Tuesday, April 06, 2010

historical weavers

the more i learn about weaving, the more fascinating i find it. for example, van gogh's entire weaver series (and it seems there are many paintings done in 1883-84) features men at the loom. that means that as recently as the 1880s weaving was a man's work, tho' i think that today it's perceived as a woman's pastime. and i use pastime on purpose, as in the industrial age, it's something people do for fun, not by necessity. if you think about it, that's a fairly fast transition, which was, of course, aided by mechanization - but it represents a radical shift in gender, from male to female work. and, although i've only begun a bit of preliminary research, it seems there has been a corresponding downgrading of the profession.  i can't at the moment think of another profession that has undergone a similar change of gender.
one of van gogh's weavers
another of van gogh's weavers
a third of van gogh's weavers
one last weaver by van gogh
this one may be the most surprising one of all - as there's a child in a high chair with the weaver!
of course, not everyone weaving today is a woman, case in point, my weaving teacher, textile artist paul jensen. but i will admit to being (pleasantly) surprised when i signed up for the lessons that my teacher would be a man.  now i just wish i could paint...


i didn't even go into how beautiful van gogh's looms are and i wonder when the design of those changed as well and if it's somehow connected to the change in gender. it seems there is plenty more to learn and research about weaving.

10 comments:

M said...

J - the other industry that this happened in was computing, but the gender shift happened in the other direction. First it was all women with punch-cards, and then, when men saw the potential in computing and its status was rising... you guessed it - it became more male.... gave us computer engineers and eventually the male tech-geek - think about the images from those movies in the 1980's....

the big red button in the middle of me is a "gender discrepancy" button, so I tend to notice these things.... thanks for noticing too!

michelle/madison

Elizabeth said...

You are gonna be such a happy person when you loom is standing in its new place and ready to be used.

Although I don't understand why you want to be able to paint?

Sarah said...

I would love to learn how to do this.
Fascinating! I love this post!!! Thank you for writing and posting in the middle of your packing and moving. Appreciate that!

Suecae Sounds said...

I especially like the last photography.

Deb said...

So excited to see the VanGogh series, had never seen them before! Too Cool. Your gender question made me think about the American Indians in our country, I think of women doing the weaving, I'll have to look into it. So what makes you think you can't paint! Astonishing! I've seen your art journal...

Jill C. said...

Very interesting post! Great van Gogh portraits!

CatLadyLarew said...

I had no idea VanGogh had done a weavers series. Great stuff!

Char said...

that's a series i've seen before but had forgotten...thank you for reminding me. i'm so loving your classes. it reminds me how much i miss taking some sort of class.

mrs mediocrity said...

Oh, if you keep this up I will have to take up weaving in this life, when I was planning to save it for the next...

Anne-Marie said...

There is a good book on how occupations change gender - "Job Queues, Gender Queues
Explaining Women's Inroads into Male Occupations", by
Barbara F. Reskin and Patricia A. Roos
(see:
http://sfsworld.temple.edu/tempress/titles/644_reg_print.html)
It only looks at these changes since the 1970s, but very interesting anyhow.

enjoy the weaving!