Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The H Project

I've written other posts that tell of my love of the woven word, so when I read a note from Christine Rivers last year announcing a challenge from Archie Brennan, I knew that was the way to start 2016. I even had my word picked out. Then I realized that was a problem.

Christine describes the challenge this way. "Archie set us a project to go on a tapestry journey.  To thread the loom at 8epi for 1 1/2”, 12 warp threads.  Weave an “H”, then a vowel and as you weave, decide what word you want to weave.  It can be a word or a phrase."

I scrapped my idea for the Spanish word 'hacer', used a loom already warped at 8epi and counted off 12 warps. I chose a dark purple yarn for the letters and added to the journey by restricting myself to yarn lengths from my sourdough starter  (warm colors only).

I've come to refer to my leftover ends as 'sourdough starter'...there's quite a collection.

After the 'ha' (guess I could have stopped there) I felt compelled to write 'have'. 

'Have' didn't feel as though it could stand alone, so another day the rest of the writing came to me. I always have more questions than answers these days.

entry for The H Project, a question that brings a lot to mind...

Archie Brennan opened my eyes to possibilities. I went back to my journals this morning and pulled out 1990, my first workshop with him and read through those old notes. At one point I wrote 'Weaving By Osmosis', his advice to plan and sketch beforehand if you must but then put the drawing on your chair and sit on it. 

First Face, Woven by Osmosis....thanks Archie!

I'm so glad I participated in the H Project. Many thanks to Christine Rivers for taking this project on and further working on an Educational Article planned for the ATA website later this year. 

Now we can  look at all the journeys taken by tapestry weavers.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Circular Warps

So how many T's can you fit on a circular warp?

Sounds a bit like a riddle, but really I am so hesitant to waste warp and so it's really one of my favorite ways to work. Of course it's intriguing to see how it all fits together on the loom, a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, but the cut off is SO much fun.

Perhaps it's just because I've spent so long on the piece for the church. Cutting off this new crop felt so good, especially as I had started this at Sievers last fall. A loom is vacant!

Particularly interesting were these two - I was trying out some aluminum coated wire I acquired, the result of another art teacher trying to clean out their room. I sympathize.

This spool is huge! And has a label saying it originally came from Milan, so it has to be cool. It's a warm silvery color and I'm going to try it with a couple landscape ideas I have.

Ideas are percolating,

Sunday, April 3, 2016

New Faces

Now that The Big Tapestry is ready to hang on April 25 and my living room begins to look like a living room once again, it's time to challenge myself with some new faces.

I believe I have mentioned I've worked hard to increase my skills in drawing people on location. One of the pluses of substituting (there are some) is the availability of models, this time I deferred to another favorite, myself. I had ten pages of a sketchbook left and decided to dedicate them to self portrait drawings.

These sketches were done over several weeks, most when I was in bed after a long day using a wall hung mirror leaning against the wall. I usually use ink pen but occasionally crayon, anything I'm not tempted to erase. Actually it's been so long my practice that I really don't think of erasing anymore, just finish as is and move on to another sketch.

I notice this persistence of drawing has improved my decision making in tapestry weaving. I don't like cartoons and prefer to use them as a guide that sits off to the side. I rely on intuitive choices so the more I understand the face the better they are.

Where is this leading? Hopefully to a self portrait that is part of three wedge woven (or partly wedge woven) portraits I'm working on. Can I get these done in time to show my friend Connie Lippert at Convergence in Milwaukee this summer? I'll let you know.

I like a challenging goal.

Monday, March 21, 2016

And Here it Is!

I promised you a photo and today I went to the photographer I use in town, Radlund Photo. They always make me feel so special, handling these treasures with care and of course saying - "So how long does this take anyway?" I'd be disappointed with anything less.

When I first applied for this competition I sat in the church and looked at the beautiful stained glass they have installed across the front of the worship area. The colors shift from blues to greens to yellows and I used that palette in my own piece and carried it through the weaving.

Here is the space it is planned for - the wall where there is a print of the church. The office does have glass separating it from what the congregation calls The Gathering Space so it is visible as you enter the church.

All Are Welcome, 22 x 50 inches, photo credit: Radlund Photo

I'm pleased, but it feels good to get back to my experiments.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The End is Near

Just to refresh your memory, last November I was looking at this design and warping a loom.

watercolor proposal and yarn samples, All Are Welcome

Tonight I completed the finishing of the ends and the world looks a whole lot better to me.

Thank you Netflix, you've kept me going...

Yes indeed, 50" later, my tapestry , All Are Welcome, has been cut off the loom. Piles of yarn have been sorted and put back in their little color bags, scraps of yarn added to my sourdough basket of starter yarn, and pipes and rods put back in the basement.

Finally I can get back to my little ideas on my tiny pipe looms.

I'm certainly proud of what I've done, glad to have had the opportunity, and pleased with the values, colors, and shapes of the weaving.

But I've realized how much I missed experimenting and thinking about new ideas these past 4  months. My return to a nearly forgotten 3 inch warp was a joyous one.

This commission heads to the photographers next Monday, so we'll all get to see it then. As we all know, you've got nothing without the photo. And by the way, Porkchop remains unimpressed with the entire situation.

Moments after the exciting cut off

So stay tuned my friends.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Weave On!

Despite the endless cold (not the temperature, the one I have), deadline approaching....I weave on. Bobbins have been my constant companion this weekend.

The tapestry made the turn on the adapted Hagen loom last weekend and now I have 16 inches of the original 50 inches remaining.

"All Are Welcome", in process,  22 x 50 inches

One more figure to weave....

Can I do it? By March?

Stay tuned...


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Time to Advance

My weaving life is consumed by this commission and it's the only tapestry growing right now at my house. Easter, the deadline, is coming up fast. Today I have reached the point where I need to advance the piece.  I keep hitting my head on the Ott light.

My progress seems good and the values of the yarn are behaving themselves, so life is good at my house.

The entire project has taken over the living room, although Porkchop remains unimpressed.

Stay tuned!