Friday, July 02, 2010

Silk and cotton

Ever since I conceived of this project for the Fall Fair, I've had this dream.

The dream is that I've entered it into the fair, very happy with the finished project but not expecting to win, and the judges disallow the entry because they say it's not handpsun.

Instead of being flattered like I would be in real life, in my dream, I get enraged.

I'm upset because of all the work I put into it, but most of all I'm angry because the judges don't believe I have the skill to create something that well made.

It's a very short dream but very intense. I've had it several nights in a row now.

When I get up in the morning I look at the project and I can tell that it's obviously handspun yarn. It's not a worry I'm going to have in real life, so why am I having it in my dream?

I think it is because ancient arts like weaving and spinning come with their own legends and mythologies. Not all of these myths are old either. More and more these days, unintentionally, we are taught things like singles are not strong, you need to turn them into plied yarn. Handspun yarn is best left for weft and should not be used for warp unless you are an expert at both handpsinning and weaving. Even then, you will be spending half your time fixing broken warp threads. And, never even think about using singles for warp.

I don't think people mean to teach us this, but it has seeped into our yarn culture somewhere along the line.

But I know these myths are not true. Most of history people have used handspun yarn for warp. Most of that yarn was not plied. It can be done and it has been done. Then why don't we have confidence in our own abilities as weaver and spinners? Why do we always fall back on commercial yarn for support?

I think that is what is is, we don't have confidence. We don't have confidence in our yarn because we are always comparing it to commercial yarns.

But I know I can spin to reproduce just about any commercial yarn (given the right materials), so why can't I spin for weaving?

I don't see a reason why not.

So those people in my dream, those judges, perhaps they are simply a representation of this modern mythology that I've subscribed to. The only way to subdue these unconscious voices is to keep making new things, to keep trying new techniques and see what works for me and where my actual limits are instead of subscribing to these unvoiced superstitions.

In other news, how exactly does one finish very fine, high twist, handspun cotton singles so they can be used for warp?


Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

I can imagine having that dream! Why is it that, generally speaking, we have come to consider machine-made to be superior?

I'm learning to use a drop spindle, which is very relaxing. I'm not going to worry about inconsistencies in my yarn, because I know that the variations in my spinning show that I have produced it myself. I do not seek perfection. I seek the joy that comes with creativity!

Josiane said...

Thank you for the reminder of how powerful myths can be. It's good to recognise them for what they are: myths. Yes, we tend to lack confidence in our skills; I do, anyways. I love that you know you can successfully spin the yarn you want for your warp, and I know you will do a fabulous job of it!