Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Practice and Process

What May showers bring #2

In the art world, practice is "what you do" and process is "the examination of the impetus of how to do it." When I had my solo show down at EPCOR Centre two years ago, it was "process-driven" for example.

But they have somewhat different meanings as well, in and out of the art world: practice is usually "how you get -- or stay -- good" and process is more simply "how to do it." I've been working a lot on both lately.

I completed spinning the fluff I started at Fibre Arts Day out at Fish Creek Park Library on March 2: it was the first real skein of yarn I had spun on my wheel in nearly two years, and my spinning muscles were pretty creaky for the first couple of bobbins of singles. It's not exactly attractive yarn to my eyes, which is why there isn't a picture of it, although the non-spinners who have looked at it think it's just fine.

What May showers bring #5

Didn't help that the fibre I was spinning was old (from 1996, I think), given to me when I was still a relative beginner, and was a mixture (70/30, I seem to recall: there was nothing on the bag) of wool and cotton. I tried preparing it a few different ways to see if I could find a way to make a more attractive singles, and ended up splitting the thick roving into narrower and narrower strips to minimize the amount of drafting needed to get the size I wanted.

Doing that helped speed up the process as well: I really wanted to like this yarn, as the mix of wool and cotton held some wonderful potential for dyeing after, for a lot of complex reasons dealing with how protein fibres like wool, take up dyes differently than cotton and other cellulose fibres, but it never really became something I would ever want to keep around.

What May showers bring #6

Some fibres are like that: they don't tell you what they want to be and so you have to keep improvising to see what works. If "insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results," then I was being pretty savvy in finding different ways to make the fibre do something: too bad that doesn't necessarily work with people.

(And I never thought I'd ever find a use for this song, but right now, it's about dead on....)

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