Spring is in the air so I went to see MariposaHandwovens
The title of this piece says it all. Winter sunset colours. I can almost see it. Fields and fields for as far as the eye can see. The sky wide and vast. All around you, each way you look, the horizon is just out of reach always before you. Like the future. The setting sun sinks slowly down, sending out rays of pink and orange light. Slipping down beyond the edge of the prairie. Perhaps a cloud or two lingers in the sky catching those colours and for a moment combining them all.
Although hard to choose this is the one I would have and so is my featured image. Not only are the colours so warm and bold, but it looks soft, light and I like the pattern of the weave and the way how the colours almost fade into each other.
MariposHandwovens opened summer 2012, but it’s owner and designer Vicki is no stranger to weaving and, as you will see below, she comes from generations of crafters. Her about page photos are fascinating, with images of her two looms, one with a large red piece of fabric half way through, and process. Not forgetting the little yellow and black butterfly who became her logo – Mariposa is Spanish for butterfly, but then I am sure you all know that. Her shop is full of the labours at the looms: scarves, shawls and ponchos. Each woven with varying textures, mixing colours and bending subtle patterns. I’ve been wanting to feature Vicki’s shop for a long time, having fallen in love with the hand-woven fabric the moment I saw it. My only regret is that I wish the import taxes from USA to Spain were not quite so high, at least on my favourite shawl. But for the rest of you. . .
In Spain we don’t really have the four normal seasons. Just a long dry summer and a wet (and slighty colder) period. Most of the trees are evergreens and the ones that do lose their leaves, do so in the summer when they are shriveled into dust by the sun. Spring lasts about a month, just after the rain and before the hot sun. It’s beautiful. Hillsides covered in wild flowers, sunny barmy picnic weather, bees, sweet fragrance. Even though it’s at least several weeks till Spring, I decided to celebrate my favorite time of year with a series of shops. Everyone has their own way of viewing their art, colours and feelings on Spring, so I look forward to all the different answers. Lets see what Vicki says!
Interview with Vicki
What led you to weaving?
I found weaving by accident! My mom and maternal grandmother and great-grandmother did beautiful crochet using fine cotton. But crocheting and knitting were both frustrating for me.
My mom was also a seamstress and, at one time, wanted to be a fashion designer. She taught me to sew at an early age and I made some of my own clothes.
Over the years I dabbled in sewing, embroidery, applique, and other fiber techniques. One day, I met a woman who, in her spare time, was doing something that was, to me, quite magical. She was both making cloth and, at the same time, adding a pattern to it. And it was woven cloth! She had the freedom to design and make fabric to her own specifications. She could make an item finished right at the loom or weave it as yardage for off-loom construction. This truly appealed to me – I would no longer be limited by commercially made fabrics. This was something I absolutely had to do!
That was more than 30 years ago and, although I spent a decade away from weaving as life presented other options, I knew that weaving was something to which I’d return. 5 years ago, I dusted off my loom and began rebuilding my skills. There was so much I’d forgotten. I don’t regret the years in which I explored other interests, but I do regret not having continued weaving if only as an avocation.
What’s your favourite or most rewarding part of your process?
Easily, it is the actual process of weaving that I love the most. I love to watch the fabric that I planned and designed take shape. I love to see how the colors interact and how the pattern builds and how it looks in cloth. I love the tactile quality of the yarns and how they feel as they interlace with each other. I also love the motion of weaving. Even though I am a slow weaver, it feels good to have both my arms and legs involved in the process.
What inspires me? There is so much! One of the interests I alluded to above was a growing interest in birds and birding and from that a new-found love of the natural world. The colors and textures of that natural world – from birds to wildflowers to leaves to tree bark to fungus and so much more – play a big role in much of my weaving. It is not unusual for me to carry a small camera when I’m hiking or birding – so easy to capture the image of something that will eventually be translated into something woven.
The textures or colors of yarns side by side on a shelf suggest woven fabric to me. And as I am weaving, the cloth itself opens up possibilities for future weaving.
Are colours important to your work? If so which are the ones you use most and why?
Color and texture are both important elements for me. My favorite colors are toward the violet end of the spectrum, so I prefer to work with blues, purples, blue violet and red violets. Even before I began weaving, these colors were my favorites. However, weaving has helped me appreciate and learn to use even the colors I am less fond of.
Do you have a favourite product in your shop?
What do you like best about Spring?
Spring – it’s actually my most favorite season! Despite the wild and sometimes violent weather here during that transitional season, I still love it the most. The day light hours are lengthening, temperatures are warming, tree buds are swelling and trees are beginning to leaf out with that lovely early spring green color. The forest floor is carpeted with a progressive blooming of woodland wildflowers. Birds are singing in preparation for the new nesting season and the neotropical migratory birds are winging their way north in all their glorious spring colors for that very same reason. Toads and frogs are singing and life is full of new possibilities! Love it!
Thank you Vicki from MariposaHandwovens!
Check back next Saturday for the next shop in this series!
Have a creative day!