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Friday, September 18, 2009


Finally, I am starting to get back on schedule. I am back to weaving everyday and writing my blog when I should. To me those are large accomplishments. Someone who was at the studio visiting today from Kamloops asked me how i do what I do. Usually I draw a rather large blank. I just do. I think it really breaks down to the discipline of staying on schedule and just leading a very boring routine life when I am not off teaching. The boring is so peaceful and non-interruptive. I can be very strange with my warped sense of humour, love of scheduling, and contentment with weaving 8 hours a day. Sometimes schedules don't work, but most of the time they seem to work for me. Of course, when the deadline is missed because the scheduling either failed or life interferes I try and leave my self a mental-guilt free out. So with that said, I really want to have this piece done by the end of this month. I need to start another tapestry. A large format tapestry in wool. So far I am on schedule. Even Dan Brown isn't allowed in the studio with his temptation of the "new book". So Kathy S. -looks like you'll just have to get the bobbins bobbing to beat me!
Reds are really a lot of work to weave with in a weft bundle. Optical blending is a often a nightmare with the light reds and the dark reds. When one tries to do a chene' or melange so many things come into play. Red reacts differently with the light-dark contrasts. Perhaps, I think, in part, red is so sensitive to warm-cool contrast when weaving. To get my deepest red I am making my weft bundle with navy blue and red. All dark reds and burgundies seem to become muddy when combined in a weft bundle. If you try and mix them with greens- any greens-greenish red browns etc. they become even muddier-not dark greys even to black visually like they should. The light pinks or reds always seem to float in front of anything one would call red. I think there should be a whole other contrast in colour theory-possibly called the red to pink conundrum. Lighter reds always seem to float in front of deeper reds and look like they are in a different layer-riding on top of a base colour-=no matter what the contrast. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground in blending the colours It has as far as I can see no other relationship to any other type of contrast, light dark, warm cool, etc, etc. yet red and darker reds are so easy to make go back and forth according to warm cool contrast. I could get rid of the problem by using my techniques architectronically rather then shading and blending the colours, but it's not what i want and pays to much heed to the weavers of the past 20th century and their limited colour ranges.
One of the interesting things I have found that works really well with reds-not so much with the lighter-dark contrast is that one can twist the threads coming from the bobbin to the fell line and increase the density of the colour mix as you weave it into the shed. It looks pretty cool and really aids in the colour mix and the optical blending. I tried doing it with out using bobbins or with butterflies and it doesn't work nearly as well. The bobbin helps keep the twist between the point of entry on the fell line to the bobbin much better then other methods of controlling the weft bundle.
One of the things we did while in Maryland was to attend what is billed as the largest renaissance faire in the united states. They have now added pirates. I have never seen so many women falling out of bustiers or with so many pulled up and slit skirts and not one chemise. It was rather impressive and definitely an act of defying gravity and natural law. I am not quite sure what pirates have to do with medieval tournaments, but it was interesting. I liked the jousting and the court of love. I saw so many painted, pieced and jacquard woven tapestries. Of course the jacquard wasn't around until the very late 18th and early 19th century. The jacquard won a scientific prize from Napoleon and the French government the same year that food canning techniques won a prize. O, well, as one of my Grandkids pointed out that attending a renaissance fire requires a certain willingness on the part of the observer to suspend reality as we know it. In other words I should quit kvetching and enjoy the display.

I was also amazed at what great rock climbers KeeKee and Troy are becoming. No hesitation clear to the top and back. Good Job! It was really fun to watch them. My two son Dad-Shane and Uncle Asa were great mountain and rock climbers and so was I in my teens. Spencer is really developing great balance even though the rope ladder was rigged. We discovered the trick is to balance cross pattern to avoid shifting weight and the center of balance.

Of course, there was the fun of the last Mohawk. My youngest son as a musician used to wear a very tall Mohawk with a turquoise stripe dyed in it. The two grandkids are now wearing fuzzy Mohawks. Not shaved to the skin on the sides. How times have changed. So Uncle Asa volunteered for the last Mohawk and of course his brother at Mohawk envy.

Shane's Mohawk is a facsimile. He always wears his hair like this sans Mohawk. Yes, the red hair is real for both of them. Breaks my heart because he has or had the most beautiful straight copper hair as a child. Asa has always had curly red hair.

Mohawk Envy and the Last Mohawk which was shaved off the next day for a soccer game, but it did that evening have a turquoise stripe for a bit.

So Time to go back to work. Disneyland is done for a while. It's so good to be home. No more traveling for a few months. 5 majors trips in the last 6 months. I think I need to get back to reality-meet my deadlines and finish the new book-So Warped that Pat and i are writing.
Cheers and all until next week!

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