Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy End of 2016!

I finished weaving my 2016 tapestry diary today.  Here's the way it looked earlier this morning:

Later this afternoon--off the loom!

Here's the next stage, clipping wefts and finishing warp ends. 

And my 2017 tapestry diary warp is on a loom that I can take me when I travel this year.  I'll begin it tomorrow--I don't know yet what I'll be doing throughout the piece--other than a day by day marking with separate shapes.

For warping, I have the loom propped up on a few yarn boxes at one side and with the legs holding up the other end.

Happy New Year to come!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hambidge Days

Fisher Studio--where I stayed early in December.
I had an opportunity to go to Hambidge Center for a week in early December and I seized it!  I'd wanted to photograph some of the burned woods in north Georgia as reference for the current tapestry that's underway.  The afternoon I arrived and after checking in, I drove to Taylor House where I'd stayed this past summer.  Christine Jason, the Operations Manager at Hambidge, told me there'd been controlled or back burn done in the woods near the house.  While there, I photographed some of the burned areas and collected charred sticks to use for drawing.

Woods near Taylor House

Next morning, Christine took me on a drive along Patterson Gap Road to see the back burn portions there and both of us took lots of photos.  I also collected more burned sticks as well as some scorched earth to use for painting.

Over the next four days I made drawings and paintings from the photos I'd taken, using the charred sticks to draw with and and also the earth pigments I'd collected and processed earlier in the summer both at Hambidge and Lillian Smith Center.

Some of the collection of charred sticks and twigs I used for drawing.
Overview of inside Fisher Studio with some of the work on the walls.
Before I left on Sunday Jennifer Garza-Cuen wanted to set up a similar photo shoot that she did with me at the Mary Hambidge House last December.  Turns out the day was overcast--just what she wanted.  Here's a selfie I did while I was waiting for Jennifer to get her camera set up at the other location.

Although the drawings and paintings I made while I was at this residency will probably not turn into tapestries as they are, the information I was able to gather about the way the forest floor looks from the burnings will help me resolve the final parts of the current tapestry.

I've now reached the half-way point and I'm beginning to make transitions into ash and charcoal colors.  Another couple of months on this one, I think.  I'd like to finish it before I leave for Penland in early March.

Now... a bit of holiday update. December is always a exciting, busy, stressful month for everyone and our family is not an exception.  This year, flu decided to add to the excitement and it's hit me with a wallop, starting Thursday before Christmas --and is still dragging me down.  I'm up and about most of the day now but still feel pretty lousy.  I'm looking forward to 2016 ENDING on a healthy note! 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A new tapestry is underway

I began this tapestry with a small snippet from a portion of a small painting I did while at Lillian E. Smith Center earlier in the fall.  Now it's growing into a much larger image in the tapestry cartoon.  The finished tapestry will be approximately 60" h x 28" w. 

Here are a few details of the piece:

I wrote about the visual appeal of the strip I cut from the small painting as part of this post.  I've tried several other ideas from the drawings I made while at LES Center--but I finally decided to work with this strip which, as it was cut apart from the whole, became an abstraction of density of leaf litter.

Here's the strip.  I've turned it 90˚ as I'm weaving it.  There is a portion being added to it of equal width that's not being shown here since it's still in the designing stages for color:

I set the loom up and began weaving early in November.  Little did I know when I began working on the tapestry that it would offer a way to express some of my deep distress and sadness about the ravages of the wildfires throughout the southeast over the past months.  The tragedy that's unfolding in the Great Smoky National Park and the communities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge from the wildfires compels me to make a visual statement of some kind. And now... just in the news, another terrible fire, the one in Oakland, California where many lives have been lost.

Fire is both a gift and a burden.  Fire has been with humans for thousands of years, and many myths and legends involve fire.    It isn't a simple gift, however.  Responsibilities come with fire and there's the burden of learning to live with and manage fire as best we can.  Use it for good and respect its power; these tragic events over the past few weeks remind us of the burden.