Friday, October 5, 2012

And so it begins again...

... designing for tapestry, that is.

I've been setting up looms to have them prepared for the next tapestry work.  I have three warps on three looms now, two of them 24" wide and one 48" wide.  Oh--I also have a 8" wide warp on a frame loom--can't forget that one!

My interest in feathers is developing into cartoons... I have one piece started on a linen warp, cartoon based on one of the drawings made while at the Lillian Smith Center earlier this year.  So far I've only gotten a couple of inches into it and it's waiting while I work on the development of a cartoon for the larger warp.

Here's a bit from the studio and the design process that's underway:

This loom has the linen warp, sett at 7.5 epi (every other dent in a 15 dent reed).  It's an 8/4 rug linen that I'm using.  Weft will be an assortment of Vevgarn and 20/2 wool.  The painting from which I'll be working is hanging to the right of the loom.  I haven't yet stitched the cartoon that's on Mylar in place behind the warp.

The larger design is developing on a large sheet of layout paper stapled to my wall...

The design began with sort of automatic drawing, scribbling with a large graphite stick held with my arm extended and large sweeping marks being made.  I didn't realize at first that the crossing over of some of the marks would lend themselves to being turned into falling feathers... but that's what's happening.

Once the feathers "appeared" I began to enhance the feather shapes:

Then today I added blue paint to the background... want the feathers to seem to fall from the sky.  My thoughts this morning about the piece arrived at the phrase:  "What if all the birds fell from the sky?"
And so I've continued thinking about that as I've worked today on it.  

I photographed the piece and did a bit of Photoshop manipulation to see it differently.  Here are a few of those versions; did twelve or so but will only show a few:

I decided to flip the image because it seemed to be falling more emphatically in this direction"

Solarization was pretty interesting... anything that causes me to look at the image in a different way is useful for me.

I'll return to the piece with brush and paint tomorrow to see how some of this Photoshop work might lead me along different paths than just my eye alone can find.

Hope to finish the designing for this larger piece by early next week and begin weaving soon!  October is a busy month for me outside the studio so don't know how much I'll be able to accomplish on the piece.  Will I be able to finish a large one by the end of the year?!


  1. Thanks for posting the progression of your design process - it's always fascinating to see how artist work! ;)

  2. Nice feathers!! Any chance I'll see the beginings when I am in Atlanta and seeing you all? It's looking like a great piece! I am working on a piece with a feather against a sunset picture I took in Hawaii a few years ago. I like the falling feathers-will be intersted to see how you handle the quill if the feathers!

  3. I love the way this design is progressing! Amazing how different it is after flipping! It's always fun to have fresh new warps on looms, so much potential and possibility!

  4. Michelle,
    Thanks for your comment!

    Kathe... can't wait to see you later this month! Yes, I hope to have at least a beginning of this on the loom when you're in Atlanta.

    Yes, flipping is always interesting to try and so easy in Photoshop! About new warps on the loom... like having a fresh, blank sheet of lovely watercolor paper to explore.

  5. So good to see your design process Tommye, thanks for sharing it. I look forward to more.....LLx

  6. Looks like another exciting design, Tommye. I' m glad you flipped it. Before I got that far in the post I was thinking, I wonder how it would look going the other direction? Thanks for showing that. Oh, and I love the title!

  7. LouLou and Kathy... thanks so much for your thoughts.

  8. Thanks for sharing your design process with us Tommye. It is interesting to see how you use photoshop in coordination with your sketches and paintings. Fall is falling feathers.

  9. Janette,
    Thanks for your comment. About Photoshop, I often go back and forth with working directly with drawing/painting and photographing to put into Photoshop. For the final cartoon for weaving, I've begun doing this--print a version of the design, use tracing paper to find the contour lines, scan that and store on a usb stick. I take the stick to the UPS store where I can get an enlargement made on 48" wide paper and as long as wanted. That way I have the enlarged line cartoon to stitch to the back of the tapestry. The paper isn't too thick and yet will hold up to the stitching that I do to hold it in place. The cost is usually under $25 for the size I've had printed so far.