Thursday, June 2, 2011

new tapestry underway -- from old design

I mentioned in the last post that I'm looking to the past for inspiration for tapestry making.  I must continue to weave and while the "creative well" is empty I'll turn to an image from a few years ago to use for a tapestry cartoon.  This is from a batik based on a drawing I'd made of one of the quilts I have.

One of my grandmothers made quite a few quilts of the simple pattern "Wild Geese Flying" and most of the time the fabric was from scraps of fabric from her daughters or daughters-in-law, all of whom sewed many of the clothes for their families.  If I look closely in this quilt I can see some bits and pieces of dresses I had in the 1960s.

A couple of decades ago the house I lived in (a college rental house) was a bit chilly in the winter so I often used the quilt over my lap when I was reading or watching TV in the evenings.  Most of the time I'd nod off on the sofa at some point before the evening ended and then when I woke up to stumble off to bed, the quilt would spill off my lap.  I began to notice the interesting "puddle" of fabric made by the quilt the next morning and drew it a few times.  Later I did three batiks based on the drawings.  I rediscovered the batiks a few years ago stored in the attic and thought then that I'd like to do a tapestry from one or more of the designs. Now seems like the time to do that since other inspiration is pretty much dormant right now.

Here's a portion of the quilt:

Here's one of the batiks:

And a few photos of the beginnings of the tapestry:

I'm also working with four selvedge weave to learn about the process.  I set up a third small warp of that method earlier this morning... I'm getting better at it; the first warp was a total disaster, the second warp (the one described in the link) was better, and today's went pretty smoothly.  I'll weave off this little piece before leaving the studio this afternoon, cut it off and be ready to re-warp again tomorrow.  I wrote more about the process of setting up the loom the first time at the Tapestry Share blog--here's the link to that.


Day by day by day by day... got to keep doing something. 


  1. What an interesting genesis of an idea. A textile about a textile about a textile! Who ever knows where an idea will lead?
    I also love your descriptive pictures about the scaffolded warp. So clear. Makes me want to try it immediately.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts about this, Alice. Hadn't thought about the several step remove from the original... hummm... that will keep my mind churning today!

    I've woven tapestries from other textiles before and it's always been an interesting design exercise--nothing particularly significant conceptually as I plan it. But you've brought up quite an interesting point. In fact, I've been thinking about a small piece I did a few years back, one in which I scanned a few Gingko leaves with a background of bright, striped backstrap loom woven cloth behind. I really enjoyed the process of sort of replicating the ikat stripes that were interspersed with solid bright colors as the background of the leaves. Without knowing it I guess I was combining my love of the forms of nature with my attraction to patterned fabric.