Tuesday, May 29, 2007

For several reasons, my past week or more has been spent working on the Tapestry Weavers South collaborative tapestry that we used for demonstrations at the "Southern Yarns" exhibit, Southern Highland Craft Guild's Folk Art Center Main Gallery. The exhibit was held from January 12 to May 13. I set up one of my looms, took it to the exhibit in early February and left it there for a series of demonstrations we did over the following three months...mainly on weekends. I picked up the loom when the show ended, brought it back to my studio and have been working on it since then.

The view on the right is the piece as I picked it up on the last day of the exhibit. The second view, with the TWS logo, is what I've woven since then (with a small section on the left side done by a student of mine here in Dahlonega).

The piece is nearing completion, it's 18" wide x about 32" long. One of the TWS members, Jan Hart, has volunteered to sew slits and finish the ends at the back! I'll finish the piece tomorrow, I think...have to level up the right side and decide about hem or not.

This has been a wonderful learning experience for me! Talk about taking a journey in tapestry with no preconceived plan--well, this has been one! Since we had several people to work on the piece over the demo time it seemed that it would be best to just play with the tapestry...make it a "crazy quilt" in a way...that way anyone who was able to come for demonstration time could feel free to do whatever she wished. Also, it was easy to ask visitors if they wanted to try their hand at it. There have been at least a dozen hands weaving on this tapestry...maybe even more!

The weft used has been mostly bits and pieces of my past tapestries--mostly Spelsau and Vevgarn since that's what I use mostly in my work. I filled zip lock bags arranged in color groups to leave with the loom at the Center. Because there wasn't much of any particular color combination to choose from the multi-color/small shape approach was the one that best adapted to yarn available. The warp sett I chose was 6 epi because I thought it would show up best for demonstration purposes. The weft was used 3-fold and caused us to sort through my excess yarns to mix and match a bit. As I finished off the tapestry in my studio I kept to my "rule" of using only the yarn I'd given for the tapestry. This has caused me to really dig through the yarn bags to find enough of particular colors! But that's added fun to the challenge.

Tomorrow I hope to finish this, cut it off and send it on to Jan. Then I need to get serious again, tackling the black walnut piece in earnest before Thomas and leave for about 10 days on June 4.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hi Lyn!
I think Tissart looms are great looms...just modify them for one's own needs. Pat Williams has one that's older than mine--the look of the frame is a bit different. Might be like yours, perhaps?

I got mine from an older lady in Atlanta as she moved to an assisted living situation back in 1988. She'd had it a number of years, having purchased it at the Mannings. For some reason, I like to know the history of my looms...just curious about who they've lived with over their working life.

I really am glad I had the steel beam added at the top. How wide is your loom? Mine is only 45" wide but I had two more treadle sets added to each side of the loom...from LeClerc. Since I'm building shapes and sometimes sitting at one side or the other for a period of time it was uncomfortable to stretch my leg to the middle to change the shed. Plus, just sort of "walking" up and down on the two treadles with each foot is how I prefer to change the shed anyway. I don't even open the shed very much with the treadles--just enough for my fingers to feel the space as I reach up. Of course, when weaving across a short distance I usually just pick the shed and don't fool with the treadles anyway. And, I've started thinking how I can possibly add leashes to the Tissart so I could use a dowel for the open shed and then have the leash shed available. I'm sure there's a simple way to do that but I haven't thought it through yet.

Thanks again for your comments!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hi Lyn,
Thanks for the look and comment. Yes, this is a different loom and yes, again, it's a Tissart. I've had the loom (gotten as a previously owned loom) since 1988. A few years ago I asked John Shannock if he could supply a steel top beam for the loom since the wooden one was beginning to warp (no pun intended!).

I've also disengaged the beater and c-clamped it at the highest position out of my way so I can build shapes. My pin cushion is on top of the left side c-clamp...above it is a snapshot of Archie Brennan I took when in the Penland concentration with him and Susan in 2001. So, I weave with Archie looking on everyday!

The cartoon is traced on Mylar and the original is placed beside for color reference. I don't follow the color exactly so don't have to be more precise than I use it. The Mylar is translucent and I got it from an art supply store in Atlanta. It doesn't tear as does tracing paper and yet is transparent enough to see the original through for the tracing.

I haven't progressed much more into the black walnut tapestry but hope to spend more time with it this week. I'm posting a photo of the current progress. I also will work on a couple of small landscapes this week, setting those up on the copper pipe loom. I'll visit a gallery manager in a few weeks so want to have several smaller pieces finished by then to see if she'd want to carry them in the gallery.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Hi Lyn and Pat (and maybe Di and Peggy),
I've just posted the latest photos of the black walnut tapestry that's underway now. I'm weaving 3-4 hours a day over most of the days of the past week, although some "life" interruptions happened, of course. Now that the university class is finished for the semester I hope to spend most of the weekdays in the studio. I haven't measured the height of the weaving at this point but have rolled the tie-on rod onto the cloth beam--that usually means I'm about 8-10" into the tapestry.

"Southern Yarns," the Tapestry Weavers South exhibit at the Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC ends this weekend and I'll be going back for final demonstration days on Sat. and Sun. The Guild hosts a Fiber Day on May 12 and there will be demonstrations of various fiber arts all over the building on Saturday. I'm wondering about setting up a loom that children can weave on but am not sure yet if I have time to do so. I'll decide tomorrow, I guess.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I added images of the current tapestry in progress...another fairly large one. This is based on images of black walnut tree, leaves, and bark taken from a large tree in our yard. I began the cartoon when I moved into the Stanton Storehouse studio but didn't finish it until recently--in fact, just after the Campbell class ended. I began weaving the piece about 10 days ago.

The sett is 8 epi, #12/18 cotton seine twine. The weft is Vevgarn, Mailiss and some Victorian tapestry wool used at 2, 3 or 4 fold, depending on the combination, as mentioned before.

I'm reading some from the George Nakashima book, The Soul of a Tree, right now along with other tree-related texts. I'm looking closely at this tree, especially at the bark, as I try to honor it with the weaving.