Weaving Terms glossary

Advancing the Warp: is the term used to refer to moving the woven cloth forwards and bringing forwards new warp to continue weaving.

Arpilleras: Are appliqué wall hanging sewn onto stiff fabric. The word means burlap, referring to the fabric they are sewn on. They were started as workshops by the Catholic church to support women in poverty and as a means of therapy. Works were sent internationally, despite censorship, to show the harsh realities of life under the Pinochet dictatorship. (Adams 535) Being able to cross the censorship and have the artworks reach international audiences was important, as the Pinochet dictatorship was established and supported by western powers. Further information on this can be read below under the term Pinochet. 

Arpilleristas: Is the title of the women who make the Arpilleras.

Beater: Is a part of the loom that contains the reed. It moves freely along the shaft and is used to press the weft into the warp to achieve the weave structure.

Beating: is the process of using the beater to press the weft into the cloth. It is called beating because a dense weaving structure requires a fair bit of force with the beater.

Cloth Beam: Is on the front part of the loom where the woven cloth is wound around during the weaving process. The warp stretches and is stored on the back beam and the cloth beam.

Continuous Warp: one uncut warp throughout a piece.

Fibre Art: Ellisa Auther broke down the use of fibre into three categories in reference to the 1960’s & 1970’s based on how the material was used a received. The Post-minimalists and Process artists such as Robert Morris and Eva Hesse managed to legitimately use fibre by considering it a low or non-art material; the feminists such as Faith Ringgold and Judy Chicago “initiated a critique of the hierarchy of art and craft by elevating the denigrated pratcises and materials of woman’s traditional fiber-craft to the level of high art in their own work” (Auther 97). Auther’s definition is given here as it is the basis of my thinking of and using of the term Fibre art or fibre artist. “Various labels, including woven forms, new tapestry, wall hangings, fiber art, fiber constructions, fiber sculpture, textile sculpture, and Art Fabric were used to describe woven and off-loom work by these artists in the 1960s and 1970s. Throughout the period, the struggle to distinguish non-utilitarian work in fiber from the hand-woven items of the lay or professional weaver dominated writing about the genre. More than the names themselves, it is this preoccupation with naming and distinguishing that is of interest here, for such naming is a primary component of artistic consecration...because the term fiber art has enjoyed the widest application throught the larger art world for the past thirty years, I used it in this study...I use the label fiber artist with trepidation, however, for it continually renders suspect the artistic identity of the maker by marking him or her with that aspect of the work (here, the medium) defined outside the norms of art...apt parallel is found in the label woman artist, which similarly particularizes the maker as outside the legitimate definition or art.” (Auther 9)

Floor Loom: Is the traditional and standard western loom, that sits on a floor and is operated by foot peddles.

Harness: The harnesses, or shafts, move up and down on a floor loom and contain the warp in the heddles.

Heddle: are the individual separators of warp threads that allow the threads to lift and form shed. In floor looms there are either metal or thead with an eye hole in the middle for the warp to be threaded through.

Inkle Loom: is a type of handloom to create bands for belts. They are originally from south America and are meant to create intricate patterns.

Makerly: is a ubiquitous term used in crafts discourse as a for label finished objects that embody elements that speak strongly to the act of making in each of the crafts disciplines.

Plain Weave: is the simplest weave structure whereby every other warp and weft thread interlock. The warp odds, then evens are raised in successive order in order to create this.

Reed:   Is used on looms to keep yarn spaced. It is a part of the beater that allows warp threads to
be straightened and tightened within the warp after each time the warp is passed through the loom.

Shaft: The shafts, or harnesses, move up and down on a floor loom and contain the warp in the heddles.

Shed: Is the risen warn threads during in weaving that allows the weft to pass through

Shuttle: or shuttle boat is an instrument used to hold the warp and pass through the warp to create the weave structure

Skein: wrapped loops of yarn, arm length or longer that is a form in which yarn is sold and stored. Yarn is also put into this form in order to dye it.

Slubs: are thick bead-like lumps intentionally spun into yarn

Tension: is required to weave. Tension will keep threads separate and allow threads to lift and create shed to weave with.

Treadles: or peddles are what control the raising of the harness and creation of the shed

Threading: Threading a loom is the process of putting yarn through the eyeholes of the heddles and into the slots of the reed.

Warp: is the yarn that is attached to the loom. On floor looms warps wrap around the beams allowing it to be longer on the loom. The length of warps vary and are often used to make multiple pieces.

Warp Faced: Is a weaving structure where the warp is so dense so as to render the weft invisible except at the ends. The patterning and colour is from the warp yarns alone.

Warping: In the process of placing warp on the loom including threading.

Warping Board: Is a wooden frame with pegs that is used to wind the warp.

Weaving: Is a form of cloth production using a loom to interlock yarn. The warp threads are raised in an alternating pattern, with the weft pushed in between each raising. The weft interlocks the warp that enables a weave structure to form. Patterns can be formed using colour and yarn variation along with changing the way the warp is raised. In a floor loom, the warp is strung through shafts or a frame system that goes up and down by pressing floor pedals thus allowing the pattern to change. The most basic weaving requires warp and weft for basket weaving and for cloth requires the addition of tension, which entails a “loom” or something to provide tension to the warp.

Weft: Is the yard to is placed across the loom while in the process of weaving.

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