Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Weaving Big

The cold winds of February make me hide inside and work on art. Often I find myself trying something new and so I warped my Hagen loom a whopping 20 inches wide. I was working big.

Perhaps not big to some but I rarely venture beyond ten inches. It's been a whole new mindset in my approach to design. Instead of working 10 warps in an inch, I'm down to 6 for each inch. Few choices, bigger groups of yarns to weave with. Pieces I wove 20 years ago were done this way and after so many years of tiny t's it's interesting to think about how this change of scale can affect the shapes I make. The slits are mighty big too, check out that "r" I use as my woven signature.

Just observations and no long term switch to "big" in the works, I have too many ideas to get through for that.

Monday, February 2, 2015

New Faces in Tapestry

The Birthday Bash continues.

Seven eager weavers meet in Minneapolis, ready for a 2 1/2 day workshop with the daunting task of creating new faces. What sort of character will they create?

This group was the most skilled class I've taught so far. I enjoy teaching beginners, explaining the bones of tapestry and watching their understanding emerge. This group already had the basics and there were no fires to put out. Let the personalities emerge.

When I teach a class about weaving new personalities I focus on surface texture and face expression. Ok, we are always thinking about value. And the farther we get to the finish line, the more difficult the use of value becomes.

Meet the new ladies ( why are there rarely any men?) I bet you might even know some of these folks.

Happy Graduation All!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Landscape in Minnesota

Tapestry in a day?

We did it in Minneapolis last week where I spent my birthday weekend at the welcoming Textile Center in Minneapolis. Thirteen enthusiastic weavers came for a one day workshop to weave a landscape.

It was intensive and non stop, but Traudi still found time for coffee.

I stress values and surface textures when I do this workshop so hand spinners have the advantage. Not interested in spinning? Look at some of the hand painted roving available on the market.

In a one day workshop I prefer a design as you go attitude, letting the weaving determine where the landscape is and what the details might be.

Discoveries were made and as always I made some along with my students. I only hope this taste of tapestry leads some to explore further.

Stay tuned for part 2 , Face Expressions, a 2 1/2 day workshop was a big birthday bash!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sketchbook Update

I visited Florida last week for the first time and I didn't bring my camera. Well ok, my daughter did. But still, what fun it is to sketch  your way through the wonders of Miami.

What glorious weather - we WI folks appreciate something like this in January, I had a hard time remembering it wasn't summer. Here you see me working on a quick sketch of the Cape Florida Lighthouse at Key Biscayne.

Drawing helps you slow down and really look at your surroundings. I can completely understand how people get excited about painting palm trees now. When we walked past a street of houses days later I realized there was my painted house, I knew it instantly.

Who knows what ideas will emerge from all this, I don't try to quantify, I'm just glad I had the chance.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Value, Word of the Year

I ran across several references during 2014 to an important artist concept, something to the effect of "value does the work, color gets all the credit". Years of art work have helped me understand the truth of those words and so I decided to choose value as my woven word of 2015 and I hope to explore it's meaning in several ways.

Value in art refers to how light or how dark something is, but it is a word rich with multiple meanings. Thank goodness for context and sometimes that doesn't even help you. Are you talking lights and darks or how much it's worth? Apparently with value, it's worth a lot.

Take the values of these wonderful little balls of yarn my friend Debbie sent me for Christmas. They've already been fun to arrange in different combinations. It almost doesn't matter what the color is if the values are the same. Of course brightness jumps in on occasion, not to mention the surface quality of the yarn.

So much to know.

Which is why I continue to think more about value each passing year.

My first woven strip of 2015 will be 2 simple neutral values, woven on the horizontal.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Try Collage for Design Ideas

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop run by collage artist Christine Echtner.

Her artwork combines acrylic paint and collage techniques to tell stories about her characters. Character development is something I've been thinking a lot about this year so I was interested to learn more about her process.

Collage is a great vehicle to create ideas. Printed text, discarded books, ads from magazines all provide material with which to play. Ideas can be generated quickly, some discarded, others layered or painted over. For someone who works in the deliberate and time intensive field of tapestry weaving, this is a freeing experience.

The process is simple to do at home, but the advantage of the workshop is the ideas multiply as you see the work others are doing. Possibilities for future weavings abound.

Find some friends and give it a try.

P.S. The portrait in my Pensamientos series continues to grow. Next, the face.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ladies in the Garden

Haven't seen anyone out in the garden lately, but then again I had thought the official Yard Season was over.

Yet coming back from a walk with Porkchop, on a rather mild and sunny Sunday, I turned the corner and there she was.

I suppose it was the balmy 50 degrees that prompted this lady to head out to the garden. She holds the fall season to the calendar and not this week's forecast in WI. The north winds will be blowing.

Even the plein air painter seems to have given up, although he left his easel behind. I'm never sure what to do with things like this. Should I try to return it? Will he be back for it?

Her sweater looks comfy, but she'll be wanting more by Wednesday. At any rate she should move, the creeping charley is gaining ground. Nothing seems to stop that stuff.

Hunker down. I'm going to go look for mittens.

P.S. My last blog talked about a piece I was trying to design for my Pensamientos series. I've been working and so far, so good.