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!