Sunday, December 18, 2016

Winter Work Begins

I realize it's not officially winter but when it's minus-land in Wisconsin you're allowed to declare it early. At least I think so.

maybe it was -5, you'll notice Porkchop is not on the end of the leash...

On the upside, lots of guilt-free indoor time for weaving and Donut Man continues to grow.

The width is about 24 inches.
As you may recall my last donut post focused on the relief I felt when the donut (apple fritter) was completed. The next challenge was moving to the background and making sure that transition from wedge weave to a more traditional use of weft yarns was working out. It was a bit nerve wracking at times.

I'm trying to add more angles with shape building and have them complement the existing wedge weave below.

Next challenge, the storefront behind Donut Man. With January fast approaching I'm betting there will be plenty more weaving time ahead and growth in the New Year.

To all my friends: Happy Holidays, be kind, and stay creative.

Tapestries wintering on the deck...WI natives are a hearty bunch.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

How to Weave a Donut

Indeed, how do you weave a donut? Especially when it's an apple fritter, the kind without the hole in the  middle.

Porkchop seems to be wondering the same thing and is no doubt thinking there are many things easier. But then again, I did title the tapestry Donut Man.

a dog who's an art critic, or perhaps just hoping for a walk

First task was research. I was compelled to head to Starbucks and obtain a model, then take a few bites of course.

I make a lot of sacrifices

Values were mighty tricky, after all this donut has glaze and the colors are similar to the skin tone of the man. I'm mighty glad he has a dark blue t-shirt on. The tips of the fingers have to be just right, showing him balancing the donut very delicately.

I'm a bit further than you see here and I think it's reading well.

Next step, the sidewalk and the cast of characters in the background. Wedge weave is giving way to the more traditional. Surprises ahead.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

More Questions

All I have are questions.

woven ?'s, 1 - 2 inches in size, cigar box courtesy of Cal the bartender in 1998.

And that's a good thing.
I think we should all keep asking.

9 inches wide x 1 1/2 inches high

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Donut Man, the Weaving Begins

Remember this?
Donut Man sample, 3.5" x 3.5"
And then I was compelled to do this...
Donut Man Coptic Style, 3.5" x 5"

Don't ask me why...I think it was some extra warp I had to use up.

But finally I'm on to the original goal, a portrait that should be about 2 feet wide and not quite as high. I chose Donut Man as a working title, but now I've grown quite fond of it.

value sketch, Donut Man

I warped up the Hagen loom and organized yarns I have dyed over the summer. Thanks to a friend I trust saying, 'why don't you try some of that weird distorted weaving' I have launched off on yet another wedge weave journey. This means there will be surprises.

some parts wedged, some traditional shape building

As always in my reports, Porkchop remains unimpressed and in the background.

beginning to lay in the skin tones in the arms

I'm keeping a careful eye on the values, working very slowly (why not?, nothing is fast in tapestry...) and the combination of the two methods seems intriguing.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

All I Have are Questions

I used to have very definite ideas about the way things should be but now...all I have are questions.

I guess I should be more decisive, but then again...

It all prompted a series revolving around question marks. If you follow my adventures you may know I like to work on word strips each year, holds me accountable. A couple years ago they started showing up as questions. The H project didn't help.

all strips 10 epi, 15 warps

Then there was my obsession with dyeing complement gradations.

Just barely readable, but some questions are like that...

I used to feel bad about not making up my mind, but I don't know...those other points of view have certainly made things more interesting.

And I'm pretty sure that's what counts.

Which means you'll most likely find more questions. Here.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Coffee Conversations

I just completed the finishing on a series of tiny faces and I'm feeling mighty proud. When you get from this...

to this
Coffee Conversation No. 2, 6 x 6 inches mounted

it's an accomplishment.

I like this group of people, they share a common story (they like coffee).

It all started with a trip to the coffee shop one very hot day this past summer (coffee drinkers without AC need to travel for their morning cup). I brought my sketchbook of course and spent more time drawing than drinking. My experience is, no one notices.

You get very good at cell phone and laptop poses and begin to wonder if there really were any conversations but be patient, they happen.

Later I chose the ones I was most intrigued with and drew them again, this time with a big black crayon, one of my favorite tools (no erasing there). I had used my acute eavesdropping skills to flesh out the stories of these people...with a bit of poetic license of course.

oh those 3/4 faces in weaving, so tricky when small...

I have to say my first was one of my favorites, this woman ordered iced coffee to go. Trust me, it was hot outside.

As always on the pipe loom, 10 epi and 3 1/2 inches wide

The final piece in the series of 5 came back to wedge weave (yes indeed Connie Lippert). There was a lot of action that day, the perfect opportunity for a bit of wedge weave.

I used to do far more tiny faces years ago and it was such a pleasure to return to that practice. The connection to my drawing makes it even better, the stories of each person a bit richer.

Winter is a few months away. I wonder what a trip to the coffee shop will look like then?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sketching Through Spain

Sketching really must be the basis for all types of art. It certainly helps me. So you won't be surprised to know my recent trip to Spain included obsessive sketching, enough to fill a book I'm happy to say. I've mentioned before I've lost interest in recording places with a camera except for a few people pics. Somehow I see more when I draw what I see.

The birthday girl was my daughter, nice to start with a celebration...

In Madrid, my home base for these past two weeks, life focused on cafe stops (my request). Sometimes the drawings were tiny objects, occasionally with odd commentary.

El Bosco, once in a lifetime amazing show

Then again there was The Prado, a gigantic challenge of a building. I focused on the lengthy line for the amazing El Bosco show ( painter Hieronymus Bosch ). I was lucky, I snagged a ticket online.

We moved to Cordoba and Granada in the south and I began to see why artists are so attracted to the landscape there. My biggest challenge was how to approach the large scene I saw before me. What was the feeling I wanted to convey in the sketch? How could I show that moment and do it quickly?

Patio de los Naranjos by the Mezquita in Cordoba
View of the Alhambra, Granada

I like to think the person pointing on the right was awestruck by my sketching but I think it was the wonders of The Alhambra that fascinated him.

Then there were the people, always my favorite subject. Flamenco dancing was especially challenging, but what a great experience.

I think I'll add some color on the sketch to the right...
A lot to think about and who knows what will come of it. The looking and observing is invaluable no matter what art medium you work in.
Tapestries to follow....

This all would not have happened without the help of my delightful daughter, rightfully given the title "Sketcher Manager" for the duration of the 2 weeks. She faithfully sought out the best sketching chair at various cafes and then waited patiently while I filled page after page....Muchas, Muchas Gracias!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tapestry Unlimited

Alone again.
the living room is bare...almost.

Tapestry Unlimited, a small format unjuried show sponsored by American Tapestry Alliance has closed. The pieces are making their way back to the 227 participants. It has been such a large part of my life (not to mention my daughter) that I thought a blog was in order. I have an important point I want to make.

There was of course the waiting for the tapestries to arrive this winter.

The organizing and mounting the boards part....
Porkchop knows his job.

Hanging the show

and the mailing it back part....
yes, it was raining

But that's not what I want to talk about.
It's this.

The amazing response to this show.

From the moment we walked into the Milwaukee Public Library (an incredible venue downtown) people were interested. While trying to hang this show I had at least a dozen people stopping me and asking incredible questions, truly interested in the things we make. They wanted to know the process and who the people were who made these incredible things. When I said they were from all over the world (we had 48 foreign entries) they were dumbfounded.

Our opening that Friday afternoon allowed many weavers to connect face to face, friends I had on Facebook became people I had conversations with. A large group of Japanese nursing students stopped to look, their guide translated as they learned.

My favorite moment came as we took our show down. Kristina Gomez, our library contact, talked about favorites she and coworkers had decided on. Another employee walked by and asked, "Are you coming back next year?"

Sorry, it will be a different time, a different place. But it all means something, doesn't it?

Get ready... two more years. And start weaving now, you're already in.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

16 New Faces

It really is amazing.

When you teach a group of motivated weavers the sky is the limit. In this case I was in Milwaukee teaching a 3 day workshop at Convergence 2016  and we were weaving faces. Sixteen (okay, 17 including mine) new personalities emerged and naming ceremonies were in full force. Diplomas were issued to all and the class photo is the proof!

Graduation Day, Convergence 2016

These weavers had a lot of skill. I'm interested that there was not a loom issue in the bunch, everyone warped their loom with ease consulting neighbors who shared advice. Weavers really are a generous,  sharing bunch of people.

Each day we stopped to look at our important.

I provided plenty of color choice and coaxed folks to let the process guide their choices. Nancy suggested I do a sketching demo showing how I might draw out an idea and I was grateful for that; overcoming the fear of drawing can be very daunting. In the end you often have to let that idea adjust itself. Tapestry language is so very unique. Archie told us in a workshop to sit on your design.

all those cardboards....everyone saw what cereal I eat all winter.

Examples abound, each one different and reflecting the weaver's personality.
Most of all I was proud of these students who took a risk and kept going despite their uncertainty.

So often you hear teachers talk of how they learn from their students and this, once again, showed that to be true. I'm grateful and honored to have spent time with 16 new friends, taking advantage of the power of a group and the knowledge they share.

on to her second one!

May our paths meet again.

Thanks HGA, it was a marvelous Convergence.