Friday, November 30, 2012

Lacemaking... and what we can learn from spiders

The art of making lace in one form or another has existed from the earliest ages. There are scriptural references to various web-like fabrics, which were made of rude construction, no doubt, but whose general characteristics were identical with those productions of modern skill which have for centuries been known as lace. Homer and other ancient writers constantly mention net-works of fancifully embroidered materials; gold thread-work was nown to thee Romans, and as Egyptian robes of state are depicted upon the tombs of the earlier dynasties as being fashioned from a looped net-work or crochet..."

-The Art of Modern Lace-Making (Butterick Publishing Company, 1891)

Lace and silk from Metro Textiles

Pictured above, is a fabric combo on its way to becoming  something unique for me, inspired by a dream I had, an unrealized idea from a client I had last year, and the "Spiders Alive!" exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.

In an old Greek story, Arachne (uh-rak-nee) loved to weave. Her weaving was so beautiful and perfect that the goddess Athena got jealous. To punish Arachne, the goddess turned Arachne into a spider. But Arachne still loved to weave, and continued to do so, as a spider...

So, here's my question for the day... if all spiders know how to spin webs (and I assume all do), why don't they consolidate their efforts, and some work on spinning webs, while others gather the prey? Why don't they work together?

A spider uses its own body measurements to make its web, using a very practical and ergonomic design process. The spider starts with the most difficult part of construction -- the first thread, and creates an extraordinary silken net, often as beautiful as it is functional. It is also abolutely unique and personal.

We work to create our own intricate handmade patterns, using yarn, strings or thread and fabric, and our own human hands. There is something very natural about this. Something very real and tactile... Individuality is important. Personal expression, the need to share beauty, and this sense of accomplishment are vital.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:29 PM

    This is not how I have read the Greek myth. Arachne became so proud of her skill that she lost all humility and boasted that her work was superior even to the gods. Athena challenged her to a competition and Arachne wove a beautiful clothe. But as Athena began to weave an awesome creation, Arachne knew she was bested. As an alternative to the original stakes of the competition, Arachne was changed into a spider so that she could continue to weave forever.

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    Replies
    1. You may be correct. I have only read one interpretation.

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