Revolution or Evolution – but definately not involving Handwoven

Well,
something that dragged me away from feeding Hannah or singing the annoying repeat of her Fisherprice train – the latest edition of Handwoven magazine – Warning – this is a long rant!
This arrived a few days ago – if anyone from the US reads this, they’ll be thinking that’s a bit strange, I got mine last month, but as I live in Europe (which is equal to MARS, don’t you know), it takes a wee bit longer for the mag to get here…Long haul postage aside, once here you’d think I’d be delighted to sit and have a read with my afternoon tea. Mmmmmm – I flicked through it and immediately 3 things came to mind.
1. How many times can you sound excited about weaving tea-towels / dish-clothes in a calander year?
2. How many times can you take out your Olsner and find a twill or overshot and get excited about that too? (admittedly it’s not difficult to take out your Olsner and find a twill or 300, but my excitement tends to wain a bit)
3. Is tencel the only “new” yarn out there? (not so new these days actually, but I’m splitting hairs a bit here).
 
Then, to add insult to injury the feature “20 things to do with leftovers” was a question asked my yours truly to the Yahoo weavers group in April “what to do with left-overs – Thrums”. If it was just random coincidence that it then appears in Handwoven, it was also random coincidence that the idea to put thrums out for birds to use in nesting also appeared – Unfortunately the response that this can actually strangle and choke the birds didn’t make it to Handwoven – If any wee birdies die from choking on thrums, you know who to blame.
If I was any of the people who answered my question with some good suggestions, which re-appeared in Handwoven, I’d be a bit ticked off that I didn’t get any credit for providing them with content.
 
I feel like some kind of mad old biddy, to come out of my “mother-mode” back to my blog, solely for the purposes of a rant. But I have to do it, as I’ve been more and more un-impressed by Handwoven for a while now. What’s so utterly frustrating is that there is a wealth of information, motivation and new ideas out there in weavers blogs, but Handwoven just seems to churn out the same tired old formula of Olsner=(overshot/twill)/teatowels…with a bit of tencel thrown in for a “new look”.
 
The feature on 10 yarns for under 10 bucks, was interesting, but what about some ideas of what to do with them? How about “Ten weavers were given 10 yarns for under 10 bucks and had to come up with something” (like Vogue when they ask their editors or 10 random women to test cellulite cream, or some other such rubbish…but you still read about it!)
How about someone weaving with chicken wire; Someone dyeing, weaving, finishing something random, beautiful and experimental (forget purpose for the moment); Someone using their mighty 24 or 36 shaft looms for something other than (dare I say it again) Olsner; How about interviews / write ups with successful woven textile designers; How about interviews / reviews of art college weave graduate shows.
How about what news on what is happening in the world of fashion and interiors with regard to weaving: “Woven fabrics are all the rage…” or “Print is hot right now, but 60s style dogtooth has made a return to the niche market”
 
News or features on projects from around the world; Womens groups in parts of Latin America, Africa and the Stans where they are trying to gain financial independence or put their lives back together after wars and returning to traditional crafts (weaving among them), to earn money and feed their children.
 
How about some inspiration! Anything! But enough already with Olsner’s tea-towels.

I’m out of breath now, but I had to get that off my chest.

Comments and feedback are welcome. I’m sure I’ve made some enemies with this outburst – but I’m also sure that there are weavers who feel the same way too.

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5 thoughts on “Revolution or Evolution – but definately not involving Handwoven

  1. OK Cally, for 22 quid I’ll give it a go. Do you happen to know anything about the swedish publication that there is? (forget the name right now), and the online guild for weavers dyers and spinners? (I think it’s also run out of the UK but not sure)

  2. I know of it – if you mean Vavmagasinet and if I am spelling that vaguely correctly… – but I haven’t actually laid my grubby little paws on a copy. I’m quite tempted to try it but need to keep an eye on my budget at the moment. Speaking of budgets, a subscription to the Online Guild includes the a subscription to the Journal, so there’s value for money! Yes, the OLG is a UK guild, part of the Assocation of Guilds here, and so membership is like membership of a regular guild but with monthly workshops and ongoing discussions taking place through a Yahoo group rather than in a village hall. I’ve been a member for a few years, but I don’t make as much use of it as I would like to: too many things competing for those measly 24 hours in each day. Dot (at fibre2fabric.blogspot.com) is an active member; in fact lots of weaving bloggers are, so you’d be in good company.

  3. I just read this rant! Ha, ha. I couldn’t agree with you more!
    HW bored me to tears for years and year, and the color forecast section almost made me nauseous. VAV, by contrast, inspired me by its style and format, photography, and variety (contemporary, traditional), and BEAUTY. It seemed to me like there was nothing happening with weaving in the US. To my great surprise, since the internet has opened the floodgates: there are surprisingly talented artists, designers and weavers–right in my own town. I found a group here by reading about it on a Finnish weavers blog…..

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