Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Life after Retreat...

... gets hectic again.  I returned from the Lillian Smith Center retreat last Friday and normal life at home began again.  And the first stage of "normal" was getting the car unloaded, suitcase unpacked, laundry done.  The second stage of "normal" was spending the weekend doing the first steps in preparing a tapestry for an upcoming delivery for exhibit.  My husband had a project going on during the weekend, as well, and I helped out with that  a tiny bit.

This week has been spent with getting the tapestry through the next finishing steps, including getting a frame together to mount the piece on--two frames, actually, since the first one I thought would work didn't... it was too short.  As much as I tried to convince myself that the presentation looked fine, it just didn't.

Monday had been spent getting that particular mounting board ready and beginning to stitch on the tapestry.  On Tuesday, I had an acupuncture appointment twenty miles away, and after that I drove another thirty-something miles to an art supply store to buy stretcher strips of the RIGHT size.

I made the second mounting board yesterday afternoon when I got back and spent the early part of last evening stitching the tapestry onto the NEW mounting board.  I felt I just had to get back to where I'd been on Monday... and I did before I left the studio last night.  Once upon a time in the blog I talked about "time spent, not time wasted..." and I've had to call that to mind several times as I've moved through the process of undoing a day's effort.

The tapestry is now 30" x 22" and is stitched onto a mounting board, 32" x 24", that's been covered with a natural color canvas.  I'd considered weaving the mounting fabric but just didn't think I'd have time to do that.  And I'm glad I didn't now because I would have stretched that handwoven over the too short frame, I'm sure!  Then I really would have been in a snit.

Here I am, hard at work on the stitching:

 My fingers really take a beating (or would that be a pricking) when I'm stitching on.  I use leather thimbles on two fingers and that helps quite a bit.  Doesn't help when I accidentally stab a finger of my other hand, though.  I've got several pricks that have only bled a bit and I was able to keep the blood off  both the mounting fabric and the tapestry.  One jab was so violent, though, that I screamed out a few choice words--scared my cat so badly that he spent the next half-hour under the chair he'd been snoozing in.

Here's the almost finished tapestry.

I still have to put D-rings and hanging wire on the back and then it will be complete, ready to take to The Bascom next week for the American Craft Today exhibit.  Opening for that is on the 22nd, by the way.  Maybe I'll see you there!


  1. The tapestry's gorgeous; those little touches of red really make it pop. Like you, the finishing bits aren't my favorite part of the process.

  2. Thank you, Sandra. The finishing process is definitely not one of my favorite things to do. When I'm in the midst of it, I think about if I were an artist working on paper--the most painful part of the finishing process in that instance would most likely going to the framer and deciding how to mat/frame, then pay the $$ to have it done!

    But the whole process is part of the entire experience of making something that involves craft as well as art, isn't it. And that's what I choose to do, over and over again.

  3. Loved seeing the finishing bits on the tapestry. It is just gorgeous and the red is so right.

  4. Tommye,

    I am thinking of spending some time at West Dean College and would like to get your input on some things (living arrangements, quality of the program, etc). May I call you to talk sometime? You can respond to me in private at with your phone number and a time that is convenient for you?