Aug 20, 2013

Janice Lessman Moss - 1st Artist in Residence at DWN!

I am privileged to have access to two TC-1 looms in the Textile Art Studio at Kent State University. But I was anxious to weave on the TC-2 away from the distractions of my school responsibilities. My desire led to an inquiry in early 2013 when I was on a Faculty Professional Development Leave at the university and took the opportunity to write to Vibeke Vestby about the possibility of visiting Digital Weaving Norway. Her response to my request was an invitation to be the first Artist in Residence at DWN! The challenge for me then was to define a project that would allow me to continue my current line of artistic investigation during the brief concentrated time that I would be in residence in Norway. 

In my woven art, I continue to explore relationships of abstract systems as created with traditional and innovative textile coloring/dyeing techniques and material contrasts in combination with the generative processing of the computer and the digital loom. Some of these systems or patterns are mathematically precise – hard-edged and geometric - formed through the mechanical operation of the loom with its underlying matrix of perpendicular threads. Other motifs evolve through the application of color selectively applied to the threads – through painting or dye resists – prior to weaving. The groundwork for developing the relationships of these multiple networks is done on the computer where I make color decisions, design weave structures and develop compositional strategies. But it is the final topography of pattern that emerges through the physical interlacement of warp and weft threads that establish the visual and textural complexity residing at the core of my interests.
Although I sometimes produce work on digital dobby looms, my ideas are best satisfied using the fluidity of lines and range of scale and shape relationships that are achievable with jacquard or single thread control technology. To that end, I often have weavings produced on the power jacquards at the Pure County textile mill in North Carolina. While I like the visual details that can be obtained with the high thread count I am consistently drawn to making work that involves the intersection of technology with the touch of the hand. Subtle unpredictable visual shifts that occur through color and material interaction made possible through direct dyeing or thread/yarn manipulation techniques provide a unique vocabulary for beauty and meaning that form the foundation of my practice.
I also respond to the focused engagement of the weaving process, an activity that marks time as the linear elements are transformed into a continuous field of pattern. Remaining present to the activity of making allows me to develop a stronger relationship with the work under construction, enhancing my sensibility for this distinctive language in a concrete and poetic way.

I am a walker. I enjoy the activity of walking with or without the purpose of destination. The repetitive movement of my body in space has parallels to the physical aspects of the process of weaving, and I have long been fascinated by the existence of the traditional Random Walk weaving structure. I like the suggestion of continuous movement and its underlying systematic logic. Learning that the concept of randomness and the random walk form the foundation for a mathematical theory have provided additional intrigue and correspondence. I respond to the idea of connections, of dualities, of binaries - left and right, up and down, the singular (element) and the continuous (network), the linear and circular. An extension of my current work evolved from these thoughts and provided a focus for this residency project. 
After considering what I might realistically be able to achieve with 10 concentrated days in the studio at DWN, I painted a linen warp in sections using an atmospheric relationship of colors and values – reflecting a sense of shadow and light with a palette of hues of different temperatures. I determined that I would weave two sets of small weavings first before concentrating on two large scaled pieces. I resist dyed a thick linen yarn that I could work with as a shifting weft ikat along the length of each piece. With each insertion of the weft I remained mindful of the repetition of the process. The rhythm of the resisted shapes, united to create a dynamic linear movement contrasted with the fluid almost gestural patterns formed by the veil of warp threads which created a quality of transparent layering. 
It was invigorating to work in the atmosphere at DWN housed in Tronrud Engineering, sharing the environment with others engaged in a myriad of creative endeavors. I was able to successfully complete a series of weavings.

The weavings produced during my residency have laid the groundwork for future explorations. As I continue to evaluate the relationships of elements that resulted from the connection of the traditional shifting weft ikat process with the precise digital patterning and tactile woven construction I am excited to move forward.
I am grateful to Vibeke Vestby and her innovative TC-1/TC-2, a tool that has enhanced the potential of my art practice. I would also like to thank Eli Skogsrud for her assistance with threading the loom that made my weaving possible!

- Janice Lessman Moss, soon-to-be proud owner of a TC-2 loom


  1. Thanks for sharing....inspirational!

  2. Ahhhh... Janice.....

  3. Janice has always been consistently GOOD at what she does! She works hard and the outcome is proof not only of her ability but of inherent talent! I am proud to have been one of her students!