Like every other piece I have ever woven, this piece comes out of the time I created it in.
The yarns are all handspun wool, and most are either naturally dyed or are undyed churro. Most of the pinks and the wine colored yarns came out of a friend’s stash of handspun, naturally dyed yarns, that I had bought a year or two before I wove this. The undyed wools are probably all from my sister’s flock of sheep, although I have been known to buy fleeces from other sources too. The fact that I had very limited amounts of almost all of these yarns meant I had to design carefully so as not to have running out of a color cause any problems.
I think I started this piece in midsummer of 2016. The design process in this piece evolved over time, as do most of my pieces. I started by deciding on a background design. I had been collecting images for “patterns” on Pinterest, and this parquet pattern seemed like a very translatable idea.
I chose a side border that was really just an extension of, and variation on, the background, but would make a satisfying border that would hold the zigzagging background in place.
I don’t remember when I chose the next design element, but by then it occurred to me that this was kind of an “electric” piece. So I was casting around in my head for something that would fit with that, and I remembered a photo from a concert we had attended on May 9, 2015, of the Moody Blues. As one might expect them to do, they used some lovely psychedelic lighting effects. Although when I was taking pictures, I probably didn’t see a weaving in it, I did when I looked at the pictures.
I guess the relationship between what I wove and that photograph is pretty loose, but it definitely was drawn from the stage show.
The next big decision point was what I wanted to do with the middle. I have always loved to weave trees, and hadn’t done one in a while. It was fall, and the trees were full of golden leaves, and I was weaving gold in the piece, so it was a fall kind of tree that would be in the center. Trees involve a lot of detail work, so I was happy that the tree itself was small. I was satisfied with the way it filled the space and pulled the piece together.
Some time during the completion of the piece was when the election of 2016 happened. I was very distraught about the results, but I didn’t want to offend any of my customers with anything too overtly political in the shop. So when it came to naming the piece I chose to call it November Storm. To me it was about the disaster that I felt the election was going to bring upon the country. But it could also easily be interpreted as being about one of those fall electrical storms that come up around here every now and then. Visually, that made perfect sense to me. The double meaning was very satisfying to me. And I’m always happy to let people see what they want to see in my work.