Thursday, February 2, 2012

Home again, Home again...

My, how time flies!  The month of January of this new year has already flown past and here we are, being swept away into February already... so much to catch up on and so much to do.

So... here goes with some bits and pieces of life as I know it.

First, the John C. Campbell Folk School class that I taught last week + weekend was just wonderful.  Seven students were with me in the class and all brought her own special personality to the mix of the week.  We "meshed" well, as one of the students put it.  My focus for the class was to introduce a few techniques beyond the meet and separate basics that I usually cover.  I advertised the class as sort of "doodling" with the techniques to see how the methods might work in planned ways in the future.  I'd asked that all of the students who came to the class know how to warp their looms and to have woven a bit of tapestry.  As it turned out, all the class participants have had sessions with me in the past, either at JCFS or elsewhere.  So they knew what to expect from me and I did from them, as well.

On the first morning, everyone warped their looms and were ready to begin weaving by the afternoon.  On each of the next days of the week, I introduced a different technique, beginning with good old pick and pick.  Eccentric weft followed on Tuesday, then soumak on Wednesday, twining on Thursday.  On Friday I included several options: weft chaining, rya, and clasped wefts.  Because this class was a week + weekend class, that meant we had a full other day (Saturday) for working.  We ended the class on Sunday morning with the show & tell of all students in the Keith House at 11:30.

Here are just a few photos from the many I took during the week.  They were so willing to jump in and try anything I suggested and that made the class exciting for everyone, in my opinion.

We began each morning with a "field trip" around the room to see each person's progress from the day before.

The daily morning walk-around gave us time to share ideas.

Overview of the room with a few folks at work

Phyllis's loom with previously planned cartoon and weaving underway.

Wonderful textures in Mary K's second piece.

Lots of eccentric weft, twining, and vertical soumak going on in Nancy's second piece.

Joann had a great idea for splitting off the size of the weft in vertical twining to make thinner lines in the tree branches.

Mary W's color sense is just beautiful... this is her second piece of the week.

Kirsten responded to the journey of the tapestry sampler and it turned into a story of time and space and place, or so it seemed to some of us.

Sidsel worked in tiny threads, blending beautiful blues for ocean and sky.

We proudly displayed our work on Sunday morning... a slide show of photos of working process throughout the week was running so visitors could see the weavers in action, as well as the finished and nearly finished work.  Yes, there are weavings at top and bottom of some looms!  That's a great way to save time and waste less warp... turn the loom over and weave from the other end.

And here's the wonderful group of weavers... L to R: Joann, Mary K., Mary W., Nancy B.  Sidsel M., Tommye, and Kristen M.

As I worked with Joann to see how the thinning of the weft would work for the vertical twining, I found that the method of either twining or soumak being taken in a vertical or almost vertical way could be very flexible.  Here's a small sampling I did on my demo loom.  I'm going to be exploring the use of a linear approach more in the near future--I want to see how I might be able to interpret some of my line drawings through this approach.  Quite exciting for me to branch out from good old meet and separate.  

More later...


  1. the work is fresh. the freshness enchanting!

  2. Thanks, Line! I'm eager to begin "drawing" with tapestry now...

  3. Hi Tommye. great space you have there. it is always exciting to see works in progress!one question. do you know if they still sell the metallic looms like the one shown in the picture No. 3? I have one of those large ones with a stand which I bought at a Convergence loooong time ago, and also bought 2 smaller ones (same that dissappeared after so many moves) I would love to buy more but I cant seem to find the Nosk Fjord company where I bought them. do you know anythin about it? I would appreciate your info...if any. all the best to you and your group.Ixchel

  4. Hi Ixchel,
    The Folk School has lovely studio spaces for all of their classes, whether painting, blacksmithing, weaving, cooking... I'm fortunate to get to teacher there each year.
    About the looms... you're mentioning a Hagen loom from Norway. Noel Thurner still has Norsk Fjord Fiber but mainly selly tapestry yarns now, not the looms. You might check with Madelyn Darling-Tung in Canada to see if she sells the Hagen loom; she imports Spelsau.
    Thanks for your comments!

  5. It's great that you had so much time with your students! They all accomplished so much. I always find my students work so fresh and inspiring, especially the complete beginners. Sounds like you got a lot of new ideas from teaching this class.

  6. Yes, Jan... lots of ideas to explore arose from my prep for the class and what happened during it, as well. I'd spent a bit of time during 2011 with soumak throughout the tapestry diary and wanted to take what I'd learned to the next level... seeing how I could share it with students. That opened up even more doors about the methods and I'm quite jazzed about seeing where it will lead me.

  7. What a wonderful class! I'm so glad to see the pix. I learn a lot just from what you post. The work in the pictures is exciting and stimulating. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Tommye, I want to thank you and your students for letting me ohh and ahh over all their wonderful work on my visit. It was very inspiring for this total newby to tapestry.

  9. Cindy, thanks for stopping by! Keep those tapestry jucies flowing when you get time!!