poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘weaving

creating my niche

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create: 1: to bring into existence;

2a: to invest with a new form, office or rank;

2b: to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior;

3: cause or occasion;

4a: to produce through imaginative skill;

4b: design. 

– Webster’s Dictionary

I am very interested in creative endeavors and I like being creative.  I am happiest when I am writing, painting, drawing, sewing, weaving, knitting, and so on.

Although I best like to write, I find creative activities substitute for one another. For example, when I am not writing for an extended period of time, I am often embedded in some other activity, such as painting.

Weaving exemplifies the lure of my various creative undertakings.  The producing requires knowledge and skill, and builds confidence.  The process is enjoyable and time is made available for thought and concentration.  The threads and fabrics are luxurious to the touch and the colors are bright and joyful. When I am finished a project, I am so proud of the resulting textile, I want to show the world.

My loom is a simple floor loom, 24 inch wide.  I bought it at a country auction, about 20 years ago.  My sister and I were among the stragglers at the auction, trying to outlast a heavy rain.  In the corner we saw a bundle of varnished wood and some metal parts.  “I think that’s a loom”, whispered my savvy sister.  When the item came up for auction, there were few bidders remaining, and no one know just what ‘it’ was.  At $25, it was a huge bargain.

My loom and I have not been steady company.  It takes forever to install the warp threads, and sometimes weaving is hard on my back.  But the fabrics we make together, my loom and I, are beautiful and comfortable and good for the soul.

What creative endeavors shape your niche space?  What materials do you use and what do you love about them?



yellow line


the road is fabric

weave of asphalt

ditch and yellow line

warp of guard rail

fence and heddle


trees in plantations

lines on the hayfield

shadows on road

hip and curve of the earth

weft as she turns in her sleep


shuttle piloted

through landscape

and watershed

textile in folds

texture the yearn of the loom


faults in the granite

potholes in pavement

rifts in the fabric

where weavers might falter

revisit work of earlier times


learning the lesson

taught by the loom


choose your weft wisely

balance color and texture

maintain your tension

fix mistakes as you go


rest when your back hurts



to the whisper

of weave

of yellow line



All my best,

staying at home, staying safe,

Jane Tims


the yellow line

Written by jane tims

June 29, 2020 at 7:00 am

harvesting colour

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Recently I was awarded an artsnb (New Brunswick Arts Board) Creations grant.  My six month project will be to write a book-length poetry manuscript about the experience of using plant dyes for colouring textiles.

The poems will find their inspiration in the activities of collecting plants, extracting their dyes and using them to colour woven fabric.



one of the plants I will be using is Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) – it grows throughout New Brunswick and can be used to make yellow and olive dyes


Writing these poems, in many ways, should echo my previous project ‘growing and gathering’.  I will do some research about a particular plant, then go forth and find it.  For the ‘growing and gathering’ project I had a lot of fun exploring various areas of the province for the plants I needed, so I know I will love this part of the experience.  It will be when I get the plant material home that the differences between the two projects will become clear.  With ‘growing and gathering’,  writing poems about picking berries seemed second nature to me since I’ve spent a lot of my life in berry fields.



some of the ingredients for a ‘growing and gathering’ salad


With ‘harvesting colour’, I will be learning a craft new to me.  I’ll be trying to manage the complex alchemy of “pot type plus source water plus plant material plus mordent plus receiving material”.  Lots of chemistry and a few colour tragedies, I’m certain.  And discovery, as purple plants become yellow dye.  I hope to combine making plant dyes with my weaving, an activity I find totally relaxing and steadying.


various projects

some of my weaving results over the years … it will be fun to see what colours my project will bring to my weaving


So where will the poems come from and what will they say?  I’ll be looking for metaphors for human experience and emotion.  I’ll try to embed ideas about reconnection with nature and about cultural expression through decorating fabric. I’ll use words from botany and chemistry, and a rich colour dictionary.  I can hardly wait to explore all the words for yellow, and green, and red.

I want to write poems about ‘saddening’ the colour by adding a pinch of salt, and ruining a dye lot by forgetting to tend it well.   I’ll write about oak leaf imprints on cloth, and the different yellows created with apple bark and poplar leaf. I’d also like to write poems about the ordinary life experience of plant dyes – grass stains on knees, the grey Choke-cherry jelly bag, the Cranberry stain on the tablecloth.

I’ll be presenting at least some of my poems here and I’ll certainly be sharing my experiences.  I’ll continue to present my virtual travel, novel writing and watercolour posts, but I plan to devote Friday’s post each week to ‘harvesting colour’.  Hope you visit regularly to follow me in my project!


Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 7, 2014 at 7:00 am

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