or: periphron penelopeia

weaving of thoughts in doing the work of Penelope

July 24, 2012

New weaving experiments

Since February I am at the Centre for Textile Research (CTR) in Copenhagen and started working on my project Periphron Penelopeia. In my project I intended to do some practical weaving but this is not a task that fits into the office space of a university. So I went home to Germany for one week. There I have a room to work in and there I set up a loom that is meant just for doing experiments on some technical aspects of weaving on a warp-weighted loom. It is not a reconstruction of the materiality but of the techno-logic of weaving in antiquity. 

In summertime you can buy cheap stuff for the garden - or for an experimental loom. In the first picture you see a lot of Bamboo sticks in different diameters to be used as posts, heddle rods or just sticks for picking up the warp threads when patterning the fabric. The only stick that should be really straight is the one that will carry the headband of the fabric. Here this tablet-woven band is already fixed to this stick that will be inserted into the hollow bamboo rod on the top. See details in the second and third picture.

In the end the weights are knotted to groups of warp threads. These are ordered according to the distribution of threads on four shafts for a double tabby weave (fabric with dark and light side). The small cotton bags used as weights are each filled with ca. 100g gravel stones.

The tablet weaving will go on at both sides of the weave. I did not really set up the loom, because now I have to decide on the patterns to weave and look through all the marvellous books of CTR and through my collection of textile patterns from vase paintings. Then I will decide what to weave when I go back to my little weaving workshop in Germany in August.

December 24, 2011

Wonderful Copenhagen

My christmas present this year: I have got the Marie-Curie-Grant for my project at the Centre for Textile Research in Copenhagen. Thanks to the Gerda-Henkel-Foundation. The course of the project will be documentet here in this blog. It starts in Munich in January and I will go to Copenhagen in February.

October 25, 2011

Penelope is waiting ....

Actually I am busy with planning future projects while I await the decision on an application for a grant. Well, Penelope is quite used to waiting, but it is never amusing. So I tried to make a tagcloud from my project description and happened to come across wordle. And here is the result:

Wordle: weaver's work

July 1, 2011

back with penelope robot

Sorry, I was very busy the first part of the year. Now I startet my profile on facebook and learn about the advantages of blogging.
The penelope weave is kind of ready and looks like this:

You may see it at the Museum für Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke in Munich. Now I want to make a machine that weaves for me when I am absent. This is the first prototype for testing.
Well Ms Penerobot cannot weave yet and is too small for working on the big loom. So I have to make a small one for her.

December 1, 2010

Spinning the Beginning, Part 2

When there is a lot to do and I feel unable to tell apart the importance and urgency of the tasks lying ahead (acc. to General Eisenhower) I start the day with spinning. To make a thread out of loose fibers seems to be just the opposite of separating and sorting out things to do. And spinning is definitely neither important nor urgent for my work.

Here and in the background you see the selfmade spindle I am working with. It is 13.5 cm (5.31 in) long and its weight is 3 gr (0.11 oz) with wool (only washed, very short and frizzy hair). I used an acrylic bead as spindle whorl because of its shape and design, but this is a bit shortweight ...

When you try to spin by hand the first time, all instructions seem to be useless. Of course you have to give a spin to the spindle and to drew some fibers out of the bulk of wool in your left hand. But it will be a struggle with yourself and your claims of success. The crucial point is that the thread makes itself if you just attentively watch what the things are doing and if you make the smallest possible interventions. Just regulate the circumstances: give spin to the spindle just in time, give way to the fibers in the other hand, and drew out the thread in tempered speed.

It is a fascinating process. When you try to learn you may think you will never ever manage it. I made this exercise with students and there was a lot of frustration and complaining about the instructions they read in books. Learning to spin challenges our demand of control and coordination.

Instructions and descriptions of spinning never mention the visual and rhythmical awareness that is crucial for the spinning of a consistent thread without knobs and irregularities. This awareness on the spinning process   seems to center myself in mind. And then the rest of the day goes like spinning: watching the circumstances, giving spin and way to the right things in due time, and the threads makes itself.

And the moral of this story? Spinning never goes in the rubbish bin.

November 30, 2010

Spinning the Beginning

Penelope was the wife of Odysseus. She had to wait almost twenty years for his return from the Trojan war. Suitors pressed the queen to choose one of them for marriage. But Penelope postponed the decision. First she wanted to weave a shroud for her father-in-law. And she wove day by day but secretely loosened the work by night.

A famous picture from a so called skyphos found in the town of Chiusi shows her pondering in front of her loom. There we see winged figures on a fabric with decorated borders. Most scientist have stated that it is not possible to do this kind of work on such primitive tool. Well, I want to prove this wrong. And all the more I want to prove that weaving is one of the first digital technologies requiring a lot of reflections in arithmetic and the logic of spatial construction.
Some work is already done. And most of this work was done in public. Penelope has taken shape and place in Munic in October 2006. An exhibition gave an account of some classical sculpture reconstruction and there I started with the reconstruction of the weaving process. Actually I am weaving at home and want to share the process with others.

This blog will give some account of the weaving that is already done and of new projects and thoughts that emerge from the work.