The inner force of fiber
My life as an artist changed when I saw a simple work of cloth.
The cloth is mizugoromo, an overgarment made for Japanese Noh Theater. Literally meaning “water cloth”, mizugoromo is with woven in a style using a very open weave with intentionally displaced weft threads. This displacement creates undulations and curves in the overall design. The delicate simplicity of the line and the curve makes me swoon.
We all have those moments. Whether enveloped in nature, surrounded by art in a museum, or lost in a book, we suddenly stop and wonder, think, or dream, and catch our breath. The challenge becomes how to continue the inspiration and have it lead our research and artistic path.
Kandinsky wrote, “If I make frequent use of the circle it is not for the geometric form or properties, but for my strong feeling for the inner force of the circle and its countless variations”. That quote describes my feeling toward the curved line and grid in my work with fiber. Lines expose surface, pattern, communicate freedom, and move organize away from the constraints of repetitive grid. The boundness of the threads communicates a freedom when I move them, to leap from the literal path into a phenomenal one because they don’t follow the traditional woven grid or pull away from the constraint of the deckled edge of the paper.
The simple beauty in a curved line amongst a bed of perpendicular intersections is breathtaking because it breaks the boundaries of the traditional and expected grid. It is unpredictable and inviting. It holds my interest, pulls me in, and makes me want to see more as it converges within a boundary and then diverges. I see freedom in those lines of undulation. They have a starting point and then they take off to the destination of another point turning away from one boundary and heading toward another. Curved lines within a woven grid become thoughtful and gestural.
My hands always begin a thought process. I like to see and feel what materials are immediately available to me. What texture am I seeking? Is there color influence? How does this form want to be seen – smooth and tight? Open and wild? Controlled and shaped? These questions help answer what materials will best express the ideas. Sometimes the answers are based on a passionate response between materials and concept.
This conversation, this type of exchange, is crucial to the organic and fluid movement of threads and fibers. It is a delicate give and take. And this dialogue is central to the outcome of the work. Fibers have memory. The tentative and ephemeral qualities of fiber are enhanced when coaxed to their limit given opportunity to fully express their nature, converging and diverging like a topographical landscape. That is the honesty I like to see revealed. Not just in my work but in the work of others.