December 27, 2011
I hope that everyone is in the midst of a very enjoyable festive season.
From India last month I look to New Mexico for a source of design. For those who have been following my blog you have probably realised that I’ve been looking at past adventures /research destinations as a monthly source of inspiration.
2010 was the destination for Convergence and Complex Weavers Seminars. While there I had adventures with a group of weaver friends and then had a magnificent road trip with Judie and Dalbert Eatough (Blog August 2010) to their home in Utah.
Where to go to for the design source? Pottery spoke to me. My mother was a potter so I am often drawn to it. I saw some wonderful examples of contemporary pottery in a Santa Fe gallery which also shared the same motif with Pueblo pots in various museums. It is fascinating to think of the same motif being passed down through generations. This motif also appears in other medium including weaving and in other cultures worldwide. It is such a universal motif.
For colour I have used those found in the landscape, a string of turquoise beads that I bought on this trip and a Navajo necklace I acquired on my first visit to USA in 1994.
In addition I have drawn inspiration from a vase that I brought home. The motif of feathers seemed an appropriate link with last month’s design based on peacock tail feathers.
A banksia that I planted as tube stock at least 2 years ago has finally produced its first flower. At a distance it looked black and uninteresting but up close the stamens were dark green with a purple/red core. Then as a week went by and it opened more fully it became a much lighter green.
Best wishes for a wonderful New Year.
December 1, 2011
This month’s focus is on design inspired by my adventures in India in 2008. Our adventures were based in Gujarat and Rajasthan. I have very vivid memories of bright colours that zing and yet also being amazed at the white costumes of daily life and the notion of keeping them white. Memories of textiles in a multitude of techniques: bandani (shibori), ikat, wood block printing, embroidery, mirror work, natural dyeing including indigo, simple and complex weaving patterns. Then there is the echo of over ornamentation that crosses over into decoration on houses and public places. India is rich, diverse visually and an overwhelming feast for the senses.
As a starting point, I decided that I needed to select 2 motifs: a very difficult task. The criteria were that they had to have some significance for me and that the primary source was not textile. I did have a lovely time looking back through images and remembering. These motifs would then be converted into woven designs. My intention is not to reproduce Indian textiles but rather use them as inspiration.
I spent a lovely day with a friend who was living there and with some of his Indian friends. I visited their home and saw marble screens with decorative carving to let in the light and keep out the heat. We saw a number of exquisite and very diversely patterned screens in various castles where they were used to separate the women’s quarters so that the women could look out but no man look in. A whole subculture existed there. The concept of looking through and community appealed. I have chosen a screen pattern and squared it to suit my purposes.
A common image used in various forms relates to the peacock. This sacred bird was declared the national bird of India in 1963. It has a very long history of design motif usage both in architecture and textiles. The shape of its tail is used extensively to frame windows and entrances. I came across this glorious example in a wonderful palace courtyard in Udaipur. The fact that feathers are universally used in design was also of influence in selection.
The following are some of the pieces I have woven using both motifs.
In spite of the fact that India does equal colour, I chose to acknowledge the imapct that white had for me. This colourway is also very reminescent of the interior of the mud house.
This silk wrap combines both motif in the design.
But, India does mean colour. Saturated colour has been used in this double weave scarf using the screen motif.
This scarf combines several techniques acknowledging the diversity of Indian textiles. Variations of the feather motif have been used.