Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Creativity before safety

This last week was dedicated mostly to Christmas preparations and "creativity before safety" should be the motto here. The Christmas lights went up and are outstanding in their simplicity. Of particular interest are the Church lights that look like someone just threw them like spaghetti to a wall and let them rest where they landed. One very interesting and dangerous tradition here is to set up a massive bonfire in the church square. The fire is lit on the 24th at midnight and lasts the whole night through. It is a massive fire. The tree trunks are huge and I saw at least 4 loads emptied out this last saturday. The church and houses surrounding the square will be hosed down with water the whole night through and the windows and doors will be shielded with metal sheets. I have heard that you need to stand a few meters away from the fire so you don´t roast and that at around 4 am when the fire has cooled a little a few brave men will steal some ambers and bring them to a safe enough distance to grill spare ribs and other pork bits. I can´t wait.

I had another lesson this week, this time on how to set up the loom. It was time consuming and very hard work but very rewarding.

Two stick shuttles arrived in the mail. These are much smaller than the ones I was using and are making my work a lot faster. You can see a new scarf in progress. My fabric labels finally arrived.

If you have not yet done so you are very welcome to visit the new shop on Etsy where you can just check out or buy my handwoven work. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winding a warp

This wednesday I visited Sra. Ludovina who has agreed to teach me how to set up and use a loom. The first lesson was on how to wind the warp on a warping board. This is according weavers I have met the secret to weaving and a very crucial part in the process where no mistake can be made. When you wind a warp you decide the length of your warp as well as width. Twelve threads are wound at a time using a warping paddle, a sword like wooden tool (this one has twelve holes) that separates the threads and also allows you to make the threading cross by picking the threads by hand. I was unable to master the picking of the threads to make the cross and so Sra. Ludovina let me bring home a threading paddle to practice. There are 2 crosses that are made while making the warp. The threading cross is the first cross at the beginning of the warping board where the threads alternate one by one. At the end of the warping board another cross is made. This second cross os called a raddle cross. Here the number of threads is equivalent to the number of threads in the threading paddle, in our case twelve were used and so a complete cross has 24 threads. All of these details are important for setting up the loom as well as for working out the width your work.

It was important that we do the winding of the warp not on a tuesday or friday. According to the lady who taught Sra. Ludovina how to weave, these days are witch´s days. On these days you don´t marry your daughters or wind a warp. That is very specific, and the truth of it is that we really don´t know what would happen if you warped on either of these 2 days because Sra. Ludovina has made a point not mess with the witches. 

You can see the loom in the background of the second photo. It will be very time consuming to set it up but I think it will be relatively simple.

This week I also finished 2 more scarves, printed some paper tags and am still waiting on some fabric tags. I am hoping to have the scarves up for sale asap, it feels like I say this every week, but the truth is I am kind of stuck on how to best photograph them. And the weather continues to be overcast so I don´t have ideal light conditions, my studio has very little natural light, something else I need to take care of asap.

All things considered it was a relatively productive week.