Experimenting with Linear Expression
I was lucky to have found my artistic medium decades ago when I walked into my first weaving studio. This curiosity led to a lifelong passion and exploration of weaving and fiber arts with a focus on tapestry. In tapestry the warp–the lengthwise structural threads–are completely covered by the weft–the weaving yarns which create the design.
My first inspiration was Navajo blankets. I was drawn to the boldness and graphic elegance of the patterns. Navajo weavers have an intuitive understanding of the elements of design–line, color, positive/negative space, symmetry–and use it in a powerful way. Their textiles have an energy and vibrancy. My work is not a copy of Navajo weaving but studying these textiles led me to create abstract images that capture the spirit and energy that I found in the blankets.
For a brief period some Navajo weavers experimented with a maverick technique called lighting or pulled warp that today is known as wedge weave. I had an opportunity to study this technique with an exemplary weaver, Martha Stanley, who figured out an approach to how these unique textiles were woven. Since then I have been pursuing this technique and experimenting with variations on wedge weave and eccentric tapestry weaves.
In wedge weave instead of weaving perpendicular to the warp as is usual for tapestry, the weft yarns are woven at an angle to the warp. This creates a band of color angled in one direction against a subsequent band of color angled in the opposite direction. Technical structure and visual pattern are intimately connected. A charming byproduct of this technique is the scalloped selvedges, caused by the skewing of the warps and wefts. The resulting irregular and uneven selvedges add to the appeal of these textiles.
My work is inspired by color. It is the primary ingredient and creates a mood. Skeins of wool, many naturally dyed with onion skins, madder, Brazilwood and eucalyptus leaves in various shades are combined with commercially dyed yarns until I have a palette that resonates. The process starts with the color and the design is generated on the loom growing intuitively from the bottom to the top. Changes evolve. Serendipity is often present.
Nature is a second major inspiration and focus for my work. Recent work depicts abstracted landscapes. Fire / Water contrasts two basic and primal elements for life and destruction showing the ocean and the sun, the ultimate fire in the sky. A complimentary work, Heaven and Earth, captures a beautiful vista of our world and the expansive universe above.
Weaving is a solitary pursuit and tapestry a slow medium. But the process of wedge weave has a rhythmic cadence and flow. I often listen to the radio as I weave and the events of the news filter into my work. Global warming, social media, the chaos of our governments, impending wars inform some of the abstractions that I weave. As I absorb this unsettling news I am grateful to be a part of a greater fiber community and to have a link to the Native American weavers who inspire and ground me.
For more information visit www.deborahcorsini.com.