I’m back from New York and Primary Text is up! It’s still bare bones though- it won’t be fully alive until people start weaving in the images to create stories. I have around 120 symbol-images now, all repeated at least once, first drawn in crayon and then printed onto canvas. Visitors will have the opportunity to weave together a story or memory or statement using these images, ending with a black square.
There were certain things that had to wait until the silk was up and I could look at the piece as a whole in the space before I could judge. In particular, putting in a guide-weft. I had thought I would need to do it and had several options on the table. When it was up I knew I wanted the weft-threads (the horizontal part of the weaving) to be equally delicate to the warp (the vertical part). It gave the whole thing a subtle repetition of the window behind it that wasn’t so bold as to distract from the images once they go in. I ended up loving the way the weft pulled the warp in- giving it a little bit more of an organic, dynamic shape (as did the twist sag and lean). It did take me an extra full-day’s work, but was well worth it.
The entire piece has been an exercise in taking very geometric forms and solid colors an giving them a slightly more organic quality. The cyan, yellow and magenta are over-dyed in layers of uneven dyeing to give them slight color variation while still remaining basically blocks of color. The squares with the crayon images on them I eventually cut at slightly different sizes and some imperfect squares. It would have been easy to print the guide-lines and make them identical, but I wanted a different effect- slightly more dynamic, irregular, even organic despite the square-ness (also because they are made of fabric and are flexible). I did not try to tie everything off in the same way, or make the lines perfectly straight, or anchor each weft-line so it doesn’t move. There are patterns, and yet each one is softened by this. I enjoyed this tension.
I also enjoy the tension in the image-squares, but I don’t want to discuss them until the piece has been created with people. I want to see what happens and how people respond without any input from me.
I can’t wait to see how it is once people are creating their stories with it. Fortunately I’ll be back in New York in June for the Harmony contest’s events and I will get to see it then. I already want to do the piece again in a venue with a higher ceiling! I had to work around the hanging lights and I’m not happy with how they cut across the top of the piece. Still, I’m very pleased with the piece itself and overall it’s a great space for it. I can’t wait to see these bare bones filled with image-stories!