I recently read a book called "May We Remember Well: A Journal of the History and Cultures of Western North Carolina", edited by Robert S. Brunk. Overall, it was a really interesting book, but most importantly, it has a chapter on weaving in Western NC in which coverlets featured prominently. So naturally, I took notes. According the the article:
The selection didn't provide me with a ton of information, but it was a start to a project that is going to require a lot more substantial research.
I sat down and watched this last night and I just had to share it:
I am a huge Andy Warhol fan, but after watching this I don't know if I can look at his art quite the same way again. In a historical sense, I have only ever heard of Warhol's paintings discussed as a response to popular culture and commercialism. But, the premise of this talk is that his work isn't that. Instead, Christopher Knight proposes that his work is a response to art culture, specifically Abstract Expressionism. I had never once considered a relationship between Warhol and artists like Jackson Pollock or Frank Stella, but Knight makes some legitimate arguments in his talk and now I can't help but see a relationship.
Very interesting stuff.
Whenever I am having a bad day, or doubting myself, I go back and read this blog post to make myself feel better:
The Illusion of Failure
So I came across this quite by accident the other. I was looking around for a specific example of mourning jewelry and somehow happened across this.
Anyone who knows me that I have a fascination with the macabre and have a particular interest in cemeteries and mourning art, so I was really happy to dig it up. I've been watching it off and on for past day or so (it is over 3 hours long), but I must say that it is some fascinating stuff. I was more intrigued by the first half of the presentation because it deals more directly with cemetery and funerary art and memorials, but all of it is worth a watch. I particularly thought the first presentation, which deals with the relationship between portrait miniatures and portrait headstones in Charleston, SC, was super neat.
I'm slowly working on gathering information for this coverlet. I've been super busy at work this past week with the holidays coming up and trying to cram stuff in, so I haven't touched it much. I did however go to an antiques show this past weekend and got to see several examples of beautiful coverlets of the same period. Most of the super nice ones were way out of my price range, but I did find a couple that were quite affordable and picked up and added them to my collection (as a side note, I also picked up a late 19th century spinning wheel, which I plan to only use for decorative purposes, but am still really excited about).
Anyway, I made a list of things that I need to know in order to reproduce this coverlet as accurately as possible.
1. How was it dyed?
Depending on the date the coverlet was produced, there is a chance that it could be dyed using commercial dyes.
2. What types of yarn available are similar to those that were used to weave the blanket?
Again, depending on the age of the blanket, the yarns could have been either homespun or commercial produced. I have no idea how to spin yarn, so more than likely I will have to use commercially produced yarn, but it still needs to be similar in weight and appearance. I hypothesize that I
3. What is the weave structure?
I know that it is a four harness overshot and that, based on looking at other overshot weaving drafts of the time period, it probably has a 2/2 twill and plain weave tie up. I am also hypothesizing that the threading and treadling will look similar to a point twill.
4. Can I find out more about when and where it was made and by whom?
Knowing more specifics will help me answer a couple of the above questions and make my reproduction more period correct. Plus, having a more specific provenance will make intrinsically valuable.
5. What can photographs reveal?
Good photos are the key to documenting this process.
I just wanted to update you on the status of both of my current projects: the reproduction of a historic coverlet and my self-portrait.
I spent about and hour or so studying this coverlet my friend wants me to weave a reproduction of and this is what I know so far:
I will try and post pictures soon, but if I am going to take the time to photograph it, I want to do it well.
In terms of my self-portrait, I said last time I wrote that I knew what I wanted to do. Well, I lied. I am now experimenting with a couple of different options. Perhaps I am just second guessing myself and just need to stop and commit to something. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't. But the end of the year is fast approaching and I will have a new self-portrait that I need to work on.
But I did make progress last week and I accomplished the goals that I see for myself. I got my paper cut down to the correct size and stitched the edges. My goal for this week to is get dyes mixed so I can paint the background, apply my contact paper stencil to the screen, and hopefully, get the portrait printed.
Those of you that know me well know that I have become very interested in historic textiles recently, so much so that I am looking to go back to school (yeah, I know, I say that a lot).
So I am super excited to talk about an ongoing project that I started about a week and a half ago. I say 'ongoing' because I really don't anticipate being able to do anything other than plan and research before summer.
Recently, my friend purchased a late 18th century coverlet and asked if it would be possible to weave a reproduction, or a short run of reproductions, of it. So, of course I said yes. I haven't woven anything in quite some time (I haven't done much of anything in quite some time), but this is an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
But, for me it means a lot of research because my knowledge on the subject of historic coverlets is still quite limited. And to potentially complicate my research, the guy that the coverlet was purchased from said it was from Western North Carolina, which, based on an article I very recently read, may or may not be a well documented area of study.
So, fun times ahead.
My goal is to post about this process as I go, so stay tuned!
You know that I have been struggling, and I finally reached my breaking point on Friday night.
I was seriously let down by an important person in my life and everything just began to crumple from there. All the plans that I had made, all the goals that I had set, every hope and dream that I had dared to have in the last six months went to hell.
I was distraught to the point of being sick and in the morning I began to pick up the pieces amidst an almost constant stream of tears. It's still difficult to tell if anything will survive, but I am going to try and make it all last for as long as I can.
But I'm scared.
Needless to say, 2015 has royally sucked and as November progresses, I am attempting to look forward to January with the fervent hope that 2016 will be much better. I decided that as part of the healing process, I am going to try and start working again, even though last time I wrote I didn't think there would be much use in that. But, I don't like being idle and staying active does help the healing process. And, I'm going to start looking at jobs and applying to at least one a week. I can't begin to tell you how desperate I am for a change of scenery. I think a different environment would do my body and soul wonders.
I think that I know what I want to do with that self-portrait I've been working on. I made new paper for it yesterday. Hopefully, I can press it, cut it down to size, and stitch the edges. I've got a lot to do this week on other projects and with the way I've been feeling emotionally, I feel like that is a reasonable goal.