Friday, October 30, 2015

Cutting off a tapestry--always a happy occasion!

Yesterday I was happy indeed to finish the last of the border at the top of the tapestry that's been on the loom for over a month.  It's based on one of the paintings I made while I was at Lillian Smith Center in early September--

I described the stages of this painting in the post of September 8th.  It was the last large one I made while I was there and the first one I've used as a basis for tapestry.

I had a 20" wide linen warp on the loom, one I'd put on awhile back long enough to do a couple of tapestries.  I decided that the leaf cluster at the left side would be what I'd weave.  The painting was much larger than the warp width, so to make the image smaller I photographed it then resized and cropped the image.   I decided to use an approximate 3" border on all sides and I was going to weave that without a particular plan so I didn't need to include that in the cartoon.  That allowed me to make the leaf image 19" long x 12 3/4" wide.

I cropped the 19" x 12 3/4" image into four parts, printed those and then taped them together to make the size needed for weaving.

I printed a smaller version of the image that I put on the side of the loom to refer to sometimes while weaving--and the larger painting was behind the loom so I could also glance it when I needed to think about color choices when combining wefts.

I used warm and cool grays for the patterning of the border, starting out with remains of wefts from a tapestry called Because of Memory that I wove last year--also inspired by the Lillian Smith Center surroundings.  The background of the leaf cluster is made with random patterning of squares and rectangles of whites and light gray wool, with which I combined a single strand of thin linen from Silvia Heyden's yarns (I'd bought a lot of her yarns from her daughter earlier this year).  By including the yarn from Silvia I like to think that she was with me as I wove this tapestry--just as I feel Lillian Smith has been there with me in many ways as I find inspiration when spending days at the Center that bears her name.
Here's a closer view of the back side of the tapestry... see the thin white linen among the wools?

I finished the half-hitch to hold in the last of the weft late yesterday afternoon.  I unrolled it to be able to cut it from the top--in the photo you can see the difference in the size of the original painting behind the loom at the left and the tapestry.

I'll be putting in more hours before the tapestry is really finished... but taking a tapestry off the loom is always a happy occasion.  I'm always excited to see how the whole piece actually appears.  Yes, I see it as it grows but because I roll it up as the inches build I don't have an overall view until the cutting off.  

Today I spent time trimming weft ends and giving the tapestry a steam pressing.  Tomorrow I'll unpin it and begin the next stage or finishing off the warp ends.  After that will come mounting for framing.

And in the meantime, the next warp is ready to go!  I'm eager to start it and see where it takes me over the months ahead--leading me on to the next happy occasion of cutting off a tapestry.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Framing for tapestries

New and older tapestries--all framed now!

A couple of years ago I decided that many of my tapestries, even larger ones, look much better with a presentation more akin to that used for a painted canvas.   I've started using float (or floater) frames and having the pieces professionally done, after I stitched them to a mounting board, at Caroline Budd Picture Framing in Atlanta.  In the last post there was a photo as I was finishing up the bloodroot tapestry by stitching it onto the mounting board to get it ready to take to Caroline's.  Well... shortly after that was completed I stepped back to looked and realized much to my disappointment that the mounting board wasn't quite the right size.   It was too long by about 1/2" and too much of the mounting fabric showed at top and bottom.  Not much but still ... it wasn't right.

Well, after a major hissy fit and melt down (yes, it's possible to have both over something as seemingly unimportant as a tapestry mounting mistake) my husband convinced me to take the whole damn thing to the professionals.  And I did.  I turned it all over to their textile expert who works with fabrics and framing all the time.  She's also an textile artist so she totally understands not only the details for preparing textiles for framing but she also appreciates the work that goes into creation of pieces that come to her hands for her expert treatment.

My husband picked them up today and I was thrilled with the result.  Absolutely amazed at how a piece I completed in 2008 has now taken on a new presence and life by being mounted and placed in a float frame.  The quilt piece that I finished in 2011 has now been framed, as well.  And the hissy fit piece--the one that started this?  The bloodroot tapestry that I completed this summer now has a wonderful presentation in the float frame, mounted carefully onto a mounting board that's the RIGHT size for the piece.

These tapestries will be hanging somewhere here at our house in the future.  Right now they're going to sit where I can admire the framing job!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Well... time passes, doesn't it?

It's been over a month since I saw this beautiful sight on the last morning I spent at Lillian Smith Center--

Many days and quite a few miles have passed by since then but I'm still basking in the sunlight of that mountain top experience.  I hope I'll be spending time there once again in the future.  It's truly a special place.

Between then and now I've had a chance to see folks I grew up with when we had a class reunion.  I've gone to Asheville a couple of times--once to have photos done at Tim Barnwell's studio and another time to visit the Southern Highland Craft Guild fall show and to spend a couple of days at friends' place near Sapphire, NC (and photograph their bounty of Yates apples and some of the glorious surroundings).

I've finished the bloodroot tapestry mounting; started a tapestry based on a painting done while at the Lillian Smith Center and am almost finished with it; warped the large loom with a 60" wide warp to do a piece from another painting completed at the Center;

I've also taught a brief intro to tapestry for the weaving class at the university:

Oh... and had my tires rotated and oil changed.