Friday, August 31, 2012

Pacific Portals Adieu!

This morning the three of us went down to Long Beach to take down the Pacific Portals exhibit at the Long Beach Public Library - Main Library.  This small format tapestry exhibit has been up for two months and today was the day to take it down.  Even on the last day there were folks admiring all the the work.

So quickly the exhibit came down.  It had taken us hours to hang the exhibit and less than thirty minutes to remove the pieces from the walls and display cases.    The library looked so sad, quiet and empty with all those colorful tapestries off the wall and packed in my van.  It was as if the tapestries had been talking and making the library alive with sounds; the sounds of color.  Now it was so quieit, so hushed... like a library?  Fortunately new exhibits were coming soon.

As walls were unwrapped
And books whispered adieu
Pacfic Portals left Port
Hushed memories grew.

Now it's time for 152 tapestries to make their way home...along with the catalog...that's a lot of packing and mailing.  The postal carrier in the Palisades Highlands is going to be quite busy for quite awhile!   When all the tapestries are on their way home and our documentation is written, only then can we  break out the champagne.

I am glad the three of us agreed to be co-chairs for this exhibit.   The venue was fabulous.  The tapestries were gorgeous.  And the viewers so appreciative of the work involved.   All in all - quite satisfying.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pelican Watching the Sunset

I have been working a wee bit every day on this tapestry.  I wanted to finish up the plain  weave before I start the wedge weave. i have a pelican in the foreground with the ocean right at that point in time whne the sun has slipped below the horizon.  Here is a WIP shot... the loom makes it tough to get a good angle of the front.  You're missing the pelican's feet and the post it's standing on...

Looks small ... 40 inches wide and 12 inches tall so far...

Finally I have reached the point where the wedge weave will start.  I will be having strips of wedge weave going up the tapestry using various permutations of wedge weave to see how it works under different scenarios.  That is the next stage - defining what I will do in each strip.  The strips will continue to almost the top where I will finish off with plain weave tapestry again.   In the middle where the blue stops is the horizon line; above which there will be the most luminous sunset my yarn will allow.  Well, that's the plan...

Next WIP photo should be when everything below the horizon line is complete.   How I get a straight horizon line with all these different permuations of wedge weave is another puzzle to figure out.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pulled Tapestry - How To Make a Helicoid

I often get that 'how did you do that?' question.   The piece I get that the most on is My Tapestry Spiral.  So here is a piece I wrote a couple of years ago describing how I made this helicoid.  Remember if you make one, send me a photo of your helicoid.

You should be able to click on the image and make it bigger...


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Pulled Tapestry - a Curator's Dilemma or Dream?

I just mailed off one of my favorite pieces, My Tapestry Spiral,  for an exhibit at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts in Tracy, California.  The piece is part of a California Fiber Artists'  exhibit taking place September 8 - October 27th.  The exhibit opens the 2012-13 Exhibit Season at the Grand Theater for the Arts and coincides with the Tracy Bean Festival.   This will be the first feature presentation of fiber art by the Grand Theatre. Do come and support fiber arts!

My Tapestry Spiral is one of my favorite pieces for many reasons.  First of all it was fun making a two dimensional tapestry take an unexpected turn into three dimensions.  This is a pulled tapestry; thirteen yards of tapestry woven in three colors with 182 triangular darts inserted as I wove.  Once off the loom, I removed the wedges and pulled the warp so the weft filled in the negative space thus forming a tight spiral - like a spiral staircase or one of those fusilli spiral pasta noodles. 

The other reason this is a favorite piece is that each curator gets to decide how to exhibit the piece.  Once out of the incredibly small box that this arrives in, the curator has lots of options how to exhibit the piece; on the wall, over a box, free standing...there are limitless options.  Once out of its packing container, the piece takes on an organic shape uniquely its own.  So in each show the piece looks different. 

Here are a few examples...

I can't wait to see how it is displayed at the Grand Theatre in Tracy.  Stop by and check it out.  The opening reception is on September 29th from noon until 2pm.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Maiden Voyage of my Cantilever Loom

Yes, I am making progress on my wedge weave tapestry...I just don't have much to show for it.

Even though it's my 'vacation', I have been weaving a little bit every day on my new tapestry loom... but still there isn't really anything interesting to see. It's a beautiful four harness upright Fireside loom.

I am weaving from the back and the view from the weaving side is uninspiring due to all the ends.  Of course all those ends signify lots of color changes but you can't really see what I am doing.  And the view from the other side of the loom is even worse since I've got the lower beam obscuring the view.  So even I am not really sure how this piece will look.

In retrospect, perhaps I should have woven this from the front.  Although I am not sure I remember how... Alternatively, I could have started the weaving a bit higher on the loom.  Although at this height, it seemed to be the most comfortable.   I'll check out how comfortable it is at the higher points as I weave along.  Since my sliding bench only slides side to side and not up and down I need the tapestry at the right height so my back or neck doesn't hurt.

[Wow! Wouldn't that be wonderful - a fully adjustable moveable bench which would move up and down and back and forth effortlessly?    Oh forget that - where is my brain?  I already own that! That is the 'secretary' chair I use when weaving on my Shannock!   It has rollers so it moves back and forth and a fun lever to make me move up and down.   So remind me, why did I buy this bench?]

So far, I've got about 40" by 3" done.  It's mostly dark blue and green ripples of the ocean with the start of a black pelican.   I forgot how much large tapestries consume yarn; worse than teenage kids around the refrigerator.  Hopefully, I will have enough of the 'ocean' blues without having to resort to the dye pot.

Looking at the photo, you can see I mark on my warp with sharpies and the only cartoon I've got is the outline of the pelican.   I look forward to getting above the pelican, then there is no cartoon just lots and lots of space to play around with wedge weave.

Once I get up to that horizontal line at about 14 inches, At that  the view may be more a interesting until then I am also warping my Purrington

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Small Expressions 2012 Adieu!

Today was the last day to view the fiber exhibit
Small Expressions 2012
 at the Long Beach Museum of Art. 

 A few of the artists with pieces in the exhibit
and Carol Shaw-Sutton, the juror for the show,
got together to have lunch and view the exhibit one last time.

Here is Peggy Wiedemann with her basket; Opposites Attract.

Sumiko Tasaka came all the way from Tokyo to view the exhibit.
This is her piece Leave Sorrow Behind 2. 

Jeanie Pratt, another beetle lover,
is shown here by her insect jewelry; Mimicry #9 and Mariposa del Mar

This is my favorite piece; one of the Wise Guys by
Danielle Bodine (not present).

Many thanks the Long Beach Museum of Art for hosting this fabulous exhibit.  And many thanks to HGA for their continued sponsorship of Small Expressions.  We are all looking forward to the next one!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Rita's Excellent Belgian Ale

The Bienveneda Brewery presents REBA - Rita's Excellent Belgian Ale in commemoration of Rita's first showing at the Society Gallery in Long Beach.  

Bienveneda Brewery presents two "saison' style ales.  One with a traditional Belgian saison yeast (green cap) and the other with a French saison yeast (yellow cap).  Same ingredients - two different yeasts.  Saison style beer is a farm house ale that is close to home brewed.  It has been described as “ffortifying - but not stupefying - a thirst quencher for the labors of the summer field. “  

Make a toast to Rita with this most excellent ale!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Ready Sett Go!

Finally I started to weave on my new tapestry loom!
I love the  symmetry of my tie-up
....view from the floor

One row done...
many more to go
I decided to go with the width of the existing warp - that's forty inches.  Forty inches at 12 epi was just too daunting so I tied-up two additional pedals for 6 epi. While down there on the floor, I did a couple additional permutations of four shafts so all six treadles are set.  I loved the symmetry of the cords so I just had to take a photo.

Now I'm looking at weaving a tapestry which is still quite wide but something I should be able to finish this year.  I must admit it took like forever to weave across that width just one time.  I don't think I ever have woven a tapestry this wide. It should be an intersesting process.  Thank goodness, the loom came with a bench that slides back and forth.

My color choices...
 unless I choose to dye.
I also forgot how long it takes to actually start weaving a large piece.   I have been weaving smaller pieces for at least a year.  Just winding up those initial bobbins seemed to take forever.  

And let's not forget the actual selection of which yarns to use.  To avoid starting to weave I re-organized all my yarn.  We all have our own procrastination processes don't we? I told myself I was actually looking for inspiration for color choices not really procrastinating.   I even got that itch to make all my 'leftover' stash all nice and tidy.  You know, re-ball all the yarn so no more messy balls or small bits...I started with one particularly messy golden brown tangled pile that Tippy had taken on a play date a few months ago.  Messy yet a beautiful golden brown... Fixing that mess took longer than an hour! There were many others.... Fortunately, procrastination disappeared as the ball winder was just warming up. In the end, my stash is not neat and tidy; but it is separated by color.

On this tapestry I decided to play around with wedge weave and created a fun design which will allow me to try all sorts of different permutations of this technique yet have them, hopefully,  come together into a coherent piece.  At least that's my hope.  Initially my design was going to be completely abstract so I would not have to fret much about the final image not depicting reality.  Then I had this vision of an abstract sunset... then a pelican appeared...

I need to get weaving before I have more visions...

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Tetrads Complete - Escenses to follow

Our study group, Centered on Color and Fiber has wrapped up its study on tetrads. 

A tetrad is basically a color palette composed of four points of a rectangle placed on the color wheel. We discovered it is not an easy palette to use since it is a combination of two sets of complements.  In equal proportions we were unable to achieve any palette even close to harmonious with which we would want to weave. But with changes in proportions and value we were each able to create a tetradic palette we liked.  Once we discovered a harmonious four color palette we then discovered that these tetradic palettes had  much more depth and complexity than other palettes. The photos show some of our results.

If you are interested in joining our next color study topic; read the invitation below.

Carolee's Tetrad

Carol's Tetrad

Karen's Tetrad
Three Studies

Deanna Deed's Tetrad:
California Spring Sprang

Nicki's Tetrad:
Lost-One Pair Green Shoes


The  Escences of Fiber

Our study group, Centered on Color and Fiber has wrapped up its study on tetrads and we invite you to join us with our new topic of study starting August 31. 

Our topic: THE ESCENCES of Fiber.  That is to say iridescence, luminescence, opalescence, and any other escence we discover and their specific impact and application to fiber.

An important aspect of our study group is sharing; both via the internet as well as in face to face gatherings.   To participate you are expected to share your insights and discoveries on the escences via our yahoo group, come to three face-to-face meetings (if you are local) plus show you final piece at the June SCHG meeting.  This final piece is expected to be of exhibit quality, utilizing something you have learned about the escences and be submitted to an exhibit or fashion show of your choice by the end of the study period.  

No cost to join but space is limited to twelve. In essence, to participate in our study group you must be willing to share, to create and to exhibit your final creation.  If this sounds like something you would be interested in - 

Here’s the basic timeline:

August 31- October: Study, Play and Share

During this time our goal is to wrap our minds and souls around iridescence, luminescence, opalescence and other related topics.  With these topics we will spend time understanding what each is and what each is not. We will check out the terms in the color theory books we own, those in the library, info on the Internet and other sources.   We will report back via the yahoo group on good sources and useful or interesting information.  We will begin to sample to understand the implications on fiber. We will share any of those 'ah hah!' moments.

October – February: Experiment, Sample & Share

November gathering: Show the results of your sampling and experimentation and discuss your discoveries about our topic.  Start thinking about an exhibit quality piece utilizing what you are learning.

February gathering:   Show your final samples and progress. Discuss where you are heading with respect to creating an exhibit quality piece utilizing what you have learned about the escences.

February-May – Creating & Sharing

Create an exhibit quality piece keeping the group informed of your progress, discoveries and process.   In May we will gather to show off our final pieces and discuss our conclusions about the escences.

May -June – Sharing & Exhibiting

Show off your finished piece at the June Southern California Handweavers Guild meeting and finalize which exhibit or fashion show you will enter for your piece.

Contact me if you are interested!   



Thursday, August 02, 2012

Almost Ready

Looks like a loom -
just doesn't quite act like one...yet.

What a beautiful loom...

This loom has been taken entirely apart and now has been put back together.   The beater is working; not elegantly but it is functional.  The reed is installed and all the warp has been re-beamed from the top beam to the bottom and back to the top.  I checked the heddles and all seems it be good in a straight 1-2-3-4 pattern.  It is almost ready to weave.

I also checked to how much warp was on still on the loom.  I was able to save the warp on the top beam when we moved it.  I am glad I looked.  There is quite   a bit - 480 warps across and at least 7 yards of usable 12/6 warp.  It's sett at 12 dpi so I have a maximum width of 40 inches.   That should keep me busy for quite awhile.

All the pulleys and cord were a challenge.  The biggest challenge has been the tie-up at the treadles.  I kept telling myself, really how hard can this be?  This is tapestry.  I only need a straight tabby; not a twill or huck.  Just plain tabby for my maiden voyage. This is not rocket science; they were doing this in the 1800's.  And really Nicki, how many treadles have you tied up before?

Perhaps it's my summer cold but I have spent "quality & quality" time with those treadles and cords and still am not convinced I've got it right. I can get a good shed, much larger than I am used to but to switch I  step on the treadle and then must provide an assist with my hands on the actual shafts.  It is not quite acting like the beautiful loom that it is supposed to be.

I guess I will look at it again tomorrow.  The boys are bottling beer today...