Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Three feathers--complete

It's still on the loom but I rotated the photo to the direction I intend for it to hang.  I'm leaving it on the loom for now because I'm going to use more of the warp... more feathers are coming up next, only they'll be smaller since there's not a lot of warp remaining.  I'll continue this exploration of soumak and also use this neutral color background.  The weft is a silk/linen blend and is sort of nubbly.  I'm using it three fold.  There is 20/2 worsted in the middle feather and also in and the black one, and some of the soumak lines use a 10/2 mercerized cotton.

Here's just the black feather and these soumak lines are in the mercerized cotton. 

Often I'm asked, "How long did it take you to weave that?"  And most of the time I have to estimate the weaving time... on this one, however, I know that it has been on the loom for fourteen days and that during that time I've been gone for eight days.  I've woven on the piece each of the days I've been here, even if only a few minutes on a couple of those days.  So... that's six days of weaving on this piece that's 12" h x 8" w, 10 epi, an average of four hours each day--that would be about 24 hours of weaving time.  Of course, the design is quite simple so I could weave more quickly than if it had more complex shapes.  

I don't really think about time it will take to complete when I start a piece... but, like I said, I'm often asked about the time involved.  Of course, putting weft into warp doesn't account for the time I spent doing the feather drawings originally (an hour or so each) or the time spent looking at them and deciding how to arrange them in the tracing from which I wove.  Then there are all those years of drawing classes and the workshops in tapestry weaving... how do all of those factor into the time I spent weaving this little tapestry?!


  1. Tommye, I love the outlined leaves. Very successful experiment.


  2. Interesting you call them "leaves"! There's so much similarity in feather shapes and leaves, don't you think? Kathy Spoering mentioned the similarities earlier.

    Once upon a time when I was doing feathers earlier (mid 1990s) I was even tempted to call one of the tapestries, Crow Flower.

  3. Love the feathers! Thet are beautiful. I'm curious about the "stem" of the black one. Did you do something different for that part? The yarns you are using are really nice.

  4. Thanks Sherri!
    The stem of the black one is also soumak but is of two wefts, the thinner thread--the 10/2 mercerized cotton used doubled. There was a row of soumak in the black/gray wool first after weaving the shapes of the bottom part of the feather. The quill part of the feather was done with cream 3/2 mercerized cotton with a final tiny line of single strand of the 10/2 in soumak.

  5. I love the simplicity of the feathers. I find soumak is good for lines as it gives that little bit more texture to the piece. Looking forward to the next one. Megan

  6. Thanks, Megan. Yes, the raised texture is different and I'm finding that I can make that more or less depending on the thickness of the yarn for the soumak and also the length of the float. Really nice marking-making method for tapestry. My husband, when he first saw it, said "It just looks like stitching." I said, "Well, sort of but it's done as the weaving is being done." To me, the quality of the line of the soumak, being done as the shapes are built, is quite different than what it would look like if I were stitching it afterwards.

  7. When I used to weave things to sell, I thought about all the time spent on things like gathering materials, designing, correcting mistakes, going to the bathroom, not to mention sick pay and vacation time....all activities you would be paid for if you were working a full time job.

    So I added 25% to all my prices to cover "overhead."

  8. Yes, Jan... pricing for any art making is quite a problem, isn't it? Time of execution of the piece is so small in the whole process... even with tapestry, one of the most labor-intensive means of making works.

    I've never really gotten a good way to price my tapestries. I have what I use as a "standard" based on size. Then, a bit more is added if the design is quite complex. Since I don't sell lots of tapestries, this way works out OK, I guess. But if I were agressively seeking markets for my work I'd have to approach it differently, I think.