Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To paint or to weave tapestries?

I've sometimes thought that I would rather just paint, and for the last few weeks that is what I have been doing. Why? Because there is so much more room for spontaneity than in weaving, tapestry or otherwise. It's so gratifying - one mark makes a world of difference, one colour can make you go wow. Tapestry is such a slow process that I get impatient to create my other ideas and so I think of faster alternatives, like painting. And though we all need immediate gratification every so often, and certainly, more healthier varieties, as I start putting things away I realize I have another reason why I also love the tapestry and the weaving of it.

First, there is no clean up, using tons and tons of water to cleanse the pigments away as we do for painting. As I watch the pigments go down the sink, I have a sick pit in my stomach, apologizing profusely to the planet for the harm I am doing to it. I am not the only painter on the planet so I imagine thousands of people doing the same thing and I am horrified. In tapestry weaving, one is not required to use harmful chemicals and one can make really good environmental choices as to the materials that go into weaving a tapestry. One can use biodgradable materials for instance like wool, cotton and other natural fibres. One can weave with recycled and reclaimed materials to keep them from going into landfill. Little by little my practice tries to include and consider these things.

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