Saturday, February 2, 2019

Happy New Year. A Month In!



Good grief, if the rest of 2019 goes as the month of January went I'll be writing my Happy New Year, 2020 shortly!

In my last post I showed the 2018 tapestry diary as it was cut from the loom.  It's now all finished up and photographed by Tim Barnwell.  Here it is:

52" h x 11.5" w x 1" d

I was able to get to Asheville early in January to have it and the two other tapestries I finally completed before the end of 2018 photographed. 

Tapestry diary is ready to be photographed.
Here are the other pieces:

Fall Returns, 21" x 17" x 1"
Five Leaves for Miss Lillian, 60" x 32" x 1"
All of the weft yarns other than the white or natural were dyed with natural dyes.  I've enjoyed the challenge of dyeing the yarns and am going to learn better practices with the process when I take a workshop with Catharine Ellis in April.  Her new book, The Art and Science of Natural Dyes, written with Joy Boutrup, has just been published and my copy was in the mail this week.  What a classic in natural dyeing it's sure to become! 

My tapestry diary is underway and January is completed.  It's from a photo I took in mid-January of a Lenten Rose or Hellebore blooming outside the house.  Perhaps I'll find a flower growing each month as in 2017.  But this year I'm not going to isolate the image within a field of white.  I'll use color from the surroundings.  I think that's what I'll do.  At least right now that's the plan!

11" wide, 10/3 linen warp, 8 epi
Natural dyed weft yarns are again what I'm choosing to use.  For the days, I've decided to use a cast of a die to make a color choice.  1 = red; 2 = yellow; 3 = blue; 4 = green; 5 = orange; 6 = violet.  I have several versions of each hue among the dyed yarns so I'll be making decisions of which one of those to use once the die tells me which hue.  Confusing?  Not really!  But interesting to see what turns up each day.

I've entered works in several exhibits and, so far, have learned of two acceptances.  I'm waiting the results for others.  More about the exhibits sometime soon.

The Elements: earth, air, fire, water exhibit is now at the University of North Georgia in the Bob Owens Gallery.  More about that in a few days, as well.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year! May it be a better one than 2018


Yes indeed... hoping for better times in 2019.

I started off by listing all of the bad things that have happened during this year in our family.  And then going on to also list other sad and tragic events world-wide.  But I stopped and deleted the list.  Rather than dwelling on those events I have to say they're now history.  And history always holds both downs and ups.  And I'll have to admit there were a few times during 2018 when things were hopeful--and even joyful.

I haven't made resolutions for an upcoming year in a long time.  I do have goals that I set throughout the year.  And I feel good about each one of those that I'm able to accomplish by a (usually) self-imposed deadline.

One of the goals was met this morning when I completed weaving the last day of my 2018 tapestry diary and cut it off the loom.  Here we are--the 2018 version of my tapestry diary series and me, holding it aloft--like a prize fish, according to my husband:


The 2018 tapestry diary is 61" long x 11.5" wide.  The warp is linen, sett at 8 epi.  The weft is wool with the colors all of natural dyes I've done during the last year and a half.  Most of the colors are from black walnut, henna, Osage orange, madder, indigo (with some top dyeing with indigo over the yellows of the Osage orange to give various greens).

After taking a look at the 2018 tapestry diary I put it aside and prepared for 2019.  I want to weave the first day tomorrow and so I had to get a warp on the loom.  I wound the warp yesterday and today spent a couple of hours tying the new onto the remains of the old warp.  I like to tie on because it saves time.  I also like the thought of linking the new year with the remains of the old one... just like our lives.

Here's a look at the preparations for 2019 on the loom:


I have the new warp in my hand, holding the cross (a separation of every other warp end that keeps the threads in order).


One by one, I tie each in order to the old.  I use an overhand knot for the ties and make sure to snug each one tightly so they won't pull apart as I'm winding the warp onto the beam.


After tying all of the ends, I have to work the knots through the reed.  I do this by pulling a small group at a time.


After the reed, all the knotted ends have to be "helped" through the heddles.  This is a bit slower than going through the reed with the knots because the eyes of the heddles are smaller than the reed spaces.  Looks like a mess here but it's really fine.



Next, I begin to wind the warp onto the beam.  I'm winding paper between layers of the warp.  I measured out 3 yards for the new warp--more than I'll weave during next year but I probably won't have to tie on new until 2021!


It's now tied onto the lower rod.  The initial spreading of the warp ends is done and tomorrow morning I'll put in a half-hitch to hold it all in place as I begin one more year's tapestry diary, to be done one day at a time to make 2019 part of my woven history.

I wish all of you a very successful, safe and happy 2019!  A better year than 2018... please!


Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Solstice! Let the light return--in more ways than one.


A sunset from October will be the stand-in as it's gray and damp here today and I don't expect to see the sun going down this afternoon at 5:29.


Instead, I'll fondly recall this sunset I saw while sitting on the porch of Peeler Cottage at the Lillian Smith Center earlier in the year.  Two of my favorite times of the day when I'm there are sunrise and sunset.

2018 has been a tough one in many ways and I'm hoping that 2019 may hold better, happier, and healthier times for one and all.  But... those days are yet to come.

My energy level for weaving came back full steam after Thanksgiving and I've been able to finish a couple of tapestries that have been languishing since March of this year.  Here they are, just off the looms:

This one was cut off on Monday.  It's 52" long x 31" wide and is based on a painting I did when at the Lillian Smith Center a few years ago.  The colors are natural dyes, mainly madder and Osage orange, as well as indigo and some black walnut and henna.  I've now woven four pieces based on the paintings I did during that two week stay.

The photo was taken as the tapestry lay on the floor in the studio so you can see the cut warp ends at top and bottom.  I have a lot of finishing work to do on it before having it photographed for "real."  I entered it as a piece in process to Artfields and learned this week it's been accepted!  I'm grateful that I was able to submit to the exhibit with images of it in process and statement of intent.

Here's the cutting off underway, photographed by my husband:


 And here's the empty loom waiting patiently for the next warp:


The other tapestry that I cut off this week is the one I had on a smaller loom as a demo during the exhibit at the Hudgens Center earlier this summer.  Here it is as it was still on the loom on Wednesday:


And here it is, turned 90˚ to the way it was woven.  I've cropped the cut warp ends off the sides so that they weren't so distracting.  It's 20" high x 18" wide, also natural dyes used for the weft.


And the empty loom--also ready for the next warp:


Yes, hard to see the loom with all the yarn bins on the shelves behind it!

And I'll end with a photo of the state of the 2018 tapestry diary today.  I've finally started the stone for December.  I have a few days left in the year to weave the image, the days as they come, and then the year's date.  I think I can do it!  Oh... also have to make the warp for next year's tapestry diary and have it ready to tie on to the old on January 1. 


Here's to a good New Year to come as the sun returns!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

I'm back... almost


I've been missing in action for the past month.  I had surgery on November 5 and was in the hospital for five days following that.  I'm pretty much on the mend now and get stronger every day.  Although I can't really concentrate to read for long or get settled in comfortably in any place I'm weaving a little each day on my tapestry diary.

I have a lot of days to make up to weave the image for the month.  I'd anticipated a few weeks of down time following the surgery so in late October, I'd drawn a stick that was pretty thin and planned to use it for November's image.  About the tapestry diary work I do, you may or may not know that I weave an indicator of every day of the year in my tapestry diaries.  So each color change in the margins around the larger images represents a separate day and is woven on that particular day.  This 2018 tapestry diary is the fourth year in which I've shown larger images woven throughout the months, surrounded by the individual days. 

My hospital days were woven on the second day after I got home and are the black and white alternating bands at the left margin.  My follow up visit to the surgeon was yesterday and he release me.  That happy red-letter day is shown in the red band on top of those black and whites.  Last week's dreary days of pain and discomfort are the gray areas at the right margin.  Today is dawning bright and beautiful so I wove the soft yellow above the gray for the day.  Every day will be better.  I keep telling myself that--and, so far, it is!



I believe I can finish the November image by the end of the month.  That's my goal.  My husband asked me yesterday what my non-medical goal for the day was... I said walking two blocks.  He said that, no--that was medical-related.  What else?  So I said I'd work more on my tapestry diary if I felt like it.  Every day that's going to be my goal now.  Stop thinking about the medical and start thinking about other things I need to be doing.  And do them as I gain strength and focus.

So many people are going through much worse than I am.  Health, hurricane, fire.  On and on it goes.  It's hard to see positive things but they're always there.  They're there in the faces of loved ones, young and old.  In the caring shown by strangers through donations or physical labor to help rebuild.  Here's to a new day and one that will be better than some of the ones before.