Weaving: News, tips and hints by Pat Monié
Interview for Date magazine - Dec 2011
Below is the interview with the newspaper reporter who did my profile in our local "Date" magazine, which comes out with our local newspaper once a week. It starts with my biography.
The Art of Rug Weaving
Gallery 833, Redding, CA 10 December 2011
About the Artist: Pat Monie
I was born in Utah, but my family moved to Las Vegas, NV when I was four years old. That was in 1952, and Las Vegas had a population of 30,000 people. A nice small town - a fun place to grow up. I married my husband in Las Vegas in 1969.
After finishing school (and more school) we moved to Redding with our four children. That was nearly 30 years ago, and it has been a great place to raise a family.
When asked what drew me to weaving I can only think, as a child, how jealous I was of my friends they all seemed to have those little square looms that you could make potholders on. I never had one. I must have grown up with potholder envy. I now have five floor looms in my home, and two more in the garage, waiting to be restored. Each one is special to me, and nearly all of them are warped for weaving continuously.
I love recycling textiles, mixing fibers/colors/design elements. I am not a big fan of fringe on rugs, but some rugs demand it. I often feel that I allow the rug to design itself. Sometimes I will start weaving, and just add whatever textile calls to me as the rug grows on the loom. It never gets boring. For me there is such satisfaction in creating something out of waste that is so useful, and has its own history. My motto is, "Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, or do without."
As a weaver I believe in the African proverb: Each one, teach one.
Do you work in other mediums? What separtates weaving/textiles from other forms of art? Similarities?
My only other medium is soil. I love to garden. Vegetable garden. I can't let go of practicality.
Rug weavers, I believe, tend to be very practical people. Rag rug weavers like myself, were probably raised by someone who went through the Great Depression, or by someone who knew hardship. It is painful for us see something 'go to waste.' Our world is too fragile to recklessly use our finite natural resources. This, I think is what makes weaving so different from painting, photography, jewelry making. It's more in a class with cabinetry, masonry, handcrafting surfboards. They are all similar in an artistic sense, but they serve different basic human needs - physical/spiritual.
Favorite artist living or dead? Why?
That's an easy one. Any two-year-old who has stood on a sandy beach with a stick or spade in their hand. Their artistic spirit has not been corrupted.
Tell me about your work.
My work consists of gathering textiles: old clothing; old bed sheets; shrunk-up, moth-eaten sweaters; factory scraps; mill loom waste; you get the idea. It consists of preparing mounds of this for weaving - long strips that can be wound onto a shuttle. I also wash wool in hot water before preping so that my rugs will all be machine washable. Everything is sorted by texture/fiber content/color/weight. The loom is dressed - this can take a couple full days of work depending on the type of warp used, and the complexity of the loom tie up - for the pattern in the finished rug. At last the fun part comes - the actual weaving. Once the rug is woven, it must be cut off the loom, and the ends finished - hemmed, tied, braided... Finally, you must find a home for your rug where it will be loved.
What was the first thing you remember creating that had an impact on your work.
When I was in kindergarten we wove little mats to sit on out of newspaper that we had folded into long strips. I was fascinated by this wondrous feat.
Do you display work often? What do you like about showing your work? What do you dislike?
I am really a neophyte in the world of art. I've been weaving almost two years, and the current showing of my work at Gallery833 is my first such adventure. It's been exciting - everyone has been so supportive. I haven't disliked any part of it so far. The gallery owners are wonderful.
Any special projects you are working on that you want to highlight?
I make Memorial Wall Hangings (or rugs) out of neckties from a special person - someone's grandfather, dad, uncle. I also make, and donate, these same necktie rugs, made from surplus neckties from A Second Time Around thrift store, where they are raffled off as a fund raiser. I have one in progress right now.
What are you working on right now?
Like most weavers who are bitten by the weaving bug - I have let the looms take over our home. I currently have five floor looms in the house, and two waiting to be restored out in the garage. Therefore, I usually have several projects going simultaneously. Each loom being warped for a different width rug - or a different weave structure. Sometimes I will have 30, or 40 yards of warp on a loom so that makes for quite a few rugs of the same width. That's why it is so nice to have so many different looms.
What do you plan to do next?
I plan on opening my studio (which is the better part of our house at the moment) to the public so that anyone can come and weave a rug without having to go through the drudgery of dressing the loom. They may rent by the rug, or by the day. It is an instant gratification service. You may see some of my rugs, and learn about my studio on my website: www.hand-woven-rugs.com