Images of my completed net work – “Black Velvet, Dark Night”

Hi everyone,

Just thought I would drop in to show you some images of my completed net work.

You can read more about “Black Velvet, Dark Night” on my website at http://www.peterlsmith.com.au/html/netwurks.html .

Material Culture: networks and connections

After the meeting today I thought some more about the material culture of our textile work: the specific tools we have and the way in which we use them.

What do they reveal about our values and attitudes?  Are they part of the construction of personal identity? Certainly some of my tools are very personal items. Some are  survivors from the past, and exhibit their previous owner’s  care for things hard come by. Through their patina of use they provide a model of authentic experience that connects me to other textile workers.

As a tapestry weaver, I now use  a frame loom that I made so that it could be dismantled for travelling to a course in Italy with Lynne Curran. That frame continues now to be the one I use as for me it is invested with knowledge gained through Lynne’s teaching.  Through Lynne’s generosity I  acquired an historic vertical loom, once used by Lynne herself and before that by Sax Shaw, one time director of the  Edinburgh Tapestry Company. I had not known Sax’s work, but researching his career as an artist has brought me into contact with a body of work and a philosophy of working that has informed my own developing sensibility of what it is to be a weaver. Warping it up became an act of continuity and connection.   Learning  its codes and language  provided essential tools for thought about tapestry weaving and how it has been practised.

Concertina paper lace

I am experimenting with some more ideas to necklace and in particular the lace from Elizabethan times. The images above explore the construction concepts of lace (usually they were folded in a figure eight pattern) and shape of the ruffle. I like the idea of turning these paper lace drawings into small books or wearable paper art…..

check out my blog for more images http://kate-ward-design.blogspot.com/2010/06/paper-lace.html

Safety Nets

Safety Nets………..I was intrigued by the Norwegian government’s seed vault in Svalbard within the Arctic circle. This botanical safety net protects millions of seeds as a genetic resource.

Many people and organisations are striving to protect endangered habitats and species and it seemed appropriate in this, the year of biodiversity, to explore this theme.

These human safety nets have to be robust but they are also invisible…..how then to explore them through a textile medium?

At the moment I am working with ideas from drawn thread embroidery………….the drawn threads weaken the structure of the fabric(as we do when we destroy plant habitats) then we manipulate it.   Beautiful heirloom samples show meticulous neatness and a new strength to the structure. The samples show a course diverse weave with hemp and wool, a rust stained and a leaf stamped organic cotton.

I am not sure where this is taking me yet but I am enjoying the journey.

Nets at ANU…

In these samples I was thinking about the concept of making a 2D work that references “Nets”, rather than a 3D work that is actually a net.

In relation to the context of my work, I am constantly drawn to the environment for inspiration. I have been looking at patterns on bark in particular. In these samples I have worked with images of bark pattern. The patterns in tree bark can be like a camouflage pattern, or can become a net of pattern over a tree.

The embroidery creates a net over the bark; while the cutting and collage technique creates a net over the screen-printed paper, through which the printed paper can be viewed.

Architectural Nets Piece

In this piece I wanted to use the clear plastic to create some sort of a grid, or net. I really like how the plastic captures and refracts light and casts shadows even though the light passes through it. The plastic was originally a case for a product, so I wanted to use it as a template for an architectural structure. But in order to do that, I needed to deconstruct the plastic, by cutting away pieces, and then reconstructing it by weaving the pieces into place. From that point, it really became about the process of putting it together, as it really demanded that it be done strategically, or it just kept falling apart and flopping over.

ANU textiles project

I chose to approach the concept of nets by experimenting with a technique I learnt in Canada as a child. I became interested in dreamcatchers, their history and the ways to weave them. I was reminded of this as we were learning netting techniques in class and realised that they weren’t very different from weaving dreamcatchers. I have been working with unconventional materials such as wire, CD’s, bracelets and crockery to impose a contemporary context to a traditional craft. My love for Native American culture fuelled my interest in dreamcatchers, and I aim to push the concept further to incorporate the idea of the ‘modern dream’; the supposed formula for a full and happy life in our society. I plan to do this by looking at weaving in objects that make up this formula – a house, car, money, and family etc. into the woven web of the dreamcatcher so that it acts as a net to catch these dreams. I plan to have a series of dreamcatchers made of different materials as mentioned, surrounded by some larger dreamcatchers holding these ‘modern dreams’.