Sunday, October 27, 2019

Wool Piggies

Another wonderful SAFF weekend is history.  I traveled to Macon County Thursday for work.  It was a pleasant drive with brilliant color.  On the way down the mountain to Asheville, I stopped at Barber Orchard for apples.

The entrance

We stayed in an air B & B in Fletcher, a goat farm.  Beautiful setting and adorable animals, goats, horses, ducks, chickens, pigs, dogs, cows and a farm cat or two.

If Peggy looks unhappy with this particular goat it maybe because he chased her from the car to the house earlier.

Whatcha got?

McGough Building

I will not point out who the wool piggies are.  That would be rude.

Cousin It at the Veranda Cafe in Black Mountain.   

This weekend combined all my favorite things, good friends, fiber and a beautiful North Carolina fall.

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Tale of the Three Postcards

Months ago I signed up for the American Tapestry Alliance post card exchange.  You are assigned a partner and swap tapestry postcards.  To my surprise my assigned partner is Alex Friedman.  Alex is a professional artist from San Francisco.  I have long admired her work with eccentric weaving.

A little intimidated, I wanted to do something different.  Decided to do this little postcard of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse using recycled plastic bags.  It was fun but I had alot of drawn in with the plastic.  Sad little postcard wasn't up for the trip to California.

What to weave instead?  I decided to weave what I love, wedge weave of course.  Still fascinated with alternative weft materials, I spindle spun some newspaper.  

What was super fun about this piece was using a variable warp.  I am sure there is a proper name for that but I don't know it.  I warped at 10 ends per inch, wove the newspaper at 5 epi and the colorful linen at 10 epi.  I will definitively play with the technique again!

On the left is the postcard Alex sent to me from San Francisco.  On the right is the postcard I am sending off to Alex.

Proof that Alex's card was post marked in San Francisco and made it to North Carolina without incident.  Alex sent me a bit of her home.

I am sending Alex a bit of my home too.  The handspun newspaper is the Raleigh News and Observer.  In addition, the linen is from my guild's stash.  Triangle Weavers Guild is a wonderful group of weavers and we have a stash of tapestry yarn.  Our most celebrated member, the late Silvia Heyden donated yarn as have others.   I like to think I have included some of Silvia's magic in my little postcard.

Last but not least, some pictures of indigo fun with dear daughter Rachel this weekend.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Ode to Gunta

The primary benefit of practicing any art, whether well or badly, is that it enables one’s soul to grow.
                                                                                                           —Kurt Vonnegut Jr

After reading about the role of women at the Baushaus I wanted to try to interpret some of the principles in wedge weave.  The minimalist style of design embraced ideas of functionality and true materials. Bauhaus artists favored linear and geometric designs, line, shape and colors were the focus.  The stripes of Gunta Stoltz above are a prime example.

Finished.  Not sure Gunta would appreciate this interpretation of her work.  However, it was an exercise in emphasizing line and color.

Our tapestry study group met today.  I love the opportunity to weave together.

Working hard!

I love these colors!

Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Point of View

I have spoken often of the joy and benefits of having a community of tapestry weavers.  Of course, there are facebook groups and instagram hashtags but nothing beats real live face time with your tribe.

Tapestry Weaver's South opening
Tapestry Weaver's South  new show Point of View opened at the Yadkin Valley Fiber Center in Elkin on Sunday.  It was wonderful to see everyone and see the tapestries.

Mirage by Connie Lippert and Miss Headwinds by  Louise Halsey

Jennifer Sargent

There were so many lovely pieces, I was inspired by the range of techniques and approaches to tapestry.

I submitted two pieces for entry.  I experimented with alternative materials.

Hand spinning newspaper 

Wedge weave of course!

This piece is titled "Fine Print".  The warp is wool and the weft is handspun newspaper.   It wa woven at 10 ends per inch and is 8" by 8".

Recycled grocery bags and handspun newspaper

This piece is titled "Paper or Plastic" and is woven on a C. Cactus Flower loom at 10 ends per inch.   It is 14" x 6".

Next post, I will tell the sad story of the postcard that stayed home.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Why? Why? Why tapestry?

I have been puzzled about my desire to weave tapestry and trying to sort out why it is something I am drawn to do.  I came up with a list of reasons I weave tapestry.  Here you go; expression, play, color, accomplishment and exhibition;recognition.   Sorting this out may seem to be an extreme of navel gazing.  But there is value here for me.

  If I weave to satisfy my need for expression, play, color and a sense of accomplishment then I weave for MYSELF.  Do you know what that means?  There are no rules, no shoulds and no requirements to go big to be a "real tapestry weaver."

 I can stick to the smaller pieces I love.  I can weave with plastic and handspun newspaper.   If my interest in weaving and spinning are self directed then I can weave what I want when I want.  What an amazing concept! 

As a kid, I loved going down a slide or pumping my legs to swing higher.  I didn't worry about what my purpose was or what was being accomplished.   As adults we need play as much as children.  Maybe more.

The great advantage to weaving tapestry versus playing with knitting myself something is.....You do NOT have to wear it!  Especially good if you are playing with hand spinning and weaving newspaper.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Collage to Tapestry Cartoon

My first MAFA exceeded my expectations tremendously.   The conference was extremely well organized and attendees were all so friendly.   Within minutes of arriving, a nice group from Ontario invited me to join them for dinner.   The highlight for me was my class with Molly Elkind

Molly is a very deliberate and thoughtful weaver and her work reflects all the effort.   Molly generously shared her design process with us.  This class was focused on design, no yarn or looms involved.  Molly explained how to determine whether an image lends itself to woven tapestry.

I do not want to give away the "secret sauce" of Molly's design process but it is methodical and gives you the opportunity to work out the weaving obstacles prior to sitting down at the loom.  If you have the opportunity, take a class with Molly.  It will change your tapestry process.

This is "Red Letter Night" which is part of Molly's illuminated manuscript series.  It is pictured with it's woven sample and collage.

Cartoon for "Red Letter Night"
Yarn key for "Red Letter Night"

My collage "Dancing with the Black Dog"
I loved the process of creating this collage, it allows me to design without having to draw.  I joked that Molly had turned even this impatient woman into a thoughtful tapestry weaver.  I was so pleased to get my cartoon for the weaving of "Dancing with the Black Dog " done.  Check out Molly's Instagram post for a picture of my awesome work!

Connie Lippert signing her book, "A Wedge Weaver's Storied Cloth"
I also got to spend some time with Connie Lippert, wedge weave guru!  That was the icing on the cake.  Both Molly as well as Connie are teaching at Convergence 2020.  See you there!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Ladies Who Lunch

Saturday a few of us from Tapestry Weavers South met at Yadkin Valley Fiber Room.

It was great to see Holly, Betty, Leslie and Linda and talk tapestry for a few hours.

Betty shared this tapestry inspired by a photo she took years ago.
Betty shared how she weaves from the back and used a weft interlock technique.

Linda shares her piece. Holly's pieces and the design for her next tapestry is in the foreground.

I love Leslie's branch weaving.
After a delicious lunch on the porch, I headed to Sparta to the Blue Ridge Fiber Fest.  It was a muddy, damp trek but still worth it.  

I am trying to decide on colors for the next tapestry.  What do you think?

Golds and orange

Monday, June 3, 2019

But Why?

For the past month or so, I have not been able to shake a recurring thought... weave a small tapestry of Donald Trump.  But why you ask?  I am no Trump fan, in fact I have an almost visceral reaction to hearing his name spoken.  Tapestry weaving is slow and meditative, the perfect medium for working through strong feelings.
Hubris in progress

I usually avoid the blatantly political rantings of facebook and do not want the blog to devolve into that dark water.  This is about using this weaving exercise to examine my thoughts about our president.  I finally puzzled it is not about him.

It is about me and you, this is our ugly underbelly.   That is great word, underbelly.  I am not likely to expose my deathly white belly, stretchmarks and all to the world.  We like to think of ourselves a certain way and represent ourselves accordingly.  Our current president, exposes the angels of our lesser nature.  For sure, not angels but simply the human capacity for self involvement, divisiveness and cruelty.

Trump provides us the opportunity to confront our own blindspots and eliminate them, individually and as Americans.   As Abraham Lincoln said in his first inaugural address in 1861

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

As divided as we are now we will come back together.  Perhaps more aware of our weaknesses. 

When my boss asked what I was weaving and I told her a caricature of Trump, she said "who would want it?"  A good question, certainly not me.

To protect yourself, immediately make a meaningful contribution to Planned Parenthood.  It is the only way to ensure I do not send Hubris to you for prominent and and painful display in your home!  


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Dyeing for Tapestry

The three day weekend presented the perfect opportunity to do some natural dyeing.  I started with four skeins of natural white and four skeins of natural grey.

Unmordanted yarn dyed with indigo.

Madder root

Weaving Southwest single ply fine Churro tapestry yarn

Those little cochineal bugs do terrific work.

I mordanted all the yarns in a 20% alum solution and added a teaspoon of cream of tartar to the dye bath.  I achieved the deep reds desired with the first dip. The lighter colors were the results of the second and third uses of the dyepot in an effort to exhaust the dye.  With the cochineal and madder, I used distilled water in an effort to avoid dulling the colors with soft water.

Logwood purples

Osage orange was a disappointment.

The osage orange was an extract.  In the past I have used wood chips and got a brilliant orange.  Lesson learned.

Not really loving my Ode to Gunta.  Not sure her stripes work as a wedge weave.

Vicki and Louise manning our study group table.

Our guild held it's last meeting of this guild year last week.  Each study group had a table to share their work.  It is a pleasure tp be part of an active and dynamic guild.