MARCH 2017 CHALLENGE: FUNCTION

WHAT'S A WEAVING CHALLENGE?

Every month or two, we feature a challenge contributed by a different weaver. Our challenges are basically homework assignments designed to introduce a unique approach to a woven project, and get you thinking about the craft in a new and different way. It's great motivation to try something you might not have otherwise. Complete and submit the current challenge (instructions following the challenge description) for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed! Read on for more! 


MARCH 2017 WEAVING CHALLENGE: FUNCTION

Contributed by Sarah Neubert

Photo courtesy of GoodFolk Photography

Photo courtesy of GoodFolk Photography

A NOTE FROM SARAH:

It's been a while since I've introduced myself, and since it's kinda nice to know who's pulling the strings (yes, that was a weaving pun, not sorry), my name is Sarah Neubert, and I'm the founder of The Weaving Kind. I live in Colorado with my husband, two little kids, a cat and a gecko. In my own work I like to explore natural textures with weird fibers, and I'm very interested in the use of weaving as a healing practice. I founded TWK not because I'm a weaving expert, but because I wanted to see weavers coming together to inspire and support one another - and you all have exceeded my wildest dreams. I'm so, so grateful for this amazing community and the people I meet here every day!

Read on for your challenge!


FUNCTION

Weaving is something people have been doing for a very long time. Weaving is so old that It's impossible to know who the first weaver was, or what they made; archaeologists have found evidence of woven fibers from the paleolithic era, estimated to be over 30,000 years old! There's something incredibly humbling and beautiful about participating in one of the very oldest surviving crafts known to humankind.

One thing we do know is that weaving has served just about every known culture since the dawn of humanity. Woven items have been used as currency, as status symbols, in lowly household functions, as shelter, as a component in transportation, to wrap the dead - and the list goes on. The further you delve into the history of weaving, the more you see that by and large, it has been a functional craft. This can sometimes be a source of frustration, given the fact that weaving still struggles to be recognized as a primary art form. But, instead of being frustrated with the functional designation of our practice, this month we are going to celebrate it!

Antique handwoven Persian saddlebag

Antique handwoven Persian saddlebag

The difference between those ancient cultures and our modern one is that they weren't so quick to differentiate between art and craft. Functional textiles in the past were often stunningly beautiful. That's not so true these days. I've chosen to present this challenge because here in the 21st century, we live with a vast gap between what we consider functional and what we think of as beautiful. Utilitarian goods, modern housing, socks... these things are most often quite bland and often hideously ugly, but we don't even notice. When it comes to our everyday, we often perceive our duties, chores and routines as secondary to what we consider to be our "real" lives. We tend to rush through the mundane, daily things so we can get to the important, exciting stuff. But this month, take some time to consider how your life might change if you could see the details of your everyday as part of a beautiful whole. What if paying bills could be a ritual of gratitude? What if sweeping the floor could be a moment of grounding and connection? What if taking out the trash was a chance to symbolically cleanse the soul?

Appalachian overshot coverlet

Appalachian overshot coverlet

With all this in mind, your assignment is to create a functional woven item, something you will use and enjoy in your everyday life. This month, use your talents to honor the mundane. Is there a part of your daily routine that could use some attention and beautification? Weave something you will use to remind yourself that the same hands that have to pump gas and scrub the toilet are also capable of creating beautiful art - and vice versa - and that that is exactly the way it should be.

Keep an eye on our Instagram feed in the weeks to come for more examples of beautiful, functional weaving!

Love, Sarah

Tablet-woven Viking fabric remnant

Tablet-woven Viking fabric remnant

HOW TO COMPLETE THE CHALLENGE:

  • Make a piece of woven art along the theme of "FUNCTION." 
  • Send a photo of your completed piece to submit@theweavingkind.com by March 1, 2016. Your photo should fit into Instagram’s square format without borders. Avoid using extreme filters. Submissions are selected for our Instagram feed in part based on image quality, so make sure your photo is in focus and well lit. Please include the image as an attachment to your email rather than sharing via Google Drive, Flickr, etc. 
  • Include your Instagram handle. 
  • Write a few sentences about the challenge. What was your inspiration for your piece? What did you find valuable about this challenge? What was difficult? How will what you learned inform your practice going forward? 
  • By submitting, you are granting The Weaving Kind to showcase your photo (with credit to you, of course) on Instagram, our website, and other relevant materials. 
  • If you post about this month's challenge on your own feed, use the hashtag #twkmarch2017 to make it easy for everyone to find your photo. 

Happy Weaving!

FEBRUARY 2017 CHALLENGE: Natural Color

WHAT'S A WEAVING CHALLENGE?

Every month or two, we feature a challenge contributed by a different weaver. Our challenges are basically homework assignments designed to introduce a unique approach to a woven project, and get you thinking about the craft in a new and different way. It's great motivation to try something you might not have otherwise. Complete and submit the current challenge (instructions following the challenge description) for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed! Read on for more! 


FEBRUARY 2017 CHALLENGE:

NATURAL COLOR

CONTRIBUTED BY VANESSA LAURIA

All pictured woven works by Vanessa Lauria

HELLO! MY NAME IS VANESSA LAURIA, and I’m a weaver and maker based out of western NY. I weave modern scarves and accessories for my business, pidge pidge, that merge the craft of traditional weaving with joyful, inspired color stories. In the past few years, I’ve grown my creative community online, largely thanks to instagram, and have been thrilled to find my tribe of weavers around the world. I’ve participated in several weave-along challenges and am tickled to be able to host a challenge for you with an idea I hold near and dear to my own method of creating.

Write here...

Color is my true inspiration and motivation and I look for it constantly. I’m not afraid of color and often look to nature to guide me in new directions. I’m always on the lookout for interesting and unexpected color combinations. Golden yellow leaves against a sullen gray sky? Subtle shades of pink and green in desert cactus? Magic. I keep my phone and a notebook handy when I’m out and about to capture the way colors interact with each other. I love the way nature’s color palette changes with the time of day, weather, season, or climate. If you'd like to see dozens of examples of inspiration photos from nature alongside the pieces they inspired, check out my Instagram or subscribe to my newsletter.

Finding the beauty in the every day lets us live in the moment and temporarily step out of the hustle + bustle. Any excuse to look up at passing clouds or delight in summer gardens, and capture color for inspiration, is worth it. I let my eyes dance through the scene, picking up shades of bobbins in the studio and playing with yarn as my palette, arranging, rearranging, designing.

Your challenge? Weave something inspired by the color you find in nature. You aren’t limited by size, shape or application (I mostly use this technique for scarf weaving, but tapestries, wall art and 3D woven forms can all benefit from this practice). During the next few weeks, take your camera with you on a color hunt. An apple isn’t just red; look closely and you may pick out striations of green, purple, pink, brown, etc.

Tips:

-Wander about at different times of day.

-Think about how color changes with weather and season.

-Look to the skies. Look in your garden, visit a local park or go for a walk in your neighborhood.

-Challenge yourself to pick out the many colors in a seemingly gray city building.

-Change your scale. How do colors change, blend, and pop when your view is inches from your face vs. across the street vs. looking down from up high?

You may choose to weave something representative of the photo you take (ie. a red barn in a yellow field of grain), but I encourage you to think abstractly. If you need help disassociating from shapes and objects, pull out some colored pencils or crayons and doodle swatches of the colors as you see them. Play with proportion, pattern, and gradients. Once you’ve extracted all the shades from your inspiration photo, use your color map to choose fibers to weave with. I hope you’re able to get out and appreciate nature for this challenge. Bonus points if you weave outside ;) Can’t wait to see what you create!

HOW TO COMPLETE THE CHALLENGE:

  • Make a piece of woven art along the theme of "NATURAL COLOR." 
  • Send a photo of your completed piece to submit@theweavingkind.com by March 1, 2016. Your photo should fit into Instagram’s square format without borders. Avoid using extreme filters. Submissions are selected for our Instagram feed in part based on image quality, so make sure your photo is in focus and well lit. Please include the image as an attachment to your email rather than sharing via Google Drive, Flickr, etc. 
  • Include your Instagram handle. 
  • Write a few sentences about the challenge. What was your inspiration for your piece? What did you find valuable about this challenge? What was difficult? How will what you learned inform your practice going forward? 
  • By submitting, you are granting The Weaving Kind to showcase your photo (with credit to you, of course) on Instagram, our website, and other relevant materials. 
  • If you post about this month's challenge on your own feed, use the hashtag #twkfebruary2017 to make it easy for everyone to find your photo. 

Happy Weaving!

AUTUMN 2016 CHALLENGE: CONTRAST


WHAT'S A WEAVING CHALLENGE?

Every month or two, we feature a challenge contributed by a different weaver. Our challenges are basically homework assignments designed to introduce a unique approach to a woven project, and get you thinking about the craft in a new and different way. It's great motivation to try something you might not have otherwise. Complete and submit the current challenge (instructions below) for a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed! Read on for more! 


AUTUMN 2016 CHALLENGE: CONTRAST

CONTRIBUTED BY SHELLY SAZDANOFF

Photo by Cora Schleicher

Photo by Cora Schleicher

HELLO! MY NAME IS SHELLY SAZDANOFF and I am a fiber artist based out of beautiful Portland, Oregon. I am really excited and honored to present you with October's weaving challenge, a theme that is very much a main player in my own creative process. I draw a lot of inspiration from artists outside the weaving realm to try and open up my mind and push my work in further and unexpected directions so I have included a few inspirational pieces that are intentionally not weavings to hopefully help you to do the same. One of the things I love most about fiber art is that we all essentially use the same tools and techniques but the outcome is so very different. I really look forward to seeing the diversity of everyone's finished product and without further ado...here is your challenge!

CONTRAST

The idea of contrast can be concretely manifested in many different ways within your piece. It can be simply through monochrome tones (i.e. Black vs white) or through strictly color. It can also be through the use of density and negative space, as well as in depth, texture (hard/soft) or even in shape. Thinking outside strictly tactile or visual box, contrast can show itself in more abstract ways such as the piece's theme or meaning, for example the contrast or friction between two ideas, etc. 

The possibilities are endless and I really challenge you to give some good thought to the reasoning behind why you are doing what you're doing. That doesn't necessarily mean the piece has to have a long backstory or in-depth meaning, as there is nothing wrong with an aesthetically pleasing piece - the world could always use more art and beauty. The idea here is that the work is intentional and unique to you. A good friend and fiber artist I admire once told me, "No one can say what I can with my work if I really dig deep." I remind myself of this every time I sit down at my loom and I encourage you, as you begin this new challenge, to do the same! 

HOW TO COMPLETE THE CHALLENGE:

  • Make a piece of woven art along the theme of "CONTRAST." 
  • Send a photo of your completed piece to submit@theweavingkind.com by December 1, 2016. Your photo should fit into Instagram’s square format without borders. Avoid using extreme filters. Submissions are selected for our Instagram feed in part based on image quality, so make sure your photo is in focus and well lit. Please include the image as an attachment to your email rather than sharing via Google Drive, Flickr, etc. 
  • Include your Instagram handle. 
  • Write a few sentences about the challenge. What was your inspiration for your piece? What did you find valuable about this challenge? What was difficult? How will what you learned inform your practice going forward? 
  • By submitting, you are granting The Weaving Kind to showcase your photo (with credit to you, of course) on Instagram, our website, and other relevant materials. 
  • If you post about this month's challenge on your own feed, use the hashtag #twkautumn2016 to make it easy for everyone to find your photo. 

Happy Weaving!


Shelly's work can be found on her website, shellysazdanoff.com, and on Instagram at instagram.com/shellysazdanoff