Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ready to Cut off the Loom

Here I am at the top of my wedge weave tapestry. All done and ready to cut off the loom.  This is always a momentus time; a bit scary and a bit exciting.

Recall that this is only my third wedge weave piece... (here is my first one only about five inches high and perhaps an inch and a half wide.  Here is my second one...a bit larger at about 12 inches... )  Between the distortion of wedge weave the the changed design of this tapestry, I have no idea whether this piece will come out useable or not.  It started as a wedge weave sampler but along the way it turned into a larger tapestry that I would like enter in an upcoming exhibit.

The difficulty of weaving a large tapestry is that one can only see a small amount of the tapestry at a time.  In this photo you can see the twining at the top of the tapestry and the portion of the exposed tapestry wrapped around the beam.   Although I was happy with each section of the tapestry as I wove it I have no idea whether it has all come together as I see it in my mind.  When I started this tapestry it was going to be a landscape shape perhaps 40 by 30 with a pelican at the bottom... but as I wove I changed my mind and shifted to a portrait size with the height more than doubling to about 65.

I say 'about' since I have no idea how the wedge weave will distort when taken off the loom.    I did take some steps to lessen the distortion as I wove the piece, but I have no idea whether there will be still too much distortion to make it useable.

Tapestries do take a long time to weave.  This one took about a year - not as long as my brick wall but still quite awhile.  If it were not for the photos I took along the way I would have no memory of the first foot or two.

I guess I have procrastinated enough -  time to go cut it off!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Brick Wall Cut off the Loom

My bricks resting

I realized I have forgotten to follow-up with photos on a number of projects I have been working on.  Nothing like a summer cold to mess with the memory, inspiration and focus.

Here's a shot of my brick wall just cut off the loom.  Whew...let's see... it's been over five years since I started this piece. Interesting how my style has changed since that first brick.  I have been known to cut off tapestries before they are done if I don't work them for awhile or if I don't like them.  But this one always survived the scissors.  I wonder why...

Weaving a brick wall was an intriguing idea way back fact I still find it intriguing.  Another consideration is that this wall was woven on my Mother's antique counterbalance loom.  I remember my Mom weaving on this loom in our kitchen when I was a kid.  I also remember helping her warp this loom up in Napa Valley when she took on tapestry weaving.  She would always put on huge lengths of warp...and there was always something going on; her loom was never empty.   Since I never had a project particularly suited for this loom, I never felt any compulsion to cut off this warp and leave it naked.  Naked looms are so sad.  But now I have a project in mind...and this loom will be perfect.  Hence the inspiration to get it done.

So now my woven brick wall is  all rolled up ready for finishing ... hopefully in less time than it took to weave.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Notan, Near Notan & Not Notan

Black & White Beetle
20" by 30"
At the beginning of this year I took a Design 101 workshop given by Gail Rieke, an artist from Santa Fe.  I have taken a number of workshops from her and she is a favorite of Seaside Weavers having taught there at least four times.

In this two day workshop we did all the exercises in black and white.   It was a different perspective for me since my fiber color study group has been focusing on color for years. There were exercises in both two and three dimensions as well as individual and group exercises.  On the last afternoon we got to work on whatever we wanted.  I, of course, reverted to form and created a beetle through negative space.  It was an interesting project since it forced me to cut out the shapes involved and not draw the lines as I normally would do.

Although I did not learn anything earth shattering, the workshop did inspire me to create 100 different designs with black and white paper over the next 100 days.  I had a book on Notan with lots of different exercises so I did some of those.  I started out doing one a day but it was so fun I ended up doing more.  I had a station set up in my studio with the black and white paper and adhesive.  I kept the little bits from previous designs since I often found in that pile the perfect piece for a more recent design. I did not labor over any of the designs.  Just got an idea and got it done.  Once I completed 100 of them, I lined them up on my studio floor for a photo.

My 100 Designs lined up on my studio floor. 

Next, I played around with the image in photoshop to get an idea of what it would like like as fabric...

Then I send it off to Spoonflower to have it printed on a yard of cotton.  Brillant!


Bricks Revisited

I have been down for the count with a cold that simply lingers... While I avoid talking which makes me cough, I have been inspired to finish up a tapestry sampler I started in May of 2008.

This is a tapestry of a brick wall; each brick is different and within some color parameters unique in design.  The design is inspired at the moment I start.  So this sampler is similar to the 100 Black and White design project I did earlier this year.

This tapestry has been sitting all covered up and lonely on my antique counterbalance loom.   Until last week I hadn't woven on this since 2009.  I blogged about it way back when.

I do look forward to seeing this piece off the loom since the early bricks were woven in a different stage of my weaving life; a time when I was simply fascinated by structure.    I only wove about a dozen or so bricks way back when and I started today with 48 completed with twelve more to go.

I should be able to remove this from the loom by the end of the week.  Once off the loom this tapestry is not finished...I will need to clean up the back...and then add the mortar.  This will be a labor of love.