Friday, May 30, 2014

This time at Lillian Smith Center is ending... back to the real world soon

I have just a few more hours to spend here at the Center.  I'm so grateful to have had the time and space to work in concentration for the past two weeks.

In some ways, I feel like I've gotten a lot done and yet there's still more to do.  I've woven many samples of basic color theory ideas in the past but I've wanted to do more--it's quite interesting and informative to interpret the color studies I've done with paper and with paint into the medium I use--yarn.  And not just yarn but yarn used in weft-faced ways.  Other weaving types give their own unique qualities to color interaction in yarn.  There there's knitting, crocheting, embroidery....

Here's the pile of samples completed since I've been here.  They'll be added to the previous samples I'm taking to the Peters Valley class in a few weeks.

The porch at the Peeler cottage here at the Center has served as my primary studio:

I like working in the natural light while on the porch.  The weather has been good for this... and by later in the afternoon when the typical thunderstorms arrive, I've gone inside to read.  Yesterday's storm was atypical, though!  THUNDER!  LIGHTENING!  HAIL!  I went into the closet for a few minutes until things calmed down!!

But before that storm, here's the loom as I'd gotten as many things completed on it as I reasonably could:

Now, I'll end with a few shots from the morning walks.  It constantly amazes me to look down at a certain time and see something remarkable.  Like just glancing down and finding this fellow one morning:

Then, the next morning... not even looking for him (I presume it's the same fellow), here he (maybe she) was on the moss near the leaf... and, quite luckily I looked down when I did or I would have stepped right on him!

Maybe if I could see the markings on the shell more closely I'd know for sure if he/she is the same one.

One more afternoon of reading, one more morning's walk.  Then back to the real world.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Heavenly Light

Heavenly light is what my friend, Diane, calls the beautiful effect of atmosphere combined with the sunlight.  This was at my back this morning... didn't realize it until I thought to turn around for some reason.  Maybe it was the music of the spheres I was hearing.  Whatever it was, I'm so glad I did look behind me.

So I guess that sometimes it's good to look at what's behind you, even as you move ahead.

And moving ahead... more reading, note-taking and weaving yesterday--

Maybe it's a sign of a disorganized mind to be reading several books at once.  But that's the way I approach gathering information.  I read some pages in one book, think about what the author is saying, then read a bit in another book... on and on it goes until I feel I have a bit of understanding.

Yesterday's weaving was an example of contrast of cool-warm and effect on background difference on the same color:

Isn't it amazing that the same red-violet appears different when woven in a background of red-orange or blue-violet?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Color, color, color!

I have to start with a shot of the red door.  If you've read my blog from the past when I've been at Lillian Smith Center you'll maybe recall that I've had a fascination with the red door at the basement of the cottage I've stayed in.  Here's the door in context.  The morning light is particularly beautiful as it falls across the door and the stones of the cottage.

Colors are all around here at the Center and not only on my looms.

My days are being spent with reading, note taking and weaving about color--here are a few of the things I've gotten done in the past week:

These two studies are in two different setts; on the left is 6 epi and on the right is 8 epi.  The wefts are also different weights--the left is four strands of Vevgarn, the right is four strands of 20/2 worsted wool.

Preparing to do a gray gradation for the 6 epi sett.

The gradation of the grays is at the right.  The other gradation is of the 12 colors from the color wheel, blending into each other in increments.

Yesterday I worked with studies of complements using Itten's ideas as starting points.  I began by weaving 1" squares of the intermediate complements, using five strands of weft.  One square at each side was the unmixed color, and the four squares between had the new color added a strand at a time while a strand of the other color was removed.

Here's the start, using red-violet moving to its complement, yellow-green.

The top weaving is of the complementary mixes of the intermediate hues.  The middle sample is of something else--using similar value of gray and a hue in several ways.  Middle value red and gray.  It's amazing how bluish the gray appears.  A bit of effect of simultaneous contrast at work.

So today will again be spent with weaving, reading, note taking.  I've discovered that there's an online version of Betty Edward's book about color and so I have both a print copy and an ebook version.  I'll be working more with the Albers Interaction of Color iPad app this week, too.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Class prep heats up!

My upcoming workshop at Peters Valley is just around the corner.  Although the class size is still small it's confirmed and now the work begins.  The title of the class is "For the Love of Color" and I'm doing new examples to add to my samples of assorted color explorations.  I wrote a bit about that at my Tapestry Share blog a couple of weeks ago.

Today I started pulling out the yarns I'm going to work with in the new samples:

I'll be leaving for Lillian Smith Center on Saturday for a few days of residency and the color work will occupy my time while I'm there.

The other day I opened my mailbox and found the latest issue of VÄV, the Scandinavian weaving magazine.  I'd been asked to have my blog noted in an issue--and here it was!  I was thrilled to have it mentioned along with a few others from different countries.

The stones grow slowly but surely.  I've rolled the warp forward again and am above the 1/3 point now.  Even a little bit woven each day moves the piece along.  Maybe the weaving fairies will come in and help out while I'm gone...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Back to the loom

Yesterday was a day out to enjoy Gibbs Gardens, for the first time, and to the High Museum for a premier of a new film about Howard Finster.

Today I'm weaving  As I started to leave the studio for the day I noticed the way the yarns look as they hang down on the bobbins, laying over the areas already woven.

I'm continually amazed at how the individual colors can be selected and blended to create something beyond those individual parts... different yet related.

When I start a tapestry I lay out the possible colors near the loom.  Most always the sett of warp allows me to group several weft strands and I usually mix a blend of colors in each weft bundle rather than using an individual color for the grouping.

The individual colors of the yarns still show up on the bobbin as you can see in these, but when woven the singular parts take on a unity that continues to surprise and delight me.  Selecting of colors for the blends is a constant challenge throughout the life of the making of each tapestry, at least it is for me.  It's one more aspect of weaving tapestry that causes me to be constantly engaged with the process.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Stones, Visitors and More

Today I had a nice visit from a couple of professors and about ten students from Piedmont College.  They're involved with the 2014 Maymester experience that's underway at the Lillian E. Smith Center right now.

Here I am talking to the group about my design for the tapestry (looking a bit startled, it seems!)  Photo was by Dr. Debra Dooley, one of the Piedmont professors.

This year they're immersed in the study of the geology and the Native American history of the north Georgia area.  Today they were coming over this way to visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum and what remains of the once booming town of Auraria where the first gold rush began in the early 1800s here in the county.  Since I've had so many wonderful experiences at the LES Center and because my current tapestry is inspired by the stone chimney ruin on the grounds of the center, I invited them to come by to see the process.  They were fascinated to see how tapestry is done--and one of the student is the granddaughter of a quite well known weaver!  Their remaining time at the Center will continue to be a valuable experience as they explore the north Georgia area, I'm sure.

After the group left I walked home to check the mail and in my box were these great bobbins from John Moss!  He did them for me, basing the design on one of the wooden bobbins I'd gotten from another tapestry weaver some years ago.  I like the weight and size of the bobbin for use on larger tapestries so asked John to replicate it in a few bobbins.  The original one is the dark wood... the other six are my new ones.  I'm already using one and it works just wonderfully.

The book is one that also came today; UPS guy'd left it on the porch--so I found it just as I was walking to the house from the mailbox.  It's Tapestry: A Woven Narrative, from Black Dog Publishing.  Sidsel had a copy with her at the Folk School class and I was glad to be able to flip through the book and to see right away that it was one I wanted to add to my library.  I'm going to enjoy it very, very much--not only the wonderful color photos of lots of tapestries but also the essays.

And finally, here's the tapestry progress for the day:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

More stone growth

How I wish this were going faster!  But it can only grow as I work on it.  I'll have visitors to the studio tomorrow so I'm trying to get to a point where I can both weave and talk about what I'm doing without having to grow mute while I'm figuring something out.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Two months down, how many more to go on this tapestry?

I began weaving this tapestry on March 4.  Here it is May 4 and I'm not yet to the half-way point.  Granted, I've been away from the loom for various reasons in the two months since the first passes of weft were put into place but it still seems to be moving so slowly.

In a couple of weeks I'll be away again, once more in a residency at the Lillian Smith Center where the stones that were the inspiration for this tapestry are found.  While I'm at the center I'll be working on samples for an upcoming class rather than drawing and painting as I've done while there in the past.  Well, maybe I'll have to draw and paint a bit.  And walk in the woods.  Sitting on the porch in the evening sounds pretty good, too.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Another stone begins

I rolled the tapestry down and now have about 8" of space in which to work before I'll need to advance the warp again.  Even though I had the worm gear added to the Ruthie loom it's still difficult to move the warp forward.  With the worm gear I'm able to tighten the warp much more easily than before--but releasing the pawls from the top ratchets is still challenging.  Oh well.  It's always something.

Here's the progress at the end of yesterday's session.  The new stone that's beginning to appear at the left will have to wait a bit while I work on the right side today.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A You Tube first (for me!)

Ok... going to try to add a You Tube video here... 

This is my first attempt at You Tube and it shows, I know.  Anyway, here I am weaving on part of the large stones tapestry.  I propped up my iPhone beside me and turned the video on, hence the poor quality of the image!  But I wanted to give it a try to see if I could do it.  More later, perhaps, of better quality and with more informative content.