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Archive for April, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things – #13: Rule of Thirds

Last night I changed my mind about the next favorite thing I was going to share.  Why?  Yesterday afternoon I went to the Seattle Art Museum to see the exhibit Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise.  As I progressed through the exhibit looking at the paintings and other items, occasionally a woman behind me commented the paintings had been cropped because the images were not centered on the canvas.  At first I tried to ignore her, but after she made the comment again at a particular painting, I finally felt compelled to reply that I thought the way that Gauguin had organized the images on the canvas was consistent with the Rule of Thirds.

I was first introduced to the concept of Rule of Thirds back in college when I was working as a graphic artist for the audio-visual department at the university where I was doing my undergraduate course work.  My boss was a photographer and we frequently would discuss Rule of Thirds in the design and composition of different projects.  If you’re unaware of Rule of Thirds, it can be a very handy in understanding why something works or doesn’t work.

Wikipedia defines Rule of Thirds as follows:

The rule of thirds is a “rule of thumb” or guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images such as paintingsphotographs, and designs.  The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.

The grid below shows a rectangle broken into its thirds

Rule of Thirds is often covered when learning about photographic composition, but it also applies to many other things such as painting . . . and more recently, web page design.  The image below (borrowed from Wikipedia) shows the same image with two different compositions – one without (on the left) and one with (on the right) Rule of Thirds composition.

The work of one of my favorite artists, Edgar Degas, shows examples of Rule of Thirds, which I think makes them more interesting and visually intriguing.   Below are just a few examples.

Rule of Thirds can be see in Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night

Even my favorite image of Cary Grant can be an example of Rule of Thirds . . . some might place his face in the very center, but I think it looks much more interesting the way it looks . . . but, I have to admit . . . Cary Grant looks marvelous regardless of the composition of the image.  (By the way, it took me years before I realized he was holding a flower)

If you’re not familiar with Rule of Thirds, I have included several helpful web-based resources below.

Rule of Thirds may not factor in to many textiles, but who knows . . . perhaps we can get something started!

These are a few of my favorite things – #12: Inkle Weaving

I think inkle weaving is a lot of fun and a great way to work out ideas (especially when it comes to color) for a project before moving on to my floor looms.  When I learned to weave in 1969, I started on four-shaft floor looms.  It took me 30 years before I wove on an inkle loom.

Learning to weave on an inkle loom was sparked by a small group of us in the Seattle Weavers Guild taking on the responsibility for weaving one of our monthly samples.  Most of us working on this sample had not woven on an inkle loom, so it was a learning process for all of us . . . which at one point involved the group creating a “human warping board” in a parking lot that amused diners in a nearby restaurant . . . however, that’s a different story.

An inkle loom is the equivalent of a two-shaft loom.  Warp-faced bands are the most frequent thing woven; however, it’s capable of much more.  The images below are samples I made when exploring two-shaft rep weave, shibori, and weaving with wire (to name just a few)

Since my first inkle loom warp, I have had many inkle weaving adventures, from publishing a monograph Handwoven Decorative Trim:  An introduction to weaving passementerie trims to working with Richard Ashford of Ashford Handicrafts in New Zealand to develop their small inkle loom, the Inklette . . . . a small portable inkle loom for the weaver-on-the-go.

There are many resources available to help get you started.

First, there is a monograph written by Mary Meigs Atwater, How to Weave on the Inkle Loom, and is available at http://handweaving.net/DAItemDetail.aspx?ItemID=1593)

Below is an image of Mary Meigs Atwater weaving on her inkle loom.  She believed inkle weaving should be a part of every weavers repertoire (I happen to agree with her).  Several years ago while I was teaching a workshop for the Mary Meigs Atwater Guild in Salt Lake City, UT, I was fortunate to see the inkle loom in the image.  It was thrilling to learn the loom is still being used!

In addition to her monograph, there are a variety of other web-based resources to help you learn and be inspired by a loom many overlook or having collecting dust in the back of a closet.

Weaving on the Inkle Loom article by Mary Meigs Atwater – http://handweaving.net/DAItemDetail.aspx?ItemID=8060
Beginning Inkle Weaving
by Heather Heroldt – http://www.heatherspages.net/uploads/6/7/2/6/6726652/beginning_inkle_weaving.pdf
Inkle Weaving 101
blog post by Sara Lamb – http://saralamb.blogspot.com/2006/05/inkle-weaving-101.html
Inkle Weaving web-based write-up by Earth Guild – http://www.earthguild.com/products/riff/rinkle.htm

Give it a shot!  Gather a few weavers together and begin to explore the potential of inkle weaving!

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