The shift from summer to fall is in the air. Signs of the transition are everywhere, even in unexpected places like the neglected alley behind my house, where I recently spied a row of tall golden grass. I must have driven past it countless times, but backlit by the late-afternoon sun its beauty was impossible to resist. I took a break from weeding my flower beds, grabbed my clippers and gathered some up. I thought immediately of the incredible botanical sculptor, Tracey Deep, and how my newfound material would be perfect for creating something with the sort of woven detail that I've admired in her work.
I felt really happy that I could find something so wonderful in my scraggly alley full of potholes and blackberry brambles. The discovery inspired me to keep looking around. What other clippings destined for the yard-waste bin and compost pile might be interesting in the mix?
With my sights focused on long skinny strands of plant matter in various shades of gold, green and brown, I realized that I had quite a few options in my yard. Plus, it makes pruning and dead-heading a lot more entertaining when the tasks are part of a fun art project.
I hadn't tried weaving in a long time, possibly not since summer camp in the 1970s, but I could still recall the basic principles. I began by constructing my warp, anchored with a few stalks of another variety of grass. Initially, I thought I'd need to use chicken wire for stability, but an all-plant structure was perfectly sturdy.
Once the framework was complete, I realized I really couldn't go wrong. All of the different textures and muted colors went so well together. It was intuitive and meditative work. Over under, over under. I got lost in the rhythm, and nightfall came too soon. As I continued my project over the course of the following week, the biggest challenge was knowing when to stop. When is a work finished?
I'm not sure, exactly. Luckily, rain intervened, and when I brought the weaving inside and hung it on the wall for safekeeping, I realized that I liked it exactly the way it was. I was done. This would look stunning in so many different types of environments, especially in a home with sleek Mid-Century furniture. I'm happy that I get to enjoy it in my workroom for awhile before my store opens its doors (hopefully in early October).