When I think of it I imagine the colorful options, know it is versatile, and then draw a blank. Its not in my wheel house. Friends like Linda Landig and Erin Seigel, to name a few, use it with great results. But for me… its a challenge. So thats exactly why I decided to join when Diana of Suburban Girl Studio announced this blog hop.
I sat down with my journal – and a coffee – to try to sketch… I like to think visually on paper in doodles. The characteristics of waxed linen that I was drawn to: multi strands, an assortment of treasures, versatility for beads of varying size holes, and I wrote down one word more, that really started the ball rolling. WOVEN.
Athena and Arachne.
In Greek myth, Athena ( Goddess of wisdom, war, and patroness of the arts) enters a contest with Arachne. Arachne, a human girl of consumate skill at the loom, commits a fatal mistake by bragging of her talent and offending the Goddess. They weave tapestries in competition, and although Athena wins, Arachne’s skill is great. Arachne hangs herself in the tatters of her weaving. Athena, in a moment of mercy, transforms the girl into a spider so she is allowed to/cursed to spin all her days.
I created a hollow polymer focal with aluminum tubing inside to act as a channel for multiple threads. The owl, representing Athena, is cast from a reproduction drachma. The web for Arachne is a linoleum stamp that I carved to use in clay. I toyed with various spider options, but they ended up distracting from the focal…
I have an amazing assortment of waxed linen from Mary at White Clover kiln. I also delved into my Czech glass treasure, from back in the days at the Shepherdess in San Diego. Just making the color decisions was the hard part!
My original plan involved all three of these strands. Two are double strands, knotted at intervals with beads spaced an inch or so apart . The third was denser, knots, 8’s and drop beads, continuously knotted. I liked the contrast of the more open strand with the denser strand. But all three – was too busy. Here is what I decided on in the end:
The front: greys, blues and golds. A linen tassle dangling from the embedded loop. ( Note the top. The channel inset in the pendant was too narrow. Wrapped loops solved that problem!)
The back: Arachne’s web
So I was left with a knotted strand – just waiting for a pendant. Here is the bonus necklace I created with one of my ceramic fairy pendants. ( Fired to ^10 reduction for you clay people out there)
So – if I can muse philosophical for a sec, I am glad I did this. I don’t see waxed linen being my go-to material. I respect it, and designers/artists who work with it. I can see using it as an accent in mixed media pieces. I am happy with my pieces, and would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks to Diana for organizing the challenge. Please visit her page for the links to all of us participating! There are sure to be diverse offerings, and many beautiful things!
Thanks to Mary Hubbard for the sample bag of the waxed linen from her shop! I purchased it from her at Beadfest a year or two ago, and the plethora of pretty colors really inspired me to try my hand at linen and knotting!
To my fellow participants – I am currently photographing flowering cacti in Austin, TX – and visiting family. I apologize for the delay, but I look forward to “hopping” as soon as I can!