I have heard different answers to that. Some weavers would say that understanding a draft for the project is difficult, some mentioned handling a second warp. Others – tying the treadles or getting a clean shed. Non-weavers usually reply that the whole thing looks overwhelming. And they all are right, of course. Each of us weavers have own preferences and things we consider challenging. And the skill of weaving cannot be gained by a three-hours crush course or by reading self-help manuals. More than anything, a teacher and hours of practice make a good weaver. Anyway, I digress, so let’s go back to my question on the most difficult part in weaving.
For me, the answer is “Taking pictures of my finished work”. I have no training in photography, and while on vacation I manage to do more or less presentable pictures, it is usually because I am looking at nature’s awesomeness or some historical wonder. And because the camera makers nowadays make wonderful smart point-and-shoot cameras.
When I started taking pictures of what I wove, first, for my blog, then for my shop, I realized that I need to upgrade my “press the button to take a picture” skill. The pictures looks dreary, boring and distorted. They failed to convey the softness and texture of a woven piece, its draping or weight in my hand. Ok, I said. Time to google.
I learned and understood how to position the lights and the camera. I bought a tripod for my camera (its awesomeness cannot cancel my unsteady hands). I experimented with taking pictures of things in the sun, on cloudy days, inside, outside, on a model, on myself as a model, on a coffee table highlighting from below, etc. I now take for granted that I don’t see wrinkles or a random cat hair when I position my weavings – no, they become painfully obvious to me only after I finished the shooting and dismantle all the stuff. I am almost used to how worse things look in the pictures. Being able to touch and feel the weaving is a great part of experiencing a wonder of weaving. But what can I do until the internet is upgraded to convey these tactile signals.
I am still a long way from being a pro or even a solid photographer of textiles. I still don’t know what is aperture; I can’t predict reliably what is the best exposure for a given setting. But I think I am getting better, and I have no intention to stop. After all, this is part of my weaving journey.