Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Bit of Progress

I made a bit of progress...but not much...a bit of sky, a bit of moon. If you want to follow along on a moon map, I have finished up the Crater Riccioli and a small portion of Sinus Medii - The Bay of the Center and have about half of Crater Grimaldi woven. Remember I am weaving from back to front and upside down.

My goal is to fill in that empty middle part at the bottom of the tapestry over Memorial weekend. Hopefully, I can figure out how to take a decent photo of the front so you can see what it looks like.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Slow Start

Whew, sure has been hot. It has actually gotten up to 87 here...fortunately the high pressure system is moving away so the off shore flow will be back. By the weekend the high temperature should be back to a respectable 65 degrees.

I did start to weave. But it took much longer than I thought. I forgot that I was using bobbins so I had to fill them all with the required colors. Of course, this required that I create a bobbin holder since I had so many bobbins in varying shades for the moon. Plus, I ended up changing the colors a couple of times to get the right value scale. Here is the result -

I got the bobbins underway but then had to figure out how or whether to use the cartoon I had developed. The cartoon has about a third of a full harvest moon rising of three sand dunes. I am trying to weave what the moon actually looks like, with the craters, mountains and oceans in the right a map/cartoon seems like a must.

But then, I am trying out weaving from back to front on the big Shannock. Using this method I will easily be able to do random dots which will be a nice touch for the harvest moon. Unfortunately, this means I must keep dropping the cartoon and looking in a mirror to see how things are progressing. My cartoon is somewhat unwieldy measuring 36 by 36 inches.

I finally decided to divide my moon cartoon into a grid of 5 by 7 inch rectangles. I made color copies of the bottom row...which is actually the top since I am weaving it upside down too. I sewed on the bottom row to the hem in three pieces so it is easy to raise and drop the cartoon to peak into the mirror. It works well.

My cartoon shows the moon's mirror image so that when I weave it, it will come out looking right on the front. It's a bit tough...looking at the cartoon and the back of the tapestry- it looks one way. In the mirror is looks a bit different. Should something shift a bit more to the is that the front's right or the back's right...good grief. Since I want good placement of the key locations on the moon, I figured I had better do more preparation. I also made several copies of the actual moon map [and it's mirror image], added the grids and identified all the key locations on the moon.

After all this trouble of making sure I have the correct view of the moon from the back and the front and ensuring I can get the identifiable locations on the moon onto the right spots on my tapestry..I sure hope my moon map is not one taken from a telescope which inverts the image of the moon! I seem to recall at some point having that thought and checked against a photograph that someone had taken of a moon over a mountain. So I think I have it right.

Weaving is anticipated tomorrow...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Almost Ready

It was a nice warm day today so my dyed yarn dried quite quickly. It turned out I had had a busy Saturday - I had fifteen skeins to dye; some were immersion dyed and others were painted. They are now all balled up and organized.

I think am ready to weave...can't wait until tomorrow! I never weave at night.
Looking at the yarn, the value contrast is about right for the mood I am going for. It is always so interesting to see if I can get on the loom the feeling I can see in my brain.
From a pictorial standpoint, there will be a giant harvest moon rising over three sand dunes in Death Valley. No people, no animals, no plants...just the sand of the dunes, the rocks of the moon and the stars at celestial twilight.
Looking at the colors - easy to imagine harvest moon rising over the Napa Valley...tougher to visual Death Valley. Boy this is going to be fun.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Colors of the Harvest Moon

I have the loom warped, the hem woven and the cartoon if I could just figure out the colors. I have spent much time trying to figure this out. I know exactly what the moon looks like...I can see it vividly in my mind. The sky I can visualize somewhat...and the dunes...who knows.

I spent Friday picking out colors...moving colors around...allowing various colors to talk amongst themselves to see if they could figure it out for me. This morning I took my coffee to the back studio and played with color cards for about fifteen minutes and voila!

Here are the colors of the harvest moon over Death Valley...

I spent the rest of the day dyeing some yarn to fill out my palette. Once I have them all dry and balled they will pose for a photo.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Studio Tours

I had the opportunity last weekend to go on a studio tour of four tapestry artists in the Bay area as part of the ATA Silver Anniversary Celebration. It was fun seeing how other artists set up their studios.

We went to four studios...

Christine Laffer, who had what looked like a twelve foot weaving width Shannock loom! It was the largest loom I had ever seen. Looked like you would have to stand on a ladder to warp the loom. The interesting part was how she used mirrors attached to music stands to view the tapestry as she wove back to front.

Jan Moore, who had completely converted a garage into a fiber studio with a more familiar looking six foot weaving width Shannock loom. One wall had a huge window made of those clear blocks of glass - which allowed the light in but no direct sunlight. There were also a couple of sky lights on the roof. It looked to be a beautiful place to weave while it was sunny...potentially a bit dreary on a cloudy day. Her tapestries are shaped - not the traditional square or rectangle. She sews in a hard backing into her pieces so they retain their shape and look quite crisp on the wall.

Tricia Goldberg, who taught the workshop I took a couple months ago. She had a separate studio off from her house where she had a lovely old wooden upright tapestry loom along with smaller ones for her students.

Jean Pierre LaRochette also had a separate studio from his home. He actually has another South of the border where he spends half his year. Most interesting, he will do perhaps four renditions of the same tapestry in the same colors to maximize the work he can exhibit. He also sees it as a challenge to see if from a technical standpoint he can make each somewhat different yet the same.

So what did I get out of my Sunday fieldtrip?

First - a strong feeling I need focus more on my weaving and less on the Guild stuff that has been sucking up my time.

And second - a renewed desire to do a tapestry on my big Shannock from back to front. And to accomplish this, I would need some sort of mirror to view my tapestry without having to go around to the back of the loom. A quick trip to Ross and for less than twenty dollars I now have a mirror hanging on my loom.... check it out - -