Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tapestry Diary -- Year Three is completed and Year Four is about to begin

With the 31st day of December, 2011, I've finished this year's tapestry diary work!

The process of making a distinct bit of weaving every day is one that I've done for three years and a month now.  My first venture into the idea came in May of 2008 when I did the first piece with this concept.  I didn't quite know what to even call it then... used the term "tapestry calendar" or "tapestry journal" and finally settled into "tapestry diary" as my description.

I'm happy to know that other people are using a similar idea.  Jan Austin's 2010 tapestry diary is quite a beautiful piece and she describes it at her blog here.

Here are a few of the blog postings I've made over the past three + years as I've been involved in the tapestry diary process:

During 2012 my plan is to go back to a single piece for the year rather than to do the separate pieces as I did during 2011.  I've been able to weave almost every day in 2011 but the separate pieces don't have the same visual impact as do the year-long tapestries that result from the daily practice.  At least that's what I think right now.  By 2013 perhaps I'll be ready to do individual pieces once more!

Here's a composite of the months of 2011 (missing March... can't find a photo of it and it's hanging in the Quinlan exhibit so can't photograph it right now).  The pieces are not shown to scale in the composite, by the way.  Sizes vary quite a bit and once I get them all back from the exhibit I'll measure and note sizes here.  For instance, the April piece is about 42" long x 3 or so" wide while the December piece is 7" high x 5" wide:

Earlier pieces are:

12" w x 42" long

12" w x 82" long

The warp for 2012 is on the Tissart loom at the home studio and is almost ready to begin tomorrow morning.  It's a 10/3 linen warp sett at 8 epi X 12" wide.  I have 3 yards on the loom, plenty for the year even if I weave several inches for the daily entries.  I'm not quite sure how to proceed with "theme" (if any)... but by tomorrow morning I'll have to decide something!  I have a bit more to do with spacing the warp and then doing half-hitches before beginning.  I'll do that shortly when I get home.

I wish a Happy New Year for all of you.  I hope your design ideas flow smoothly and your tapestries grow beautifully.  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Peak Experience

Last Wednesday I was taken on an adventure.  My friends, Noel & Patrick own 100+ acres of a ridge and mountain top near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina.  They have a small off-the-grid cabin there they spend time at whenever they can.  High Knob, where the cabin is located sits at 5200 feet.  There's a narrow, steep jeep road to the cabin and a parking place for larger vehicles about a mile and a quarter below--about 1400 feet below.  Patrick drove to the top in his jeep with supplies while Noel, the dogs and I came along separately in her car.  We parked and started up the mountain on foot. Although I hiked up with them a couple of years ago, this time around I didn't make it all the way up on my own!  I ran out of steam about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way up and absolutely couldn't go further.  I felt light-headed and nauseated, and had to stop to sit down--even threw up a bit!  Noel made sure I wasn't going to pass out, and then rushed on to the cabin so that Patrick could come to my rescue in his jeep--cell phones don't work in that neck of the woods so she was both blowing her emergency whistle and shouting for Patrick on her near run to the top.

After throwing up I began to feel better almost immediately.  I sipped water, began to look around at the landscape, even took a few photos of the leaves just at my feet and the trees and sky... I was standing and walking around by the time they got back to me with the jeep.  They asked if I wanted to leave or if I wanted to go to the top... what do you think I chose?

So... here's a slide show of the adventure.  A few of the photos are also from their other property.  Both places are magical.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Exhibit opening and talk at Quinlan, Dec. 8, 2011

The opening for exhibits at Quinlan was well attended last night.  I was pleasantly surprised that quite a few people came at 5 for my talk and tapestry demonstration before the reception at 5:30--and I was especially glad to see a few former students in the group.  Nice to make connections again and to learn what they're up to now.

Here are a few photos my husband did...  I'll start with the tapestry demonstration that people patiently listened to and watched.  I took an almost completed tapestry on a copper pipe loom for the demo;  I didn't weave very much but explained briefly how my hours are spent when I'm doing tapestry.   I had several examples of the kinds of design planning I do, including photographs, drawing and painting.  I also had a small tapestry along not included in the exhibit, and the initial drawing from which I based the cartoon, as well as the cartoon used to weave it.

After showing about tapestry for a few minutes we moved to the area where the tapestries are hanging so I could talk a bit about several of them.

So... my tapestry life in 30 minutes or less!  After my talk we stayed a few more minutes during the reception and then made a quick trip back to Dahlonega to have a rushed meal, and then on to an Amy Ray concert at our local theatre, The Holly.  Amy played to a sellout house and gave a fantastic performance--I always enjoy hearing her whether she touring with her solo band or as part of the Indigo Girls.  Coming up next ... Solstice Sisters tonight at The Crimson Moon in town, then Shawn Mullins before the end of the month.  Love the music in Dahlonega!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

making friends with the loom that bit me

I've been weaving a couple of rag rugs and using the loom that I had the unfortunate accident with back in February.  I've had it warped all summer but just hadn't had time to weave on the loom.  When I do weaving like this, in this case the rag rugs, I call it my "hobby weaving"--hobby for me since it's for my own use and not for show or sale.  It takes time from tapestry making to do this but sometimes I need a break.  After the past month's push to finish the pieces for the exhibit at Quinlan I felt some down time was needed.  Hence the rugs.



One of these will go to the house to use in the mud room and the other one will be used here at the studio.  These woven with 1" strips that are stitched together by sewing machine.  I'll braid the warp ends next and then wash the rugs before putting them on the floor.  I just cut them off a few minutes ago and will spend a bit of time early next week getting the ends done.

So my usual garb is what that you see in the photos above, but once or twice a year my husband and I play dress up to attend a charity function of some sort.  The most recent event was last Saturday night and here we are... ready to leave.  The next "do" is coming up this weekend and we'll once again be putting on the party clothes!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happiness is...

New steps between my studio yard and home...

... a full cup of coffee....

... a beautiful new handmade book by Alice Schlein from her etsy site...

... and a few minutes to sit down to admire the book, drink the coffee and read the article about Annika Ekdahl's work in the latest VAV magazine.  Oh... The Lord of the Rings is an ongoing read, a few pages each day with lunch.  Let's see, is this the third or fourth time I've read it?  Doesn't matter because I'll read it again in a few years.  So this is how I'm spending my Sunday afternoon studio break.  All part of happiness for me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Threads of Time

Here's the postcard for the exhibits coming up at Quinlan in Gainesville, Georgia.  My work is in the George and Anne Thomas Gallery.  As the card notes, there are another artist and two groups in other galleries of the Center.  Quinlan provides a very active visual arts center for the city of Gainesville and the surrounding north Georgia region.   I'll be giving a brief talk about my work on Thursday, December 8 at 5 p.m. along with a demo of tapestry making.  A reception follows at 5:30.


Members of Tapestry Weavers South will be exhibiting at Quinlan in the largest gallery space during 2013, and demonstrations and workshop will be scheduled during the show's duration.  I'll be posting more about that next year.  In fact, if you want to become a member of TWS so that you'd be eligible to exhibit with us, give me a comment and I'll put you in touch with Rosemary Smith, the membership chairman for TWS.  Our TWS exhibits have always been open to members to enter, rather than juried.  The resulting collection of works are always exciting, combining the tapestries of folks who are new to the field as well as those from people who've worked in tapestry for many years.  

On another note, Pat Williams and I went into Atlanta yesterday to see The Opulent Object, an exhibit of works by Jon Eric Riis, Richard Mafong, and Mike Harrison.  This is being shown in Museum of Design Atlanta on Peachtree Street, just across the street from the High Museum of Art and will continue through December.  The museum is open T,W, F, Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm; Thursday from 10 am to 8 pm; and Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm.  

Jon Riis's work is incredible; I always stand before any of his tapestries just staring in amazement.  As the accompanying brochure says:
"Jon Eric Riis links his work (which is tapestry) to the ancestral textile tradition by using historical iconography and traditional techniques to articulate contemporary themes.  Many of his pieces reference myths, beliefs, and ideals of past cultures; they express the sacred and the ceremonial through their imagery and through the use of luxurious and sensual materials such as gold thread, freshwater pearls, crystal, turquoise, and coral beads.  In this way, Riis uses the tapestry genre to investigate issues of humanity, identity, and life."
Try to get there before it closes, if you haven't yet! I know that several of the tapestry study group in Atlanta met there earlier in the exhibition time.  Having an opportunity to see these pieces is well worth the charge of admission and the hectic drive into Atlanta, in my opinion!