Monday, December 15, 2008

Tapestry in Black

I have made some progress on my tapestry in black called Uranus and its 23 Moons.

On the left is the beginning of the nautilus shell. And one of the orbits of Uranus is starting on the right. The piece will be 72 inches there is quite a ways to go.

I am quite amazed at how different the piece looks in different lights. In some it looks completely black. In others the light picks up the shimmer in some of the yarns and there appears to be a whole variety of shades of black.

The nautilus shell has been a bear to weave given the blackness of all the yarns and multiple bobbins I need to use. One yarn is silk noil and the other is a satiny type yarn. They are completely different as to feel, sett and character.

I was happy to be able to advance the warp today. That means tomorrow, I get to start working on the planet itself. The planet will be largely black with only a crescent of color. Judy plied some yarns together for me, a wool and a mohair. She did it a number of different ways so it will be interesting to see which works out the best.

Or perhaps I will use something entirely different. The texture and color must be just right as well as the weaving must be perfect. The light peeking around the planet will be the focal point to draw the viewer into the piece. The nuances in black should keep them there for quite awhile.

I am extremely pleased with what is happening so far. If this keeps up it will be an exceptional tapestry.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Starting to Pull - Layer One

I have started to pull my tapestry spiral. Here is how it looks at the first layer...fourteen more to go.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Golden Rectangles & Color Triads

Things have started to calm down. It always seems the time between September 15 and December 15th are the busiest for me.

This year the focus seemed to be on tapestries; largely finishing tapestries. My definition of 'finishing' starts when the tapestry is taken off the loom and is completed when I can hang it on a wall...assuming it hangs. Off the top of my head I think I have recently finished eight tapestries. All have been assigned to various exhibits I would like to be in over the next six months.

This is one of my tapestries I designed and wove in the James Koehler workshop I took in Colorado last summer. The focus was on golden rectangles and complementary triads. We could design and weave anything we wanted.

I use golden rectangles in my designs but I am not exactly a fan of golden rectangles. I find them too narrow on the short side to be pleasing. I prefer the size of the boxed frame in the photo to the size of the tapestry itself.

I am also not a fan of complementary triads. I find them harsh. Particularly when they are at such a saturated state as in the yarns I created for the workshop. It was difficult selecting the colors as well as weaving with the colors. To make it 'interesting' to weave I decided to avoid slits at all the edges so I did the entire piece in hachures and interlocks. It was interesting for about an inch. Then it was a 'death march' to weave.

So obviously with all these things against it, this tapestry is not one of my favorites. However, with the extended lines added upon finishing and the grey background, I surprisingly do like the end result and it currently has a prominent spot in my studio.

It is always good for me to push myself outside my comfort zone...pushing my color selections beyond what I would normally use...using designs which are not my favorites...and weaving in new ways. I try to do this on every tapestry I do. It makes my body of work grow in different ways than I expected and keeps me balanced.

Fortunately, I normally enjoy the time creating tapestries on my looms. It is a rare tapestry that is the 'death march' like this one. I think I will just blame it on the high altitude in Colorado. I weave best at sea level.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spiral Tapestry Off the Loom

I started weaving this tapestry piece back in late August and I just finished weaving my last triangle section today.

Hard to believe that there is actually 13+ yards all rolled up! You can see the cardboard darts I put into each section...there are close to 200 of them. Quite a bit of weaving there.

I think this took more time to weave than anything I've done before. I timed how long it took to do one section - 12 minutes is my best time...196 sections...2,352 minutes...that means 39+ hours for the entire piece...of course I usually only wove 2 sections per day. But today I did 14.

My next stage of this project is to remove the cardboard triangles and pull the warp into what should be a wonderfully colorful spiral. I just have to figure out how to psych up to do all that pulling!