Not only do I want Styled By Madalyn Joy to be a source of design inspiration, but I also want it to be a wealth of knowledge. I was fortunate enough to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and to have the opportunity to learn so many new things from such intelligent people. I felt it was my duty to now share what I learned with all of you!
Many people pass off fashion as being a topic that is irrelevant to them. I always respond by saying, “Everyone owns and wears clothes! We truly all are affected and impacted by the fashion and textile industries.” Unless someone would grow their own cotton (and indigo), harvest it, spin it, weave it, and sew it, even the manliest of men rely on the fashion industry for their jeans! I thought Poncho Play would be the perfect post to introduce the world of weaving since the poncho featured is one that I hand wove on a floor loom.
One of the most beneficial courses I took during my undergraduate studies was Weaving 1 + 2 taught by the talented Marianne Fairbanks. It truly is so important to learn the basic knit and weave structures since they are the foundation for every textile and fabric produced. Also, it is fascinating to think back to the origins of fabric. “Was it a quest for protection from the elements, a desire for power and prestige, or simple modesty that made them take this step?” (Held, p 4). Clothing has literally been in existence since the beginning of time, even if the first garments were made of fig leaves.
Another topic that I find incredibly interesting is the meaning of fabric and clothing. It is a form of nonverbal communication that can convey a message just as loud, if not louder, than speaking. “For thousands of years fabrics have symbolized power, authority, humanity, social position, success on the battlefield, spiritual attitudes, economic position, and the adoration of the body,” (Held, p 11). All of these symbols and beliefs are communicated through a woven fabric and/or garment.
What I really wanted to convey with this woven poncho was the hand craft of weaving and the time and attention to detail involved in a time consuming process. In a world where fast fashion is all the rage, it is refreshing to slow down and spend some time working on a quality garment. “Contrary to Western thinking, which typically privileges efficiency, weaving was not necessarily approached in the most expedient fashion,” (Valoma, p 45-46). Weaving is comprised of various extremely detailed and laborious steps and it was a privilege to thoroughly enjoy each and every step of the process in a classroom setting.
For this poncho, I took my inspiration from the delicate and quaint nature of the English countryside, the pastel hues of Mark Rothko’s Pink on Pink and Untitled Grey Paintings, the always magical tassel, and the resurgence of the poncho trend that occurred last fall (2015) when I designed and wove this poncho.
I am so excited to share the completed look with you all on Wednesday, but for now enjoy the inspiration, illustrations, and the little history lesson on weaving!
Origins of Fabric, Held, Shirley, Weaving: A Handbook for Fiber Craftsmen, New York, Holt, Rhinehart, and Winston [c1973]
The Impermanent Made Permanent, Valoma, Deborah, Fiberarts, November/December 2005, Vol, 32 Issue 3, p 44-49, 6p