Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm weaving least the header...a start

When Pat was here the other day we were talking about the pipe looms, making stands for them, looking at Archie's plans and thinking about modifications for our purposes. I started thinking again about building the black pipe loom that he's designed. I bought the parts when I was at the Penland concentration class that he and Susan taught in 2001. But I didn't get the pipes cleaned and assembled while there. Once I got home, the pipes were in the garage for awhile and then finally sort of "went away" with someone who was going to clean and paint them for me...well, I didn't follow up to get them back...and those particular loom makings are long gone, I guess! I really hated that I'd let them get away from me. So as Pat and I were talking about looms to use with students I decided to try galvanized pipe.

At the local hardware "big" store I was mulling over Archie's plans and figuring the sizes I needed to adapt to a smaller galvanized pipe based on the black pipe plans. Then I noticed several smaller sizes of the black pipe in the bins. OK, rather than going with the galvanized pipe I thought I'd try a version with the 3/4" black pipe, rather than the 1" pipe...making it a bit lighter for me to drag around. All this happened last Friday. So, I left the store with a cart load of pipe, tees, elbows, threaded rod, nuts, wire brush, spray paint. I got degreaser somewhere else, had steel wool and sandpaper--and I got to work!

By this Monday I'd had time to get all the parts and pieces cleaned and the loom assembled. I put it in the back yard on plastic sheets and spray painted it. At the end of the day, my husband helped by putting one more coat of paint on and we took the loom inside the studio.

Yesterday I warped the loom, using the method Susan Maffei described and demonstrated with her large pipe loom when we were at Penland.

In that way, she warped with the loom horizontal, one end on the feet and the other end propped up on stools. Here's my loom with the warp in place before I put it back to vertical. To warp, I stood inside the loom for most of the warping and put the warp on in a continuous loop, 4 ends in each inch. When the warp got too close to the side for me to still be inside the loom I stepped out and reached over to finish. The back and the front warps, 4 at back and 4 at front, were then pulled into a flat plane of 8 epi as I inserted the shed stick and wove the foundation at the bottom.

Today I spaced the warps above the foundation, twined across, then made leashes. Header was woven in using the same cotton seine twine as was used for the warp.

Tomorrow, I'll hitch the bottom and weave a hem--and then decide what to weave!! I have a 30" width on the loom and the ability to weave about 30+/-" high. I have several of the fiddlehead studies that I'm considering and will make a decision tomorrow.

BUT I'm feeling much happier now that I've got a blank warp ready (almost) to begin the next tapestry journey.

And, the May tapestry trip isn't over yet! Three more days of the woven journal. I have plans to go to an opening of an exhibit in which I have a tapestry and that trip will take me out of town for the last two days of the month. But I'll be taking the small loom will be with me so I can complete my woven record of May, 2008. What fun this has been!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

only a week left for May tapestry!

I've been plugging away at the daily installment on my month of May tapestry journal. Here's the progress that's been rolled to the back of the loom. I've flipped the photo so the first day is at the bottom, as I intend it to read. The current week's work is at the front of the loom...shown at the left in the margin.

I'm still also working with the fiddlehead & fern designs...lots of different ideas developing there and I'm going where they're leading for right now. I'll be doing a demo during the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, July 17-20 at the Asheville Civic Center, Asheville, NC. I want to have a piece underway for that demonstration from what's developing as a series of tapestries based on these spring thoughts.

I'm also building a pipe loom, adapting from Archie Brennan's black pipe loom design by making on a smaller scale. I'll use that loom in Asheville, rather than one of my other ones, I think.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

show and tell and sharing with friends

What a great day of inspiration and sharing I had with good friend, Pat Williams, today! Pat's a fantastic tapestry artist and all around fabulous person...I've really learned so much from her through the years. And had a lot of fun with her and her antics, as well!

We try to get together at either her studio or mine every couple of months or so. We live only about 40 minutes apart but not as easy as either of us would like to turn loose and have a day or half-day together.

But when we make it, we always have show & tell, mini-critiques, sharing of ideas, books, thoughts--anything and everything just whirl around when we get inspiring! Pat presented me with a portrait today...I'm holding it in the photo. In it, she's shown me sitting on a sunflower, stretching forward to work on a weaving (and it's literally a weaving that she's inserted into the watercolor by threading warps and weaving strips into it, combining a photo of me with one of the large sunflower tapestry I wove a few years back). I was so touched by the thought--and the beautiful example of her wonderful figurative works. Special friend she is, indeed.

Next month, we're going to the ATA workshop together in Florida, as car- and room-mates. I hope to run in to many old friends there--and make new ones, too!

So here's a photo of Pat and me at the studio--I used the timer on my camera, ran to the swing and plopped down beside Pat; doing so set the swing to swaying a bit and when the timer went off we were "on the move!" I manipulated the digital shot with Photoshot, thought I'd try removing the color to see the effect...liked that pretty well and then used a cutout filter on it.

More fun stuff! I've also worked more with the fiddlehead wildness it to weave or just play with, I'm not sure yet but have needed some playtime...I take myself too darn seriously way too often so today's play date was a welcome respite!

and yet more...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

and still more...

Finally I'm feeling some excitement after about three weeks of not being able to "see" what I was trying to accomplish with this concept! And it's about joy! About spring...fleeting as it's still shockingly beautiful to see and experience when it's here.

So I'm moving ahead right now, I think. Also started an altered book about these fiddleheads/ferns today, too. Someplace to keep all these things that I can grab quickly--right now everything is in either stacks, filefolders, about three different sketchbooks, assorted well as in these posts. I found a hardcover book at the local library, about 8" x 10" in size, with interesting text that I can partly conceal and somewhat reveal. I spent a couple of hours this afternoon cutting and pasting in the tangible form...not just with the computer!

But I have done a number of versions of one of the photos I took of the parts cut from the painting in the last post. They were laying on the walk while I rearranged thought was to glue them down to a larger canvas but at this point I'd rather keep them as big moveable parts and photograph them in different configurations. I'll use Photoshop to make other changes in color, contrast and texture--as well as being able to zoom, crop, cut, paste.

Now I'm having fun!

more fiddleheads

So, the design work (and for me it's indeed work!) continues as I try to develop a tapestry based on the fiddleheads and ferns. Today I finally went over the edge and cut all three paintings I've been working on apart. I've manipulated the real things and also the digital versions for weeks now and I need to do something to shake myself up--try to get out of this mudhole I've gotten myself into.

Maybe this will all become a large floorcloth, glued together and sealed...who knows at this point.

But I decided to see what I could do from this photo by putting it into Photoshop and doing some fiddlin' (pun intended?!)

So here's some stuff happening and it's causing some shifts in my thinking--may not yet be productive but at least I'm moving away toward something else...away from the cycle of work and re-work on the three paintings.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dogwood down

Wind storm moved through the mountains of western NC while I was at Noel & Patrick's for a few days. On Monday morning we woke to find an older dogwood tree had been ripped up out of the ground. It was still full of blooms and probably acted like a kite in the wind. Luckily, this was the only significant damage that happened on their property. The winds were around 75 mph, according to local law enforcement folks. It was quite gusty most of the daylight hours on Monday but by the next morning all was calm again.

Patrick had a trip planned but had to cut back branches before being able to get his car out. The tree managed to fall between our cars...didn't hit either car as it came down.

Sad to see an old tree go but just couldn't withstand the gust.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

more fiddleheads...and some flame azaleas

I began a new version of the fiddleheads yesterday, drawing from small gesture drawings based on earlier photos in the woods. I did the drawing quickly using large chalk and also gaphite stick on canvas I'd stenciled and stamped the day before with varying greens using fern fronds. I worked on it again today, still very loose and large marks and brush strokes. The dark red in the background was done for contrast at the last minute. The canvas was taken outside, photographed and then I manipulated the photo with Photoshop filters to this stage.

The flame azalea photo was taken at the creek property this morning...the colors of these plants in different places in the woods is just amazing...hue ranges from this very intense deep red-orange to light orange sherbet-like version in another place nearby.

Friday, May 9, 2008

more about the calendar/journal tapestry

The tapestry I'm working on daily (the Month of May tapestry) is being done by weaving about 1-1/2", then marking the end of the day with a dark marker (it's had the ninth day added here). As I began this month-long-process I created rules to follow (of course, since I made the rules I can break them at will!). So, briefly, my rules for this game are:

  1. use weft only from my many bags of left-overs from tapestries past,
  2. respond to each day with the number of shapes as is the day (one shape for May 1, nine shapes today, May 9...)
  3. end each day with two passes of dark weft to be ready for the next day's weaving--on the next day,
  4. and have the background be mostly the same throughout each day's section while the shape colors may change.
Last week I was energized by the process, excited to see what would happen daily. I was also spending several hours every day in awe of the beautiful spring as it develops here in north Georgia. I found that the colors selected for each day were very influenced by those observations of and reflections on nature's renewal.

As I began the second week yesterday I felt all of out of sorts...nothing particularly jumped up and down in my sense brain and said, "Weave about me! Weave about me!" So when I glanced into the weft-box my eye spotted a large bundle of yellow...I thought, "Ok, so I'll weave a yellow ground and place eight shapes of different mostly intense colors on it." Well, that turned out to be less than the desired effect but I left it in place...since I guess that's pretty much another rule that I didn't mention before...try very, very, very hard not to be too judgmental and start ripping out!

So, today I was even more the 9th day has 9 shapes...all red on a light gray field...except one is more pink than red. And it is also smaller than the others. Seems it's an choice? By exclusion? I've said this before...don't quite know where since I'm writing in about five different journals currently.

Anyway, it is what it there's a famous and significant quote, huh?!

Oh yeah, I'm still working on the fiddlehead compositions...or rather, struggling with them.

And on my yesterday's trip to the woods found windflower and false solomon's seal, as well as wild a few more things not yet identified.

There was also a wonderfully clear raccoon print in the mud by the a great photo of that! Now I'm wondering about how to use it in tapestry.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

identification of one of the "mystery plants!"

One of the plants I found on the property the other day turns out to be a rare mint! The Center for Plant Conservation website says it is Collinsonia verticillata--also know as early stoneroot, whorled horse-balm, whorled stoneroot. It is listed as Sensitive by the U.S. Forest Service "...due to its limited range in the Southern Appalachian Mountains...."

I took more photos of the plant today before I learned about what it was from a friend. And I noticed at least seven plants flowering, leaves for more.

I also saw devil's bit or fairy wand growing near the whorled horse-balm. What a wonderful spring we're having here!

Monday, May 5, 2008

more work on fiddleheads three...

After stenciling and printing with ferns one of the compositions yesterday, I photographed it today then manipulated with Photoshop.

This is close to finished, I think. A bit more work with Photoshop, maybe.

more ferns and other things

into the woods on Sunday...
I've been busy for a few days with other things...the fiddlehead studies have been simmering. I took a trip back to the creek property yesterday and the change in a week's time was just amazing! The whole woods' floor is covered with new fern fronds...only a few unfurled fiddleheads still evident.

I spotted a few trillium and quite a few flame azaleas. There were a number of other wildflowers I can't yet identify--got to get my books out today to see if I can locate them.

The sky was absolutely as blue as it can get, it seemed. And there were many bright clouds floating around. The light and shadow chased each other through the trees and danced through the ferns with the breeze. The creek sound was gentle and constant.

I took both sketchbook and camera; I downloaded 119 photos to iPhoto when I got back but have only printed a few to draw from today. I spent more time looking around or looking through the camera viewfinder than I did with the sketchbook. But I did finally sit on a log for a few minutes and do a few thumbnail sketches of a few of the views of tree trunks. I love to see the figure-ground relationships of trees in the woods. I've taken many photos through the years of these--and also made a number of sketches. I want to weave from this concept at some point. Maybe that point is closer than before...

So, here are a few of the wonderful things I saw yesterday.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

more work on two compositions

The outside studio--the garage wall--was used again today for more work on the two designs I'm trying to finalize. I think I'm almost ready with the creek view to try a simplification. I'm still struggling with the single fiddlehead, though.