Thursday, November 14, 2019

Hallway Transition Series Panel 2

This morning I began work on the 3rd person in my second panel of the series I call Hallway Transitions.

Do you remember panel 1?

8 inches wide on the loom, 10 epi

There will be 3 panels woven to complete the work on my idea of substitute teaching in the Madison School District, an era that is coming to a close.
So I better get weaving.

What follows is progress on the second panel. I spent quite a bit of time in August dyeing yarns for this to make colors that might be read as neutrals but just a bit more lively. This second panel has more evident color sneaking back in, but that can happen in the halls of a high school.

this image shows a much yellower effect than the one below

Note that although these are all taken out on the deck you will see the colors shift in the first student. These are based on a violet/yellow combination that is quite prone to these shifts depending on the quality of light with which you are you are viewing.

leaves fell on the snow on Halloween

A bit of a chameleon effect I rather like.

Hope to get news to you again shortly on my progress. Wisconsin is cooperating by giving us an early winter, gardening is over.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Tapestry Weavers Create More Portraits

And have fun doing it, at least I hope so...

Mid September I revisited Lost Arts Fiber and Textile Studio in Waukesha , WI for a 3 day workshop entitled Tapestry Portraits from Photographs. Nancy Wilson, owner of the Studio, and I decided to change it up a bit this year and purposefully use photos as resource for our weavings. Pets were an option.

I think all 10 of the participants can agree with me that this was an intense workshop. Most came with looms warped and had some experience, but not all. I'm especially proud of my first time tapestry weavers, they were not deterred and returned each day ready to go.

The results were quite remarkable.

one of my first time weavers and look at the results below

he really captured the essence of his wife in this

Sam cat begins to emerge

Alice the dog with her doggles in a motorcycle side car...try that!

I bet you know what inspiration this weaver used

an illustrator used to drawing tries tapestry for the first time

a face woven on the diagonal - yikes, always hard

As with anything new, I reflected on what worked, what would needed to be changed. I have always had an aversion to photos and cartoons in my classes, I find students become too clingy, wanting to never put them aside to see where the weaving process is taking them. Photos can set you up for failure if you don't think through your interpretation.
Change and adaptation must happen.

But these 10 artists were good sports, did not give up...even when I nagged at them.

After all, as I like to say, art is hard.

Of course I arrived the night before so I could hang out at the local laundromat and do a couple sketches. Each place has it's own flavor, this was quite the find.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Summer Dyeing, Revamped Website and Laundry Sketches

It's official, Summer's Over....well at least Labor Day has passed...and when the kids start walking to school around here, I figure it's time for me to get into fall mode.

remember this project? remember the snow?

It was a delightful summer, Wisconsin weather behaved itself far better than last year so my dyeing efforts have been quite pleasant. I focused on some yarns I needed for upcoming workshops and the Almost Neutrals I will need to complete the final 2 pieces of Substitute Tales. These are the barely green, barely blue, slightly mauve. Very difficult colors to achieve, trust me.

I've revised and streamlined my website and the most exciting part is I've added a page of Laundry Sketches. Head over here and see them all together, it puts a smile on my face and I hope the same will happen to you.

Summer weaving focused on a new workshop I'm teaching at Lost Art Fiber Studio near Milwaukee called Tapestry Portraits from Photographs. I've enjoyed the chance to think about how I approach using photos which I do, but with great caution.

It was delightful to weave all three samples from photos of my daughter.

A better model you could not ask for.

How was your summer? I'm hoping you stayed creative and continue to do so this fall.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Summer Vacations and Sketches

The pace certainly changed this summer.

It was definitely time for recharging, something different, an opportunity to learn and just time to think.

That's always a gift.

Hence my summer trip to Vermont, sketchbook in hand. This trip had many parts to it, including taking a workshop rather than teaching one, this time the subject was figure drawing. 
The place was the wonderful Landgrove Inn, which I discovered via a search for "art workshops in VT". I highly recommend this gift I gave myself.

In between, of course there was laundry to be done...this time in Middlebury.

And visits to Smugglers Notch State Park,
Burlington Bike Path and countryside of Middlesex.

Vermont is truly a special state in our country. I'm ready to get back to the tapestry I plan to work on, the dyeing I need to do, the figure drawing I plan to continue.

And that's what vacations are for.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Those of you familiar with my work know I enjoy working in a series, most often with personal meaning.

Which brings me to a new series I've been thinking about and continue to work on titled Adaptations, inspired by problems I've had with my eyes this past year. It's been an interesting journey to say the least.

On the up side, working through problems often create good opportunities for art-making and I have completed 3 pieces in this series.

Eyes Shut: linen, wool, metallics

Eyes Shut was the first piece in the series, dealing with the initial symptoms and irritation.

Infusion: cotton, wool, plastic mesh, ribbon, metallics

Infusion was woven next, after I was receiving treatments.

Prism: cotton, wool, metallics, linen, wire screening

Prism is the third in the grouping and focused on my struggle to find adaptations that helped me do what I wanted to do.

All are mounted on 9 x 12 inch acrylic painted board.

Along with the idea concept, I wanted to work more with exposed warps, slits, and some new fibers that had different qualities than my traditional dyed wool. There were many discoveries that opened my eyes to other possibilities.

All 3 of these pieces were woven on my surprisingly sturdy old picture frame, 10epi, 4 inches wide.

I like the light from the back too but haven't figured out how to pull that off...yet.
More to come in this series.
Stay tuned.

Monday, May 6, 2019

ATA Postcard Exchange

And I do mean tapestry postcard.
As in a postcard woven and sent through the mail.

At some point this winter I signed up too participate in my dear organization, ATA 's Postcard Exchange, courtesy of Dorothy Clews, who organized the whole thing. She chose our partners randomly and one day in April (after I had typically forgotten about the whole thing) I received an email from my partner in England, Kirsten Glasbrook who sounded very organized.

I got to work.
The theme is delightfully broad, "Here to There". I decided to be very straight forward in my design. I've been creating a lot of pieces with stray threads and holes and hidden meanings lately.
And so the tapestry began, entitled, My Perfect Vacation.

postcard is to be 5" x 7", sewn to a backing

In the US people either get my attraction to train travel or they don't. I recently had a long weekend vacation to New York City - 19 hours by train - and the man at the grocery store said, "sounds fun for the first 20 minutes". I do talk to almost everyone.

This was a redo of an idea I had in 2007 after I took a train from Wilmington,DE to Savannah,GA. I drew a bit and the next month wove these two small pieces that combined my delight on the train with some landscape elements I grew familiar with during my 8 years as an elementary art teacher; the corner sun and a floating blue sky window.

Morning on the Palmetto

A nice tiny bit I never mounted

I've never redone an idea before like this and it's quite freeing, no pressure, just enjoying the revisit to my love of trains, just as I enjoyed last week's trip to NYC.

Big change from the neutrals I've been working with isn't it?

A perfect vacation indeed. We'll see how it ships over the Atlantic Ocean this summer.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Hallway Transition Series, panel 1 is complete

And of course there's plenty to talk about. This 3 part series, entitled Hallway Transitions has created some marvelous discoveries for me with growth and new directions.
I'm so lucky, isn't that what an artist hopes for?

3 of 5 drawings I've done with crayon...still working on final ideas

To review, I started with drawings that came from substitute jobs I've had over the years in the Madison School District. I completed several individual weavings, but wanted to create groups of students passing in the halls. I often feel as though I'm moving against some force of nature.

samples in tapestry might seem nuts but in this case, necessary

I decided to use neutral colors and some open-weave techniques, so samples needed to be done.

Then the weaving began.

using my copper pipe loom, my very favorite of all

Below is a play by play of panel #1. These pieces are woven on the vertical, side to side. The sett is 10epi, 8 1/2 inches wide. I followed the drawing to an extent, but serendipity was in play most of the time.

choosing yarn becomes more complicated once the first face is woven

lighter values to bring this face forward

the final face falls between the previous two values

panel completed, on to the next

Keep a lookout for metal, wedge weave, holes and unwoven parts. That's the beauty of it. I'm hoping to get the pieces woven by the end of the year.
Keep an eye on me.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Workshop: Tapestry Portraits from Photographs

Lost Art Fiber and Textile Studio, September 13 - 15, 2019, Waukesha, WI

Just when I think perhaps I've taught enough workshops here and there, an offer comes that's just too good to turn down, another trip to Lost Art Fiber and Textile Studio. And it's not just because Waukesha, WI is a short day trip for me or that owner Nancy Wilson is a warm and wonderful hostess. Nancy's two dogs are a pretty good draw though.

last year's's always a good time when Dawn is there...

When Nancy suggested I return after a great workshop in fall 2018, I wanted to shift the focus in this workshop and decided to have students work on portraits from personal photographs rather than letting the weaving process dictate the design.

I marketed and sold work from my studio in Rochester, NY for several years based on this idea. I had a 3 1/2" warp on my pipe loom constantly and did solo portraits up to a dozen grandchildren and everything in between. Special requests were the most fun, it's amazing the ideas people dream up.

I scanned some old photos to show you from a book I used to show clients so they had an idea of how I worked. I wanted to encourage many photos rather than just one. And of course pets appeared quite often.

But, speaking of pets, look at this wonderful weaving one of my students shared with me a few weeks ago. Linda came to a face making workshop last year in IL and has woven some wonderful faces since, then the dogs arrived!

aren't these guys super cute? I love dogs...

Linda has started the base of the weaving and has the main shapes drawn and behind the weaving

the finished tapestry, 12 epi, 8"wide x 6" long
So if you'd like to join us in September this year to work with tapestry weaving, photographs, and like-minded friends, contact Nancy for more information here and let me know if you have any questions.

Hope to see you there!