Tuesday, November 24, 2009

next tapestry underway...

... this is a small one I started last Saturday.  I'm doing it for an auction that will be held on December 5 during the annual Festival of Trees to benefit Challenged Child and Friends, an organization in north Georgia that serves children with disabilities and their families.  My husband and I have taken part in fund raising auctions with this group for several years now.

The tapestry will be 8" w x 10" h.  The sett sett is 8 epi, a cotton seine twine warp remains from a previous large tapestry woven on my Tissart loom.  For weft I'm using 4-fold of the 20/2 worsted wool from Norway that Kathe Todd-Hookers sells at Fine Fiber Press .  I've used black, white and grays for a few tapestries in the past and was inspired by Kathy Spoering's recently completed piece that's primarily black, white and gray to do this piece in monochromatic.  Link here to see Kathy's tapestry at her blog.

The tapestry is at the half-way point today and I hope to finish it before the weekend.  I'll also be taking a tapestry loom to the event venue the day before when artists who have donated works will be setting up to demonstrate with their techniques.  Most will be doing drawing or painting, I think; maybe having the loom there so one can see how it's actually done will make the little piece more appealing for bidders--at least I hope so.

The design was based on a very quick, loose sketch I did last summer at one of my favorite places in the world, the property at Sapphire owned by my friends, Noel and Patrick.  A couple of waterfalls there are ones I've photographed and drawn many times through the years.  The sketch I'm working from didn't have much color information to guide me along and I didn't want to refer to one of the photos since I'd hoped to make the tapestry more stylized.   I made a line drawing of the sketch by tracing basic outlines, leaving out a bit and adding a few other lines.  I then added value to the simplified shapes by filling in with pencil, scanned and opened in Photoshop.  I used various filters to manipulate and simply further.  I don't keep good notes about filters I go through to get the final image--just play around until my eye seems to like what I see.  This was a cutout filter but was done after other filters had been used to change things around a bit.

Because the piece is so small I was able to print out the design on regular 8.5 x 11" paper to use as the cartoon--it can be seen stitched at the back of the weaving.

P.S.  Here's the tapestry as I leave the studio today, 11-25-09.  I rotated the photo so it's seen in the direction it will hang.


  1. Wow, you are back at it quickly! I like this, and am honored that I may have tweaked an idea. That's what I like most about blogging - the inspiration we can get from each other. Working in monochrome isn't as easy as one would think, I found. It's hard to find values that have the same temperature in yarns.

  2. I've been reading your blog with real interest since I discovered it. I've never seen how tapestry weaving is done and your blog describes it brilliantly! I'm so impressed with how free you are compared to handweaving on a loom, I guess the two disciplines compliment each other. Thank you for sharing your projects in such detail!

  3. Kathe... yes, I was definitely inspired by your recent piece to think monochromatically again. Also, at Silvia Heyden's recent workshop we worked with value gradations as an exercise (with paper). I have seven yarns I'm working with--black, bright white, natural and four grays. I don't have lot of value differences in the grays but some temperature difference. It's an interesting challenge to blend four strands from the seven choices to attempt the values from the design. Luckily, the image I'm following doesn't have great subtly of value gradation!

    Charlotte... yes, tapestry weaving gives wonderful freedom within the simplest of weave structures--good old plain weave! Kathy Spoering's blog also describes the tapestry weaving process in great detail; so does Kathe Todd-Hooker's... and others. I've got their blogs linked in the left side bar on my blog--hope you can check them out, too!

  4. Oops... sorry, Kathy!!! I called you Kathe!

  5. I found Kathy's tapestry inspiring too, and yours is turning out just as beautifully. I love monochromatic themes and trees. About 75% of all the artowrk in this house features trees. Your blog is TOTALLY responsible for a little funky tapestry loom following me home. Jennifer's is always inspirational too.

  6. One day I will be able to pull off creating an 8 1/2 x 11 tapestry in a month! It's wonderful to see you do it and it keeps that as a reality for me sometime in my future. It's a beautiful tapestry and I think the idea of demonstrating will certainly increase it's value to the buyer! People love to have a story to go with their purchase.

  7. whoops, guess I need to get sketching and try my hand at the black and white and all in between. I find my self doing a lot more sketching, so that is good. I love your new tapestry. And I love the pictures of your leaves.