I began weaving 11 years ago...amazing how weaving has changed me. I don't sit still well anymore; if I have some wool and water I'll be keeping my hands busy at the very least. I see patterns differently, I build and mix repetitive textures without thinking about it. Weaving analogies abound in life's structure; it's hard to believe that there was a time in my life that I didn't weave, and even harder to fathom that I had zero appreciation for weaving. Weaving was the part of myself that was missing all along, and I didn't even know it.
When my husband and I were engaged, I began weaving a robe for him. I spun yarn for nine months, then for nine more months wove the yarns into a robe. The result is a representation of our lives twining together. The act of weaving, of spinning wool into yarn, and yarn into regalia, is creation and destruction. It is transformation from one form to another. I was thinking about the word "unravel" and was puzzled to realize that "ravel" is not necessarily the opposite of "unravel" ....
As a weaver and a metalsmith, it would seem there is little connection to these two forms I create within, and yet, my mind and spirit seem to work well in both formats. The hard metal, the soft fibers, the rigid chemistry and the fluid tension are at odds yet very much alike. I think these paradoxes are part of creation in any medium, the alchemy that makes it all work is the magic in the human element. Surprises and formulaic precision blend into something new.
I am wandering in my thoughts, and that brings me to my newest works.
Adding texture to the back of my metal work is a puzzle: too much weight and it becomes unwearable, too little weight and it can't hold the inlay safely. Too much time involved and I can't justify a price. I wanted some texture that says "woven", or "fabric", so I've been thinking about how best to approach it.
Meanwhile, real life is speaking to me, pushing me to say something in my work. Seeing some of the worst our society has to offer, uncovering more and yet more of it every day...it is easy to feel disgusted. Yet somewhere in that disgust I started accepting that we are moving forward. Painfully, slowly (too slowly), we are speaking out and acting out, no longer allowing things to slip past. Hatred, bigotry, racism, environmental destruction, misogyny, tyranny, and on and on...they are being uncovered, called out. The nastiness that humans are capable of is unraveling. And in its place we are waking up, we are taking back and exhibiting our strengths. The best things in life are coming into greater clarity for many of us. The truth in our equality is worth fighting for. I have spoken to friends about this, and we've commiserated on how difficult this unraveling is, but how very essential...
With this in mind, I began to twist argentium sterling silver wire into rope. It was interesting, but much more satisfying when I cut it in the middle--just a bit--frayed it, teasing the twist apart. It is a positive act of destruction, transformation.
Is it fraying apart or knitting back together? I have an overwhelmingly positive outlook.
We are knitting together community, and twining our lives together.
The above necklaces (and a brooch and hairpin) each have a different personality to me, a different twist. The top left: "Overspun" speaks to me of complications, of frantic pace and difficult situations unraveling. A good friend has this one: she is the ultimate multi-tasker, a woman working in a field of good old boys, a mother who is constantly moving between work, family, hobbies, and finding balance in unlikely ways. Next down is "Untwist", she is much more relaxed in her twist, laid back and teasing her strands with aplomb, letting the nature of gravity work for her. "Loose Ends" is burning at both ends. She has balance and strength, holding her own in the middle while finding new ways to connect from all sides. The bottom two "Unraveling" remind me of synapses...knitting together while releasing negativity. Weaving is a metaphor for life. I will have more of the "Unraveling" necklaces available soon in my shop.