Up until the era of the Industrial Revolution, weavers, whether they were homemakers or professionals, provided fabrics needed for daily use: clothing, rugs, blankets, curtains, towels, bed and table linens, saddle blankets, etc. With the Industrial Revolution, mechanized looms made the mass production of clothing and household goods efficient and economical; handweaving was no longer a necessity. The process of weaving by hand evolved to be valued as a pleasure, as a means of creativity and self-expression. As a weaver today, I strive to make my fabrics aesthetically pleasing, whether the cloth is to be used as an artistic wall piece, as clothing or as fabric for the home.
Good weaving should show both creative and technical accomplishment. “Functional” weaving should be aesthetically pleasing in the visual sense, and also in relation to the other senses involved in its use. Here are some examples:
- A handwoven blanket should have a pleasing visual design. It also should be soft and not scratchy.
- A good kitchen towel is absorbent. A rug tightly woven will be durable and stable on the floor.
- Fabric for clothing should be woven tightly enough that it won’t snag easily, but yet should be soft enough to “drape” comfortably. So the weaver of functional cloth has various types of design elements to consider in the production of an aesthetically pleasing fabric.
At the White Rock Weaving Center, we produce a wide range of types of handwoven fabrics: wall hangings, clothing, and fabrics for the home. Our students’ levels of experience in weaving range from a few weeks to about sixteen years.
I do hope that you will enjoy seeing my work!
Anna Rose Barry, M.F.A.
White Rock Weaving Center, L.L.C.