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:
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.
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.
-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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.