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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Not nearly normal-yet, …and still not yet

But when is it ever-nearly normal-will be bit,  not just yet! There always seems to be a yet, that pairs itself with “in a minute.” Two words my Grandsons thought were extremely funny when they were little.I can still remember them saying –”yea, we know in a minute that hasn’t yet happened,  so when is yet?”  I was surprised and pleased to find that yet has another meaning or colloquialism. It mains gate. For some reason that appeals  to my slightly wacked out since of humour. A gate to what?


“Yet is a common English word that when used as a conjunction, is equivalent to "but" or "nevertheless". However, used as an adverb, yet defines an action's persistence in time. The word can define an action in the past, present or future: Also, yet is a local dialect term in lowland Scotland and Cumbria for a gate.”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In honour of the word yet. I just fixed the leg on my desk that has wobbled for years-irritating me beyond my normal language usage that always merit a I still haven’t fixed it yet-sigh. Well, It’s fixed-yet is now retired in the context of my desk. Now if the rest of my world would follow suite.
okay seriously-!
I did finish these two pieces for the small format show I wanted to enter. I am ready to start the third of the series and a fourth with a design about fire. The forth will be for a show called
Woven Together: Firestorm that is being presented in Colorado Springs. One can get a prospectus or try at
(just Google it, if all else fells) It’s about fire, commemoration, healing and the emotional turmoil of surviving, seeing and experiencing fire. I have always wanted to weave a piece about fire. When I was in Academy I was evacuated from a wildfire while on a camping trip in Eastern Oregon. The experience has always stayed with me.
It is such a beautiful day. Light clouds and warm enough to leave the studio door open. In a few hours Spencer and I will head out for a movie. The airDSCN0505 conditioners are out of the studio. That was 4-7 days ago-after rain, hail, rivers of water cascading off the roof, etc, etc. Such Idyll conditions for working on a roof.
My paper work is finally caught up from the trips. After 90 days without rain. We had a monsoon. My roof decided to leak-so have spent part of the week working on details for the new roof and the new solar on the house. The solar on the studio has been a great success. We have been running negative energy bills. Anything to avoid the over saturated election news and telephones asking us to get out and vote. I voted more then a week ago. Today the roof is started, supplies bought and it’s rain showers. So, the roof is partially tarped, but the good news is my part is done.
Why I warp a mirrix like I do.
1. I am lazy. I can warp the loom so much quicker with a circular warp and get DSCN0507to the weaving quicker.
2. Circular warping is faster. It’s also easier to space the warps evenly on the edge that goes under or around the bottom beam. Picture from So Warped.
3. It’s easier to explain the process over the phone when I get calls from people that don’t understand the process that comes with the loom or for those who are now now the proud processors of a used mirrix loom.
4. Less prone to directional mistakes as it is warped.
5. Easier for beginning weavers and those with physical handicaps –such as shoulder problems, stiff fingers, sight problems, and directionally challenged.
6. It’s easier to correct tension problems in the warping process while weaving. Over tighten the loom, wait a few hours, preferably overnight, re-tension to the proper tension for weaving.
7. And, No, I don’t have trouble turning it around the beam. It’s actually easier. I use a batten. Loosen the tension on the loom I open a shed and put in a Navajo batten that is wider than the loom with a semi sharp edge on the fell line. Doesn’t move the warps to far apart while turning, keeps the edge of the batten on the fell line rather than opening the shed and possibly moving one part of the shed further around then the other shed-this can become a problem on a loose warp. Close the shed and turn, push, and pull the warp and piece around  to where I want the fell line to be.
8. The bars that come with mirrix loom are too fat and I loose too much weaving area by the time I bring the two sheds close enough to weave. I usually weave in 3 small bars that are an about an 8th of an inch diameter for easier spacing and holding the warp as I space it.
9. It’s a better bet when using dual duty craft and button hole twist as the warp. Less chance of mistakes and a better chance of correcting warp tension and warping with even tension as one tires during the process of winding the warp around the beams and through the spring(S).
More bits, pieces, And random  thoughts on technique
BDSC_0052everly Weaver in one of my two classes in Co. Springs for the Pikes Peak Hand weaving Guild made me aware of another use for soumack in the design process. I teach about handiness(right or left slant) all of the time. I use it for outlining, edges, concentric circles and nested squares.and spirals etc. What I never thought about doing is using in the design process to move the eye out or in and creating DSC_0155a Vasarely type of effect. The slant of the soumack turns can be used to move the eye outward or inward. By using the slant in relation ship to colour contrast-such as complements or warm and cool one can create more dimensions in the shape.
In the two pictures above Pike Peaks early morning. second photo note the slant of the soumack. Slant is called handedness and is dependent on the turn of the soumack weft  wrapper.
One can add a second element to the op effect by the colour contrast used in the ground and on the twiner-extreme would be red-green, orange to blue etc. By using warm and cool contrast or light and dark contrast the effect could be even more pronounced.
More random thoughts of Colorado Springs.
Work that done by Susan Seufer and Carole Stewart who had taken by Albuquerque class  and classes in Colorado Springs. Susan also had a piece in the Portals Small Format exhibit and catalogue.
One of the nicest surprises-  besides the wonderful people in my workshops- I had  while teaching in Colorado Springs was toDSC_0109 walk through a door and find two really nice 16th century Flemish Tapestries that were on loan. They were placed inDSC_0087 such a way they were almost impossible to photograph except for details, Baby grands lights and tables are notoriously hard to photograph around, but I did get some great details to work with. I also fell in love with the Devils Garden and it’s very thin outgrowths of rock. Sort of looked like a dinosaur or a dragon had fallen asleep leaving the spines, fins and spikes on his back at attention.
Ann V.- E.- This is a reminder-How is the 24 year old tapestry coming along!gr!!!! Thanks for a wonderful evening and returning my IPAD!
Even more Random!  OF Pig Tales and Pig Tails
I think one of the  easiest techniques for beginning and ending weft bundles can also be one of the hardest.  It’s a technique that I demonstrate over and over.  What makes it difficult is when you don’t understand hills and valleys. When your weaving hills are where the weft crosses in front of a warp thread and valley thread goes behind a warp thread- also know as hollow and full threads.  DSCN0509
Half passes by nature  want to create a doted line- an over and under. Pigtails just want to create a wrap whether it creates an over and under trip or not.  In order to create a half pass that creates a line of dots.(remember a half pass creates dots an over and a back a complete pass always creates a line.) there are two side by side warps to consider. One warp  will always be an over and the other under. In order for the pigtail to be created on the warp you want it has to  turn around either a hill thread or a hollow thread. Sometimes it has to go behind two threads to maintain the over and under pattern of the half pass. The tail will always need to curl around  a warp and under the weft thread to get the tail to the back of the tapestry.
O yeah-the tale- the reason it’s called a pigtail-pigs used to have corkscrew type tails that curled like –well-pigs tails. I have been informed by a student that most modern pigs no longer have cork screw tails.
My workshop in  Atlanta with the Chattahogee Hand weaver's Guild was fun. There is some great work that will becoming out of this group. It’s going to be interesting to see the cartoons people were working on become full fledged tapestries.  I was able to visit with John Moss and Joy Moss that are woodworkers that create the brassy bob’s that I love to use. I now have enough jpegs to create a short slide presentation of the process. Watching John make them was totally fascinating.
Tommye Scanlin and I went through  a “forced March through Georgia”gr a quote from Thomas Scanlin who introduced me to his wonderful collection of out sider art. I loved ever minute of it. In the process of the “forced march”, I saw Hambridge Retreat, John C. Campbell's Craft School,  petroglyphs, fall in the Appalachians,  Pat Williams  church kneelers(I am still laughing over the image of Gabriel's thought provoking feathers),  that was very interesting. I am now the proud  owner of a Patricia Williams tapestry-who weaves ironic funny tapestries that really appeal to my wacked out sense of humour. Tommye and Pat are also great tapestry teachers and tapestry weavers. Saw Tommye’s feather cartoon. It’s even better in person.   It was so great to talk about tapestry and design with the two of them. I leaned a lot from my students too and renewed my sense of awe in the power that tapestries can produce-Thank you “crutch lady!” I even enjoyed riding Marta with Tommye and all the breaks in conversation! Thanks Tommye1
121020_21_CHG Workshop_G12 027121021_CHG Workshop_Coolpix 007121020_21_CHG Workshop_G12 030DSC_0267DSC_0246121020_21_CHG Workshop_G12 042121020_21_CHG Workshop_G12 028DSC_0237121021_CHG Workshop_Coolpix 002DSC_0228121021_CHG Workshop_Coolpix 016 (1)DSC_0286DSC_0231DSC_0230DSC_0242
Any way, enough for now! I have so much stuff and pictures to go through and writing to do about the last 2 months that it will take me forever to journal about it all! So random is how it is

Saturday, October 6, 2012

This and that-Between workshops!

It’s been 2 weeks and 4 days since I last posted.
I have finished one of the 3 pieces and about  a third and closing in on a half of the second piece of the three. This one is entitled Line.  SomeDSCN0485 of the pressure is off for now.  I  have at least one piece to enter in a particular show that I wish to enter, whether I get in or not is another matter and of little importance. The deadline is everything. Completing the pieces are all that matter.  The piece is finished for the most part. To me important thing is that I like the piece with it’s slight dose of humour and it’s  slight bit of hidden sarcasm. I think it tells its story.
  I think/know that I am becoming impossibly jaded towards exhibiting my work.  I realize I am questioning why I enter shows. One exhibit I have entered and exhibited in every 2 years since the early 90’s I have been in 14 times. At this point I exhibit and show because it looks good on my teaching resume. Not because I am particularly tied or emotionally tied to a venue or exhibit, or the creation of the exhibit. It has become too much of a game-a game of chances-not so much of skill or being vetted for skillfullyDSCN0487 designing and constructing a piece, but a partcular juror’s whim. The same old-same old. 
My greatest joy of a day is weaving at least 6 hours a day and
watching the fell line build until it’s over-in ever growing crescendo…Then, done, finito, a mental le petit mort, finished,etc. I have trouble maintaining an interest in the piece once it’s off the loom. It becomes an afterthought, curiosity, a type  of momento morrii or a vanitas. or a reminder to weave well and learn from the past weavings. 
"in all thy works be mindful of thy last end and thou wilt never sin."Ecclesiastics 7:40(Vulgate)My DSC_0144Grandmother made me memorize this verse when I was about 5 years old. Not sure she knew I would apply it to my weaving. It seems to have stuck for close to 60 years.
Photos taken of a Smokey Columbia river from aDSC_0134 moving train while on my way home from  teaching in the tri-cities in Washington. The ghostly fingers are the reflection in the window of my fingers holding the camera. 
 It’s always just a tad bothersome  when entering shows that I can submit 3 pieces and they will choose one of the 3. It’s also a bit bothersome that this particular exhibit has a theme. When the other shows orchestrated by this particular organization don’t. Why limit the pieces or have a theme? It’s not as if one piece takes up way too much space say such as a 5 foot by 4 foot large format tapestry.  Perhaps, it is thought that  small format weavers can only design with a theme for an exhibit and I haven’t seen the limitation of 1 out of 3 in other exhibits. I think that themes and limits hide the diversity andDSC_0155 possibilities of what small format tapestries can and are capable of achieviDSC_0081ng by limiting expectations.
Above Naked Ladies from Yachats, OR beginning to bud and bloom. Seems appropriate for a discussion of the above.
 Enuff! It is what it is!
I am beginning something I rarely do.
 I journal all the time, but have  never really done it as a theme journal for a short period of time. Marcia Keefer has been creating small portable journals and binding them. This particular one is a resist dyed felt backed with leather with an anemone spine closure and beaded. It is filled with an incredibly sensuous paper that should be nice to write on.  Marcia took a sewing thread class from me many many years ago. The out DSC_0083come was one of my favourite small format/small scale pieces. I have acquired a small journal  from her that is quite beautiful. DSCN0488
So, I have decided to use it to document a month of an itinerant teacher. I am not a weaver of journals. I haven’t figured out why people do them, but I do enjoy the tapestry journals that other weavers-Such as Tommye Scanlin, Jan Austin to name a few of my favourites. So my homage  to tapestry journals will be  recording  a month DSCN0489 and documenting  intense  travel, teaching tapestry,  intensive weaving  to create a journal of my experiences in a beautifully made journal.
When I teach in the Tri-Cities I always come away knowing that I have taught perhaps a new skill or two a group of women who are a bunch artistically well rounded fabulous artist-basket weavers, book arts, dyers, weavers, etc. Who make all arts a part of their everyday lives.  More on these guys later including pictures-next time I write. They are an intriguing group of women artist.
Floating to the surface in this class was a wonderful Ukrainian Soumack rug and DSC_0108a Syrian  rug.
Syrian Rug
with details

Details of soumack rug that was too big to Photograph all of-so just a couple of details

A little bit of tapestry technique as promised.
Hills and valleys,  and ridding ones tapestry of vicious teeth. Just realized how apt this subject is for the month that ends with Halloween-LOL.
Caveat! These comments are made weaving from the front, but can be easily be reversed and used weaving from the back.
So what are these hills and valleys and vicious teeth?
In its simplest form-  Either a hill or valley is created every time one does a half pass along the fell line. The hill is created when the weft crosses in front of a warp. A valley is created when the weft crosses in back of the warp.  2012-10-05 183856Teeth or toothing is another word or descriptor used because in a comic sense the fell line looks like a series of small teeth sticking up. In this diagram the turn on the left is a hill thread. second thread is a valley and the third thread is a hill and the fourth a valley.

It would be easy to say no big deal.  Why not just leave well enough alone? It’s the nature of tapestry weaving, but that’s not necessarily so. It’s easy to control and get rid of.  
These hills and valleys, and toothing are ignored in whole cultures of tapestry weaving. The argument forimage leaving it or ignoring hills and valleys is that  the mind of the viewer  repeats the answer(straight line) because they have not been able to forget a past question and move on to the current subject(non wavy line). The mind has seen straight smooth  lines therefore it is a straight smooth line. Whether it is or not. The mind often sees what it wishes to see. The further one stands back from a tapestry the less one sees the wavy or toothed line. So why bother? The psyche term for the phenomena  is perseveration. 
The problem is-sorry to say- that when weaving small format and small scale people stand very close to a tapestry and examine it in a different way then one would a large/scale format weaving. They stand so close that things such as optical blending and perseveration just don’t happen. Small things become harder to ignore and more obvious. So if you need to see a straight line and not a wavy line it’s annoying and can possibly detract from the design elements. The bottom of triangular shapes, squares, circles don’t look smooth. They look toothed and wavy, because they are.
lines with split weft-ignore center panel floating bars-panel on right
So- there are two or three ways to deal with actually 3-4 if ignore is counted as a solution. 
1. Ignore it. Stand back and let it optically blend into a straight line. Less work-just let your eye ignore the small details. Great on large format  not so much on small/scale small format tapestry. One needs to stand too close to see detail or choose to stand further back and maybe the very toothed lines will perseverate before you can’t seimagee detail. A laissez faire solution.
2.Use soumack for the lines. Soumack lines can pretty much smooth out any area-fell lines, sides of geometric objects etc. Problem it is slower then weaving over and under. Some consider it not be a weaverly solution, but it does work in tapestry.
It’s been used at Gobelin for centuries and is called arrondiment.
3. Split the weft. My favourite solution! Splitting the weft fills in have the valley of the base colour and the base colour of the the next half pass.
2012-10-05 183856
Step A- Half of the weft bundle

Step B-half of the next weft bundle placed in the same shed
2012-10-05 183856
Step C-close shed and weave with new colour

2012-10-05 183856
Split weft variation for very fine smooth lines.

Enough for now. I have bags to repack and details to check.
Another caveat illustrations are by Pat Spark taken from my book Tapestry 101 and are copy right. All photos on this page were taken by me and are also copyrighted images and may not be used without the express permission of the author and illustrator.
DSC_0163Day break on a smoky Columbia river! Next Stop Colorado Springs, Colorado!