At the end of the month I’m going to weave a goose-eye twill rag rug, part of a group project of the Rag Rug Study Group at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota.
I didn’t have my weft prepared yet, so I thought I would make fabric shopping a NYC task. I headed to the garment district, blocks of stores covered floor to ceiling with tubes of fabric. So much silk and sequins! Who was shopping for all this fancy fabric? I saw a young man buying ten-inch-long fringe and filmy fabric. I saw an Indian woman using FaceTime to display a beautiful patterned silk to another woman for approval. A sari, perhaps?
In almost all the stores the salespeople were young men, either African or Asian. I walked through an ENTIRE STORE of zippers, and thought about all the times I have needed to replace a zipper in my life, and how limited the selection in local stores always seemed to be.
Since the multi-colored blue-green warp for the rug is dark and I want the goose eye pattern to be prominent, I wanted a light color. It took a few stores and much squeezing between the aisles , but I found the right shade of acid green, along with a small amount of smoky grey for narrow bands on the ends. It’s a cotton blend, and quite lightweight; I haven’t decided how wide to make my strips.
I love the graphic power and possibilities of the diamond shape made by the twill in a goose-eye pattern. Maybe because the rug was on my mind, I saw other things that reminded me of the pattern as I visited museums and the United Nations. These hard-to-photograph pieces are under glass near the tour desk at the United Nations. The pieces are woven with rattan over circular wood pieces. There were no labels and the nearby staff were clueless about them; my guess is New Zealand.
This piece was part of a display of African textiles at the Cooper Hewitt Museum. The drawn-thread technique is very interesting. In the dark pattern areas the light threads have been clipped and pulled.
This is a bad photo of a gouache painting made by textile artist Liz Collins; she is an artist in residence at the Museum of Art and Design this month. For nearly four months, she has been working one day a week on a very long drawing. When she started her residency, she wasn’t sure what she would do, and found inspiration after coming upon some rolls of black paper in the corner of the room. Knitting is a frequent medium; look at the large-scale Knitting Nation projects. The painting was in a portfolio of her works.
I look forward to weaving my rug, but I may be continuing with the graphic goose-eye image, and thinking BIG……