Something new is coming out of the studio. I set myself the challenge of developing a new cloth that had all the characteristics of what I love in a handwoven cloth (color and texture) but would also be lighter weight. My primary marketplace is summer art fairs. Sometimes the temperatures soar to 100 degrees. It is a challenge to convince a potential client that cooler temperatures will ever return and with it the need for a handwoven jacket.
Handwoven cloth takes a long time to make. Each yarn is thoughtfully chosen for its color and texture. For this new fabric Bamboo, Tencel and Cotton were chosen. Bamboo has some special qualities. It is a naturally antibacterial, antifungal and odour resistant fibre. Tencel is wood pulp that is harvested from tree-farmed trees that have been planted on land that is not suitable for food crops or grazing. The process that is used to turn the wood pulp to yarn has also been carefully planned to be environmentally friendly. The yarn made from this takes color well, is lustrous and soft to the skin. Cotton is easy to wash and comfortable in hot weather. Mixing the qualities of each of those fibers would help make a warm weather fabric.
If six weavers were given the same yarn, six different fabrics would be created. We each see and use color and texture in different ways. I am never content to use what has been done before. I find a weave structure and look for ways to personalize it. Changes are made to make it uniquely my own.
Red was chosen as the warp color. Then other colors were added, like spices in cooking. Along the way, different weft colors were sampled and new decisions were made. Warp and weft create pixelated color. With painting, the colors are blended together. With weaving, the color is side by side. I look for color harmonies within the warp and weft. To me, these visual harmonies are similair to musical chords. That is my color philosophy in a nutshell.
In addition to developing color choices, having an interesting texture was important, too. I pushed the weave structure through change of sett and size of yarn to create a branch-like motif. The openness of the motif helps create an airy fabric that would breathe in hot weather.
The next blog will feature the new designs made from this new fabric.