Friday, May 21, 2010

New kudzu tapestry is now underway...-

I selected another drawing from those of the kudzu I did in January for this smaller tapestry.  It will be about 20" high x 24" wide; I'm weaving it turned since I want the seed pods and vine to be as smooth at the edges as I can make them.  I'm using a diamond pattern to fade in and out in the background to be suggestive of the density of the mass of kudzu as it grows.  I don't really have a determined plan of how those diamond will proceed--I'll just let them grow like the kudzu, I guess!

I'm weaving this as a donation for a raffle to benefit the Blue Ridge Fiber Show, a biennial exhibition.  Here's a link to more information about the raffle.  This exhibit (formerly known as the Blue Ridge Handweaving Show) will include felting and spinning, in addition to weaving, this year.  It's organized by the Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweaving Guild.   The show is an "open" exhibit in that there isn't a pre-selection of works made by image.  I believe there may be a limit to how many pieces can be shown in a venue so it might be "first come" for acceptance although I don't know that, for sure.  There are three categories for the show--"Professional," "Amateur" and "Junior" (under 18 years old)--and one is asked to select the category into which the entry will be placed.  However, typically there is only an indication of this category on the label since the works hang together.   The show is open to anyone in the world, I believe, not just to those who are in North Carolina.

The overall quality of the weavings that I've seen in the show in the past has been outstanding.  In fact, I've often thought this is the best exhibit of weaving in the nation since it hasn't been pre-selected to reflect the bias of a juror.   I expect to see the same result with the addition of both felt and spinning to the mix.

I've exhibited in the show several times, have been fortunate to have been an award winner a few times, and I even was the judge for the show a few years back.  In fact, it was that experience that caused me to swear off of being a judge in the future.   I found there were so many worthy pieces and so few could be selected for awards of recognition; I realized that on a different day my eyes might see and respond to works differently--and I became convinced that judging the work of heart and hands was going to be ultimately unfair to many.

As I work, I'm referring to my many photos of kudzu for color inspiration, I have the smaller version of my cartoon pinned up, as well as the drawing from which the selection was cropped.  I used the bottom group of leaves and seed pod from this sketch since I liked the position of the seed pods better.

The design for the tapestry was developed by photographing the drawing, opening it in Photoshop and cropping the lower portion of leaves.  That crop was then manipulated with several filters to simplify the pencil marks into areas of different values.  Then, the digital file was taken to the local UPS store where there's a large printer.  There, the image was enlarged to the size I wanted to weave (at a cost of $3.75, plus tax).  I'm glad to have this service in town since I've wanted to use this method for enlargement of designs but just haven't had easy access before.  Earlier this week, for instance, I had another of the kudzu drawings enlarged to 42" x 60" -- that cost less than $6.00!  I'll be starting that one on the larger loom next week.

And finally... here's the finished first kudzu tapestry.  It's 60" wide x 24" high.  The title is Life Force.


  1. Life Force is beautiful! Love the size too.
    The smaller kudzu piece looks to be just as lovely.
    I am always in awe of the wonderful cartoon sketches

  2. This piece turned out to be just stunning! I have such a hard time using greens, but use them often. You make the greens beautiful and so natural looking!
    I look forward to seeing MORE kudzu grow in your hands, with the help of your 'green weaving thumbs.'

  3. All the pieces are beautiful and I look forward to seeing the next being completed.

    We're moving to the Tri-Cities area of TN for a new job in Kingsport. Any suggestions? I remember you had the one piece from the photographs you took from your drive from Johnson City.