Saturday, March 29, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Stones progress

Another few inches--right side:

I have the painting hanging over the top of the loom, by the way.  As I proceed through the tapestry I'll roll up the lower part of of the painting so I keep the inches I'm using as reference for the tapestry in view.

For the cartoon, the line drawing behind the warp, I'm using a couple of sheets of mylar taped together (that join is the more opaque vertical line just to the right of center).  The top of the mylar is just about the top of my hanging bar--had to tape paper to the edge of the sheets so that it could hang over the bar and stay in place.  I'll add new sheets of mylar once this has been woven, taking this part of the cartoon away.

Usually my cartoon is drawn onto one piece of something (paper or mylar) rather in sections like this will be.  But this time I didn't have wide or long enough paper or mylar to use.  I first transferred the outlines from the painting onto clear vinyl and intended to use that as the cartoon.  But I didn't like that after I tried it at the loom because it was hard to attach to the warp and I also needed something behind the vinyl so I could see the lines more easily.  So... back to the mylar.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tapestry class coming to Arrowmont next summer!

Breaking News!  I'm now scheduled into Arrowmont for next summer, to be teaching a two week class in tapestry from June 28-July 11, 2015.  More information to come later.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stones--tapestry and painting

Just a bit more woven today:

My progress does seem slow but I have to remember that it's 60" across and that I'm figuring out what I'm doing as I proceed.  I have basis lines within which changes happen but the selection of the colors to make the yarn mixtures I want takes time.  And I'm trying to translate a very loose painterly design into something weave-able.  I'm trying to be informed by the color information I put into the painting but not copy it, mark for mark, stroke for stroke.  For example, I'm trying to turn this:

into this:

And this:

into this:

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  Yet most of the time I move ahead and am happy with the translation--or happy enough, anyway.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Back to the stones after a couple of days away

I got back from my trip to Barton College late yesterday afternoon.  The drive was rainy and a bit icy around mid-point in the trip but I made it home safely.  But it was a long darn drive!  I was too pooped to do much of anything later but laundry and get dinner prep (and little enough of that--scrambled eggs!)  Studio time today, though.  And, yes, even though it might not be obvious I did get several inches woven.

So here are the rocks today, Tuesday, March 18:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Continuing Conversations -- exhibit at Barton College

Here's a selfie--Edwina Bringle, my weaving mentor/mom (on the left and me on the right) and I at the opening of the Continuing Conversations exhibit at Barton College.

Here's a shot of the gallery with visitors:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Continuing Conversations--an exhibit and presentation

I have tapestries in an exhibit that's opening tomorrow at Barton College, Wilson, North Carolina.  It's a group exhibition by members of Southeast Fibers Educators Association (SEFEA) called "Continuing Conversations"--there are twenty-three artists included in the show, all of whom are teachers of fibers.  Amazing, isn't it, that there are at least that many people doing fibers education in the Southeast.  There are more, of course, several others who are members of this group who aren't exhibiting this time--and probably many others who aren't in the group.   Some of us are full-time faculty members in universities or colleges, others are art teachers in secondary schools, and then a few are now teaching primarily in short classes or workshops.  But education in fibers is alive through the Southeast, that's for sure!

The opening reception for the exhibit is tomorrow afternoon, followed by a panel discussion by some of the exhibitors.  Then on Monday morning, we'll have a gallery talk for students.

But, before I go... here's where the stones got to yesterday:

More to come next week!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stones on a windy day

Yes, it's quite breezy here today in north Georgia.  And we'll have yet another freeze tonight--after 70+ degrees yesterday!  So today's a good day to be sitting at the loom.

Here's what's happened at loom today:

Doesn't look like a lot but it's actually a bit, both under and then around the right side of this triangular stone and also at the left side... several inches there.

Now, time to bundle up and walk home!  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Contrasts are strong today

I've gotten to the top edge of a stone and am putting extreme dark next to it.  There will be dark lines that run throughout the piece representing the shadows between the stacked stones.  I'm glad to see contrast!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Stones again...

I've gotten a bit done on this tapestry even though doesn't seem like too much is going on.  All of that light neutral space that I want to stones to emerge from has to be woven.  That's one of the points Archie Brennan has made--when white space is desired in tapestry, unlike in drawing (where one might leave the blank paper as white), every bit of white has to be woven just like any of the other colors.

In areas I'm using similar light to medium values but changing the colors in the blends.  So far there's only one strongly contrasting area, just to the right of center.  More darks will come soon but not yet.

The thin white thread seen in several places is the sewing thread that I'm using to stitch the cartoon to the back of the tapestry.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Stones continue to develop

I'm putting in occasional half-passes and passes of single yarns on top of a pick that's in place... those are being pulled from the gray bundles that are hanging at the top.  And they're hanging on a raddle that I've tied to the top of the beater to have handy pegs from which to hang either these yarns or the bobbins as I get them up and out of the way so I can see what's going on.

This Ruthie loom (very similar to the Fireside Traditional Tapestry loom) has a beater that holds a reed through which the warp ends pass.  I don't use the beater as such but do like to have the reed for spacing.  The mechanism of the beater is such that it has a counter weight at the rear of the loom and so the beater will stay to its highest point easily--which is where I need it as I weave.  My cartoon is hanging over a PVC pipe that's tied to the beater.

Tapestry is such a simple weave.  Tools like the loom used by the weaver can be very simple, as well.  Put a frame loom together, pound in some nails at top and bottom, string thread up and down--and you've got a tapestry loom.  Yet the loom can be a bit more complex.  Looms that are designed and made by companies specifically for high warp tapestry weaving aren't as numerous as floor looms, however.  I happen to have several types made by different companies, a couple that aren't produced anymore.  Almost all of my looms were previously owned by one or more people through the years.  Each of them have their quirks and I enjoy the way some of them function more than others.

Rebecca Mezoff is writing about tapestry looms at her blog.  Here's a link to her initial post about this and she'll be posting more about it all in the future.  Follow her interesting and informative adventure in compiling information about tapestry looms!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Stones are developing

This latest tapestry is growing very slowly.  But I've finally gotten to points where I'm beginning to change the value from the light neutral blend to medium and darker values.  Now it becomes more interesting to me--and also more challenging.  I'm using the painting as the basis for the weaving but  I'm not trying to copy it exactly.  So I'm making many decisions as I move along about value and color blends.  Hence, the slow growth (along with not being at the loom most of the day yesterday since I made a trip into Atlanta, then Roswell, then back home... that slows the progress down, as well!)

Here's an area where some of the value changes are beginning:

And even closer view of an area so that the size of the warp (12/12 cotton seine twine*) and the four strands of the wool weft (Vevgarn) can be more easily seen:

If you notice some slightly visible marks on the warp, yes, I'm both marking on the warps a bit (using Rub-a-Dub™ marker) as well as having a cartoon behind the warps.  The cartoon is drawn onto mylar with Sharpie™marker and is stitched to the back of the tapestry every few inches or so.  I'm piecing mylar sheets together with packaging tape since I don't have sheets that are 60" wide.  One of my tasks in Roswell yesterday, in fact, was to pick up more mylar at the Dick Blick store there.  

*I made a post to my Tapestry Share blog awhile back with thoughts about warp sett.  Here's the link to that.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Next tapestry is underway

The painting I'm working from is hanging over the top of the loom.  I'll move it once I've woven up to the point visible.  I've got it rolled and pinned at the backside so it won't slip off.  

Here's a detail of some of the beginning few inches.  It's starting out with a neutral blend of four strands and lines will be introduced, then the solid areas will begin to appear. 

The warp is 12/12 cotton seine twine, sett at 8 epi.  I'm using 4 strands of Vevgarn as weft.  The Vevgarn is a 50/50 wool & Spelsau blend from Norway, imported by Norsk Fjord Fiber.

I've used Vevgarn for many years now and love the yarn.  Noel Thurner started the business in the 1980s and I began using the yarns she was importing from Norway immediately.  Now, Noel has passed the torch of NFF  along to a new owner.  But don't think Noel's going to be sitting on the sofa, eating bonbons now that she's not busy packing and sending out orders of yarns all over the country!

Her work with Parker, her therapy dog, continues to be an important part of her mission in life.  She's also deeply involved with the Carolinas Bearded Collie Club (read some more of the Beardie therapy stories about Noel and Parker at the CBCC website linked above).  Add to that, growing and then preparing much of the food for the family as well as aiding her husband's efforts with biological control of the hemlock wooly adelgid (his website is Saving Hemlocks).  In what "spare time" she finds, there's always spinning and knitting with dog hair (Chiengora) to keep her hands busy!

I'm very happy that NFF will be continuing--check Sidsel's website and give her a call!  She's quite an expert tapestry weaver herself who's used the yarns for years.  I'm sure Sidsel will enjoy NFF as much as Noel did, bring her own knowledge of Scandinavian fiber traditions into play, and provide yarns for the masses! In fact, I've already placed two orders with her in the past month.  What can I say? I love that yarn!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Beginnings are hard...

... as in hard as stones.   For me, this is true.  Even if the subject I'm hoping to use for the next tapestry is stones.  I always have a hard time beginning some tapestries.  I stew, I ruminate, I delay, I doubt, I... I... I.  It's all about me.  But, it's not that, really.  It's all about my ability to carry out what I hope to with a tapestry image.

When weaving tapestry one sits with an image for months at a time.  The ideas involved in the initial forming of the image are usually growing and deepening as the image builds at the loom.  I know this yet I forget this each and every time I'm about to begin a new tapestry.

My loom is warped.  I've taken weeks to get the warp ready to put weft into it.  Some days I've simply looked at the loom when I'm at the studio.  Several days I've ignored the loom and worked to organize stuff on shelves in another room.  Other days I've done bits and pieces of the preparation stages (tying onto the rod at the bottom; weaving in scrap yarn to spread out the warp bouts; twining across to help set the sett; weaving in header of the same seine twine as used for the warp to even out the spacing even better; putting half-hitches across to secure the bottom; getting wefts off the shelf and sorting into color groups; ordering more yarn; getting the cartoon finalized....)

I'm ready now.  Almost.  Maybe today I'll put the first weft of this particular tapestry journey into place.

"Begin at the beginning... and go on till you come to the end: then stop."