Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weaving Performance Part 2

The weaving performance art piece by Julia Sherman was excellent. Thursday afternoon of the opening, I arrive to a beautiful site - 6 backstrap looms tied to thick vertical rope mounted using a pulley system that is then held down by a huge bag of what seemed like little mini boulders. Julia has wood stools for us to sit on and we start weaving at 2pm. There are about 9 of us who alternate in the afternoon shift. As we start, the plan is to weave three rows on our own neutral color yarn through and then run a bright colored common yarn through. We were to repeat this until we reached the top forming a teepee shape that I eventually learned would become the cone of power. The above pic is us at the beginning, me at the far right thinking awesome and that there's a lot of work to do!
This is a pic of Julia above. Julia's body of work rocks. And so are all her friends who documented these amazing photos. They also filmed a time lapse video which I can't wait to see.
Throughout the afternoon we adjust the number of rows, the thickness of the common thread, the way we will roll up the looms as rows are finished. Carolyn, our brilliant weaving teacher trouble shoots. Really easy going afternoon, weaving, learning about each other, laughing, troubleshooting and weaving for the handful of afternoon gallery visitors wandering through. That's me below looking way too serious.
By 5 o'clock more weavers arrive. We are little bit behind, but the serious weaving begins. At 7p we hit major problem. The cross, that part that allows us to separate one shed from another, of one of the looms has broken. Mine had broken earlier in the day, but we were able to fix it before it got bad. There were a lot of us, so I took a short break to check out some of the other gallery openings only to come back to a frenzy of renegade weaving because another loom's cross had broken. The rest of the pics below are from my phone. This is the frenzy...
Our plan was to finish at 9pm in time to unroll our weavings for the crowd and raise the cone of power. Neither Julia nor Carolyn was able to repair the cross so the decision was made to use 8 yarn bunches to make up for time and then to weave like crazy. As a crop of on lookers watched patiently, the weavers at the stools wove as fast as they could, while 3-4 of us made thick warps and then wove from the top down. It was all about improvising brilliantly, so Carolyn started adding these amazing bunches of tassels and hanging balls of yarn that she and others commented was a nod to the 70's. We all started weaving in bold warps of color. It was a mad rush and then promptly at 9 o'clock we all somehow finished in sync. Adam, Julia's right hand, pulled the stools away, unraveled the looms, anchored the bottoms with larger rocks, and the cone was raised! Success.
Really pretty piece. The pic below was taken right before leaving the gallery.
Besides the coolness of this project, I loved that I was actually able to put my weaving skills to good use and I found out that art with people as part of the medium takes a piece of work beyond the piece of work. Congrats Julia!

1 comment:

onegoldensun said...

The art piece looks really interesting. And to comment on another post of yours, I also really resonate with the new view of MLK day as a day of service. My girls wanted to take a neighborhood trash pick-up walk. I love the honesty and leadership that Obama is inspiring people with. It is so uplifting.