Textiles - Course Description

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Students design and complete projects that enhance their own technical skill as well as their understanding of the history and development of textiles. Projects range from beginning level to complex knitting as well as various forms of spinning and simple weaving. The projects involve collaboration with their peers and the instructor, to develop progress in technical skills, problem solving, and initiative.

Students are introduced to a table inkle loom that can weave a long belt with 10/6-weight cotton thread at about 22 threads to the inch. After learning how to read and draft a pattern, they write their own, designing simple stripes or complex variations. They dress their looms with warp threads and weave at least one project, finishing the fraying edges and returning the looms empty (undressed) for storage.

Weaving is a strict exercise in the integration of vertical and horizontal. Coloration is a pure expression of the self: bold and simple, quietly blended or dazzlingly complex. Inkle loom patterns are entirely determined by the vertical warp threads; the horizontal weft threads are only visible at the turn around (selvedge) edge. This is not only counter-intuitive; it demands that patterns must be pre-planned. Then the horizontal weft threads must each be consciously woven in with equal tension. Once this is attained, weaving can become rhythmic, pleasingly quick and genuinely calming.

Weaving technology dates from the Stone Age. Weaving terms are many of the oldest and most common words we still use: to ply (one’s trade), to shuttle (back and forth), to fray (at the edges), to spin a yarn (or long story), weave a belt (the original word for all clothing).


Faculty:                   Nancy Melvin, Handwork Teacher
Class Dates:           April 30th-May 17th, 2013
Curriculum Area:    Art Block

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