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!