Thursday, May 29, 2008

Passing it on

Last Fall, I went to Victoria to view an old loom and a weaver'supplies for sale. One of those sad occassions where old age now means that it's time to sell off all the equipment and do-dads of a weaving life. Your happy purchase is their sorrow. That day will come for each of us one day.

The collection included *many* books and papers from a weaving interlude dating from the mid 1970's to late 1980's. I was able to add many amazing collectible and out of print books to my library and then sold many more. I still have some sitting here that need new homes.

Among the papers, were a series of weaving swatches by the Victoria Guild from the early to mid 1980's. The colours are dated but the weaving information is fabulous! Great inspiration when the 'grey matter' runs dry. I have over 4 three inch wide binder full of swatch exchanges from various guilds, my own weaving, plus my friends'. I never tire of looking through them. They are so simple to make: just add an extra 12 inches to your next project. I then draft up the design and weaving notes in my PCW Fiberworks program and hit print. One friend said she loves getting 'the big brown envelope' that arrives suddenly in the mail and there are my last 6 months worth of projects to share.

Below is one swatch from the Victoria collection that is extra special. The guild handed out this sample in 1984. The material is from old curtains woven by a long time guild member way back in 1938 for her mother. Now doesn't that tug at your heart strings! The two pictures are my attempt to show clarity of the summer and winter weave structure as well as the colours. The colours run in value somewhere between these two images.

Here is the accompanying notes (sure hope you can make it out okay) :

The profile draft for this design is shown next and the sample fit somewhere in this scheme:

The book referenced in the notes is this one:

I think this book is on most weavers' book shelves. But when have we *really* looked at it? Some times it takes a small treasure like the swatch to nudge us into a second (or even a first!) look. We wait for the latest new weaving books to be announced by the various publishers with their shiny covers and glossy pages. But perhaps a backwards glance is even better?

We'll take a backwards look next entry....


Peg in South Carolina said...

I can almost taste the time that will come all to soon to sell off my weaving stuff. The taste is bitter, at least right now. Perhaps when the time comes I shall be ready and even be looking forward to a new way of being. Sounds a little like dying... Meanwhile, I exercise and try to eat right in order to stave off for as long as possible the inevitable!

Susan Harvey said...

Hi Peg
I have systemic osteo arthritis and a hip replacement (so far!) My husband ordered a tie up assist to help with countermarche tie up's and I love it.( see entries in Jan/08) But you know that 'the' day is coming and so I try to do something every day and set personal goals.

But let's not focus too closely on that right now! The point of my blog entry is to not to forget those weavers who came before.

:) Susan

Jane said...

Hi Susan,

Great post. Our guild has a remarkable collection of samples, and we include a new one with .wif in each of our monthly newsletters. We're now in the process of scanning the archived ones to eventually make them all available on our website. There are some gorgeous ones, and we have them catagorized by weave structures/techniques.

When I look at the physical notebooks I am deeply moved. The love and care that so many of our predecessors put into their work, especially the hand drawn drafts and the ones that were typed up on old typewriters really make me appreciate how "whole" the process was for them. It can be so easy at times to become wrapped up in the product instead of the process. Those old samples are great reminders.

It saddens me as I see weaver after weaver reach a point where she decides to sell off her equipment/studio supplies, and cease to weave.

A friend of mine has just started up a business where he will go to a weaver's home and measure their warps, beam them on and thread and sley for them, plus do the tie ups. This is allowing elder weavers to continue to weave and really continue to enjoy the process. Actually, it would be a nice thing for those of us who are able, to volunteer to do for another weaver. I've learned so much from so many, it seems like such a small way to say, "Thanks."

You've got me thinking. . .

Weave on!

Susan Harvey said...

Hi Jane,
What a great idea! To transfer samples as .wif files to the web page. I wonder if I could do that here? Now you have me thinking...

I don't know about other weavers but when I sit to weave, or wind a warp, I feel 'connected' to all weavers, past and present.

Your idea to dress a loom for an ailing weaver is the best thing I have heard in a long time. With the aging baby boomers out there, this will become a reality!
Thank you for your thoughful comments....


bspinner said...

I am so touched by this post!!!

I often wonder what will become of all my samples, both from exchanges and my own. I'm sure they will end up in a land fill but there isn't much I can do about that. Even if I wanted to give them away I wouldn't know who to give them to for future generations.

Leigh said...

What lovely samples. Perhaps there was some comfort in knowing they will still be valued and appreciated. My hope is that my interests will remain so varied as to simply move on to something else when that time comes.