This lifelong 'playing with fibre' fascination teaches me so much about myself and others, about the materials and their characteristics, about what has been done and the "wonder if...." 's of the potential and the happiness of connecting with others who share the enjoyment,.
I was taught to spin using a potato and a chopstick and I cannot say I 'got it' immediately; there was an attraction, though, and spindles began to appear at garage sales and then fleece and .... I gave it another try. And later, another. The day came when I 'got it', when that 'inner knowing' happened. Oh! I don't mean that I achieved a certain standard. No - I hope I always retain the ability to spin as if it is my first or second time - it was the hands suddenly 'remembering' how to do it and the feeling of being part of a long long line of people who had taken a handful of fluff and some sort of a stick and a disk and twirled it and let the weight keep it twirling and joined in the fluff and .... fibre.
Nowdays I explore using polyester batting as the fluff because many years of working with animal fleece and rope and rough twine and dusty string tickles my nose too much and it is hard to spin when you are sneezing!
That all has meaning.
As does taking a piece of fabric and draping it around myself, this way and that, pinning and folding and cutting and folding and sewing a bit and coming up with a garment, an article of clothing that feels good and fun to wear. It has meaning.
I finished this piece on the back strap loom and considered a number of means of making it wearable. Something is evolving but it is not here yet; in the meantime I joined it simply with a safety pin and it perches on my shoulders like a toddler being carried thusly.
And I realized it embodies my wish for meaning in my life. It is full of meaning.
For the warp I used this rayon, the spools a fibre archeology find on a thrift store dig, and from the label on the core and good ol' Google I traced them to a place on Rhode Island, no longer in existence, but was likely twenty or more years ago.
Used here as the weft are sprigs of Australian bushmint, one of my favourite scented plants, which has grown big and bold and bushy on verandah, deck and now kitchen over a number of years. The fragrance is exquisite and a wearable garden is high on my list of delights. The leaves do dry and crumble and leave a scented trail of my day. The stems retain their perfume and respond to a scratch-and-sniff.
The linen yarn here was also a fibre archeology treasure discovered at a church sale and I traced it to a company and store that was in Sweden in the 1960's. I could get no history on it since then but it pleases me to think someone had it in her (or his!) stash across half a century.
The bits and pieces - thrums - from other fibre projects get saved and used as weft.
I cannot say I recall the origin of them all - but they do give me a history.
Here I am experimenting with chunks and introducing them as weft using my hands in the shed. There is something deeply satisfying about such direct contact with the loom, the materials.
I have yet to ask him what he thinks about this; I look forward to his 4-year-old response.
I am also discovering how the rigid heddle on the back strap loom which is used as the beater can do its job horizonatally but is flexible enough to compress vertically and create waves and ridges!
The 'icicles' (ascending and descending patterns) are Saori style; I used two different colours for the warp; the strips of fabric fleece are from a lounge robe made last year as the cooler weather approached.
I wonder if that bag design could be used as a hat with ear flaps if the single back-to-front seam was adjusted .....