Sunday, October 21, 2007

From Gathering to Sorting

The 3 fabrics on the left are Guatemalan cotton ikat. The fabric on the right is one of my bamboo ikat/cashmere blanket panels.

I was at a party earlier today and was chatting with a woman who was teaching sewing at an alternative high school. She was bemoaning the lack of funds for supplies. I mentioned that I had a box of fabric scraps if she was interested. She was very interested.

I began excavating in my closet (something I had been meaning to do). I could practically reach my fabric box and managed to knock down 3 additional boxes in the process. The dust was quite thick on the top of the fabric box. Back in the 80's I did quite a bit of sewing. Actually, I did the designing and cutting, but mostly found other more skilled people to do the actual sewing. For a while there, I was "making" jackets, huipils, back packs, tote bags, and a wide variety of small bags and purses.

Not liking to throw things away, I saved all the scraps. I even made a quilt top about 15 years ago using the scraps from the cotton linings of the coin and cosmetic bags. I'll have to see if I can find a picture of it, but I digress.

As I was sorting through my fabric to see what would stay and what would go, I found some Guatemalan fabric scraps that I didn't remember ever seeing before. I vaguely remember somebody giving me some fabric scraps (I don't remember who it was), and I don't remember what they looked like or how long I have had them.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing! These were 3 different ikat patterns that were so much like what I have been doing with ikat bamboo this past year. Yes, I have changed the scale, and yes I am creating the designs in Turned Weft Ikat rather than Warp Dyed Ikat. Although some of the motifs in the Guatemalan cloth are quite a bit different from my example, I have woven those motifs and could easily create them.

I feel like all the 100 monkeys rolled into one:)

What does this have to do with weaving philosophy, you might ask? I believe there are 3 stages of weaving that mirror the 3 stages of life: Gathering, Sorting, and Surrender. When I set out to weave, I gather my materials. (With the cashmere, I collected sweaters for several years before I knew what I was going to do with them.) I always gather more than I will need, so I have to sort through and decide what I will ultimately use and what I will not. Surrender has to do with the time it will take to wind the warp and set up the loom and weave and weave and finish and sew in the label. I always feel these steps will take absolutely forever! Once I let go and surrender,(something much easier said than done) I am amazed to see I have completed every task.

Have you noticed all of those books out there about "clearing clutter"? My personal favorite is "Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui" by Karen Kingston. It is because so many of the baby boomers have reached the sorting stage of life and struggle with the challenge of moving out of the Gathering stage and into the Sorting stage. I am one of those people, but I am sure working on it.

If you want a good laugh, check this out! I forwarded this to at least 200 people in my address book.


Peg in South Carolina said...

Gathering ideas and materials, sorting through them (and working out the details , surrendering to the work itself. This last can be preceded by much procrastination in the sorting arena...... Yes, I like what you said. And I checked the book. It is tempting.

Bonnie said...

Peg, I must have given as gifts a dozen copies of that book. I have found it to be extremely helpful in figuring out where to begin and easy small steps to take. The most compelling part is the author's explanation of the negative impact of keeping so much clutter. Be tempted:)