Artists have total control over what they create. Total. Control.
They choose materials, set the design, tell the tools what to do.
It would be nice if it worked that way, wouldn’t it? Every artist and writer knows it doesn’t.
The art makes decisions, too. The art is alive.
Artists are partners with the art. We are not the only partners. God, goddess, muse. They all get credit sometimes. Some art is inspired by other art. Some art is outright copied.
Not all of it is good. All of it is alive.
Not all art argues with the artist. Some is compliant, resourceful, helpful. What if we add this little element here, the art whispers, so quietly the artist thinks it’s her idea. The art and artist work without distraction or ego.
Other times, every minute is a struggle. The art is not gentle but yelling. NO! You are doing it wrong. That is not what I am!
The art is alive. The art knows what it wants to be. Listen.
“Take Them Home” started out as an exercise. Could a simple wedge weave pattern could be effective?
A description of wedge weave deserves its own essay. The short description is a wholly original weave created by Diné (Navajo) artists in the 1870s. It’s woven with warp yarns laid on the diagonal to the weft (the threads that go up and down), instead of perpendicular to them. It takes longer to weave a wedge weave. Maybe it just seems longer.
Diné weavers abandoned the style in the 1890s because collectors wanted straight selvages. They didn’t like the distinctive scalloped edges that add to the visual appeal of the work.
The Diné weavers are venerated by each new wedge weave if we remember and honor them in the work.
Wedge weaves traditionally do not have fringes. Diné weavers create work that is finished off the loom. No fringes or threads in the back to needle in. They are masters. There is no wasted movement or energy in a Navajo tapestry.
This piece wanted fringes.
Nope. That’s not a wedge weave look. The artist and art argued. Out loud. For a full hour.
The art won. THIS is who I am. THIS is what I want to say.
“Take Them Home.” The children.
Take them home.
It just doesn’t take “no” for an answer, does it? I can’t imagine making art without that whisper, that nudge, but oh, what a demanding taskmaster it can also be. This piece is beautiful, a prayer for their, for all, to be home. Thank you.
What a kind comment. Thank you.