During the first pandemic lockdown of 2020, I was lucky enough to be part of an experimental course with Anastasia Azure on Weaving a Story. My woven story was an emotional response to ideas and imaginings about Brigid of Ireland. I’d been reading about her at the time, especially Tending Brigid’s Flame by Lunaea Weatherstone (Llewellyn Publications 2015) and Brigid’s Mantle by Lilly Weichberger and Kenneth McIntosh (Anamchara Books 2015).
Early in the process we made a storyboard:
We auditioned materials:
We decided on a weave structure (I used a 3-shaft honeycomb) and wound a warp:
And this Flickr album shows some of the samples I made, thinking about possibilities for cloth for a mantle for Brigid:
As well as reading the books I mentioned, I collected images that represented some of what Brigid means to me. I collected words as well: vivid, wild, mysterious, fresh, nurture, laundry, fruit, flowers, tender, sensuous, elemental. At that point I was mainly focused on how the colours, textures and structure of weaving might combine to express something of the story I’d discerned as I put together the storyboard and thought about it. I wanted to try and say something in cloth about the multi-faceted vibrant woman/saint/goddess I was encountering in the many stories written about her.
Since 2020 I’ve been reflecting on my preference for making work that is ‘only’ small pieces (even my storyboard was like that). I’ve accepted it as the way I work and there are practical reasons for it as well as inclination – working in small spaces and pockets of time, being often away and limited to what I can take with me. I’ve been considering connections and ways to collect the ‘fragments’ into something bigger (in some way). And I have so many questions about the narrative, qualities of abstract weaving still to explore.
There was a second session of Weaving a Story, and I think I’ll write about what came of that too, next time. It wasn’t overtly about Brigid, yet it was definitely in her spirit, now I think about it and it’s part of this story, anyway.