I don't want to rename this project despite how much I hate the name "Fragments." In part I don't care about names at this point. This was a preliminary exercise at best, a way for me to begin looking at the compositional elements and techniques I wanted to employ. It's a rough draft of what would later become Delete Charlie. However, once all those ideas migrated over to that project, I just put this away, and forgot about it. Then other projects took over, and Fragments was just a pair of handwoven textiles sitting around taking up precious space.
So one of those compositional techniques I wanted to use was this idea of seaming. I really latched onto this idea because it effectively opened up the canvas, but also because there was this sense of randomness which later leads to opportunities for improvisation.
I don't have much control while wefting colors together in a handwoven textile. Keeping a count, and making measurements is all I can do. It's more of a prediction than anything. I'm okay with that. Visually, I want all the weft variations to occur in the middle, and the ends to be as plain as possible. So long as the two pieces are reasonably different outside of that, then it'll be fine.
Once the two pieces are seamed together, there is this sense of displacement created. In effect I'm generating a visual discrepancy by merging the two, then harmonizing the visual whole with sashiko embellishment. The two pieces are already unified in color and texture, but the individual weft compositions are what essentially break the grid. Further, the differences in warp widths add more variation to the visual whole.
In addition to the visual differences, there are some physical discrepancies that occur here. The charcoal gray yarn is a two ply single strand, and the light gray is a thinner two ply that is doubled. While they appear to be the same weight, the light gray is slightly thicker, and therefore wefts itself longer. Ten rows of light gray is longer than ten rows of charcoal by about a millimeter. On long stretches of light gray, that length discrepancy becomes significant, and that is where the sashiko comes into play. By using uniform running stitches, the fabric is gathered, similar to smocking. The resulting texture is what takes this composition to another level.
In general, this piece was more about the finishing than the actual loom work. I spent more time on seaming and embellishment than weaving. As I was working on it over the past few months, I came to realize how much I liked this. The seaming, though mundane, felt strangely satisfying. The sashiko stitching became very meditative. I found myself looking forward to working on it. As I look back on all the progress I've posted to my Instagram feed about this project, I'm a bit surprised to discover that it is the single most posted project to date. I was going to post a recap of all of them, but there are just too many images. But hey, I'm sure you've all seen them already, right?
Charcoal gray cotton blend by DKNY
Light gray cotton blend by Old Navy
Black silk seaming thread by Banana Republic
Oh, and my loom:
Emilia 19" rigid heddle loom by Glimakra