Eccentric weaving

Eccentric weaving

I am mainly self taught when it comes to tapestry weaving. I learned the basics while attending the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and I loved tapestry weaving from the beginning. I liked the thick cloth it created. I enjoyed watching shapes emerge from the background. I relished the control I had to create images in cloth. 

Tapestry weaving is defined as discontinuous weft yarns passing warp threads to create a weft-faced cloth. Basically, tapestry is pieces of horizontal yarn passing over and under tensioned vertical threads to create a cloth where you can't see any of the vertical threads. Discontinued weft means that the horizontal yarn is not going from edge to edge. This gives the weaver the ability to control exactly where each piece of yarn stops and starts in any row. It allows us to make shapes and forms and is probably why most tapestries are used to depict pictorial imagery.

Over the years I have remained interested in tapestry weaving and continued to work with it when I have time. I recently learn the type of tapestry weaving I do is called eccentric weaving. This is when a weaver builds up areas or ground without trying to keep the yarns even on the horizontal axis. Some of the yarns lay at an angle instead of perpendicular to the warp threads, which goes against the ultimate goal in weaving-to weave by laying row by row. I find eccentric weaving gives me more freedom to create the suggestion of movement I seek. By using eccentric weaving techniques, I sacrifice the certainty that my edges with be straight and square, but I can draw the eye through a piece more successfully than if I was to weave evenly to the warp threads. Sometimes, I end up with wonky edges when I take the weaving off the loom. Once the loom tension is released the push and pull create by eccentric weaving is revealed. In a world where the evenness of selvage edges is validation of an accomplished and skilled weaver, my work is not considered technically correct. 

When I reflect on this I think about something one of my instructors at NSCAD said once in regards to working abstractly. Having the skills and knowledge to do something correctly and choosing to do it in your own way is different than just doing it incorrectly because of ignorance. I like to think of my tapestry weaving like that. I do have the skills to weave evenly and to get straight selvages, but I chose to weave eccentrically to give a suggestion of flow I can not accomplish otherwise. I am willing to give up the perfect edge to get the effect of motion.


 Are you self taught, or choose to do something differently? What are your experiences with it? I'd love to hear.


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