Friday, 25 March 2011

Leviathan (explorations)

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm a *little* obsessed with the feminine, especially in the past two years since the birth of my son. I have had some amazingly poetic conversations with other women my age about what being feminine means to them. I've collected many descriptive words that really resonate for me. To name a few: Leviathan, matriarch, womb, folds, birth, huntress, mistress, salt, protector, heat, flesh, femme fatale, ova, nebula, livid, torrid, wet, budding, spewing, gaping, maw-- and from looking back on this list it seems like I'm mainly intrigued by the physicality of being a woman, but it runs a little deeper than that. I am fascinated by our duality. We are soft and hard, smooth and jagged, fragile and powerful, intuitive and rational, subtle and pungent. We are spiritual, guttural, intense, dramatic; we can turn on a dime. It upsets me when people cast the very real, physical, visceral aspects of being female in a negative light. Being a woman is anything but delicate, but that doesn't make it ugly. I would argue the opposite.

I try very hard not to censor myself in my art. If there is one place I have always felt I could be honest it was pencil to page. As long as I feel compelled to explore what femininity means to me I will not hesitate to document it through whatever medium I am using.

I've spent the past week threading, tying, tensioning and twining the warp for my latest project (many "t" words!). I finally have it all ready. The cartoon is derived from a photograph of a silk rose I keep in my studio. I scaled it up to 32" x 40" and traced just the outline onto some vellum. Then I went in with my chalk pastels and a rag, and rubbed the color in. after that I went over the outlines and darkened areas with my sharpie. The background, though left uncolored on the actual cartoon will be very dark (black mixed with strands of other colors for a bit of depth).

I intend to maintain an intuitive and textural weaving process, which I think will lend itself well to my theme. I will say that I hope to make the petals appear reptilian and scaly.

Here it is behind my warp! I'm already so excited! Biggest project yet!

*If anyone happens by here and feels inspired I would welcome for you to leave a note with keywords that come to mind when you think about being female. Please be mindful that this is my personal blog and I'm looking for honesty, creativity and insight.*

I have spent the past week battling the flu along with my hubby and my son. It's been brutal, but I have managed to get a fair bit done on my finishing for the Dimensions tapestry. I also know exactly what I'm doing for framing, and it's very simple, so hopefully tomorrow afternoon I can build it, glue it and clamp it overnight.

The back. All the ends are tied off and clipped, and I've turned the fringed edges under, covering them with a band of twill tape. Now I am hand stitching the soft side of Velcro to the top and bottom edges. THAT'S HARD! I've poked myself so many times and I'm really clumsy with a thimble too. I need to get one of those soft leather thimbles that actually fits the finger.

And in other news a friend sent me 3 lovely 1 lb batts made up of layers of all different kinds and colours of fibre. Thank You! I already spun one up (the one on the right below) and here are the results!

Check out my lovely lizard mug. Match!

Okay that's all for this week, but I'll post again when I have my frame built, and maybe a bit on how I'll be packaging it up for shipping, and of course my progress on Leviathan.




Sarah K said...

I've never really thought specifically about what being female means to me. Is that strange? It's just something that I am, and I've never dwelt* on it. I find these discussions interesting for that very reason; it's a way of thinking that is alien to me, and therefore it's fascinating.

I'm super stoked for seeing this project progress. The cartoon is just stunning! Seriously. You could make a painting or print out of that. Gorgeous.

*dwelt? seriously? I wanted dwelled. But the Red Squigglies of Doom say NOOOOOOOOO

JQ said...

I love you. Thank you times a million for leaving me one of your fabulous footnotes.

Sarah K said...

I always speak with footnotes, so it only makes sense to include them as I type, too.

Kimprovement said...

Ditto on the super stoked to see the resulting tapestry. I just shared images of your work with a friend last night. You always amaze me.

As for the ladybits I like to think of it as warmth, life, breadth, enveloping, enfolding, the leviathan (of course), the handle, the home, the port.

I'm working on an anthropology essay on menarche because it is the one thing that most women experience and the last thing we talk about.

Elizabeth M. Thurmond said...

Here via Sarah, I've been meaning to comment on this for a bit :) I think a lot about being female (byproduct of hanging out with a group of amazing feminists on- and off-line) and the words that immediately come to mind are strong, misunderstood, unexpected, surprising, foundation. Obviously I'm mostly focused on femininity interacting with the world at large and (mis)perceptions of women perpetuated by both men and women in patriarchal Western society. And oh god I just read that over and I sound really pretentious :D

Anyway, hi. I'm rollrsk8skinny and countmystars on Twitter. I have a BFA in fiber arts and ceramics and I love the pictures of your work! I've never done tapestry -- I did patterned weaving mostly -- but I find it fascinating.

Lisa said...

Words that come to mind for me:
Flexible, adaptable, strong, connectors.

When I think of some women I know, I think of mature jack pines. You know how some of them are twister by the wind, some are still straight? I think that's what we're like. We can be twisted around by life, but our root systems hold us up.

JQ said...

we condone a little pretentiousness up in here. Ask a Gink. :P

Thank you for leaving a note! I'm going to find you on Twitter now.

Mature Jack Pines! Also prickly and jagged. Going to look those up for some imagery. Fabulous! Thanks!