building blocks

A ubiquitous form of window glass in Australia during the California bungalow period [1910 to 1940] was a ripple glass; it often featured in bathrooms, a wasp nest pattern, an accretion of lozenge shapes. 

The patterning comes closest to the way I combine shapes in my weaving of tapestries. I am aware of many contemporaries who have moved from painting to weaving. In the latter mode their work resembles a fabric mesh; somehow I have retained a mode of accreting shapes. Much tapestry weaving, where possible, works on upward inclines. However, teachers tend to encourage their students to disguise this way of working. A manual I came by in the 1970’s referred to the Lazy Susan line, whereby the weaver might cut through a large monochrome area, providing a stepped line. In other words, perhaps half of the area would be completed, to speed up weaving the adjacent areas. However, Archie Brennan commented on the practice, discouraging its use, because in his opinion, it was next to impossible to seamlessly weave over the stepped area.

I agree with him: to make art in a way that disguises one’s working is dishonest. Yes, in early modernist times, “art concealing art” was an admired principle. That is worlds away from this. Concealing layers of complexity below a nonchalant surface is admirable. The faux-naif atmosphere is meant to dissipate, leaving enticements to further engage. TS Eliot’s poetry is an excellent example.

Going to great lengths to disguise one’s mode of work is uninteresting, it lacks confidence. I have made a characteristic of this stepped way of working: as a result, my work has a raw, direct, emotional. I have yet to baptise it as an art style. Any suggestions?


About anton veenstra

tapestry weaver, fibre artist, gay/qr activist, multiculturalist
This entry was posted in Archie Brennan, art concealing art, fibre, finished work, loom, stepped line, tapestry, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to building blocks

  1. Allison Green says:

    Neat use of colour. I agree, it is more harmonious to make use of the perculiarities of a medium than to fight against them. I try to look for the so-called flaws and use them as inspiration. It is always easier to work with parametres.

    As for an art style, how about “upwardly mobile”? Haha, I kid. You might go with something implying movement though. Diagonal lines are perceived as active and dynamic. Just a thought.

    Nice work, bigger photos would be wonderful though!

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