Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tinting a Black & White Image

Each year, Designing Weavers requires each member to create a work that embodies that year's theme. This year, the theme chosen last Fall was the same as the Convergence theme: Ancient Paths, New Visions. At three meetings in the Spring, members present their projects to the rest of the group, with information about their original goal, their process, and problems they faced and lessons they learned during the completion of the project.

I posted about the image I wanted to work with here, with a description of the image and the process I proposed to use - tinting a black and white image with dyes after weaving.

I presented the finished project yesterday at the March monthly meeting. Here's the finished weaving, with colors courtesy of thickened acid dyes applied to the silk weft (but ignored by the black cotton warp).

The problem is that I don't really like the outcome all that well. It has too much of a "paint by numbers" look to it. And that's what I told the group. One very wise member of the group suggested that I roll the piece up in archival tissue and put it away for several months where I can't see it. When I reopen it, maybe I'll see it differently? Dunno. But I'll try it.

I'm much happier with the pieces woven with limited colors, the ones I've posted recently, where the limited hues create a more abstracted version of the original photograph. To me, they have more of the maker's hand visible, not just photographic precision.

In the meantime, I'm nearly finished tying on the new warp, and should have new pieces to post soon. I'm looking forward to it!


Connie Rose said...

It's gorgeous, but I'm confused. It sounds like you intended to do the trees from the February post...but you did this vista instead? What am I missing?

neki desu said...

agreed. too much photographic precision ,as alice says, makes you married to the literal.
maker hand's weaving are more visually exciting.

Alison said...

Sandra, hi! I can't remember if I've ever commented here before (I tend to be shy and retiring, and not much good at staying in touch with people!) but I had to comment on this. If good art is that which elicits a powerful visceral response, then you might like to know that this *worked* for me. It gave me a powerful tug of nostalgic homesickness for North Yorkshire, where I was born. For that, I love it!

On the other hand, I can see what you mean about the 'too precise', paint-by-numbers feel, and I can imagine it only gets more pronounced in person. What it reminds me of, most, is hand-tinted photographs/woodcuts (which, incidentally, adds to the nostalgic feel, I think. In fact, there's a whole range of styles you could pursue, intentionally exploiting that sense, if you wished to). I think it's because there is such detail in the black/white, from the satin, but a relatively limited range of actual colours applied to it.

Executive summary: I like it (quite a lot, actually), but I can see how it might be a disappointment compared to the vision that *you* started with. I think your group member is indeed wise to suggest setting it aside for a while, so you can distance yourself from that vision, and see it with fresh eyes.

Sandra Rude said...

Hi, Connie,
My intent was always to use this image for the project, because it fits with the theme - portraying a ruined arch, part of an ancient castle, using new technology (electronic jacquard) to execute the vision. Perhaps the fact that the February post also contained a picture of one of the trees confused the issue.
-- Sandra

Joan said...

Love the composition. Love the sky and fields. The walls are too red should be more brown or grey. That said, I would never be able to come close to it. So bear in mind the old saying "When all is said and done a lot more is said than done." and apply it to me. Joan