Monday, December 11, 2006

where what and when: working with Jacquard

Where: The Montreal Center for Contemporary Textiles

5800 St Dennis Street studio 501

Montreal Quebec H2S 3L5

What: Beginners and Intermediate Workshops in Jacquard Weaving and Pointcarré Software

Instructor: Louise Lemieux Bérubé:

Graduated in History of Art, Louise Lemieux Bérubé has taken on courses specialized in textile design in France with the creators of the Pointcarré software as well as design for Jacquard weaving in the USA (Rhode Island School of Design). She has also studied Haute Couture, contemporary visual arts and interior design.

Since 1990, she is President of the “Conseil des métiers d’art” of Québec. Cofounder of the “Centre des métiers d’art en construction textile” of Montréal, she is also director of the school where she teaches textile creation on computers.

Or two weeks of play at the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles.

First it’s repeat repeat repeat actually first it is arrive in Montréal at least a day in advance of the workshop and find your neighbourhood spot. A place where you can cool out (and believe me you will need it) this time around (this is my second time taking these workshops and my third visit to the centre) this time I was staying over by Concordia and found Café Fuego at 1846 Ste Catherine Quest in the block west of Rue St Mathieu. Great Patio in shades of Ochre, Beige and Black, strong coffee, great sandwiches and Gelato it is an envelope of comfort.


Day 1 introduction to the Centre, Jacquard Weaving and Pointcarré Software and repeat, repeat and repeat. It is a process of designing an image that can be repeated with the push of a button.

Well this was my second attempt like or not it is what it is. This design is created in a Pattern Window which has a set of tools and commands that are different then those provided by Photoshop and other design software. The way the Colours operate is very specific to the next step in the soft ware which is the Jacquard Cloth Window. In this window weaving structures are assigned to each specific colour.

A simulation of the weaving is generated by the software and gives you a fair example of what the final weaving will look like. 1 warp (white) 1 weft (colour)

But the reality is you are learning new software and it is weaving and you are required to check and recheck because if you don’t what you think is a nice one inch repeat ends up being a 8 inch wide image that repeats 4 and a half times instead of 42

I became obsessed with the idea of making my own upholstery for my couch, and played a bit with other designs (which where supposed to be a brocade which is learned on the first day of the second week) but I open the file while still have another file open and the structures where replace by the old file and blah blah blah. This is a unfortunate deficiency in the software I think, but knowing this can happen should make you more conscious of safe working procedures, but I find accidents and mistakes provide future source material so here is a mistakes from day one of week two ( again it is a repeat and should have been a brocade, but I lost the second weft when I open it after looking at the first repeat Jacquard Cloth Window)

Though this design had a mistake that means starting over they gave me a better starting point then my first design a sample of which was woven with an orange cotton weft on a white cotton warp and is quite frightening really looks like something a teenage girl of quickly approaching middle age pop starlet would wear as a skirt.

And now back to the first day and its only noon and lunchtime. A greasy spoon of the factory building which houses the Centre at 5800 Ste Dennis in Montreal makes you whish for a McDonald’s or Burger King.

Afternoon session

Shaded Satins and Twills, classics in textile construction and yet used artistically, efficient at rendering photographic images. I will let them speak for themselves.

Step One: First you take a scanned image, then using the Pointcarré software you bring down the number of greys in the image (and there are more then you can imagine) to 13

Step Two: Assign 1 Warp (white) 1 Weft (brown) a sequence of weave structures that go through a monochromatic grey scale of light to dark

Step Three: push a couple of buttons and tada a simulation, a Shaded twill (not woven) the obvious difference from image one to image three above is the stretching that has occur and it is at this point you go back into the software to make corrections to achieve the proper shape and scale.

There is of course more to it then pushing a couple of buttons. In this case the simulation was set of with a white cotton thread for the warp and a brown cotton thread of equal size for the weft to achieve the sepia tone I was looking for. The reality is you can make changes a pixel at a time by keying in a design window from the jacquard cloth window and with all three windows open at the same time you can actually witness the simulation reweave each change as you make it.

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