Friday, March 27, 2015

Finishing ( Finished ) Party

 There have been many days this month when I have been grateful my commute is so short. March has thrown everything from snow storms to tornados at Oklahoma but Spring is beginning to bust out of the seemingly endless winter.

My new Fireside Loom is also behind schedule and has not arrived yet. this is not surprising given the winter in Pennsylvania where it is being built. I can't complain because it has given me time to finish my works in progress.

The new Ymmyarns and color cards for wool and silk have arrived! I am happy to have new color cards in stock so if you have an interest in these yarns just send me an email.

The last time I posted my 2014 tapestry diary now titled, Red Dirt Days/ A Journey Through 2014, it was face down on the finishing table and here it is finished.

I photographed it against a backdrop to include the edges. This one took a while to finish and the first day I could hang it on the wall was pretty exciting. After a moment of silence though I swiftly moved on to finishing the smaller tapestry on my 16 inch Mirrix loom.

Here is the last picture of Hands On/ Slow Selfie on the loom. This one is about 14"x 12.25" and I have been weaving on it for a much longer time than expected but it is now finished. I have learned a lot with this one!

Here is a shot of the back right after taking it off the loom. A sea of loose threads!

It is on the finishing table here and the threads have been trimmed and secured. The warp is linen so I decided to use a half damascus edge to allow little knots of linen to show at the top and bottom. I thought that would be a nice touch since the linen warp is also used as weft and I planned to make a linen mat for it. The batting covered board that will become the mat is shown behind it against the wall.

I had three different linen fabrics so I decided to lay the tapestry on top of each one and take a photo to help with the choice of which one to use.

I am not sure much difference is visible in the photos but the first one is a natural color and best matches the thread I used as warp.

The second is a little lighter and also has a more pronounced linear look to the weave which I thought was distracting.

The third fabric was the lightest.  I decided on the first darker linen for my mat.

Here is a photo of the finished piece stitched on the linen mat. I intend to choose a frame for it soon, something very simple I think.

It feels great to have both of these pieces finished and now maybe I can start on the paint box cartoon before the new loom arrives.

Meanwhile back on the mountain, here is a photo  of the 2015 daily tapestry through March 24th.

Here is a detail showing the first part of March at the top,

and another taken yesterday through March 26th.  
I an enjoying my tapestry journey through 2015 and excited to see it rising day by day.

With all the finishing done I am ready to move onto to a few other neglected areas including entering some shows and maybe I will finally do an artist page for ATA.

Also right around the corner is a trip to North West Oklahoma State University in Weatherford to enjoy talks, workshops and an exhibit when Archie Brennan and Susan Martin Maffei visit during April. There is a lot to look forward to!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mid February Progress

The 2015 climb is moving upward and onward day by day. Here is a view of the entire year of 2015 as of February 17th. I have been enjoying the journey!

I have also included a couple of details, this one from the far right up to today and...

here is a detail of the middle with my leaning heart for Valentines Day.

I have also been doing a little finishing work on the 2014 daily tapestry and here you can see the backing is being attached. It will not be much longer and this one will be ready to photograph as a finished tapestry!

Finally here is the progress with Hands On as of the end of today (Feb 17). I don't really know if iI can finish by the end of the month but I think I will keep pretending that I can and see what happens. Progress is being made.

The Ymmyarns order has been shipped and should be arriving soon so if you have been waiting for color cards it should not be long now. If you would like color cards for these yarns now would be a good time to let me know and I will get them out to you as soon as the shipment arrives.

I am still trying to get my older projects finished up before the new loom arrives and giving some thought to drawing the cartoon for the Paintbox tapestry but no action yet on that job. It is tempting to start it," but the finishing comes first", she said with determination.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February Progress

Happy February from my Fiber Studio! I am continuing to make progress
on the 2015 tapestry diary project, the finishing of 2014 and weaving my Hands On tapestry but it does seem like time is moving faster than I do these days. I have the motivation of a new loom that will be arriving soon and a new shipment of Ymmyarns to spur me along through the finishing of the 2014 daily weaving tapestry and the weaving of the hands. Both have made some progress.

Here is a photo of the whole 2015 daily tapestry project after the entry on February first. I am now climbing back across and further upward.

This updated photo taken this morning shows the right half through February 4th. I have been enjoying just working with the shapes and colors and thinking about what new things I might want to try.

Here is a photo of the middle of the tapestry that I like. As I go along I think about creating an interesting edge for the next month to climb from.

This view shows the far left with the beginning of January. It was an unusual January for us with temps ranging from a sunny 80 degrees to freezing cold with a substantial wind thrown in the mix. We have not been covered in snow as much of the country though.

Once the 2015 tapestry diary was established and caught up I started work again on this tapestry of hands. I think a plan for the rest of the tapestry has developed and I still think it might be possible to finish weaving it by the end of the month.

Here is a photo from this morning of the 2014 tapestry diary with the finishing in progress. It is coming along, a few more days should do it.

I am waiting for the Ymmyarns and color cards to arrive this month. If you are interested or have written about the color cards I should have them soon.

For now, it is back to work, lovely fibery work.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mid January and the Finishing Has Begun

Progress on the 2015 Tapestry Diary is coming along. Here is a photo from January 14th of the whole width. The string markers are there so that I can be sure the divisions for the days of January are spaced correctly.

A detail through January 16th shows the days at the middle of the month and the red soumac that I am testing for the marker between the months.

The detail above shows the left side of the tapestry through January 18th.

Another detail of the middle of the month through January 18th.

Finally the far right detail where the month is yet to go.

I have been doing a lot of finishing the last week or so also. Here is the back of the 2014 tapestry diary before a few hours of trimming. Sometimes I leave long tails on the back that I intend to pick up again but forget so this one had some tails trimmed that went in the recycle pile.

Another photo of the back after all the trimming is complete.

This is as far as the finishing has gone with this one because I am still thinking about exactly how I want to do it. So I decided to take the small tapestry I wove in Joan Baxter's workshop last Fall  off my 16 inch Mirrix and finish it next.

Here it is right after cutting it off the loom.

After trimming the warp and the weft ends on the back I did some measuring. I also found some light red violet linen that I thought would make a good mat for the tapestry.

This picture is a little strange but I am using some acid free foam board that I have used in the past to mount canvas on for light weight painting panels in the field. I cut it to size to give a nice mat all around the tapestry.

Then I covered it with a thin piece of 100% cotton batting. The batting gives a nice smooth appearance and also makes it easier to sew the tapestry in place later.

I have used a small amount of a PVC glue to adhere the batting to the back of the board and then I cut the linen.

I wanted the corners to be neat so I did some trimming of the bulk before turning them.

The photo above shows the linen pinned in place and then I did some light stitching to hold it securely.

Once the mat was made I took some muslin and made a separate backing for the tapestry

and then whipped it lightly in place.

Above is the finished piece with the tapestry stitched in place on the mat. I signed and titled it on the front with permanent ink. The title is "Early One Morning". On my way walking through Dahlonega last October to the Joan Baxter workshop I saw a rainbow and somehow it just worked its way into the weaving I was doing in the class.

To finish the back nicely I decided to take a thick piece of Stonehenge paper and cut it to size for the back. I used some of the PVC adhesive to place it on the back

and then added some information about the tapestry to the back with a permanent pen. I let the whole thing sit over night under the weight of a couple large books and now all that remains is to have a frame made for it. The final measurement is about 14 x 8 inches.

All ready to frame with my Birthday flowers this morning. Now the plan is to go back to the Hands tapestry and finish the weaving before the new tapestry loom arrives this Spring and of course I still have the 2014 tapestry diary to finish. I also have been ordering  supplies for the Fiber Studio. A large new order of Ymmyarns is on the way and also new Mini Bobs and Awl/ Keeper sets from John Moss. I have some of his regular and slim brass tipped bobbins in stock also. December was so busy that I also sold almost all the Mirrix looms I had in stock so I will be replenishing Mirrix soon. I usually have all the smaller Mirrix from 16 inch on down in stock and can order others. If anyone is interested I also have a lightly used older style Mirrix treadle that I would like to sell.

Finishing today with the sketch I did of the rainbow sighting in Dahlonega. The building on the corner at the end of the street is where we stayed while there. Nice memories all around!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tapestry Diary 2015, First Week

One week in on the new 2015 tapestry diary. It is taking a little longer at the beginning because I am weaving an environment for the days to rise out of. I did that a little last year but this year is a bit more elaborate. I am weaving the base of the tapestry somewhat ahead of the days but once it is complete the days themselves should be pretty easy to keep up with.

For months now I have had an idea to continue to work with a journey theme but this year instead of hiking I am climbing. It is kind of funny really because I don't like heights much. I do like the idea of climbing though for several reasons. It is very appropriate for the actual act of weaving a tapestry because I am literally climbing up the warp as I weave. I am viewing each day as a step as I weave my journey. For me the idea of climbing connotes finding a foot hold and conquering inertia, gravity and fear.  All of these ideas seem appropriate baggage for a creative journey. After viewing the third installment of the Hobbit series I have come to think of this years journey as climbing the lonely mountain. Creating anything can sometimes feel like climbing the lonely mountain!

The days are going to read from right to left and left to right as the months go by. I am going to use the red squares again to designate the months. The gold shape with the red square is January first and the second is right above it. The days of the month will climb across the warp in twos although to accommodate the different number of days some will just have one. A pass of burgundy separates the days and then a contrast color will separate the months. There will be irregular shapes on the sides that will enclose the days. There should be quite a variety of sizes in the individual days depending on what the design calls for. February will start on the right and work back across and up the warp. It should be an adventure. Today I crossed the frozen valley and that is a fairly literal interpretation of the day.

Here is a detail of the center part of the base and I am still in the process of woking across. I have been using the twill with ground weave technique that I learned for last years diary quite a bit and I like the texture and directional quality it has.

A closer view of the far left side where the days of the month have begun. I think this idea will also lend itself to continuing to experiment with different weaving techniques in the coming year.

One more detail of the days so far as they rise up from behind the foreground shapes.  I'm looking forward to seeing where this year long adventure will lead.

When I posted about finishing the weaving of the 2014 daily tapestry a friend replied with an interesting question and I have been thinking about it ever since. " Does your blog keep you inspired to weave each day and work through those uninspired periods or do you even have those periods? I have days and even weeks that I just don't have the motivation I need to push through! Please share."

 My first response was to think that the weaving inspires the blog not the other way around and then I realized that it actually does work both ways. I originally started the blog as a way of making connections with people of similar interest. Having a blog does make the process of weaving a tapestry seem a little less like climbing a lonely mountain and it does help motivate me to be able to share with others. I have thought that I should be writing the blogs more often and even considered a resolution this year to write both of my blogs once a week. I quickly banished that thought! I try to write a post when I have something to share and I think that trying to do it once a week would not only take important time away from actually doing the work but it might also make my motivation change from communicating about the work I have done to trying to figure out what to write. I decided that for me the work should come first and then the blog.

 Do I have periods of low motivation? Of course I do, but I make a decision to weave this diary everyday and then I just do it. It helps a lot that I have a framework set in place for the daily project so that even on days when I feel scattered or lacking in imagination I can still weave my day. An important part of this equation is having some rules set up so all that is required on a daily basis are small decisions that are easily made. The big decision, to do it, has already been made and the rules have already been established.  Some days are just difficult. Often what seems to be a difficult day   gets better once I am working and I can then move onto other things in the studio with more positive energy. Sometimes for various reasons I can't weave my day but I always make it up somehow. I am excited by what can be achieved by this way of working and that also helps to motivate me. After all this is something I choose, I make the rules and if I decide they aren't working I change them. How many things in life are so satisfying?

I'm looking forward to sharing my daily tapestry journey this year  and watching my work evolve one day at a time.