Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reflections on The Man in the Moon, MCCT June 2010

Following obsessions is one way of describing contemporary weaving practices regardless of what methods are used. In my life as a painter there were flowers, landscapes, male figures, portraits, in my life as a quilter there were flowers, landscapes, male figures, portraits, and in my Jacquard woven textiles all of these have made an appearance.

 Here is one of my painting of flowers being held by a figure 
standing in a landscape (Saltspring Island)

Here is a painting transitioning itself into a quilt with landscape flowers and figures

This is a landscape mural I painted painted  in a bedroom in a house in the country, the bedding , the tufted duvet and pillow case are also made by me.
A jacquard woven self portrait made during my first visit to the MCCT
One thing does lead to another and a line can be drawn from my earliest drawings of flowers as a child in terms of shapes and colour to what I do today.
Can you find two things that are wrong in this photo* see bottom of page for correct answer 
After doing a workshop on the TC-1 in Austria in July 2009 I got back to the MCCT in June 2010 to continue exploring what I had started in Haslach. There I had decide to explore white on white damask but it was more about texture it is hard to limit yourself when working with the complex weaver structures that can be woven on a jacquard looms. As I have built a vocabulary of weave structures over the past ten years my concerns in making cloth have changed and given that this time in Montreal I would be designing for a 6 colour warp I still wanted to see if and how to bring as much white onto the front of the cloth while including the other colours.

Expanding last summers flower garden and combing a previously used landscape I began to work on a two coloured shuttle design.

This is one of the weave structures I created [I call it peek -a-boo, it as an eyelet look ]

Working with a structure i had created three years ago to produce a rich red, I liked the effect and then shifted it to bring each colour to the front and made one piece using only this structure.

Three shades of blue and two reds using the same structure.
This is a detail of the different shades of white, distance plays an important part helping the eye recognize what it is seeing on the surface of a jacquard cloth much like Georges Seurat's pointillist paintings

This detail of "white" floats on a backdrop of colour which is a garden siting under a big sky 

 Sky Detail
Earth detail

 Reflections on The Man in the Moon, 2010, six colour repeated warp; black red green blue yellow and white yarn, woven with a two colour weft; black and white, 48.26 cm wide X 1.42 meters High (19 “X 56”)

 Cows can not lay down with their legs in front it is physically impossible and "W" is missing from the alphabet
"Desire in shades of Purple" Scanned of woven photocopies

This the first DIYJOE, downlaod this image make an 8. x 11 thermal transfer of it and iron it on a T-shirt and Bobs your Uncle! your very own DIY Joe Lewis T-shirt

Telling Tails: Woven Narrative Textiles: Kathy Schicker and Joe Lewis April 2010

2010 saw my first exhibition in Toronto since 2000. Telling Tails: Woven Narrative Textiles a two person show with British textile designer and jacquard weaver Kathy Schicker whom I had met at the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles around 2004.

This time gap may seem a rather large, but my reality is that in oder to do jacquard work i am dependent on accessing looms that that belong to some one else or are housed in an institution like the Montreal Centre of Contemporary Textiles. Since I desire to work rather exclusively with a Jacquard Loom to create new image based woven textiles I am restricted by geography and accessible time . I have work at the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles for limited time periods almost every one of the past 10 years to produce what was shown in Telling Tails
“Blue Genes” 2003, 68 cm x 1.05 meter (27”h X 40” w) Warp: cotton, weft: 1 shuttle, cotton and acetate
Gallery view Sisters by Kathy Schicker on left 3 Guy Hanging around by me on right

The exhibition was plan to coincide with American weaver Lia Cook's exhibition Faces and Mazes which open at the Textile Museum of Canada the day before our opening on April 10. It was an opportunity for both Kathy and I to have our work seen be and artist who is in the top of our medium. It was also an opportunity for a Toronto audience to see three distinct approaches and use of the same computer assist weaving technology. The exhibition was reasonably attended and the media coverage has been local provincial and international.
Collaged view into Berkeley Castle / Gallery @2 from the front door

Telling Tails: Woven Narrative Textiles can be seen on line POPLAR Gallery (it is currently moved to the archive)
Coverage of the exhibition
Photo of Joe Lewis by Christopher Jones. Live With Culture

Joe Lewis rides the Jacquard Wave by Christoffer Jones, Live With Culture April 8 2010

Telling Tales, Textile Forum 2/2010 June pg.10

Fibre Focus Autumn 2010, Volume 53, Number 3

"Beyond the Studio, Joe Lewis: Holding the Torch High. by Graham McCracken pg. 29

Joe Lewis Jacquard Weaver by Graham McCracken: http://www.ohs.on.ca/members/fibre-focus-magazine/ is a download from the website,

Fibre Focus is the magazine of the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners and is published 4 times a year in March, June, September, and December.

 Lia, Kathy and me in front of Kathy's "Sisters" piece at the opening of "Telling Tales: Narrative Woven Textiles by Joe Lewis and Kathy Schicker"

Austria July 2009, T-C1 workshop with Vibeke Vesby

Haslach Upper Austria was the location of the European Textile Association’s 15th biannual Conference: “Revival of Old Textile Centres: a new future for training”  Wednesday, July 22 until Friday July 24, 2009.
The ETN 15th conference took place in Austria at the Textile Centre Haslach, with pre-conference activities in Vienna and Linz "2009 Cultural Capitol of EU" and post conference workshops organized by the Haslach Textile Centre.

During the day of Networking presentations I spoke on publishing fibreQUARTERLY and about textile and fibre arts activities in Canada (this presentation was supported by the Canada Council)

After the conference I took The Sky is the Limit: Challenge your creativity with a TC-1 and Photoshop ™ with Vibeke Vestby from Tronrud Engineering Norway who is the developer and manufacturer of the T-C1. Using Photoshop ™ to create weave structures was something I had been resisting because I had been using PoincarrĂ© ™ software in Montreal at the MCCT and "The Woven Pixel" by Alice Schlein and Bhakti Ziek.just seen a bit like starting at scratch. 10 minutes into the workshop however I was slapping myself on the for head and uttering duh and grinning from ear to ear. Building weave structures a pixel at a time in black and white and then defining them as a pattern to replace a colour in the design was so simple and such an obvious use of that particular bit of software I was stupefied by me resistance and just got down to it.

This the image I was working with during the T-C1 workshop
This is a simulation of the damask pattern I developed from the garden images
I wove a test sample with a white weft on the white warp
Being a workshop my sample is the cue waiting to be cut out, I was satisfied with the result but realized I had used to many weave structures to make a readily recognizable Damask which for most people is the simple two colour or two tone weft faced Satin and its reverse. I decided to move onto something more complicated and insert multiple coloured/ shuttle areas into a primarily white on white multi layered cloth with the colour inside when not on the surface (front or back) rather then a brocade.

that little strip is my sample and for me it was enough to answer my questions on how and if this design would work.

The inserted upright rectangle will be a 6 colour insert. I wove a small sample but at that point the loom started to act up so being unfamiliar with the loom I stopped, but I had enough to convince myself this design could be produced.

Later in the year Vibeke provided me with an image of larger sample of this design she had woven for me. Using a green rather then white yarn to punch up what I planed as white on white area of the design. Looking at this 18 months later and having heard two papers on Velvet weaving at the TSA symposium in Lincoln in October I now am thinking a trip to the Lisio Foundation is in order and a silk damask with a multicoloured velvet brocade might be an interesting way to go.

Here is a photo of the workshop group standing left to right Christina Altona, Doris Hascher, from Austria Simona Standler from Czech Republic, Heide Peitarinen from Norway, Joe Lewis (Canada) with Vibeke Vestby, Agnes Haupty from New Zealand and Khatuna Popiashvili from Georgia in front of T-C1 and  Della Reams an American who teacshes in Qatar. [Textile Conference bring an international audience together don't they]

To read more about the Textile Center Haslach and the 2009 ETN conference go to fQ Volume 5 Issue 3 Fall 2009  for Conference reports and there is also a longer article on Haslach Textile Centre

Links to the Organizations interest mentioned in this postings

European Textile Network http://www.etn-net.org/

Textile Centre Haslach http://www.textile-kultur-haslach.at/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

T-C1 Loom http://www.tronrud.no/index.php?id=58&L=1

Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles http://www.textiles-mtl.com/

Lisio Foundation http://www.fondazionelisio.org/index.php