Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Great! I'm glad you took a look and had wonderful comments...I appreciate your taking time to do so. Yes, the yarn from Noel is what I use almost exclusively. In the black walnut piece I'm using a combination of Vevgarn and a thin worsted that she imports, called "Mailiss" in her catalog. The black walnut piece is set at 8 epi of 30/18 cotton seine twine from Laura Shannock and I'm using Vevgarn (1) with Mailiss (2) for my color blends (mostly). I'm also using in a few colors Vevgarn (1), Mailiss (1), and Victorian tapestry wool (2)...pretty much equals in size either 2 Vevgarn or the 1 Vevgarn & 2 Mailiss. So I'm able to get nice variations of color.

I haven't dyed in many years but am interested in doing dyeing again by maybe late summer or early fall. I have a friend who does quite a lot of natural dyeing--she's taken a workshop with Michelle Wipplinger at Harrisville and is trying to have her here in north Georgia for another advanced workshop. My last experiences with dyeing were with wool and using Lanaset or Telana dyes. I have extensive samples and formulas for resulting colors so feel I could begin to dye again pretty readily...just need pots to dye in (plus fresh dyes and chemicals, etc.)

I'll post an image of the black walnut piece underway in a day or so.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Black walnut tapestry is moving along well. I'm using vertical twining in some of the leaves--as shown in Kathe Todd-Hooker's book, Line in Tapestry, and I'm liking the effect quite a bit. It's much faster than wrapping and stitching a single warp thread, is done (in my case) after two passes, and it seems to have a more graceful flow than wrapping up a warp. Of course, it looks more like a running stitch than a woven bead but so far I find it looks ok. In fact, I'm thinking it might be interesting to use the method throughout a whole piece, one based on a line drawing. I may set up one of the small frame looms to give that a try.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The black walnut tapestry is now underway. I began weaving the hem on Tuesday and the actual beginning of the tapestry on Thursday. I finally "saw" the pattern in the bark of the tree yesterday morning as I walked to the studio. And, when I looked again at photos of the tree I'd taken I could see the almost ogee shape that the grooves of the bark formed. I made some suggested lines on the back of the mylar cartoon and am using those as rough guides for the bark area of the design. I'm not far enough into the area to see if it's working but hope to know by the end of the weekend.

Festival weekend in Dahlonega so I'll be in and out of the studio. I'll be spending some time with the Appalachian Studies Center booth on the square--and I'll also be strolling around finding things to buy!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Noel Thurner leads my NGCSU class in spindle spinning...

My friend, Noel, came to my class last night to introduce the students to hand spinning using a spindle. She has a wonderful way to introduce spinning with a top whorl spindle by asking the students to stand behind her and simply watch her. Over the course of a few minutes she repeats the motions, gradually beginning to whisper three words: "pinch, pull, pinch"...then after a minute or so of that, begins to say: "pinch, pull, pinch...wind on." After about five minutes of this process she talks her way through the whole thing. She says she wants the students to get the motions into motor memory and watching, first, rather than just listening to her speak about it can help that happen.

The class was almost three hours long and during that time the students went from using a nostepinne to learn to wind a ball (that they later used to wind a ball of their handspun, from which they used both inside and outside ends to make a 2-ply yarn), to spinning a pencil roving into a single strand and then making a 2-ply from it. She then passed out finnish wool roving, showed them how to attenuate the fibers and to spin from a "bracelet" of the roving.

She also demonstrated carding and making a tightly rolled rolag -- using a dowel around which to roll the fiber (rather than a more loosely rolled one straight from the card). And she also showed them how Viking wool combs are used to prepare for worsted spinning.

All in all, it was an amazing amount of information and the students all went away thoroughly excited about the possibilities of hand spinning with a spindle...all but one of them, in fact, checked out a spindle and took several handfuls of Gotland roving to spin over the weekend.

I was one of the students, as well, since I haven't spun in years--and never very well when I was spinning! I'm going to make time to learn enough about it to use it as an introductory lesson next fall for my beginning weaving class.

Monday, April 16, 2007

"...and they will be resolved again into their own roots."

This title for the finished roots tapestry presented itself to me last week as I came across the Gospel of Mary Madaglene. Chapter 4, v. 22 says: "The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots."

The symbol at the upper left is a valknute, a symbolic knot design found in early Norwegian weavings (also found in other parts of the world, according to Katherine Larson in The Woven Coverlets of Norway). It is a symbol that has many meanings, among those as a protection against evil. It also has a relationship to Odin, as he is seen as "father of the battle slain" and in those meanings I'm adopting it as a thought about the current and also past wars and those who've died therein.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Beginning tapestry class at John C. Campbell Folk School, April 1-6

Great group came together this week!

Looms and supplies set up before students arrived. I provided copper pipe looms, warp wound into balls, 5 Swedish bobbins, 2 larger Gobelin style bobbins, and a bound booklet of information and instructions that I'd put together. I also took Vevgarn and brass tipped bobbins that they could use (they paid me for Vevgarn after weighing finished sampler).

Fredda had an innovation with spring clips for warping.

Fredda and Barbara are cutting copper pipe to make their own looms.

Let's meet and separate!

Hard at work about day one.

Still hard at work, about day four!

Audrey's tapestry on the loom, nearing completion...

Neville, my assistant, working on her

Ruth Ann's piece underway...

Karen, with her finished tapestry. She's going to turn this into a bag.

Laura shows her finished piece--just cut off of the loom!

Weavers for the week...

Display on the last afternoon.
The last posting showed the roots tapestry just cut from the loom. I haven't had time to go much farther with it than that since I taught last week at John Campbell Folk School. The class consisted of 12 students--it was billed as a beginning tapestry class. Although there were a few people there who'd woven tapestry before, all started at the same place.

I took copper pipe looms designed like Archie's, with a modification in size of the pipe to 1/2" (so I can carry a stack of them easier!) Five of the students wanted to make their own so they got their copper pipe, and other supplies at Lowes in Murphy on Mon. night and cut the pipes to size. Tues. night they used the epoxy to put them together, as Thomas had shown me how to do with the new ones we assembled before the class.

We worked at a set of 6 epi for a 4" wide piece (plus two extra for selvedge guide strings). The length available with the looms was up to 14-16" and almost all were woven to that length by Friday, end of class. I'll post some photos of works in progress from the class later when I have time to go through them.

The class was intense! And I realized that I finally understand the very basic techniques that I introduced and walked them through. I've been doing these things without verbalizing or describing through drawings but now I did both, in addition to demonstration, to help the students understand the concepts. I feel like I've passed some critical exam in my own tapestry development!