Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Enchanted Pathways

My entry to the small format, non-juried exhibit to be held in Santa Fe, NM later this year is now in the mail--and a big "PHEW!" sends it on its way!  The young man at the post office assured me it would arrive on Friday (deadline for receipt of the work is Monday) so I'm hoping for the best.

You might say, "Why did you send it so close to the deadline?" or "Aren't you pushing your luck?"  or "Why are you always rushing to meet a deadline?"  or any number of other questions about my seeming sloth.  And I'd reply, "But I've been working on the design for months! "  Yes, I have--in my head and in my sketchbooks--but that doesn't put weft into warp.  And I was getting near panic mode since I haven't missed an entry into the small format, non-juried tapestry exhibits that have been held every two years since initiated in Portland, Oregon in 1996.  In fact, I was part of the committee that made sure the exhibit once again happened in Atlanta during the 1998 Convergence.  I was darn sure not going to miss this one--although I pushed it to just about the limit for actually getting a new piece done (had a fall-back small piece I could have sent but didn't want to resort to that).

I sent a title of "Long Road Home" for my entry and have been considering the way to exemplify that since then.  My work is very much about time and the passing of time.  The nature themes I base subjects of tapestry upon are really about time.  As I considered the title for the exhibit--"Enchanted Pathways"--the title for the piece I wanted to do occurred to me.  And over the past two months I've thought about that idea and how to show it.  I've made several drawings of symbolic ways to represent the passage of day to night.  But after a few attempts I realized that it would take more concentration to develop the design than I was able to devote now.  So I began to look through my thousands of iPhoto images for a roadway view that I could adapt.

A couple of years ago I was returning from Johnson City, TN, driving down the long, sloping I-26 toward North Carolina.  I was shooting with my digital camera as I drove, holding up the camera with one hand and clicking over and over again, not looking into the display to see what was being captured.  Later when I downloaded the photos I saw that several might be able to work into a tapestry--but didn't do anything with them then.  On Sunday I looked at those shots again and picked out one to crop further into a long horizontal composition.  That's what I worked from, simplified and interpreted with 8 epi warp and four fold strands of wool.  I decided to leave the warp ends exposed because I liked the effect of the "trapped" roadway between the bare warps.  Half-hitches hold the weft in place; warp ends were trimmed to about 1" length at top and bottom.  The little tapestry was sandwiched between a couple of pieces of foam core board, rushed to the P.O., put into a padded envelope and... PHEW!

I'm using up left-over warps on the 45" Tissart loom.

The woven area is 10" wide x 3" high.

Finishing work before pressing and then trimming the warps.


  1. Wow, Tommye! This is a beautiful little piece. And what amazes me is that it would be beautiful at any scale.

  2. Thanks so much, Kathy. I do appreciate your eye, as you know... so this comment means a lot!

  3. You've incorporated such depth here, such distance. Simply beautiful. Kt.

  4. Kaite... thanks. By the way, I appreciate all the comments you're making throughout earlier posts. Tommye

  5. Hi Tommye,
    I tried emailing you twice today but both came back. I wanted to thank you for the blog comment. I went to her blog and it is great, never seen bindings like her recent one. And never thought about a weaving as a cover... hmm...

    Your small tapestry is beautiful. Santa Fe will be honored to display it. Wish I could go with it.

  6. Tommye, this landscape is so fantastic! Your color blending is fabulous-- I truly understand how difficult it is to achieve that kind of effect in a small scale weaving. Have you ever woven larger landscapes? I would love to see you do so!

  7. Hi Lyn,
    Thanks for your comments! Yes, I've woven other landscapes in the past, most of them fairly small. This is the smallest in many years, though.
    A few of the landscapes (which often have roadways as a central feature) are at this link to my Southern Highland Craft Guild webpage--scroll down to near the bottom to see a few:

  8. I certainly NEVER would put sloth in my head as a description of you or your work! The piece is wonderful and makes me think I need to take a trip to Johnson City!

  9. It certainly captures the feeling of distance, with those blue mountains (the Smokies). I love that yellowish hill, I have always been drawn to the colors of the winter landscape. I'll be posting on my blog soon about procrastination and its consequences, particularly in relation to this show 8-)