Friday, March 13, 2015

Dye Day for Tapestry

 A fabulous shot of our the results
of our dye day taken by Merna Strauch.

It was hot and dry today as we dyed twelve bouts of soy silk and twelve bouts of raw silk for an upcoming group tapestry project.  Lots of noisy helicopters were flying overhead as some dropped water and chemicals on the brush fire in Malibu just across the nearby mountain range.  Other helicopters with cameras took everything down to broadcast on TV.  They all ignored the five of us dyeing tapestry yarn below.

I belong to the Seaside Tapestry Group, who love to do collaborative projects in tapestry.   This year about twelve of us will each be weaving a small format tapestry with a seashell theme; quite appropriate since we live by the Santa Monica Bay.   Fortunately there is no requirement for a local seashell since my design is that of a shell whose natural habitat is Florida.

We have never been entirely satisfied with our previous group projects so each time we do one of these projects we try something different.  This time we will have everyone use the same yarn.  Given two of us are allergic to wool, we decided upon silk and soy silk.   We settled on three colors; a rust, a plum and a blue in four saturation levels.   That's twenty four bouts of yarn we dyed today.

It took less than four hours with three camping stoves, six big pots, an uncountable number of buckets, three dyes, lots of salt, vinegar and five people to accomplish the feat.  The raw silk required heat while the soy silk did not.  We were organized into two teams of two plus a floater. Merna had it so well organized it had to be the easiest dye day ever.

And the results are fabulous don't you think? Each type of yarn took the dye slightly differently so we should get an additional richness if/when we blend the yarns together. The soy is quite thin in comparison to the raw silk.  This will allow for some interesting color blending possibilities.  It looks like perfect yarn to try out the techniques Merna and I learned with Joan Baxter in the Fall of last year.  That was workshop was sponsored by Tapestry Weavers West.

Now that they yarn is dyed we next tackle design and firm up the parameters on sett.

The time nears when weaving will actually start...

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

My Calendar Tapestry

I started a new tapestry on my Big Shannock at the beginning of the year; a variation on the weave-a-day theme which other tapestry weavers have been doing.   My rendition is slightly different; although I have an area of the tapestry for each day of the year - I generally weave the entire past week on Monday due to the nature of my design.

While January (piectured above) started with lots of sun (yellow)
it ended with days of rain (green) and cloudy skies (mottled green). 

 From a design standpoint, there are three layers or levels to the tapestry; local, worldly and celestial. The finished tapestry is to be a contemplative piece where no one layer  speaks louder than the others.

  • The background is composed of squares; one for each day.  The color of the square indicates the overall weather looking outside my studio window; the top and bottom of the square represent the high and low temperature.   
  • To continue with my love of words in weavings, I will be adding 3-4 phrases  to the tapestry to represent key happenings in the world during the quarter (e.g. Je suis Charlie).
  • The last layer represents happening outside our atmosphere such as the phases of the moon. In the photo the exposed warps represent a new moon. 

There will be four tapestries; one for each quarter. It should be interesting to see how the background varies by quarter and how the worldly phrases hold up with the passage of time.  I am already surprised by the variety of weather we have had this quarter...

You will see more once the first quarter comes off the loom.