Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer 2017

People will ask, quite rightly, any plans for the summer?

I can truthfully say every time, "making art, yard work, and dyeing yarn" (and I believe I speak for Porkchop when I say this).

Porkchop finds a sun spot.

The focus this year is complementary colors which is usually the case. I've zeroed in even more as I'm heading back to Siever's Fiber Arts School in August for a 4 day workshop where these amazing complements will work their magic with the landscape of Washington Island. It's a pretty special place.

first half of the red to green complements gradation

violet to yellow, one of my favorites

So jars of gradations are appearing. You know how seductive that can be. I'm trying to stay focused on the task at hand but there is the urge to gradate every possibility.

But then July 4th is around the corner and family fun ahead (sketchbook in hand of course).

Ruth on location in the dye studio (corner of the garage)

So it looks as though this summer is turning out like all the others; art making, yarn dyeing, and....oh right, all those weeds.

Look around, take notice, make a sketch and stay creative.
Enjoy your summer.

Friday, June 16, 2017

It's Official!

We all know a tapestry is not truly done until the professional photograph is taken so my friends, it's official, Donut Man is complete.

To review, this all started with a drawing, an experience I had one Sunday morning in Times Square, NYC. I was so attracted to the particular way Donut Man held the donut, the careful and tender way his fingers balanced it all.

finished last summer, 2016

You know the rest, all that weaving.

they're all sewn in now

Last you saw here was the pile of ends to tidy up. It happened and then a trip to my friends at Radlund Photography in Madison, WI where I live (and weave).

I like taking pictures in  my yard, but this just wasn't meant to be outside

Something like this, it makes a difference, this business knows what they're doing. An added bonus was the interest photographer Mark showed in how I actually produced this piece, not to mention the story of course.

Of course, it's all about the story.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cut Off

Remember Donut Man?

Cut off, clean up, Hagen back in the storage spot

We haven't seen him lately. He was held hostage while I madly wove the reverse side of the warp, a victim of my penny pinching - why waste my perfectly good tan seine twine?

Both of these are about 6" wide

Besides, I was able to work a bit more on my series of Substitute Tales.

The final piece on the warp has the working title "Taller Than You" Great credence is made over height among young folk. It doesn't take much for someone to get past me and this girl was only in 3rd grade. She was jubilant, so was I. I love an assertive young woman.

warp is ready to cut!

What happens with these pieces? What's next?

Porkchop, as usual, sits and waits

That's the way with art...the questions never end.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

More Substitute Stories

The next student is done, the final begun. For this warp at any rate.

Substitute Tales continues.

crayon sketch from journal entry

The working title for this one is simply, "NO". I was most entranced by her rubber rain boots, which, for those of you out of trends in elementary school, are quite trendy.

pearl cotton on the boots, most of these boots have flowers

This friend has a habit of meltdowns.

6 inches wide, and you can see the next one started

But then, don't we all wish we could hide in a corner sometimes?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Substitute Stories

I'm beginning to see some results from my series Substitute Stories. These are developments from the daily sketching I've done after each substitute teaching job for the past two years (although I've done it for 6, just had to say that).

The daily practice transformed my attitude toward this job. In case anyone wonders, the job is not easy, but it does supply endless stories if you are listening.

I'll be talking  more about this in upcoming posts, but here is my first idea off the loom and some photos that show you a bit of the process. The title of this piece will most likely be "Make Me".

Original journal sketch to the left

enlarged with black crayon as a guide

on the loom, 6" wide, 10 epi

very much improvisation, not directly from the sketch

off the loom, waiting for finishing

This young woman is finishing 7th grade and she is no pushover. I'm not worried about her path in life.
Stay tuned as the stories develop.

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 on...wow!

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.