Site icon Robbie LaFleur

Weaving a Rya Was Endless, But Satisfying

A favorite question of any nonweaver when looking at a piece I’ve woven, is “How long did that take you?”

The endless rya project began more than two years ago.  I have a strong emotional reaction to the paintings of Robert Motherwell, particularly his many versions of “Elegy to the Spanish Republic.”  His broad black shapes look like enormous brushstrokes; the oval black shapes between them look squeezed or trapped. I thought a similar pattern would work well as a rya, with the yarn adding depth to the bold shapes.  I hoped to achieve an effect similar to the roughness of his paint strokes because the pile creates inexact edges.  Mixing colors in the knot bundles of yarn is also a way to add subtle color variation.  The resulting piece is “Squeezed: Homage to Robert Motherwell.”

So how long did it take?  I estimated that the weaving itself, with tying the long rows of knots, took about an inch an hour – roughly 46 hours.  But it was the design, yarn preparation, set-up, and confronting problems along the way that took at least as many hours, maybe more.  Happily, the piece has personal meaning and met my hopes.

If you are a weaver, you may be interested in the longer documentation of this process, here.

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