Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Developing a Cohesive Palette for a Group Tapestry Project

 Our tapestry group always creates a group submission for the ATA's unjuried show.  In the past we have not been entirely satisfied with our previous submissions to this exhibit so each time we try something different to improve our results.  This year we decided to use common yarns dyed in specific colors. We hoped that by limiting the yarns to the same palette for everyone our tapestries would look more cohesive and "sing" with one voice - or at least in harmony!  Many folks, myself included, are still weaving so we won't know whether we succeeded or not until we get together in early March and unveil our creations.

The yarn for our group tapestry project was dyed last year in March.   We dyed our chosen silk and soy fibers in three colors each at four saturation levels for everyone to use.  That yielded 26 choices including natural colors for each of us to create the palette for our individual tapestries.  The yarns were quite thin so we could combine yarns and create even more combinations of colors than were originally dyed.  For me, at my sett, there would be over 2,100 potential permutations of color!  Clearly this is not as limiting a factor as it appears at first glance. 

So clearly there are a plethora of choices.  Often with so many choices, the analytical side of my brain kicks into high gear and indecision reigns.  There is always one more subset of colors which might yield a better result than the one selected.  And one more after that... Surprisingly, this did not occur.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do, the minute we decided to limit our palette. I decided I would weave my tapestry based on value and not stress on color. That idea flashed into my brain and I never changed my mind over the many months since then.

Here are my 20 yarn samples all organized by color and value.  

So ten months after the yarn was dyed, with the deadline quickly approaching, I found some free time and finally began creating my actual palette consisting of five different values.  

To be continued...

Monday, February 01, 2016

Completing a Tapestry: Step 2

It is important to be self-aware when it comes to weaving a tapestry...actually this is true for completing anything important.  One needs to know how one works and how to set up the environment to make the mind, the hands, the tools and the yarns flow seamlessly among themselves.  It is the only way to effectively move that image burning in the mind onto the loom so everyone can see it.

I cannot start a tapestry unless I dedicate a specific workspace for the project.  Everything must be neat, organized with everything in its proper place.   I will admit it does not always stay that way once the weaving is in process but I must start with everything in its place otherwise I just putz (spelling?) around and accomplish little.  

Here's a photo of how my back studio looked after several days of weaving...yes, it still looks neat and tidy.  It was not a few minutes ago... Once I finish a major section (here the blue background on the lower left),  I usually clean up the work area again to start a fresh with the next new section. 

My back studio up and running...
focused entirely on an 8 by 8 inch tapestry of a seashell in silk and soy.