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.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Sketching a Story


Many of you know by now that I'm an obsessive sketcher. I thought I'd share my latest adventure.

I headed up to Minneapolis last weekend to visit my son and his family. It was my wonderful daughter in law's birthday and birthdays deserve an entire weekend. I even got to spend some time with my good friend Traudi.

Of course it's March so it had to snow. Much silliness ensued.
Who needs photos? Try sketching a short story...much more satisfying.

Day 1, Porkchop and I drive up and I go to the movies

Day 2, a sleepover at Traudi's and a trip to the grocery store

Day 3, snow event, Porkchop and Spark have a disagreement, and we blow out candles



I look back at these pages and the entire weekend comes flooding back...all the great memories. Try it, you might think you can't but the secret is, you can.



Monday, February 19, 2018

Arlington 2017, Next Step

I'm immersed in greens and it's not easy.

The wheel is finished, the caisson completed, but now it's on the stars, stripes and parkland. These colors are much more tricky than I thought, just getting them to work together.

Progress has been slow for the last week, but I think I'm getting there.

Here's where I was last we met




And here is my progress as of last Saturday. I'm quite pleased with the values of the black caisson and and the soldiers uniforms. The addition of the flag colors and especially the greens of the park has really been a struggle. I've gone back and forth with color selections, putting in and taking out.




Here you see the wheel. I'm please with the round shape. I did take out the stripe above it when I realized I had not overlapped the top of the wheel, and re-wove it....besides I wanted to darken the value of that stripe to get it in the background.

Sigh. I'm about 2 inches farther on that grassy background and I think it's beginning to work.

Good thing I'm not punching a time clock.

Stay creative....

Sunday, February 11, 2018

WI Handweavers Winter Fun

A good way to cure any winter blues is to go to a workshop. It may be February, but what is the chance it would snow on the weekend I teach 17 eager students in Milwaukee WI?

A pretty good chance it turns out, but in the end it all worked out...often the case. And we had a good time, so what more could you ask for?

Color in winter...who can resist that?


The topic was Tapestry Architecture. Wisconsin Handweavers Guild wanted a workshop that all levels could feel comfortable taking, so buildings seemed like a good idea. Idea and technique connected, that's my kind of class.

Ruth and Sherri....us Ruths have to stick together


There was an array of looms of all types; copper pipe, mirrix, pvc pipe, rigid heddle, table looms, assorted wooden tapestry frames...I'm not afraid to give a workshop with this variety. I have my preferences, others have theirs and for some it's their first taste of tapestry. We all learn together and discover what works, what needs improvement.







It's the results that count. I know I've said it before, I learn from my students. They think of things I wouldn't.

I might have arrived back to Madison with a driveway full of snow, but I met 17 new friends,



I'm hoping they try tapestry more than once.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Arlington 2017: The Wheel

January was a good time of the year to have a project. You never knew from day to day what the temperature might be outside. You might as well stay inside and weave.

i was up early...


Arlington 2017 has made progress. One of the tricky parts I had to think about was the wheel. How would I give the impression of this circular wheel and spokes (actually there are two, but one is enough) without worrying about weaving the perfect circle. I rarely have the patience.

the very beginning...the white spots are sunspots, which I need

nothing will be perfectly circular so squares and jogs are important to move the eye...

Then there are the values, very tricky as I make my way to this area. The caisson (in my mind I call it the wagon) is black, the jackets on the soldiers are dark blue and the wheel?...I decided to go with browns. This has been a big challenge.




But so far, so good.

Stay tuned.