Monday, January 31, 2011

January 2011 tapestry diary came off the loom today

My new year's tapestry diary has begun and, as mentioned before, this year I'll be doing separate months at a time rather than one long weaving, as for 2009 and 2010.  The plan to do the months as separate weavings will allow me to keep pace with the days better; I can take the loom along with me when I travel.

Now... after having said all that... I've got the February warp ready on a loom at home!  I'll be out of town for a day here and there in February so will have to contend with a few missed weaving days.  However, I want to use up the end of the warp from a previous tapestry woven on the Tissart loom.

For January I studied soumak.  Each day is separated with a red-orange band and within about an inch done daily, a different method for soumak was used.  For technique, I referred to these sources:  Kathe Todd-Hooker's Tapestry 101 and Line in Tapestry; Jean Wilson's Soumak Workbook; and Peter Collingwood's Techniques of Rug Weaving.

The Collingwood book is so rich that I'm going to continue to explore more about the methods he describes as February begins.

This month's piece measures 3.5" wide x 29.5" long.  The sett is 8 epi of 12/12 cotton seine twine.  The weft was from my scrap box--mostly Vevgarn (wool/spelsau blend) was used.  It was woven on a Mirrix loom using a continuous warp to extend the length.

A few details of areas I particulary enjoyed are these:



Yes, I know... pretty sketchy but that's exactly what the intent was... quick sketches/sampling of method.  I made notes along the way and can refer back to the section in which the technique was used as a reminder.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lots of loose ends

I'm in the winter stewing mode... meaning I don't have a tapestry underway (other than my tapestry diary and other assorted "ghosts" on small frame looms).  I've been thinking, writing about ideas, talking about possible directions with others, and generally feeling like the cartoon roadrunner when he was spinning his legs around about to go zooming forward.

When I'm stewing this way ideas are often under the surface.  Sometimes, if I'm lucky, they'll bubble up and a few began to break the surface this morning.  I grabbed out some sketchbooks that I knew held some of the images I believe I want to work with.  In one of them I found notes I'd made from Theo Moorman's book, Weaving as an Art Form.

One of the comments from page 53 of her book I noted near the bottom of the sketchbook page, having to do with limiting one's use of photographs:  "The impact of our eye can never be so strong as when we observe the actual object.... When we try to record the response in the form of a sketch, we instinctively select the salient points and omit others which have no place in our theme."

I'm keeping that in mind as I move though the next process of developing design options for the next large tapestry.  However, I have used photography to capture drawings from my sketch book and then, with Photoshop, I've begun a process of alteration from the originals.  When I'm further along I'll begin to post about these stages of the process.  I have two looms ready to go, one with a 24" wide width and the other with a width of 42" -- both have different setts.  The 24" width is sett at 8 epi and the 42" is at 6 epi.  Which loom I'll use for the weaving will partly be determined by how detailed the design will be.

In another direction--I picked up copies of Stonepile Writers' Anthology today.  It was recently published by the University Press of North Georgia.  A photograph I'd taken last summer was selected as the cover illustration.  A couple of my poems were also chosen for the publication.  I was quite thrilled to learn about the photo selection--I think that meant as much to me, if not more, than having the poems selected.  After all... the visual side of me is the real me; the writer side is my doppelganger.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tapestry design class at the Folk School last week

I just made a post with small slide show about last week's class at the Tapestry Share blog.  I'll add more about it here soon.   It was a great group and wonderful week... just wish the temperature had been more user-friendly!

Tomorrow, I'll be going to Haywood Community College at Clyde, NC to present a brief tapestry tutorial for textile students there.   The 2011 tapestry diary continues and my mind is gearing up for a new, larger tapestry.  Time to weave is coming soon, I hope!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tapestry diary for 2011 underway now

This year, as I'd mentioned before, I'm going to have a separate tapestry diary for each month.  I very much like the continuous ones done in 2009 and 2010 but I want to be able to take the weaving along with me when I travel.   By setting up a frame loom with around 36" of weaving length (using a continuous warping method) I'll be able to weave about 1" high each day.  I'm still using from the left-over wefts but decided to start with naturals, whites, grays and black for this year since I've used very little of those in the past two tapestries.

I'm beginning with soumak as my study in the diary for the year.  Don't know how often I'll concentrate on technique rather than recording date as in the earlier woven diaries.  But since I've used very little soumak in the past I thought I'd give it a try.  As chance would have it, there was an article in the latest Vav magazine about an ancient weaving in which a type of soumak was used for stylized figures.  I'd started the weaving by a few days when I finally had time to take a look at my issue of the magazine and--there was "snare weave" being described, later noted as soumak in the article!

So... couple of photos of the January 2011 progress:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More photos of the 2010 tapestry diary

Although I have quite a bit of finishing yet to do on this piece I decided to hang it up temporarily to see how the empty spaces will work with the woven bits.  Warps at both ends are still simply long and loose although I temporarily knotted the bottom to keep them off the floor.

Most of the cut ends at the top are visible in the six weeks of empty warps from my West Dean time... those are the vertical meandering lines behind the more orderly rows of blank warps.  I quite like the shadow cast by the open warps and that gives me thoughts about how to hang the tapestry.  I'll probably select about a 1/2" thick hanging bar, attach velcro to it and to the back of the tapestry, so that the piece will be able to be placed even further from the wall when completed.

I haven't exhibited any of the tapestry diary pieces (Month of May 2008; Month of July 2010; and the year of 2009) but I'm considering doing so soon.  The statement about the concept of the pieces will be included whenever I do exhibit them because I think that's quite important to the tapestries.

 The three empty rows near the bottom of the photo are showing my residency at Lillian Smith Center in June and July.  The next row of empties would be my trip to Convergence and ATA retreat in New Mexico.  Two weeks spent while teaching at Penland later in the summer are represented by the next larger area of unwoven warps.  I've been away so much during 2010 that I'll have to refer to my calendar to see just where I was for many of the blanks!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jan Austin's tapestry diary for 2010

Jan Austin also decided to work through the year of 2010 on a tapestry diary.  She's just posted about her finishing and cutting off at her blog... take a look!

As Jan says, the process is the point of these daily efforts.  A few minutes each day to devote to a practice of one's craft.  We're not "making art" as we do these weavings... rather, we're moving through the process of making; from the effort we develop discipline, persistence.

And... my beginnings for the new year:

My tapestry diary for 2011 begins as a challenge to myself of the process of learning through the making.  Each day's few minutes experience with warp and weft will be one of learning more about the medium of tapestry weaving.  BUT, the ultimate goal is simply the process of putting weft into warp each day during this new year.  By doing that I will have a tangible record of my place on the earth in this life I hold for a short time.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year--Tapestry Diary for 2010 is DONE!

End of the year... half-hitches in place at the top.

Unrolled from the breast beam... longer than I expected!

Cutting it off at last...

... and laying it out on the floor to see it for the first time.

More about it later...

... and now, later... to add these additional photos from yesterday:

Snipping ends before pulling out the posterboard spacer strips.

Strips are out... don't have a long enough table to lay it out on.

Empty warps for my times away.  I still have finishing work to do to tidy it up.  That will take some time to do... but doesn't matter, does it... it took a year to weave so I shouldn't complain about the completion process, I guess!