out as gorgeous as I imagine it I will turn it into a tutorial. The yarn that I used for this was bit too lofty for a tapestry. It’s a woolen-spun worsted merino, and after having issues with it curling on the edges after being under such tension I’m thinking it wants to be knitting yarn, or at the most a weft yarn (not warp!). Lesson learned.
I hope to see some of you Mirrix junkies at the event this weekend!
Janna Maria Vallee