Monday, December 29, 2014

Starting the New Year

I write this post as my tapestry warp
rests in an azure pool...

I decided this year to work on one of those calendar tapestries that many tapestry artists have been doing...

I have done something similar in the past with my "Brick Wednesday" tapestry.  In that one, I wove at least one brick every Wednesday until I got a bit bored and ignored the tapestry for several years just finishing it this year with a bang. 

I have a concept but need some bright and cheerful warp to keep me going for the entire year.  I selected azure as my inspiration.  I hope the warp color is true to the color in the photo of the dye pot.  I always use dyed warp since I like to have the option of having exposed warp and white warp looks so naked and unfinished.  White warp also strains my eyes against all my white walls so a colored warp is always better in my studio. 

I will be using my Big Shannock for the piece even though it will be but a couple feet wide.  I envision four sections; one for each quarter.   

Ah the bell rings...I must go stir my dye pot!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Asian Ladybugs Under Glass

Every year I create a new beetle design for me and my fellow beetle collectors.
This year I present the Asian ladybug.

Yes, it's my favorite time of the year....I just finished my Beetles Under Glass limited edition for 2014.   I was inspired by a photo I saw with hundreds of multi-colored ladybugs on a log.  They ranged in color from yellow to reddish orange and had lots of spots.

Last year, I put the 'good' ladybugs under glass...this year I did their evil sister - the Asian Ladybug.  The Asian ladybugs (aka Halloween or Harlequin ladybugs) were introduced into the US to help eradicate pests but over time turned into pests themselves.   Even so, they were still fun to weave with each one a slightly or not so slightly different color ranging between yellowish green and reddish orange.  And of course, they had to have a bit of glitz.

Become a collector!

They will be available for a sale at the following events:

The SCHG Weaving and Fiber Festival
Sunday November 2nd
Torrance Cultural Center, Torrance CA

The Designing Weavers Exhibit & Sale
Saturday and Sunday November 22-23rd
Sierra Madre Women's Club
Sierra Madre, CA

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mr. and Mrs. Roberts Visit Escondido

Mr. and Mrs. Roberts hanging around
at the Escondido Municipal Gallery.

This is the other set of brass rubbings which I framed in fiber.  It is a rubbing of the brass of William and Joyce Roberts from 1484.  They are current on exhibit at the Escondido Municipal Gallery in Escondido until September 26th.

Here are the details about the pair:

Rubbed by Sophia Bair at St. Johns Church
Digswell, Hertfordshire 1970

Framed in fiber by Nicki Bair

In the original brass of 1484 the two shrouded figures, William and Joyce Roberts, were turned towards each other with hands raised in prayer.  The husband has his hair in pudding basin fashion while his wife has long flowing hair.  Note the shroud is tied at top and bottom and meets in the middle with the bare feet and legs visible. 

As noted on the 1484 brass, William Robert was the auditor of the Bishop of Winchester.   Apparently this is a memorial to his wife since William Robert was not dead at this time.  They had two sons and two daughters. William later remarried and died in 1508.  His brass at death pictured him, his two wives Margaret and Joyce plus all six of his children.  The later brass indicated he was the auditor of King Henry VIII.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Brass Rubbing in a Fiber Frame

I thought I would provide some background on one of my Bonds & Connections pieces which is in the Designing Weavers exhibit at the Escondido Municipal Gallery.  Remember it’s there until September 27th – so plenty of time to plan a visit!

As I have mentioned before, a requirement of membership in Designing Weavers is to complete and present an annual project.  This year, with the theme of Bonds & Connections I was actually able to complete three projects that have been rumbling around my brain for many years.

Here is one of the pieces along with the exhibit description:

I am connecting with the past through the bonds of my Mother.  I start in 1465 where this wife of an unknown civilian was buried in All Hallows Church in London.  My Mother connects with this woman about 50 years ago as she made a brass rubbing of the woman's grave cover with black wax.  The connections are completed as I lovingly wrap the brass rubbing in fiber woven in my studio on my Mother's newly refinished loom.

My Mother was a weaver/tapestry artist and when she passed all her ‘art’ stuff went to me.  This included a tube of brass rubbings she had done close to fifty years ago in England.  I thought how wonderful to give new life to her remaining brass rubbings by weaving frames for them on her antique counterbalance loom. This loom was in our kitchen when I was a kid and now resides in my studio. Of course, I first had to finish the tapestry on the loom which had been there for years…and then I had to refinish and retool the loom before I could weave the final pieces.  But these are stories for another day.

So what is a brass? Brasses are burial monuments introduced in the 1300’s; like a tombstone but flat engraved brass pieces acting as a grave cover.  They were better than stone slabs since the metal was more durable and since they were flat they could go on the floor, wall or top of a tomb.   There are about 4,000 left in England and I have about six in that tube from my Mother’s stash.

How do you make a rubbing?  My Mother had white paper, which she taped over the brass in the church.  On her knees she rubbed black wax onto the paper over the engraved brass beneath.   The design showed up in relief.  She used white paper to practice.  Later if she liked the design she would use black paper with gold wax or gold paper with black wax for a final piece.  All of her favorites were framed and given as gifts.  I have several on my walls. Her least favorite went into that tube and remained there for decades.

What's the history behind brasses?  One of the many fun things about brasses is that they are historical documents.  There’s not a lot around from the 1400’s yet these brasses say a lot about the existing customs, clothing, occupations and professions of the time.  In addition, quite a lot of historical research has been done on the families involved.  So anyone with a brass rubbings wants to know a bit about the history involved.

What’s the history of this brass? As you can see below, this brass was actually of two people, a husband and wife. It was a practice piece for my Mother and she only did the woman on white paper with black wax.  The couple was also rubbed on black with gold wax, framed and gifted away.   This woman is the wife of an unknown civilian who died in 1465.   Much of the inscription has been lost so her actual name is unknown. Some scholars believe it may be Avisle Treffy.  She is wearing one of those horned headdresses with her hair pulled upwards to form horns over which the veil is laid. She is wearing a gown with full sleeves seemingly edged with fur. Her hands are raised in prayer.

And what about that fiber frame? The fiber frame is deceptively simple yet complex to plan given pull in, shrinkage and all those textile issues. The yarn was super high twist, which made it a beast to weave.  I only needed a couple of yards of material so it wove up quickly and my good humor remained intact.  The resulting yardage folded up like origami into a frame with the rubbing nesting inside.  The rubbing is hung with Velcro within the frame so it can be removed, if necessary.  I used strategically placed empty dents in my reed so the thick material would fold nicely.  And then of course I had to do some embellishment.

And how do I feel about the piece?  When I think about it, the overall concept is a bit macabre but also quite unique. Whenever I see it, I feel cool, calm and connected.  It is my favorite.  I do have a tendency to always  consider my most recent finished piece my favorite.  But this one may remain my favorite due to the bonds and connections within it.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bonds & Expressions

Every year Designing Weavers has an annual project; defined as " a meaningful, finished fiber piece that responds to, or that addresses, the chosen theme for the year."  For last year our theme was Bonds & Connections and we presented our pieces in our March, April and May meetings.  It is always a treat to see what folks have created.  

This year, you too have a chance to see.  We are exhibiting our pieces at the Escondido Municipal Gallery until September 27th.   Almost two months to check us out.  And while your there, check out the Fiber & Art Quilt exhibit that is there too. 

Here are a few photos to whet the appetite.  But really, you have to be up close to smell the roses and see the detail! 

What:            Designing Weavers present Bonds & Connections a fiber exhibit exploring the diverse and intimate links between ourselves and the world.  In conjunction with the Fiber & Art Quilts 2014 Open; the 4th biennial fiber juried open

Where                       Escondido Municipal Gallery
                                 262 E. Grand Avenue
                                 Escondido, CA 92025

Key Dates                  Exhibit Dates:     August 8 (Friday) - Sept. 27, 2014 in conjunction with
                                 Reception:         2nd Saturday in September 5:30-8pm

Viewing Times              Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 11-4pm
                                  Closed Sunday, Monday, Wednesday

More Info