Monday, June 20, 2016

Treading Water

 My home away from home that happens to be right next door to home has come into the fullness of Summer.

May and June have been busy months in the studio and in terms of my watery focus for the year 2016  can only be characterized as treading water. By that I mean just barely keeping up, staying alive. I guess I am a method weaver.

The whole experience has brought back memories of a beloved ( lots of sarcasm here) ritual of High School in Southern Florida which always included the treading water test. This involved being lined up in the school pool at the deep end and treading water for a timed period. I can't remember exactly how long but half an eternity comes to mind. Needless to say it was not a popular event but there is some inner power to be gained from the knowledge that you can endure and survive. Oh the things we learn in unlikely places!

One of the first orders of business after dear little Laikyn arrived was to send off Red Dirt Days to the first venue of the ATB11 exhibit in South Bend, Indiana. Once that was accomplished it was on to the finishing of 2015, Into The Hills.

I often use a Half Damascus edge which I first learned in Tommye Scanlin's class at Arrowmont a few years ago. I love the way it neatly guides the warp ends toward the tapestry but I don't always like the way the cotton seine twine edge shows on the top and bottom so I tried something a little different this time and wove just a couple of passes of seine twine and finished with the Half  Damascus edge. It worked very well for me, I was able to turn it under with nothing showing on the front.

Once that was complete

I added some prewashed cotton twill tape to the edges to reinforce

and finished the backing. I was pretty happy with the way it turned out.

You can find instructions for the Half Damascus edge as well as numerous other wonderful techniques in Peter Collingwoods book. This book makes a wonderful studio companion and when you are not using it for reference ( which is frequent) it makes a great weight for all kinds of projects like making your own sketchbooks for example :-)

Here is a recent shot of 2016. It is rolling along but this shot doesn't include today because my plan is to weave by the light of the Summer Solstice moon this evening.

Here is a detail of the last few days. On the day of the shooting in Orlando I chose to weave white dots for the lives lost and red dots for the wounded. After hearing the news it was the only thing I could think about as I looked into my warp on that day.

So whats on the drawing board right now? Well, nothing that is finished I must admit. I have been working on some figures

and have started a sketchbook just for nature sketches. In particular those things that catch my eye as we take our daily walks. There is a field that has sparked my interest and I  hope to do a series of wildflowers and other things that occur in this area. I feel there is some potential here for tapestry ideas but I haven't quite figured it out yet.

Here is a detail of one of the pages. Our neighborhood is just teaming with rabbits this year!

I will share more pages as I have them.

I have also been thinking of the sketch I need to work from at the workshop with Aino Kajaniemi at the ATA retreat this August. It will either be figural or perhaps something based loosely on this collage I call Big Moon. I was thinking about the Full Moon and Summer Solstice occuring on the same day this year and thought some kind of Moon based idea might be fun. Maybe I will take one of each and decide when I get there.

Right before I leave for the ATA retreat I will be doing the Fiber Christmas in July show. More information can be found at the side of the blog under upcoming shows and here is the weblink

It is always challenging that this show and the ATA retreat are so close together!

Check out my new artist page at the American Tapestry Alliance website and let me know what you think

Happy Summer to all. Come by and visit again soon, the virtual studio is always open.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

2016, Time and Tide

At the end of May time was flowing as usual, bits of dry land had appeared here and there and a self portrait on the day I received a Woof Award from the Tulsa Handweavers Guild.

Suddenly, an event occurred which managed to temporairily halt the tides and and stop the flow of days...

and here she is! Our new grandchild and the only girl, oh my! Laikyn was born on June first at 5:15 pm and the waters stopped flowing.

I often privately celebrate birthdays and important beginnings with a rising sun in the tapestry diary series but since Laikyn was born during the magic hour when the light is beautiful and the shadows are full of color I decided to give her a sunset. Here is the 2016 daily tapestry through today, the 5th of June. We are indeed tempest tossed.

Here is a detail of the end of May. I have managed to get Red Dirt Days,Journey Through 2014 sent to the South Bend Museum of Art in Indiana for the 2016 American Tapestry Biennial and now I will concentrate on getting 2015, Into the Hills finished.

This is a detail showing the first five days of June and Laikyn's sunset. I think it will be hard to miss in the finished tapestry.

I am hoping that after 2015 is a finished piece I can begin to concentrate on the Paintbox tapestry and keep up with the 2016 tapestry and

fit in a little more sketching and painting. Here are a couple of water related sketches from May done on the grounds of Gilcrease Museum.

This is the latest Plein Air watercolor study, also from May on the grounds at Gilcrease. I hope at some point to resume posting to my sketching blog and share some of the work I am doing there but for now I will just post a few related sketches here.

I have also done a little gardening (very little) and here are some newly planted Day Lillies.  It is so much nicer to head over to the studio when it is looking inviting and colorful on the outside as well as the inside.

We are starting June with many things to be thankful for!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Floating Through May

May greetings! As usual in this part of the world we have had some wild weather in between the most perfect Spring days that can be imagined.

Progress on the 2016 tapestry diary continues. The last couple of days I have been celebrating the sunshine in between the rain.

I also wove a little selfie on May 8. I was honored to receive a Woof award from my weaving guild ( Tulsa Handweaver's) and I imagined myself floating in the water with the lovely Woof award band I was given around my neck, haha, something that would never happen in reality. My dear friend Jeannine Glaves wove it for me from her beautiful handspan complete with lettering! I will add some pictures of the band and the day when I get them all together.

Here is another detail in the center section of the tapestry. I am including water of all kinds;
rivers, lakes,streams, creeks, rain, bathtubs and endlessly entertaining myself with all the possibilities!

One last detail from the far right, showing some land area creeping in.

I must confess that I am a messy nester. I have really tried to keep things neat and clean up as I go but it just doesn't work for me. As soon as I get really rolling on the weaving all thoughts of keeping things neat fly right out the window. The only solution I have found is to stop every week or two and spend some time straightening up. The time is upon me!

I have also been working on finishing 2015 and today has been spent sewing slits.

I say to myself that I should sew these slits as I weave and evey time I do not listen and so it becomes a hunt for the slits that need sewing.

All the time spent in Plein Air studies of water this year I have decided can be categorized as research for the daily weaving and here I am set up to do a little research.

What started as a shady spot to work quickly changed and once the easel is in full sun it is time to quit painting. I should have brought the umbrella! It was a beautiful day by the river though and I also had two Great Blue Herons swoop so low overhead as to cast a cool shadow and land in the water right in front of me. I had the impression that they were not happy that I had invaded their personal territory!

Here is the Plein Air watercolor sketch from an area in Bixby where Fry Creek flows into the Arkansas River- research.

Not much progress has been made on the Paintbox tapestry lately but I am still paintbox obsessed and have done a little extra research on that too.

Back in the studio with 2016 weaving underway, 2015 finishing progress and years 2013 and 2014 on the wall.

Sometimes when I am feeling unproductive and a bit of a slackard I look around and realize I have been pretty busy. I am so happy to have this space to work in and will be making my last payment on the building in August. I need to think of a special way to celebrate that occasion!

Happy weaving all.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Spring Has Arrived at the Fiber Studio

Happy Spring from my neighborhood to yours. Here is a little watercolor view from a recent dog walk. In just the space of the few days since I painted this the Redbuds have turned from red violet to yellow green. This was an overcast day but making an attempt at welcoming the sun.

Things have been humming along in the studio and I just received a new shipment of Ymmyarns last week. I have all the colors in stock now and color cards too so let me know if you need some.

Here I am in the process of getting them safely tucked away.

They are resting nicely on the shelves. This is a view I never get tired of!

Work on this years tapestry diary is swimming along. It seems like I just started it and now it is April.

Here are some details. I had a difficult experience in March while walking my Border Collie, an unknown dog at large ran up to us and started a fight with Laddie. In an effort to stay between them I took a not too graceful dive into the street. Fortunately Mack came up behind me and some onlooking neighbors helped me to my feet. It seemed like a long time before I felt comfortable enough to get up although I am sure it was only seconds/minutes. The worst was the next day - so sore and bruised. Laddie was fine, I was the bigger casualty. Long story short I wove myself floating in my bathtub the next day. Yikes!

Here is another detail of the middle of March...

and here is a detail of the beginning of April ending with today.

When Spring arrives I have this huge tug to get out and explore and that means taking my sketchbook along.

I wove a little river scene that spanned over April 7 and today, April 8.

This is the little pencil and pen sketch I loosely translated to tapestry.

While exploring with the dogs we found that a new trail had been completed at Washington Irving Park in Bixby that has great access to some river and creek views. Since it took one day to "discover" it and one day to make a couple of sketches I decided to weave it over two days.  I will take another day soon to go down with my watercolor supplies and do some painting

Here is another sketch from a slightly different point of view.

I have finally returned to working on my Paintbox tapestry. While working on the shadow under the box it ocurred to me that if I am going to have an entry for Fiberworks 2016 I had better start the finishing on 2015- Into The Hills. Never a dull moment I tell you! I haven't even trimmed the ends on the back yet!

Here is a reminder of the 2015 tapestry diary. I had to roll it up and put it away so I would not be distracted while starting 2016 but now it is time to bring it back in the studio and get it finished.

A few more Spring Sketches to end the post. It has been a transformative year for me and in many ways kind of distracting from my blog writing.  I made a promise to myself to get my health and fitness under control last Spring and now almost a year later and 93 pounds lighter I feel like I have made a great effort to keep it.

Last Spring I took a week long Plein Air painting class and realized that I wasn't really in good enough shape to enjoy the all the things I wanted to do. As a student reminded me lately acheiving balance in life can be very challenging but I have been working on it...

Leaving you with another little sketch and hoping the Spring where you are is kind and that you are finding balance as you define it.

Happy Spring!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tapestry Diary Project Series

Here is the Gobelin loom as of this afternoon. The Tapestry Diary project for 2016 is caught up and underway. It has been a slow start to the year but it is swimming along now. January has given me a chance to get my feet wet with the plan for the coming year. My working title is Rocking The Boat and I used a local lake as inspiration for the format this year. It is a place I have visited since my boys were small and spent many hours just watching the water, sketching and wandering around. My journey is a watery one this year and I have decided to use triangles as the month markers instead of squares as they remind me of boats bobbing on the surface. It is hard to tell how this will evolve through the year but I plan to make use of reflections to help tell the story. One day in January shows the refection of a quarter moon, many days of light reflected on the water and perhaps I will even run aground a time or two during the year. 

I will have to photograph it soon a little earlier in the day when the light is better. It is done on the same warp as last year and I think there is just enough to finish the project.

It took a while to go through last years selection of yarns and work up the palette for this year. 

I also have some of the rough sketches that I made during the last year in anticipation.

Here is a photo of 2015, Into The Hills just as the last day of December was completed.

This is how it looked right before I took it off the loom. I let the last day of December open to waft through the mists into the new year.

2015 was an interesting journey and now it s rolled up and waiting for some finishing attention.

Finally a last look at Red Dirt Days, Journey Through 2014. I found out in January that it has been juried into the American Tapestry Biennial 11 (ATB 11) sponsored by the American Tapestry Alliance. There is more information about this exhibit  on the ATA website here,

It is very exciting to have my work in the ATB 11!  

I am managing to keep my looms busy and next on the list is to think about a small tapestry for the 
Tapestry Unlimited: 11th international, unhurried small format tapestry exhibition. I am trying to decide if it will be a newly woven effort or perhaps one of the small tapestries I have already woven.

I also have plans to write about warping the new Fireside Cantilever tapestry loom and catch up with the Paint Box tapestry that is now underway. The Blog plan for this year is for shorter more frequent posts. Happy Weaving to all and a creatively satisfying 2016!