Things are Moving Again – Slowly

Did you know tigers hibernate? I didn’t before this year, but experience now has shown they occasionally do, at least the book tigers…

Inkle Weaving

Officially, the UK went into lockdown on 23rd of March (I closed shops a week earlier), and from 1st of June, lockdown eases were announced. Officially we are now out of lockdown even though, of course, security measures are still in place, and local authorities have the right to impose local lockdowns or other security measures. And, finally, on 1st of August shielding will end in England. Although we as a family have taken things much more slowly than we would have been officially allowed, and we are planning to for a while longer, Büchertiger is also slowly waking up from hibernation.

page from my sketchbook

The world seemed to split into two halves during lockdown: those for which a time of utter boredom started, and those who leapt into frantic, sleepless workload. I fell into the second half, and calling it a hibernation for my artwork (or shop) is an understatement, it was more of an induced coma. But, as things settled down, especially after summer half-term, my inner art tiger lifted an eyelid.

It all started with a general interest in weaving (and those who follow me on instagram know that I have been making woven bands and friendship bracelets, using different braiding and weaving techniques over the last months. Kind of fascinated by the look of different weaves, I cut a very simply block:

the printing block

I first printed it in different orientations with a stencil to create the image of different weaving styles:

Quite pleased with this outcome, and thinking while the prints were drying (and I was teaching in Kurzke Corona Home School), I had the idea to extent the use of stencils. I switched colour from black to a dark brownish red, and got going, first by placing additional imagery within my circle. That didn’t work very reliable, at least at this scale. But I still got two prints out of it that I rather like:

I kept working with the idea of putting images of women with children, carrying children into the picture.
(Hand) weaving immediately rewoke the memory of my woven carrying shawl that I used for a while to carry my babies. And I found that weaving and woven patterns are such a good image for motherhood. Both because traditionally all steps of the fabric-making process seem to be female work, but also because fabrics and babies seem to go together, the loose woven swaddling cloths, the amount of laundry you do, the carrying and nursing shawls, the beds we long for and spend time in, … And at the same time yarn and fabric metaphors are being used frequently to talk about life and our dependence from other humans and our relationships with them.

Yet another week later, I started to collage patterns and the used stencils.

I am note entirely sure where to take it from here. I have a couple of ideas, including one for a book. But first, I need a larger block to print from. This initial one is just 7.5cm square. The small size made the use of stencils tricky as any half-way stable paper has a thickness at is substantial at that scale. So, first a larger block, and then we’ll see. For now, I am busy packaging some of the prints.

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