November 16, 2009

The warp and the woof




This is an illustration from "The Project Gutenberg EBook of a Study of the Textile Art in It's Relation to the Development of Form and Ornament", by William H. Holmes.  This page has examples of the warp and woof in mending and darning and they are quite beautiful in their simplicity.  The one shown here is of linen darning, "drawing in the woof threads".


I love the metaphorical images that spring to mind from the phrase "the warp and the woof" (or weft, as it's also called).  For me, these are the images of interrelatedness, the interlacing of directional opposites, collaboration, compositional texture, the strength of many to support and sustain the structure when one thread is removed...


I am not a weaver, nor do I know much about stitching or even sewing for that matter.  My grandmother taught me to darn socks (long forgotten) and I do have a rather rustic knowledge of how to mend.  During the 70's, I machine sewed several pairs of those simple, wide-legged hippie pants, the style with the drawstring closure around the waist (remember those? yikes!) because sewing a zipper would have been akin to building a space rocket.  Or almost.  It's been enough to get by and these days, well, I mainly return wayward buttons to their rightful spots or steady a falling hem.


That is, until that fateful day I jumped off the deep end into visual journaling with beads on fabric.  Suddenly my learning curve went intensely vertical.  The need to learn the language of fabrics and the techniques of stitching all those tiny beads onto a surface catapulted me elsewhere - elsewhere, away from the comfort of a simple running stitch and cotton muslin for my hippie pants. 


Back to my metaphor.  These days I feel like I am truly pulling together the warp and the woof of my work with beads and textiles.  As the upcoming Bead Journal Project approaches, I find that I am contemplating fabric use almost more than any other part of the project.  The beads - they almost always speak for themselves and direct themselves, they do not worry me.  The surface I will sew on is another matter altogether. 


Which makes me ponder on this blustery afternoon, what sort of weaver will I be?


I welcome your thoughts on this subject.  In my next post, I'll show you some textiles I've fallen for.


November 7, 2009

Dawg days of autumn...


...what a glorious time of year here in the Pacific Northwest!

It is the perfect season to begin a blog and it seems only fitting to start my first entry with a photo of my soulmutt, Isla, enjoying a gorgeous day, watching leaves fall and probably wishing they were birds she could chase instead. She'll be with me a lot on Sweetpea Path, since she generally follows me everywhere and wants to be part of everything. Try and stop her.

The idea for this blog has been percolating in my brain (and heart) for some time. Although active in the blog world through the participation and enjoyment of the blogs of others, I have been hesitant to create one of my own. That learning curve stuff, I guess. But the time has come. And I am blaming all of this on the BEADS...

Back in 2007, I joined the Bead Journal Project and I have not been the same since. Really. Ask my friends. If you are unfamiliar and would like to read all about this amazing project, you can do it here and you can visit their blog here.

Like many gals smitten with beads, I had been hoarding them and playing with them and from time to time, even making the odd wearable object with them. Yet it wasn't until I happened upon something called "improvisational bead embroidery" that my course was changed forever. The BJP project was founded by Robin Atkins - bead artist, teacher, writer & mentor - who, in her own words has "developed an incurable case of Beadlust..." (Robin, do you know how many lives you've changed?! thank you.)

My love of beadwork has jettisoned me towards a new and dare I say, very exciting path. In 2010, another BJP begins and I'll be taking part. I hope to meet many more beady pals and best of all, partake and contribute to this sharing and generous community of talented and creative bloggers. I am so happy to be here at last.

When I'm not swooning about beads, I'll probably be yacking about plants, gardens, native critters, stuff that's happening, rain that's falling (duh!) or anything else that catches my fancy. Oh, and life-with-dawg. Cuz it's my blog - and I can. Nuff said.

Please come back and visit again! Comments are always welcome. I'll hit "Post" now and see what happens...