Sunday, August 16, 2015

Getting Ready to Learn

These are just the weaving, dyeing, and
spinning books; the needlework and
costuming books are in other rooms.
   It's been a busy week, even though I still can't weave: the copies of HGA Certificate of Excellence in Handweaving and HGA Certificate of Excellence in Spinning handbooks (along with a small book on fingerweaving techniques) arrived at my doorstep. I took some time to read each, and decided that, as weaving is my first love, the COE in Handweaving is the next series of challenges learning opportunities in my life as an artist.
   The COE in Handweaving is divided into two parts: the first is a thorough demonstration of one's knowledge and technical skills. Parts 1 and 2 are primarily written explanations of everything from design principles to how various loom shedding mechanisms work, along with a 12-color wheel from either yarn or fabric. For someone like me, all this research and writing is a piece of cake.
   Part 3, the Handweaving Techniques, is the part that will test my weaving skills and take the longest. Part 3 is "forty samples"--that sounds easy until you look at what the word "sample" includes: fifteen of the forty "samples" are actually samplers, containing at least 3 different tie-up and/or treadling changes, and another three are full-on gamps (multiple threadings and treadlings). If each threading, tie-up, or treadling is treated separately, it's really about a hundred samples, all ranging from 7x10 inches (the minimum size) to several yards of finished fabric. Needless to say, it's a lot of work, so I'm planning for all this to be finished and ready for grading in late 2017.
   The second part of the COE (and the part that really makes one a Master Weaver) is the Specialized Study. Simply put, it's a thesis, accompanied by 3 to 5 major pieces (and as many samples as necessary) that demonstrate the aspect of handweaving detailed in the thesis. Fortunately, I've been through a thesis process before, so I know that a bit more time spent on thinking about the question will result in a better product.
I have a lot of resources at my fingertips.
   Along with the handbook, and the paperwork to register, is an extensive bibliography. I started to look through it, and highlighted every book, periodical, or article that I already have. I have a lot of weaving and design books (several hundred at last count), and even more magazines and periodicals. There are, of course, some gaps: types of weaving that haven't piqued my interest (soumak; pile weaves) are not represented, and I have a lot of books in other areas (Navaho rugs; historic drafts) that are probably outside the scope of the COE.
   The next step is to identify which books or articles I can obtain from different library systems. My local public library has a decent collection of fiber arts books (one of the librarians was a fiber artist), and I hold a Los Angeles Public Library card, so anything that is available through them as e-media is accessible. Once I've identified those resources, I can start to focus on what I need to acquire for my studies.