September 22, 2011

A New Textile: "Weave"

Weave, hand dyed wool on linen, 10 x 10 inches.

While I was doing some sketches for my next textile, I found myself playing with the idea of weaving, drawing lines moving on top and under one another. At first I drew wavy little mounds rising over the lines beneath, but then thought I'd keep the composition very simple: straight wide bands crossing one over the other, with small dark squares as background. Orange and purple, intense secondary colors, are heightened by their contrast with the warm dark brown squares.

Louise Bourgeois, Untitled, 2007; fabric and fabric collage, 16 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches.

This idea must have come from happily browsing through a new book in my collection: Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works, which I purchased after seeing a show of some of these pieces in NYC in May. I was thrilled by the show, and wrote a blog post on it, which you can see here. In the work above, Bougeois weaves together thin ribbons of fabric to make a variegated ground for the airy puffs above it.

I hooked the wool in straight lines, following the direction of the lines, with the background hooked randomly, to enhance the background effect.

When I first sketched out this piece, I planned to have the orange lines as verticals, as in the right-hand image above. As I worked, it seemed to me that the orange was too dominant a color when the lines were vertical, so I turned the piece on its side. I don't know if this shows in the photo. I'm happy with this work, and it has me thinking about the idea of pattern.


  1. POP! I loved opening this up first thing this morning. Isn't it interesting how turning the piece 90 degrees the lines recede or come forward? I'm in the process of moving but once settled into my new home I plan on teaching myself the art of hooked rugs. Following along with your blog I have learned that small is wonderful- definitely not as intimidating as starting out with rugs. New place is on an island with strong arts community, acreage with woods, wildlife and more. Will not miss the strong distractions of living outside of Seattle and all the traffic and chaos. Yet close enough to visit museums and culture within a couple of hours. Keep posting your work!

  2. I love the zen of your weaves. I can see your every action, and imagine your fingers working rhythmically... then pausing.

  3. thank you Sue and Lauren. Lauren, I love the repetitive handwork of making these pieces, and find it very relaxing.
    Sue, your move sounds marvelous. When I started hooking, I first got a kit which came with a pattern on a backing and all the wool, cut into strips, that I would need. It's a good way to get a feel for the process before investing in the equipment and materials needed.

  4. I've got the linen backing- yards of it! I have the hook, the wools, the dyes and how-to books. Now, once settled in for the winter- I will have time and you to inspire me to commence. Seeing how you go back and forth from painting and hooking the ruglets, shows how fluid it is to go back and forth. I am a weaver, quilter and love documenting how I see my life through the lense of the camera. Perhaps all the above is the reason I love seeing and reading your posts.