I’ve been weaving several different pieces for two exhibitions over the last few weeks. And while I weave, sometimes I listen to music on my ipod, and sometimes I weave in silence, letting thoughts run through my head.
One of these thoughts was about the weaving I’m doing at the moment. I am weaving pieces inspired directly by nature, and as I was weaving, various things happened like knots in the yarn, or a sudden slub or a shaft not picking up correctly. Now normally, I would stop, and sort each of these problems out, not wanting a blemish in my work. That I equate to the oboe training – precise, clean, accurate, as perfect as possible in preparation and performance. That is my perfectionist side.
But as I was about to get off the seat and sort one of these problems out, I suddenly realised that nature isn’t perfect. Nature’s most amazing versatility comes from its blemishes, its accidents, its mutations. It’s like jazz.
Jazz musicians don’t agonise over a wrong note. They relish the opportunity to bring in unusual harmonies and enjoy the wandering path within the basic framework of their chordal structure. That’s what nature does. There are ‘bum’ notes all over the place in nature, part of the rich mosaic and randomness that we find so fascinating.
So I decided not to get up and sort out the ‘blemishes’ but to see what transpired further down the line in the finishing process. This was a liberating decision for me. Time to let out the tenor saxophonist of my soul, and push the analytical oboist to the back of my mind!
And you know what? I soooo enjoyed the weaving. I decided to make random decisions to change a weft yarn when one ran out, and just to go with sudden instinctual decisions. It was like heaven!! Instead of being controlled and having everything go according to plan, I just went with the flow and did whatever I felt like!!
Also, as you may know, I am a sample queen. Well, as usual, I sampled. But this time, the sample was woven at the end!
What?? Has she gone raving mad??! Well, yes and no.
I decided that as this was to do with nature – and my deadlines were verrrrrry tight (inspiration doesn’t always come according to a timescale!) I would just jump in and weave my ideas. If they worked, wonderful and I could enter the work. If not, well it didn’t matter, and I would use the ideas generated for further pieces in the future. I always want a sample to show me what I’ve done, but I didn’t have the time to weave a sample, take it off the loom, finish it and then make adjustments, so I did what I never recommend people to do… I wove the project first and wove the sample (reference) piece at the end of the warp. Hey ho….
Moral of the story – sometimes it pays to do things a different way. Sometimes the sky doesn’t fall in because you don’t do things perfectly. Sometimes it frees you up to do what you don’t usually do.
Have fun in your weaving – however you do it!!