Collaboration: A Canvas
Its motions are chary and deft.
Stitch by stitch. Right to left.
I’m a warp. You’re a weft.
Time weaves a life canvas…
© All rights reserved 2014
Tetiana Aleksina’s poem of last December proved the perfect muse for an idea I had in the back of my mind at the time. I arranged and cross-stitched it onto one of the working graphs done during my many years as a knit designer.
I probably have several hundred of these graphs, along with knitted swatch samples, that I haven’t repurposed or discarded yet (I threw out many of the graphs and now I’m regretting it a bit…). What to do with them? I’ve made dolls and pillows and masks from the swatches, but haven’t done anything before with the designs on paper.
Tia (aka Unbolt) always provides vivid images in her poetry. She also enjoys collaborations. Her poem”A Canvas” takes fiber work and puts it into the larger human context.
My sister-in-law (a weaver) and I went to an exhibit at The Drawing Center last fall called “Thread Lines” that explored the connections between drawing and fiber. I was familiar with some of the artists but many were new to me. And, as always, I did not agree with the curator on the validity of all the selections. Several of the works represented took working patterns for weaving or knitting and made them into art. The one I had the most problem with in that situation was also the jump start to an idea about my own knitted designs.
Robert Otto Epstein took a graph from a knitting book and copied it “by hand” in pencil. OK…maybe he is making a political statement about the fact that designs are not done by hand any more, but on the computer? If so…couldn’t he even come up with his own design? or combine it with a computer-generated one? or make it more interesting, exciting, thoughtful, beautiful? It didn’t resonate with me, that’s for sure.
My knit graphs (all done “by hand” and designed by me), and those of the many designers (mostly women, paid a pittance) that I worked with over the years, seemed much more suitable for framing and hanging on a wall in a gallery than something copied by a philosophy student from a knitting book. So I began thinking: how to present them? What could I do to enrich the work I had already done? I thought first of quotes that related to the design, and I may do some of those too, but Unbolt’s poem actually got me working. I work slowly (as I have often lamented), and cross stitching on paper is also slower than on fabric, but I was pleased with the (months later) finished result.
Thank you Tia, for your inspiration! And for those of you not yet familiar with her blog, check it out here:https://unbolt.wordpress.com/