New Beginnings & New Tools

It has been a while, hasn't it?

A few things to bring everyone up to speed:

  1. I have still been weaving. I overestimated the amount of free time I would have in order to write the blog, run the business, and to weave essentially full time on top of my retail gig. I had to pare everything down to two things: My full time job and my part-time weaving for a local fiber processor/spinnery.
  2. I have not stopped designing. If you follow my Instagram feed (@comfortcloth) I am posting little tastes of the work I have planned for in the future. A lot of my designs are still based off of the concept "Geological Nomad"- which started as a seasonal theme, transformed into an overriding emotional premise to my work.
  3. The AVL Loom that I wrote about a couple years ago? (If you don't remember, you can read 16 Hours, 400 Miles, 2 States, 1 Van, 1 Loom) Well, when we returned to my in-laws home and got the loom all set up- the dobby head would not "fire". We tried a bunch of different cables, different program setups, and it would not work. Out of frustration I let the loom sit and linger, looming over my head. My husband, so graciously went through the effort to call AVL, figure out what he could do to get the loom working. After, about two years of fussing, sending the dobby head out to California and back, and temporarily losing the proper cables the dobby head was mysteriously was fixed! We brought the loom up from my in-laws basement and set it up in our living room. The loom now takes over our living room, and holds a demanding presence in this space. It is a little bit on the finicky side- one of the harnesses sticks and the dobby will only work if you turn on the computer program and the dobby head in a certain order. But, once it is on, it works and it is amazing.
candid of dismantled loom
My husband, Eric, organizing all parts into the U-Haul truck in order to bring the AVL to reside in our living room.

So what am I doing now? I am starting over my education on weaving from scratch (or at least that is what it feels like for me). Over the course of 4 years I have become very comfortable using my 12 harness Kyra loom. I could dress the loom with four blankets in a herringbone pattern, front to back in about 30 hours. The maximum amount of yardage I ever wove at one time was 15 yards. And I only ever dressed a loom from warp chains. Now with the AVL, it opens up the opportunity to utilize computer aided design, but also the challenge of dressing the loom back to front, sectional warping, and how to tension the warp using a sandpaper beam.

First project off of AVL Loom
This was the first full-blown project that I wove off the loom. I will give an in depth look at how this all went down in a future post.

It was very frustrating to start. I have many words to explain the feelings that I had about the process, but I will chose the ones that best reflect how I was feeling from an academic point of view:

I am emotionally involved with my work- it is like a freshman art student starting their first year of classes after being the top of all of their art classes, getting local recognition, and feeling a deep sense of pride in the work they know and love. Then, after the first full-blown critique, the get the feeling that everything they knew about themselves was wrong and they are not nearly as adept at this art thing as they first thought.

This feeling only lasts briefly. It is only a short moment in time, where this feeling of frustration will overwhelm me. I say this because with every warp is a new level of understanding, another step in my self-education. It is a little of an emotional roller coaster, learning all of these new processes on my own, and to continue to grow as a weaver.

What has everyone else been up to? Have you been challenging yourself with new tools and ideas? What has been the hurdles you've encountered?