Sunday, August 17, 2008

Montreal Center for Contemporary Textiles

On the Corner of Saint Denis and Rosemont, fifth floor.
So I went to Montreal's Centre for Contemporary Textiles for a week long class in Jacquard weaving. A type of weaving that uses the computer and programs like Photoshop and Pointcarrè to design a woven fabric, and be able to see it in full color before its even woven. The end result can be photo realistic using different weaving structures for shading, a result that I have been working towards with tapestry weaving but is much more efficiently woven on the Jacquard loom (pictured below, from the side and then from the weaver's perspective).

The Sewing room, industrial sewing machines, sergers, sewing forms, lots of light, and other amazing equipment. Knitting Room, complete with knitting machines that are connected to computers. Digital Embroidery machine. Floor looms, all shapes and sizes, AVL too. Table Looms
The class turned out to be an entirely computer based program, sitting at the computer from 9:30 to 16:30 Monday through Friday. It was tiring but the demo lasted the morning and by lunch and with all the editing time went by fast. They had weavers for us, students who now work for the center weaving our samples so that we werent bothered with that step. We all know how to weave, learning the software is the whole point of the class. Thankfully I use Photoshop frequently and also thankfully I didnt sit at one of the computers with french Photoshop installed and didnt have to deal with any translation or learning curves really at all.

The first day we had to work free hand and draw images that would be woven on a repeat. I made a car and a house, while everyone else made designs and pretty decorative patterns. I really like the mspaint look to these pictures and how they could look like a childs drawings but they arent woven in color (though they could be) and lose a lot of charm when woven in shades of grey, or brown which is the color I chose and below is it being woven on the loom, press play! We had the choice of a black warp or a white warp.
Then we learned the photograph part, which turned out to be fairly easy to do, though to do well and for it to be woven well is another story. Turn an image black and white, take the 250+ whites blacks and greys down to 13 shades. Then assign twills or satins (weave structures) to each shade, I did a few just as practice, this one was woven but only a cropping of it and doesnt look like much. The last day I left two pieces to be woven and sent to me, and drove off into the clouds and rainy upstate New York.

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