Secret Codes embedded in cloth!? Really?! How do you do it?? If I look at it long enough, will I be able to see or read the words? I am often asked these questions, and so here is a more detailed description of this process. (and no, you can not actually see or read the words!)
During my 4 year weaving program we spent a lot of time studying overshot, which is a very traditional European weave structure that was quite popular a few hundred years ago for making coverlets, blankets and table runners. We learned a technique called “name drafting”, in which a name or phrase would be converted into numbers, which are then translated into an overshot design. I was immediately fascinated by this idea of encoding meaning and messages into cloth. How intriguing! How magical! Shortly after that, I designed my first “name draft” as a special altar cloth for my own wedding. In it I encoded the phrase “Our Hearts are Never Apart”. It was a gorgeous and meaningful addition to our wedding and it continues to be a special art piece in our home.
I knew that I had to explore this idea further….in fact, I had a feeling that this work was to be the main focus of my weaving career. It took me years to come back around to it, but I’m pleased to say that right now I’m entirely focusing my creative energies on expanding and developing this technique of embedding secret codes into cloth.
The design process itself requires rather mind-boggling advanced drafting skills that I have been slowly developing over the years. With the aid of computer drafting software, I develop the code to get the basic design, and then spend hours and hours more “tweaking” the draft to perfect the details and scale of the pattern. There are many complex variables within the tie-up, treadling, color changes and more that affect the look of the final piece. Within the process I hold intention at every step of the energy of the code I am working with. At the moment I am beginning to draft a design of a long Sanskrit mantra (the Gayatri mantra) and I am listening to recordings of the mantra almost non stop and meditating to it daily. The design process becomes my teacher and is a deep meditation. I often ask for and receive guidance in my dreams.
The actual weaving of these designs requires an enormous amount of attention to detail. The designs are complex and don’t repeat at regular intervals, and so making an error is easy to do and time consuming to fix. In addition, I’m using very fine threads, which makes the weaving advance more slowly. (The “tie-down” threads which anchor the pattern threads are woven with sewing thread!)
Here are some sneak peeks of this new body of work, which will be available for sale soon.
Custom pieces are available with an encoded phrase of your choice, please contact me for more information on embedding magic and intention into your own wall hanging, altar cloth or piece of clothing. Perfect for ceremonies, life transitions, performances, or other special occasions.