Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Matter of Time

My tapestry was accepted into an art show.

I'm excited for a variety of reasons. The show was open to all media, the location is the National Clock and Watch Museum and most of all, it was a mighty tiny tapestry. Let me share my design inspiration.

It really started with my mentor, Archie Brennan. I took a few transformative classes with Archie and Susan Maffei in the past and immediately was drawn to the use of humor, metaphor, and double meanings I found in their approach. I began to understand basic technique and walked away thinking if I practice letters on that I inch strip of weaving I will get somewhere. It may take time, but I will.

And so emerged This Takes Time.
This Takes Time, 1 x 13 inches

Lettering is a marvelous way to hold your feet to the fire. An A is an A, there is no fudging. The intensity of that weaving left little energy for finishing, hence the hanging threads. My instruction to the museum was, "The piece is hung with one exposed, preferably rusted, nail and found wire."
Apparently enough time had already gone by.

The exhibit will be at the National Watch & Clock Museum in Pennsylvania from October 25, 2013 through May 31, 2014. If any of you get a chance to see it, let me know, it could prove an interesting show.

Meanwhile, prepare that garden of ideas as we head into fall...winter may be coming, but the burst of color ahead is a true delight.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Designing a Series

I've always been attracted to working in threes.
Choices, 14x10 inches 

It may have something to do with beginning, middle, and end or simply the need to keep weaving.

Who wants to stop at 1?

The latest newsletter from the American Tapestry Alliance asked tapestry artists who prefer to work in a series what moves them to choose that direction. As you can imagine there were a variety of answers and I found myself thinking about my own reasons.
Naturally I came up with 3.
Beyond Repair, 12x11 inches

Focus...I keep a journal recording thoughts and ideas, bit of paper scraps with pencil notes ripped, painted and glued into place. It can get overwhelming at times flipping through this book. Thinking in threes is a way for me to begin to tackle The Big Idea.

Story...I do love a story and even when one doesn't follow the Beginning/Middle/End structure, a set of three designs helps ground my idea.

Display...My work is tiny. One tiny tapestry seems lonely when displayed, three together are a happier group.

Now that I think of it, the same thing happens when planting tulip bulbs.
 Hammer in Flight, 12x12 inches
Displayed in this post is a threesome from my series entitled Choices, part of a bigger idea, entitled Story Problems.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival: Show That Handspun!

I learn so much from my students.

This weekend I spent a day teaching at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival, east of Madison at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. This was the first time most of these students had ever tried tapestry and as the common thread among us seemed to be sheep,

I had them create a handspun landscape.

There was a bit of hand wringing by a few, but once they left their plans behind and let their materials show them the way, some amazing things began to happen. The group was asked to bring bits and pieces of handspun, roving and commercially spun yarn. I asked them to look and imagine their landscape.

Armed with very basic weaving tools and technique the land began to emerge; sand dunes, water, forests and sunrises. An intended tree trunk turned into night sky and a campfire appeared when a neighbor's fleece was borrowed.

Design driven by process.

Next time, flaunt your handspun if you've got it. If not, make friends with someone who spins.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Time for a Tapestry Makeover

I've woven a lot of faces in my life, many from customer photos that become gifts...

others a combination of observation and imagination.

As with all ideas, sometimes the well runs dry and things become a bit wilted. In the final hot weeks of summer I decided to turn to something I'm told "everyone needs at least once", a complete makeover.

And yes I know I could use one, but we're talking tapestries.

So I went to one of my favorite places to get ideas, the library, and found a great book by designer Isaac Mizrahi called, How to Have Style.

Personalities are important and reveal themselves over time. Some of my ladies have embraced their makeover more than others. This one seems fairly pleased, most likely she won't change back into sweatpants once she gets home.

I'm hoping your idea well hasn't run dry these last few weeks...if so, there is the possibility of a makeover...