Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The unlikely questions a new tapestry can bring forth …

'Tree of Life' Tapestry in the making
© Corina Duyn 2016
I seem to create one tapestry a year. I finished my last tapestry - Autumn Joy - just before my July exhibition. During the past two months or so I have been playing with ideas for this year’s weaving adventure.
A tree.
The Tree of Life.

I mashed together images of trees, drawing of female body, photographs of birds and roots. Literally a case of cut and paste on computer, but also with paper, scissors and glue.

Thank goodness for the arrival of my friend and weaving teacher Pascale De Coninck, to put the warp threads on my tapestry frame. A job I find tedious, and exhausting. She can do it in her sleep- it seems. I gladly supply drinks and food in return!

Desing for 'Tree of Life' Tapestry
© Corina Duyn 2016
I had drawn my design on the warp threads, sorted some of the colours and set up the frame in my study. 
And there it stayed. Untouched for many weeks.
I had other matters to attend to, like the CAP Awards and the planning and designs for the Dis-ability This Ability Exhibition.

A few days ago, I was surprised- again- that it only takes one 20-minute session to become addicted to weaving

First twenty minutes of weaving
the 'Tree of Life' Tapestry
© Corina Duyn 2016
After that first session, I woke up the following morning with the excitement a child would have for its birthday or the arrival of Santa. “I can weave today!”
I would glance into my study where the frame is attached to my desk. Butterflies in my stomach.
One of the biggest challenge is that I can only weave for twenty minutes at the time, to avoid my back screaming at me to stop. I weave for four or five songs or meditation music. But I love it all the same.

I was so excited that I “What’sApp’d” a photograph to Pascale (the one who got me addicted), to say I had finally started the actual weaving.
The following day - following more images of progress, a discussion arose about the work on hand.
I have a habit of creating an image I like, but not really thinking about the whole story behind it. That seems to comes later. The true artist Pascale is, always challenges me about my designs, and how on earth I am going to make what I designed. This time it was no different..

I was congratulated about starting, and that I am good at it - only had done a few centimeters ....  The question, “How are you going to do the tree?” followed within the one text-message.

'Tree of Life' Tapestry-straight lines ...
© Corina Duyn 2016
My reply: 
“…as yet, no real idea how to do tree...! But going to keep the background simple (as it is now). Straight lines as the focus is on the tree.
However, when I typed 'straight lines' I paused. I wonder if that is really true..?"

Response: “You can guess where my mind went: when I read you paused and questioned whether 'straight' lines was true I thought you mean as opposite of 'gay' lines? Then chuckled and wondered what gay lines would look like. Then obviously they are wavy and bouncy as the word gay = happy, which brought me to literally non-straight lines. 
Anyway. What did you question about straight lines?

“Yes, I questioned ‘straight’, then I thought I better write Straight Lines, as one could think it would refer to the word gay. [I am gay].
I rarely weave just back and forth - as you know. I had thought to put in some other beige threads but decided not to yesterday when I started the main background. But when I wrote that to you it surprised me that I stopped typing ... so maybe the background won't be just all the one type of thread woven in straight lines. We'll see!”

“Yes, your usual non-straight lines. I was surprised to see the solidness of the background because it's not your usual, almost signature, background. Interesting you stopped when typing! It does look good and yes the tree is the focus with all its curves and the straight background would really give it that contrast and silence to support it. Yet still intriguing you stopped. Using different colours straight lines will give very different effect again. Compromise between what? What is it you want to say with the background?
The interesting thing about weaving is there is no negative space, you have to build every space in weaving, it's not something that just happens because of creating an image...”

See what I mean? I just design something, and then I am challenged with these deep questions. ‘Stuff’ that goes into my brain and won’t leave until it is answered…

My resolve:
"Trying to work it out by writing about it.
I intended for a clean, simple background.
Then I wrote: But in reality does a tree (of life) grow in calmness? It would be disconnected, yet I don't want a busy, filled background. I like the simple lines. Simple colours.
Then to my surprise this came out of my pen: you can only grow if you live in peace...

Might introduce texture, but not colour."

Yes that is true. You can only grow when you live in peace. That pretty much describes an insight and experience I had in last three days.

It is very true.

'Tree of Life' Tapestry in the making
© Corina Duyn 2016
How will you express peace? With the change in texture and simple stripes? Almost like a soft rippling sea, movement and gentle energy without being overpowering. 

Sounds good, sounds even right. Finding the visual textural woven language for it....
I trust you will.”

I changed the very straight lines to a slight rippling effect. Slight variation in texture, but not colour. And to my surprise the leaves of the tree are, as yet, not really green. They have a texture to them. Subtle. Light. Airy.

A gentle growing.
In peace.

Links to pages and events mentioned in this post


Therese Doherty said...

Corina, thank you for this very welcome distraction from 'you know what'. There is great wisdom in what you say: 'you can only grow if you live in peace'. I intend to remember that, and I look forward to seeing how your tapestry progresses. Trees are one of my favourite subjects.

Corina Duyn said...

Thank you Therese, for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts.
Trees, there are many trees, or parts of them anyway, in my sculptures too. Roots, and growing...