Sunday, January 31, 2010

kudzu thoughts

A bit more progress today but not a lot.  I'm nearing the 1/2 point at the left--the uppermost part that's woven on the left side touches the bottom of a vine that's located half way across the design.  I'll fill in at the right tomorrow before winding more of the tapestry onto the beam.  

I almost always reach a stage about half way into a piece when my energy begins to drag.  Wonder why that is?  Is it because the excitement of starting the new design and making color choices begins to fade away?  I'm challenged to select blends of colors but now it begins to become a tedious challenge--not a fun one.  I start thinking to myself "Why don't I just decide before hand what color combinations I'm going to use so I can just weave?"  or "Why not just use a single color instead of color mixtures anyway?" And so it goes:  Whine, whine, whine... doubt, doubt, doubt.  

Yesterday I spent a good bit of time weaving and unweaving; did a bit of that today, too.  I'm changing the cartoon as I go along and that causes me to stop, look and think.  And I'm adding smaller vines in the background that weren't in the original drawing, putting them in where I feel the space needs to be broken up further.  I'd mentioned that I want the feeling of this piece to be dense entanglement so the addition of more vine suggestions fits my intent.

I was thinking earlier today about the preference I have for working from my drawings or paintings rather than a photograph I've taken.  I came to the conclusion that, although I've occasionally worked from photos directly as my cartoons, I usually need to take the idea and image to another stage.  I find either observing photos I've made or working from life for drawing or painting gives me the way to filter. And for me, that filter gives me both distance and closeness to the subject I'm rendering.  For instance, to me this tapestry is about one of the critical aspects of kudzu here in the Southeast--the overwhelming quality of it.  The plant's vines entwine and tangle around themselves and everything they encounter.  There's quite a sinister feel to seeing mounds of kudzu covering everything it grows over.  Yet the plant itself is so visually beautiful.  In working from the photographs to develop the cartoon I selected what I felt was the essence of both of those ideas--the overwhelming and the beautiful.  Hope I can make both work out!


  1. I always hit the tired whiny bored stage of any project at the 70% mark. Close enough that I know I'd finish soon, but I start having to force myself to work on it before starting something new. Keep going, it's looking great! And as someone who lives in a kudzu-infested area, that's saying a lot :)

  2. I'm not sure where I lose the excitement, but I do know that if my mind begins to wander to the next project, the one I'm on suffers. I know it's the creaming and creating that is most exciting for me. Are the changes as you go helping you stay interested?

  3. Yes, in my weaving there always comes a point when I think the whole thing was a big mistake (not in things like towels or scarves, but in my more "creative" stuff). And there also come times when I wonder why I didn't just design out the whole thing in detail ahead of time and then just follow the directions. But that's really impossible because what i see in the weaving affects upcoming decisions and I have to see it in the weaving, not in the painting, the drawing, the drawdown...........
    I'm loving following this piece.

  4. Jennifer, yes the changes I'm making along the way are keeping my attention since I have to watch closely to see if they're making visual sense with everything that was in the original cartoon. I draw on the back of the mylar with the sharpie once I begin a shape--try to make it continue in a logical way over and around other vines that are in the foreground.