Clearly, many of us, especially newer weavers, are looking for ways to design our work that don't rely on experience with drawing or painting. There is so much more to say on this subject! But for now, let me just say this:
First, many very accomplished weavers do design work by painting and drawing, obviously. Some of the tapestries I admire most have the look of drawings or paintings. I enjoy seeing how the drawn line, the gestural mark, translates into tapestry.
|Thomas Cronenberg, Missing Home|
handwoven tapestry 138.4" x 39.5"
cotton, wool, silk, linen
|Jo Barker, Dark Shimmer|
75 x 87 cm
wool, cotton, embroidery threads
Second, drawing and painting skills are not something we are either born with or not born with. They can be learned, through practice and patience! Many of us are tempted to let ourselves off the hook by saying we just weren't born with this or that talent, and I'm here to say that's bullhockey. Again and again in my 20-odd years of doing fiber art, I have realized that basic drawing or sketching skills are just the quickest, easiest way to get an idea down on paper--and I've regretted that my own skills aren't more developed than they are. You don't have to make museum-quality drawings, you don't have to make drawings you'll show anyone else--just get down something that makes sense to you and moves your design forward. The sketch below was based on a selfie that is so unattractive I will not share it here.
|Molly Elkind, preparatory sketch for Mater Dolorosa|
Several of you mentioned last week how you know you should make samples, you just hate doing it. I get it! You've got a design, you've got your yarns picked out and your loom warped and you just want to start weaving. Why bother to stop and make a sample? Well, in your heart of hearts you probably know why. . . but to recap:
- You get a chance to see how those yarns you've picked really weave at the sett you've chosen.
- You get a chance to see how those yarns' colors and textures actually look when you weave them next to each other.
- You get a chance to practice weaving the tricky parts of the design or practice new techniques.
- If you don't like how your initial choices are weaving up, you can try something new, on your sample.
|Molly Elkind, sample for Mater Dolorosa|
The fundamental point is this. Sure, you can skip doing samples. But. . .
How much do you like unweaving on your "real" piece?
|Molly Elkind, detail, Mater Dolorosa |
wool, cotton (c)2017
And thanks to each of you who read and commented on last week's post. I am grateful.