Sunday, December 16, 2007

Solving a challenge results in new place to sit

Every year my guild issues a "challenge" to its members, to create something within a defined set of constraints. We work on it over the summer and present it at a meeting in the autumn. Last summer's project was to make something inspired from a Van Gogh painting. We each received a postcard, assigned at random, depicting one of his paintings. I got Wheat Field with Cypresses.

My approach was to select a mixed warp of yarns in colors representative of the palette, design on the computer a random network curve in some structure, and then decide what to make from the fabric after it was woven. Probably a handbag. With every challenge before, I've always ended up with a handbag.

I decided to try crackle weave since I'd never really explored it before. I got the warp onto the loom and one repeat of my random curve woven before I realized I'd forgotten the other constraint issued in the challenge: I was supposed to somehow incorporate into the piece the year of my birth. How was I going to do that, I wondered. I looked at the curve I had woven. Could I design curves to actually look like the figures of the numerals of a year? Back to the computer... yes, if I squint I can imagine them.

As I was weaving the fabric, I noticed that at the "new" loom, my bench was a little too short and the edge sort of cut into my legs as I treadled. The fabric might work as upholstery covering for a cushion for the bench.

Here's the resulting cushion in its new home. You probably can't guess my age, though, unless you know what you're looking for - the numbers aren't that distinct.

Oh, and with the leftover fabric, I did end up with a handbag after all.