Sunday, April 16, 2017

Celebrating Faces

As we begin to look longingly toward summer I'm remembering my wonderful group of 16 weavers at HGA's Convergence in Milwaukee. What a great time we had and all those new personalities we developed! I even came up with my new friend Mariela (finished at home - after all I was supposed to be teaching...)

Mariela, 3 1/2" wide, sunning on the deck

But I want to talk about the students, what an amazing group.

This photo courtesy of my endlessly supportive daughter, Emily
In particular, Judy Smith. Judy was the student who sat in the back next to Jenny, both rather under the radar until I made my rounds to discover what she was working!

Betty Bling
Judy sent me an email with the rest of the friends on the warp a couple months ago, even a boyfriend for Betty!

Betty's Boyfriend

Need I say how proud I feel? What amazing work; personality, expression and individuality.

Judy's Son

Boy in Milwaukee

Judy's Son in Packer Gear

Thanks so much for letting me share this on the blog Judy, you are such a risk-taker.

HGA Convergence 2016, Judy on the left, Jenny on the right

Friday, March 24, 2017

Complementary Colors at Sievers

No matter what sort of winter we've just had, I start to get itchy some time in March. Tired of my big red coat, heavy sweaters, and worn out mittens I begin to let myself think of summer. I still substitute teach, so summer spells freedom.

Complementary Cups, each square 3" wide

I found this dear old favorite of mine in one of my boxes. I've been interested in the special relationship of complementary colors ever since I learned the yarn dyeing process sometime in the early 1990's.

This summer I'm dyeing up a batch of each of the big 3 complement pairs and bringing them to Sievers School of Fiber Arts for a 4 day workshop on landscape weaving. Sievers, around since the 1970's is located on Washington Island on Lake Michigan and a pretty special landscape it is.

This was a fabulous view of the lake from Schoolhouse Beach, early in the morning before my class two years ago. When I came home I worked with orange and blue complements to create the interpretation below. To me it evokes the feeling of calm I had in that place.

about 9" wide, 10 epi...I put myself at the bottom

In the winter months I imagined more landscapes from my baskets of complements, this time thinking more simply with bands of colors.

These were all woven on the same warp, 3 1/2" wide, 8 epi

And you can tell I did this one during frozen January...

I wanted to weave a new sample 'on the vertical'
If you think you might be interested in joining me for this color blending fun, check out the workshop on Sievers' website here. It will be running August 16 through 20, a great time on the island.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Donut Man is Done

Donut Man is done so of course the question now is, what's next?

One thing for certain, I'm not wasting the other side of this loom, the tan 12/6 seine twine is one of my favorites of all time, so I better get busy. I'm hoping to take the donut fellow over to the photographers by June (ok, I'm not committing to which part of June).

I'm hoping for three smaller pieces inspired by the two years of sketches I've made daily after each substitute teaching job. I'm so glad I finally figured out I had a treasure of ideas to mine from every day. The sketches are very quick and often I write a word or two that will help bring back the memory.
Such phrases as; Make Me, Strawberry Cream Cheese Pop Tart, I Had a Bad Dream and of course a favorite, No.

The sketches below are drawn larger, in black crayon, from those originals.

We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Improv Tapestry

Improv comedy I'm familiar with, jazz improv I've heard, but now I'm convinced this piece I've nearly finished must qualify for Improv Tapestry.

First there was this.

That was a sample and a long time ago. I liked it so much I mounted it on a canvas and here it is in my living room.

Then there was this.

The working title was Donut Man and I never came up with anything better so Donut Man stays. Thanks to my friend Nancy, I decided to add wedge weave and that's where the 'improv' aspect begins.

Connie told us not to plan too rigidly, this piece has to go where it wants to and it certainly did. The whole experience was hair-raising.

And now there is this, a morning's work away from completion, perhaps Thursday.

I think I've looked at it too long. Donut Man needs to rest, I'm too tired of it to judge anymore, but I will say this:

The combination of the two styles - wedge and ....traditional? ( I call it 'normal', insert laugh) was quite the journey. Here you can see the meeting of the two.

Once the back of the warp is woven (you don't think I'll waste all that tan seine twine?) I'll cut it off and get it photographed (no garden snapshots here).

It's all a long way off, but then Donut Man deserves a rest.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Garden Faces

It had been too long since I'd posted a face in the garden so a week ago I posted this image on Facebook.

8 x 10 inch picture frame, self portrait in blue

Yes I realize there wasn't much garden growing but hey, it was January. It reminded me what an epiphany it was when I realized every photo I took didn't have to be professional to be interesting. In fact this idea is what lead me to the title of my blog, Growing a Tapestry.

"Weed Mediation", 3.5 x 8 inches

I believe I was looking through a magazine at the library showing art objects put outside for photographing, completely on purpose, a shocking idea for a 1974 photography major such as myself.
Not allowed.
But then, why not?

"Exposed" hiding among the iris and lamium

And so faces in the garden began. You'll notice I use a very inappropriate tapestry loom, the spare picture frame in my basement. I do not recommend it unless you want very wobbly edges and surprises, and I do.

nearly finished, more silver hair to add...

I love the freedom of this decision after years of fretting and wondering, are my pictures good enough? After awhile, which is more important, the tapestry or the photo?

All artists know the answer to that one...

p.s. don't worry, there are times I do follow the rules and am fortunate to have a very good professional photographer in town to call upon, when needed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Eyes

Thanks to ice in the Midwest I gained another weaving day. When I arrived at my substitute job at a reasonable time it began to occur to me it was a bit unusual the parking lot was completely empty.
School was cancelled, truly a disappointment. Coffee pot on and back to work at the loom.

"Donut Man", 24 inches wide and about 12 inches woven

I thought I would share the series of photos I took while working on Donut Man's eyes. A viewer on Facebook asked me about the amount of time spent weaving this particular tapestry and let me tell you this particular part took hours. I'm now content with the expression, so here goes.

First, laying in the yarns for the eyes and choosing the correct warps.

10 epi

Next, packing the yarns on top, building up the shape for the eyebrows. I did needle weave a tiny bit under the eye on the left and adjusted the yarn choices for the white of the eye.

Eyebrows are pretty critical for expression. This part is both exciting and exhausting.

Finally I packed down above the eyebrows, not much adjustment to do here, they both fell into place fairly well.

So there you have it, the positive side of an ice storm in WI. I am just beginning to transition back to wedge weave in parts of this piece and my mind is really being stretched to keep track of all that.

About another 8 inches to go...
Weather is clearing up tomorrow, so back to work...more updates to follow.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Lots of beginnings in January.
Even for Porkchop.

Snow weaving, but be assured there was nothing plein air about the weaving of this one, just the photo. I'm working on some samples for a class on complementary colors. I'm so effected by my surroundings.

red and green gradations, Wisconsin skies, 4" wide warp

Beginning the face on Donut Man, couldn't avoid it anymore.

this ought to take awhile...

And of course some lettering, continuing my series of questions because it seems I have more of them than answers.

Here's to a bright and Happy New Year, with many more things to learn and stuff to create.

Onward 2017!