Thursday, September 10, 2015

Daily Tapestry Exercises, Cross Training

Lately I have been trying something a little different with my daily practice. Most of my work, especially the sketching is based on observation. I try to carefully observe the things that interest me until the observation invades all my sences and then I try to capture some part of that. Now and then I do a little cross training with a slightly different approach. I observe and then I leave the scene and try to draw it out from memory. It is a great thing to try now and then as  I was reminded in Sketchbook Skool some time ago. Different muscles are worked in this exercise from the ones I normally use. I've been applying the same idea to some areas of my Tapestry Diary this year.

I try to observe a real scene, let it sink in and then go back and weave what I remember. Of course I think this would be much more challenging for a larger tapestry and probably need some reference photos or sketches but for these little snippets it has produced some nice results. I have been thinking of it as tapestry cross training. A different approach from the one I normally use.

Observing a knarled tree gave me this small memory tapestry.

A few more memory tapestry bits.

Trees and hills.

Fields, skies and roads. There is something compelling about a road that streaches before you.

I have been finding this little twist on the way I normally do things satisfying and fun.

Honestly speaking, it has been hard to write my blog posts lately. It is my goal to make this a cozy spot where you can grab a mug of coffee or tea and settle in.  Lately I just haven't been feeling that cozy! Waiting for my loom to arrive for many months now has been a tough road for me to travel.

In the interest of keeping it cozy though I am going to slide right by the months of hair pulling and stomach churning while six different shipping dates went by without results and get to the good news.

Even though I will not be getting a new 48" Cantilever Tapestry Loom from Fireside Fiber Arts I will be getting one circa 2000 that has been used and loved. Thanks to a post on the Tapestry 2005 yahoo list hosted by Kathe Todd Hooker I was put in touch with someone who is ready to sell her loom and I am definitely ready to buy. Here it is in the current owners home and if the shipping arrangements go as planned it should be in my studio by the end of the month. Isn't she lovely? I am so fortunate to have found the exact size and type of loom that just seemed perfect for my space. Add the bench and I am one happy weaver.

I'm back!

I have to thank so many of my weaving friends that have helped me through this difficult spot and especially to Tommye Scanlin and Kathe Todd Hooker who offered advice, sympathetic ears and loom consultations along the way and to dear friend Ann Schneider who offered me some practical tools for dealing with the situation. Where would we be without our weaving friends? Who else could understand how important a loom can be?

 Even though I have been a little superstitious about putting the finishing touches on my Paint Box tapestry cartoon until I knew the loom was actually coming I have been getting ready to weave it in other ways.

I made some skeins of 20/2 silk and some of a wool/silk blend to take a dying class with Gwen Witherspoon at the Guthrie Art Center recently.

I took along my little watercolor sketch so that I could dye some colors for the brass in the paintbox and the background of the tapestry.

Most of the people in the class were dying for warp painting which is a more exacting process but I was just trying to dye brass, turquoise for the background areas and shadows under the box.

We had a great time and came home tired and happy.

Here are my colors swimming in the final rinse

and drying on the front porch.

Now they are waiting patiently for this project to begin.

I plan on mixing them with some Ymmyarns and maybe some handspun to get just what I need for the tapestry.

I've also been busy teaching some small classes at the fiber Studio.

Helping weavers get better aquainted with their new Mirrix Looms is very satisfying and fun and I have a small and growing group coming in once a week now.

I have to admit that many small things on my to do list have been getting done while waiting for my loom issues to resolve.

I have several small tapestries done in workshops that I wanted to put some finishing touches on so I have been mounting them on linen.

I find this process takes a little practice and I'm happy to say I am getting better at it.

Here are a trio, from the left are two that I wove in the workshop with Susan Martin Maffei and Archie Brennan that I took in Weatherford, Ok.
from the left, Road Trip and Once A Boy.

I am getting so much better at this mounting that I think I may remount the Early One Morning piece from Joan Baxter's workshop in Dahlonega Georgia.

I also mounted the two small pieces I did at the last ATA retreat with Susan Martin Maffei and titled them Weaving With Susan. I think they look nice together.

My first thought was to just find some simple frames for them

but given I have been trying to learn some moves on the Marudai I may weave this as a square braid and try attaching it around the edges of the linen. This one might work nicely for Road Trip and would be a different approach. I will follow up with this on the blog when I finish.

I have also made models for all the Kumihimo kits in the studio. This is something that definitely would not have been done if I had been able to work on the Paintbox tapestry but it feels good now that it is.

Here are a few of the models.

I also finished a couple of one of a kind Kumihimo pieces

and this one which has a small tapestry fork for embellishment is my favorite.

I have a couple more of these little forks so I can see a couple more Kumihimo Tapestry Talismans in my future.

Four tapestry bead cuffs were finished on one warp and now my 8" Lani Loom can be warped for some more.

I think it is time for some neutrals and autumnal colors next.

Here is the before shot of my newest tapestry experiment. I am going to make myself some hair tapestry. Putting it on this lavender hair extension should be easier than doing it in my own hair and it will always be ready for those occaisions when I just need some tapestry in my hair.

I think this is going to be fun. I wonder if there are others out there that would like to weave their very own hair tapestry? This may be a class in the making.

There should be no problem staying busy until my new loom arrives and then I plan to tuck in, get acquainted and weave that Paintbox.