Jan 19

The trouble with getting things into focus is deciding what to focus on.  This could pertain both to life and photography.  Today, I am talking about photography.

I will be teaching a private student how to weave, beginning today if the weather holds out.  When I teach weaving, I pre-warp a loom for each student to help familiarize them with the parts of the loom and weaving techniques before they advance to warping their own loom and weaving on it.  I’ve done this for every class I have ever taught and, while it certainly is more prep for for me, I think it offers the student a better experience. And let’s face it, I teach for the student and want that student to continue with what they have learned and not give up out of frustration because of having to warp a loom first thing when they don’t even know what a warped loom is supposed to look like. (Stepping off my soap box now.)

prepping for class

The light coming through the west window off to the right was bright enough that I could see much better than if the overhead light was on and the curtains closed.  Several years ago, when I first began teaching, Scott made me several 3-yard warping boards using a very old, handmade warping board I was given as a model.  These little warping boards are very handy.  They have felt glued to the bottom so they can be set onto any surface and won’t scratch it.  Using the 3/2 perle cotton that I use for my students, I can easily get 100 ends per batch measured out on them.  I love them.

That little box of tools is what each student gets to work with during class.  Two boat shuttles with lots of bobbins, an end-feed shuttle to try out, notebook, scissors, heddle hook, tape measure, pen, calculator, scotch tape, mini binder clips, ruler and some rug warp to tie the choke, cross and other places on the warp before removing it from the warping board.  This also comes in handy if a string heddle has to be made.  Depending on the size of loom being used, it could contain a sley hook as well.  For little looms like the Dorset, I pull the thread through the heddle and reed all at once.  It saves time.

While I was measuring out the warp to pre-warp the Dorset loom, I realized that I liked the tableau in front of me. Tools, warping board, yarn, paper for when I wind on the warp and glimpses of other equipment like my big warping board, and the bases of two looms.  So, I took this picture.  While I was measuring off the warp and then again while threading the loom, I kept finding myself humming little songs.  What were the songs?  I have no idea because I doubt if there was a real tune involved.  But I was so happy and content to be in my studio, playing with looms and weaving equipment that I was humming.  I need more days like this.

Once I had the loom warped, I decided to play around with focusing on different areas and moving the camera before taking the picture.

loom & carder

This first attempt was focusing on the drum carder in the background, then moving the camera down so that part of the loom’s castle was in the shot.  Then going in the opposite direction, focusing on the castle, then moving up so that the carder was in the shot.  Hmmm…  Not bad, but I wanted more from this.

threads & reed

So, I used the warped loom.  First focusing on the threads in front of the reed, then moving the camera up and taking a picture.  Then focusing on the reed and moving the camera down to take the shot.  Better, but there was still something else to be had.

Reed & Carder

Putting these first two concepts together, I came up with these two shots.  Focus on the reed with the drum carder in the background and taking a photo.  Then moving the camera way up, focusing on the drum carder, then pulling the camera back down and taking the picture with the focused drum carder through the reed.  This last shot was really what I was hoping to get and I really love it.  The blur of the reed closest to the camera, the semi-focused threads in the middle and the focused drum carder in the background.

I can see more experiments on this subject of focusing coming up.