Open Studio: Gabriel Dawe, Plexus No. 29
Welcome to Open Studio! Today we are going to learn more about a work of art that artist Gabriel Dawe created in the MOA in November 2014.
Exploring the Artwork
Have you ever seen the large rainbow beneath the skylight as you’ve visited the BYU Museum of Art? This piece, which took ten days to make, has become a favorite among our visitors.
Look closely to see if you can discover what material the artist used to create his artwork, entitled Plexus no. 29.
This rainbow is actually made of very thin string, like the kind you might use to make friendship bracelets. If you were to place all of the string into a straight line, it would be about 80 miles long and reach all the way to Salt Lake City.
– What is a rainbow usually made out of? Just as the sunlight shines through water droplets in the sky, the light coming from the MOA skylight shimmers through the strings of Plexus no. 29. As you move around and beneath it, notice how the threads seems to twinkle, sparkle, and wink at you.
– What colors has the artist used to create the rainbow? If you can memorize the made-up name ROY G. BIV, you can always remember the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.
– Next time you visit the MOA, walk around beneath the rainbow and look up at it. Does it seem to be moving? Do the threads look like they are all straight, or do some of them look like they are bending? The work seems to be playing tricks on our eyes!
Gabriel Dawe, the artist, grew up in Mexico City, where his mom, sisters, and grandma liked to embroider bright patterns and designs on fabrics. In Mexico, people often weave fabric and blankets using bold colors and fancy designs like the ones shown here. When Dawe began creating his artworks, he chose to use these shiny, vibrant colors because they reminded him of his childhood.
– Does anyone you know embroider, knit, crochet, sew, or weave?
– Have you ever tried using thread, yarn, or textiles to make something?
You will need:
Plenty of yarn
A medium-sized piece of cardboard, like the large side of a cereal box. Smaller pieces work as well. Notch the cardboard on parallel sides.
Making your loom:
Using a long piece of yarn, thread each notch of the cardboard loom making sure to leave a tail of about 3” on the back. Tape these ends to the back with scotch tape. Make sure the threads are fairly tight (but not so tight that it’s stretching the yarn). These vertical threads are called the warp. Your loom is now ready to start weaving!
How to weave:
Step 1: Cut a piece of yarn about 2 feet long. Thread it through the plastic needle and then tie a knot at the top of the needle.
Step 2: Starting with the first warp thread, slide the needle underneath and then up over the next thread, and then back under the third thread, and so on. Use this under-over pattern until you get to the last warp thread. When you get to the end of your first row, pull it through all the way, leaving a tail.
Step 3: For your next row, go back the other way by doing the opposite over-under pattern as you did for the first row.
Step 4: Once you have a few rows, use your fingers to push up the weft yarn, or the yarn going in the horizontal direction, so that it’s snug. Be careful not to pull too hard on the weft yarns after each pass so your weaving doesn’t start to cinch in at the middle.
Step 5: If you decide you want to switch colors, simply end it with about a 3” tail remaining. Then, follow steps 1-4 above with your new color of yarn.
Taking your weaving off the loom:
Step 1: Undo the tape from the back of the loom and carefully pull off the warp threads.
Step 2: When your entire weaving has been pulled off of the loom, tie all of the warp threads together at the ends. Tie the first and second warp threads together, the third and fourth together, and so on. Step 3: With each side tail, thread the yarn through the needle, and then gently weave them through the back a few times before trimming them.
Step 4: Repeat step 3, but for each vertical warp thread.
Show us your weaving! Post on social media @byumoa #moafromhome