More Than Meets the Eye

Recently I had the chance to go behind the scenes of the newest textile exhibit at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) “Cover Story.” It was a photo-op set up for the local press, so we were ushered into the closed off exhibit area where we watched textile conservator Allison McCloskey as she prepared a kesa (part of a Buddhist monk’s robe) for display.

Spacer 5x5 pixels kesa from the DAM
  The beautiful kesa on display at the DAM.
Cover Story opens May 19 and will run until Sept. 22 

While Allison carefully pinned the kesa to a padded support, the DAM's textile curator Alice Zrebiec talked about the beautiful piece, which was woven from silk and gilt paper. It was fascinating to learn the history and the context of the kesa—not just what it was but how it was made, who would have probably worn it when, and the symbolism behind the cloth. The kesa became more than just a pretty piece of silk; it came alive with meaning and history.

As weavers we all know fabric is so much more than the sum of its parts. Each piece of handwoven is filled with emotion, meaning, and purpose.

I have to say, I feel the same way about Handwoven magazine. Every issue is a labor of love, and when I reread past issues I’m reminded of what went into each project and article, and all the lovely contributors who worked with us to make the magazine a success. I remember the conversations, the laughter, and the lessons learned.

Recently while going through the digital version of the Handwoven 2012 Collection I realized that 2012 was my first full year as assistant editor. For the first time, every issue in the collection had articles I wrote and projects I saw in person. As I went through each issue, I was flooded with memories. January/February 2012 was my last issue working with Madelyn van der Hoogt, and I remember how hard she worked to make sure almost every project had both a 4-shaft and an 8-shaft draft. Flipping through the September/October 2012 issue brings back memories of the photo shoot we held using employees at the Interweave offices.

I genuinely hope that readers feel similarly about each issue of Handwoven: that it’s more than just words and pictures printed on paper. I hope it reminds you all of projects past, inspires you to create something new, or to research a new technique or aspect of weaving history. Most of all, I hope you enjoy reading Handwoven as much as I enjoy helping to put it together.


Christina Garton

More Than Meets the Eye

On the surface, the Dancing Daisy Necklace by Melanie Brooks Lukacs looks like a traditionally strung necklace—a beautiful, symmetrical pattern with porcelain flower beads in springtime pastel shades and a coordinating flower toggle clasp. Upon close inspection, there are several non-traditional features worth noting:

  • Knot cups are traditionally used for projects that use thread—adding the knot cup to the ends strengthens the connection. They are also handy for hiding crimps, as shown in this project.
  • Jump rings are traditionally used as connectors, but in this necklace, they serve purely as decorative elements.
  • This necklace also appears more complicated in construction than it actually is. The curved silver tubes appear like complex wirework, but are actually simply strung. Curved tubes are a great way to add a significant amount of silver in your pieces without having to do the wirework yourself.

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