Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Creative Development (2)

This is all a bit personal - skip it if you are after technicalities. I am mostly talking to myself.

The course on Creative Development had five students on it, four of whom were diploma Myers-Briggs people. In other words, professional people watchers/helpers. On the MBTI scale, three were Extraverts and two (including me) were Intraverts. I am an ISTJ/P if you want to know. One thing was interesting which was that the I people liked projects and the E people liked techniques.  The three Es all set to painting, drawing and generally developing a skill whereas the others did something more specific. That just says I am a problem-solver but it does not solve my over-arching problem which is that I think I should be concentrating on a narrower field.

I started out weaving about 40 years ago and yes I freely admit that I am always trying out new techniques. Like trying to recreate hana-ori or donsu (see yesterday's blog). I have always been interested in bookbinding. I remember staring in amazement at modern fine bindings in the British Museum when the book display was on the right hand side of the front door. About 10 years ago, I discovered that West Dean College did bookbinding short courses and so attended there several times. Needless to say I worked at right angles to everyone else who were all interested in repairing antique leather books whereas I wanted to explore new ways of binding. I took along some of my woven cloth and bound books in it. When Michael became ill, I had to give up regular attendance at West Dean but then found that the local Tech ran bookbinding classes and never looked back. I bind blank notebooks ( and give them away) and text blocks (Pinocchio and so on) and occasionally repair books. Lately I have concentrated on Coptic binding. It gives great scope for individuality. 

And then there are textiles. I got into this  when I started treating (dyeing, embellishing) my weavings. I remember a nice set of cushions which my eldest daughter seized with cries of joy and removed them to Kuala Lumpur. Some how I got mixed up with the Midlands Textile Forum (MTF) and then started on textile classes at Bourneville . Over the last year or so I have been producing textile works which are to be hung on the wall.  

After this long preamble, I will come to the points. 
Point 1
I don't like the so-called works of art I make which hang on the wall. I wouldn't hang them on my wall - well maybe one of them. Each work takes nothing like the time for completing a piece of weaving or binding a complex book but all the same I am getting to the stage when I grudge the time taken organise these very inferior pieces for an exhibition. 
Point 2
I feel I am spreading my time too thinly over too many crafts but I do not want to give up going to Bourneville because of the social side. 

And now to what the course tutor said. I took along some samples of work in all three categories. She looked at everything very carefully and then said that I should ditch the textiles and the weaving and concentrate on book binding. (She has done a 10-week bookbinding course - I wish). That is going a step too far but I am going to enter only weaving and books for MTF exhibitions. And I will go on  attending Bourneville classes but try to concentrate on making covers for books.

This should give me more time. But there is another question. Should I be concentrating on one type of weaving and get good at it? I have spent a lot of time on Diversified Plain Weave in the last two years. This was done as part of a Complex Weavers Study Group. I was thinking of giving up next year but I think I will do one more year.

Anyone out there got any thoughts?


  1. I must confess to being one of those weavers who concentrate on one type of thing, and really explore that one thing. For years I wove the multilayer pieces. Then when those were being copied in China and elsewhere for far less than I could sell them, I switched to interleaved threadings based on networked 4-end twills. I've done almost nothing but that until the jacquard. On the jacquard, I use weft-backed satins, but have never really tried any other structures. Overshot? Never wove it. Tied weaves? Never tried 'em. I feel that concentrating on a small set of things makes me much better at those things, and makes me happier with my results, but leaves me with a blind spot for the rest of the weaving world. Really, there is no right or wrong - only what *you* feel good about doing.

  2. Not very helpful I know but do what makes you happy. Love Yvo

  3. I understand completely being someone who has difficulty in concentrating on one thing. I think you should continue with both the bookbinding and weaving. With weaving, it is up to you whether you become an 'expert' in one structure or a great weaver - there is no right answer. I suspect that you would get bored with only one thing - you have to keep that brilliant brain busy so you need multiple challenges! Keep going, as you say, you can always concentrate on one type of weave structure for a period of time and then change.

  4. i'm pretty certain the answers are different for production folks than for non selling folks

    i'm a non seller ~grin~

    so i'm completely blissfully happy being a dilettante

  5. My solution is to combine multiple crafts in a single piece. The pieces take much longer to make, but I find the process more satisfying that way. Sounds like you are doing just that by bookbinding with handwoven fabric - maybe pursue that a bit more?



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About Me

I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.