Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Self Portraits, Continued.

So when we last met I showed you the first of what is turning out to be a summer of self-portraits. I wanted to work very informally on a sturdy 8 x 10 inch picture frame with the intention of NOT having even edges. I called the first piece Self Portrait:Eyes Shut.



Now I'm back to show you the other side. Same warp, just turned the frame over. I made no sketch, simply started with the aluminum wire and a glittery ribbon type yarn I bought at a knitting shop years ago. The weaving guided me in this design and told me what should come next. At this point the title is Self Portrait:The Line.



One interesting thing about this warp is the stiffness, although it is quite fine. I like the little bends at the top of this piece and am trying to bend some into place with the other. I'm pretty sure these warps will be exposed.




And I'll be thinking awhile about how to present them. But then thinking and playing are what my summer is about this year.

Next up, a third self portrait on this little frame a friend once sent...


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Self Portrait: Eyes Shut

I'm getting more interested in unusual materials this summer, to see how they my impact the portraits I do. I've been in a bit of a rut lately.

So I put some very fine and hairy linen on my low tech tiny picture frame (aspiring tapestry weavers please do as I say, not as I do) and decided to focus on my stranded aluminum I've had a couple years. I've used it in small bits, but not much more than that.

the spool of aluminum also doubles as a great end table.

I did do a very rough sketch but left it in my journal, only as an idea, not a cartoon to follow. This idea developed from the weaving, but I stuck to the mood and the closed eyes.

4 inches wide, 10 epi


I have only a few passes to go and will keep the uneven edge at the top when I knot the warps. No turnback needed, this linen is awesomely kinky when you cut off the warp and will remain exposed.

I'm thinking the shiny aluminum is a pretty good match for my hair...


And delightfully, as it's a circular warp, there's another side.

Which means another portrait.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

It's Summer

You know it's summer in Madison, these people are back on their bikes and walking their dogs now that the weather has turned summer wonderful.
For me I've fallen into a routine of dye pots and sketching outdoors. I like the break from weaving and spend more time thinking about things instead of immersing myself in process for the winter.

My friend Nina dropped off a bag of rhubarb from her back yard. There's dye inspiration there.

that red to green transition would make some cook skin colors...

I have been fiddling around with my idea of weaving 3 strips showing students passing in the halls at a high school. It's very much a work in progress, nothing has really jelled yet.
But these things take time.

black crayon sketches from my substitute journal


trying color ideas...i'm still not sure I'll weave this


I've headed off on a few bike drawing adventures, I always find a day of sketching satisfies me.





Yes it's summer mode...wonder what I'll do tomorrow?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

What's off the loom today

Well I have to admit I cut it off a couple weeks ago, but I was involved with finishing  my Arlington piece, so it feels like today, now that the ends are done.

8 inch wide warp, 10 epi

All three were done by combining wedge weave distortion with traditional tapestry technique. I'm still finding the effects of this interesting

These three portraits were done over the past nine months. Tapestry is a long haul for me. Not just the labor, but the thought. I do not like to rush, why bother?



Two of these pieces are part of my Substitute Tales, going into its last phase, Act 3 you might call it. I have a couple more pieces to weave this fall and winter but then I think the idea has come to a close.



The other is an ongoing series of pieces I do while watching  my granddaughter grow.

Now that's a series that can go on for a long time to come....

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Arlington 2017 Completed

Arlington 2017, my winter focus, is completed. Sew the tapes on, make the hanging stick and it's off to the new owner. I thought I would review what I got out of the the entire project.

Arlington 2017, 12" x 22", 10 epi


1. Working with an idea
- I started with some photos the client had taken of her father's funeral. How do I express this in a fairly small piece? The solemnity of the day, the beauty of the park and a sense of hopefulness...I like that challenge.

I started with a watercolor


2. Manipulating values
- I dye nearly all the yarn I use and the control of values is important. How can I lead the eye where I want it to go? Can I show the soldiers in the foreground against the caisson?

3. Technique
- How do I show stars on the caisson with so few warps? Will I be able to 'collage' the three themes of the piece - the funeral procession, the bugler and the Capitol, how will that sense of distance work?



4. Green
- I have had a lifetime of trouble with green, wearing it, dyeing it, working with it. It's tricky.



A commission is a great opportunity to work within the parameters of another person's wants and needs. I remembered the many portraits pieces I used to do from photos and how each one was different.

I enjoyed this recent challenge.

Now it's time to experiment once again....

Latest warp cut, who knows what will  happen next....

Friday, May 11, 2018

Sketching in May

Self Portraits
Such a great subject, after all I'm always around. There's a mirror in the bathroom and plenty of art tools just about anywhere you look, especially on the kitchen table

I felt the need to immerse myself tonight, perhaps the whole weekend. I painted some papers I tore from an old book with gouache, then did a couple portraits with a marker.






 I like the way the text shows a bit in places. No planning on the painting.

Tombow ink pen, brush with water to bleed

crayola crayons layered many times

A few more in my sketchbook. I enjoy working with crayons, a friend of mine had given me one of those solid bars of crayon shavings melted together. I worked it back and forth and added the black in the end.

Who knows where any of this will go, it really doesn't matter, the play is the thing.

One last one, waiting at the Philadelphia Airport a couple weeks ago.
There is always something to draw.



Sunday, April 22, 2018

Weaving for Friends

I know it's hard to buy some people gifts....what to do, they seem to have everything?

I'm here to encourage you to weave them a word. What could be better?

I did this very thing to take a break while completing the recent Arlington 2017 tapestry. I like to have many pans in the fire.



My Sarah Swett inspired galvanized pipe loom is perfect for my word weaving passion. I have a twelve thread warp, 10 epi, on this handy loom.

This simple Friends says it all...


A more complex piece for a complex friend, Don't Give Up....

with a sushi style container




Wouldn't you like to receive a word from a friend? Consider it, it's time well spent.
and remember to Stay Creative....

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Arlington 2017 Cut Off!

Yes  indeed, this weekend, while the freezing rain and snow was whirling around the Midwest, I cut off my tapestry, Arlington 2017. I can't describe the satisfaction when you take scissors to those warp threads. I picture medieval guilds with bottles of wine in the dark without their Ott lights astounded at their accomplishments. Mine was not nearly as big, but hey.

left side of the tapestry

This is how the piece will look once the turns are sewn in...

12 x 23 inches, 10 epi

1/2" hem woven in finer wool, knots in place across the top, ready to cut



I am pleased with the control I had over the values, letting the light guide the viewer through the gravestones toward the background of the Capitol.

Of course there's still a lot to do...

the back of the tapestry
Ends to tidy, the hems to sew, velcro tapes, but that's just a few Netflix shows of work. The thinking is done.

I'm pleased, I hope the owner will be too.

Porkchop, as always, remains unimpressed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Fun with St. Louis Weavers Guild

They treat you well in St Louis.

And I'm not just talking about my wonderful hosts who wined and dined me....the entire guild was super warm and friendly. But with weavers, that's often the case.



Sixteen weavers met for a three day workshop titled Shapes and Cupcakes and enough desserts were created to work up an appetite. We met in an amazing space with plenty of light (it rained pretty much the entire time but hey, no shoveling), these weavers were ready to create.


As I've said before, a group of weavers are powerful. Sixteen ideas, people encouraging and learning from each other, laughing, sharing ideas and information.
If you're not having fun, why bother?

We celebrated our achievements, especially the cutting off....

Sandi cuts off her desserts, with help





This support and celebration is so important. We value our work.

This group came to the workshop with a lot of weaving skill in tapestry and floor loom weaving. I was spoiled. I gave them the idea of cupcakes and other desserts to prompt them as they worked on tapestry techniques. They rose to the occasion, well beyond my expectations.

Thanks so much for your friendship, hospitality and creative work. I won't forget you.


Penny's flying cupcake with attitude...



Marggy completely sketched out her piece and pulled it off....complete with mouse, to be continued with  beads


Miriam's cupcake matches her outfit....such a cool person


A bowl of sherbet with a cookie...I'm ready for dessert, aren't you?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Arlington 2017, deep in greens

It's time to finish the bugler, go deep into greens, and finish the final 1/3 of the tapestry that has been my winter companion.

Arlington 2017, 10 epi


As always, values are key. The client wanted 3 specific elements; the caisson, the bugler and the Capitol. I combined them in my design and to pull off a sense of space. I want to make sure the values of that soldier help him blend in and recede.

Bugler between the tombstones, bugle to the right


Beyond that, I'll just be blending greens for the park as I head to the Capitol.


Start of the tree canopy for the upper right corner


Next blog on this topic will be The Cut Off, I'm just not saying when the date will be...but soon.