Friday, September 30, 2011

September's tapestry diary is complete

... at least, the weaving of the 30 days is done.  I've still got the end finishing to do and mounting of this one and the others for an exhibit.  I'm not sure how October will progress just yet but I'll have to be ready to begin by tomorrow!

My choice to do each month as a separate tapestry this year (2009 and 2010 were done as whole pieces) has proven both convenient and challenging.  Convenience comes from being able to take the frame loom with me when I'm traveling; challenges come from having each month as a separate design entity.

I've continued with the approach to this process that I began with the month of May in 2008, setting up "rules" for myself to follow.  I've used the toss of a die to determine the color of the background, shape, and color of the shape for four consecutive months now.  I'm not sure if I'll do it again next month or not.  But I'll know 24 hours from now when I set up my rules to follow for October!

So... here's September, 2011:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moving through the year, day by day

I came back from Hambidge on September 11 and since then have taken a week-long trip with my husband.  We attended the Folk Art Society of America conference held in Richmond, Virginia and had a blast--lots of tours of public and private collections of self-taught, visionary and folk art were on the agenda.  We spent many hours on a bus, riding from place to place and having wonderful things to see once we got to wherever we were going.

Because I had free time on the first afternoon when we arrived as my husband was at an advisory board meeting, I was able to spend a few hours with Susan Iverson, wonderful tapestry weaver and teacher, and see her facilities in the Craft and Material Studies program at the Virginia Commonwealth University.  After the conference ended and as we departed Richmond, we drove a few extra miles so that I was able to see the American Tapestry Alliance Small Format 2: Passages exhibit that's currently on display at the Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen, Virginia.

We're home again now and I'm trying to sort my studio out; I'm still unpacking from the Hambidge residency month--but I have a few more trips coming up soon so I won't yet be able to concentrate on developing tapestry images from the Hambidge work.  That's frustrating but time will come for it soon, I know.

September's tapestry diary grows--it's on a small loom and I took it with me on the trip so I haven't had to fill in any "blank" days this month.  Here's where it stands today, the Autumnal Equinox, September 23, 2011:

This is the fourth month now that I've tossed a die to determine the color of background, the shape, and the color of the shape to be woven.  I'm amazed at the amount of variety that can be gotten from such simple means.  

Here's June:

And July:

And August:

October??  Don't know if I'll continue this for the next months of this year... maybe.  By the end of September I'll have to decide!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday, Saturday, then I leave Hambidge on Sunday

It's quite hard to believe that my time here is almost over. I feel that I've gotten work done--at least pushed a lot of paint around. I think I have potential tapestries among the images that have developed over the past month. I'm still working but on small things. My time of stapling up big unstretched canvas to the wall and taking to it with a house painting brush is over.

During the past week I've worked with dogwood leaves, simplified and stylized. I posted about the problems with the large ones earlier. I'm going to show some of the stages these two have gone through. There were more steps but I didn't photograph each time I stopped working on them.
First, both of them can be seen side by side on the wall, each about 52" square. Most of the time I'd work with one and then with the other using the same paint mixtures. This was how they looked about 10 days ago.
I'll show the left side one first, the one with the large leaves.

And its last stage below is the way I'm leaving this one and I think it has potential to be a tapestry. I like the simplicity and boldness of the design but there's lots of room for doing things with yarn to enliven the background. The lines of the veins also have potential for eccentric weft or soumak. I've got a warp on the large loom just waiting for a tapestry to begin... maybe this is the one.

Then the multiple dogwood one that also went through many, many changes... and it's gone through the most radical change of the two of them.

When I did this... added the pinkish-violet light background I was so upset. So I let it sit overnight and I was determined to make big changes with it the next morning.

First I thought I'd just wipe out everything but there were a few parts of it I really liked. After having a long walk I decided to first mask out areas to save as I painted over the whole thing. I liked about a 20" square near the bottom so it got covered with paper held in place by tape. A few other selected areas had strips of the blue masking tape applied to them as well.

Then I mixed the brightest yellow green I could and painted over it all. I added matte medium so the mixture was a bit transparent. I also drew into the yellow green paint with chalk while it was still wet using dogwood stems and leaves as the inspiration.

And this is the final version... it's hard to photograph it--with either the lights on or off the brightness is a bit overwhelming.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finally--a bit of rain today at Hambidge

It's only rained one other time during the past three weeks while I've been here. This afternoon a storm moved through quickly. A few rumbles of thunder, heavy rain for maybe five minutes and then it was gone. I see the sun now so that might have been it for the rain... but it's very much needed around here as it is in many places.

So... today's progress with pieces. I think I'm just about ready to take this one off the wall. I'll decide about it when I look again tomorrow:

The lights being reflecting in the top--the color's not quite that yellow green there.

This one is close to completion, too:

But I'm struggling still with the large leaves as well as the other dogwood one. Here are the stages they're in now:

Yes, I know--both are murky. I just had to make some major changes to begin to see them differently, though. Steve Aimone says, "When in doubt make big changes." So I filled the largest brush and rapidly painted over the whole thing. I've redrawn back into both of these with chalk pastel and used a wet brush to move the chalk lines around a bit. I've painted back into the large leaf one but -- lots more to do to try to salvage either of these.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sept. 1 at Hambidge Center

First things first... here's the August tapestry diary, woven for the last bit yesterday on the last day of August and cut off today. I rewarped and have woven for the first day of September... more about that later in the month as the new weaving for September progresses.

My painting process and I are struggling... here are a few shots but all pieces are still in flux:

This one is getting closer but still has some hours of work remaining.

This is also getting close to the finishing point... still some value development to go. I'm walking down Mellinger Trail every morning and looking closely to see what I see... hoping that will inform the piece. The bright spot in the center of the painting is the yard of the Rock House as one sees it when leaving the canopy of the trees at Mellinger Trail.

These big dogwood leaves below have gone through many changes and the changes are still happening! I had a major hissy fit with them today and painted over all with white paint; because the dark blue-violet I'd previously used in the background hadn't dried I got this sort of periwinkle color... that's OK for now. I used pastels to redraw leaves but different than the ones that were there originally but based on them. So, this piece and I have many issues to work out soon, I hope!

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