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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Musings on entropy, times arrow, and tapestry

Motion is a change in position of an object with respect to time and its reference point.

Motion signifies a continuous change in the configuration of a physical system. vs..

“Entropy is the only quantity in the physical sciences (apart from certain rare interactions in particle



that requires a particular direction for time, sometimes called an arrow of time.

As one goes "forward" in time, the second law of thermodynamics says, the entropy of an isolated system will increase.

Loom picture with new work.

Hence, from one perspective, entropy measurement is a way of distinguishing the past fromDSCN0522 the future

One of the ideas involved in the concept of entropy is that nature tends from order to disorder in isolated systems- or towards possible chaos.

                                                                                       Detail of new piece-not yet named.

I am weaving this is on my new smaller mirrix. It’s the 12 inch.

Perfect with the new regs. on bag sizes-since I need room to get my treadle in the bag also.

Entropy as Time's Arrow’

Last time was all about getting started again.

The time the next step is movement or creating motion and avoiding the possible chaos of “times arrow”.

Movement is happening as to which direction the movement is going or if it is just a product of entropies possible chaos is left to be seen. Can never tell with entropy I know that chaos is rampant in the studio and,

of course, it is tax season. Around here that means Spencer is working 9-9/24-7 at Block. Leaving me to try and keep everything organized, flowing and Chaos at bay.  TheDSCN0522 good news and showing movement is the solar goes up on the house Wednesday and the heat pumps should go up on Friday in the studio-warmth. The end of the remodel is nearer.  Bad news- I am still clearing out my Dad’s house.

Good News-I have started another piece. It doesn’t have a name yet. But is based on a smaller cartoon that I blew up to 8.5 by 11 inches. I am working on the rock wall that I added to the other cartoon.  I have also added a feather as a writing utensil for the lines of the  dismembered or incomplete puzzle pieces. I would really like to have this finished by February 24. Yes, of this year! Doable if nothing else interferes. 

I finished a small sunset piece that is 1.5 inches by 8.5 inches. Wove four samples for the new book. They are 2 inches by 8-12 inches with the exception of one which is 3/4 inches by 8 inches on value. This tapestry design  is from a photo that I took at Christmas at Yachats hanging on the edge of a side of a cliff while trying to get the brush out of the frame. It’s part of a series of 320 photos that I took 20 seconds apart while the sun was going down. Still  hoping to photograph a Green Flash. The odds of even seeing one the second time are almost non existent, but I keep trying. This is the first time I am seeing the  this direction. It hasn’t been cut from the loom.  Feels really strange. I think I may like it better the other direction. The direction I wove it.


 DSCN0524 FllashComics_GA_1

The green flash is actually an observable phenomena, Not the Comic book character. I saw a green flash about 15 years ago on the Oregon coast near Yachats, but didn’t get my camera turned on in time.

Cover to Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940)
Art by Sheldon Moldoff- DC comics.








Liberated from Wikipedia photos

My line piece was accepted into The ATA3 small format exhibit. Which has left me slightly bemused after seeing 4 examples from the exhibit that were used for advertising the exhibit j-pegs of several pieces that weren’t accepted.  I am not sure how or why my piece is in the exhibit for a dozen different reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of my work. I think I need to see the other 33 or so pieces before I do any real thinking aboutDSCN0524 the exhibit. I am rapidly coming to the decision/conclusions that my designs are an anachronism. They just don’t fit anywhere in what’s going on in tapestry at this point in history. I see them almost as pictograph- pictorial narratives as opposed to created  objects or sculptural realization of an image.  It seems more and more that tapestry artist are moving away from the simple telling of a story in pictures or at least the  small format juried shows seem to be.   Doesn’t really matter anymore. I know what I want to weave and how I want to weave my images. I know, I know,  I have been told everything has it’s on story or narrative.  I want mine to read more as  Lakota “Winter Counts)  like the “doodles” or pictographs  my Grandmother kept to remind herself  of important things in her life.(see This is a great exhibition and explanation of Winter counts

I am really excited about the progress Pat and I are making on the new book. The samples are fun to weave. DSC_0785Written explanations are a little-okay a lot more  more difficult as we combine to very different view points into a cohesive understanding of both.


These first two samples/ pictures are depicting what happens when you decide to subtract wefts from the weft bundle. It’s about trying to have more hatches in a given area for finer optical blending in the structural bridge colours of the hatches. The first one with the green was woven from paternayan and started with 4 threads in each weft bundle and moved to 1 thread in the weft bundle. We decided that as a sample it would be too difficult to photograph for the book-not contrasty enough. The second sample was woven with the Norwegian Alv yarns that FFP imports. There were 5 threads in the initial weft bundle. Each section is 1.75 inches tall by 2 inches wide.


This third sample is what happens when you mix a chene’ or mélange with hatches. Again with the alv yarns and at 10 epi. Progression is the same 1 thread off one weft bundle and added to the other weft bundle. One always has 5 threads in  the weft bundle. DSCN0519

The next sample is  a value run that I was trying to weave from light value to dark value.  It actually begins with white and runs into black. Each square is .75x.75 inches. The first problem that I ran into was there are no achromatic greys.  No one company has an even progression from light to dark.So were back to using colour aide papers and preprinted value cards.  Greys are usually produced by greying out or mixing a colour such as green or lavender, etc.. with the complement in the dye process. So I am in a quandary as to how to produce or weave an achromatic progression for the optical blending book Pat and I are writing.

As promised, Kay S. Here’s how I sometimes keep from pulling out my cartoon sewing thread and keep from loosing my needle. It involves a button and a knot.

DSC_0790DSC_0792Hopefully you can see that the button is tied to the end of the thread and knotted as is the thread knotted at the base of the eye of my curved needle. The knot is pulled really tightly and is really no thicker then the needle. The knot slips right through the tapestry as I sew the cartoon to the back of my tapestry.





Time to go. Wry made the mistake of using Chene’s water bowl and food dish. Chene’s making sure Wry doesn’t do it again and ignoring the quiet command. Very related to one of my favourite tapestry by Pat Williams.

Next time! Have fun! Weave a lot!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Getting back or it’s more then about time!

I have just had the longest period of time not weaving since I starHoopDanceted weaving tapestry in 1979.  It’s been an interesting experience. Some good- some bad, but a necessary part of the circle of life.   I am so ready to get back to tapestry weaving.
Hoop Dancing is often the stories of beginnings, the tale of the cycle of life, the stories of life. It is said that a good hoop dancer finds their stories in the rustle of grasses, the blowing of leaves and the whisper of the wind. I saw my first hoop dance in 1976. It was all so close to the beginnings of women competing in the hoop dance competitions. By this time hoop dancing had already joined so many other things in the pan-Indian movements that the large powwows were creating and causing.One can’t really say that Hoop dancing is from one specific tribe-anymore. Each group or dancer put’s there own twist or twists to the  hoop dance.  So it’s almost become a universal in many tribes.   It has always seemed appropriate to me that women should compete and tell the story of life in something that was based on the cycle of life. But, I 052am only a between and what do I know?
On December 6,
my Fathers circle of life was completed, but is still entwined and connected  with the rest of our circles of life that are connected and attached to the great circle of life. Dad was born in 1925 and lived a rich full life.
Life can be a messy, and confusing leaving great amounts of detrital/detritus, puzzlement and residue for some lucky soul in this case me to bring order to chaos.Transitions take time.  So that’s how I have been spending most of the last month. Great amounts of sorting through papers and a life times accumulation from another's life and wondering why they kept the things they did.
detritus (d-trts)1. Loose fragments, such as sand or gravel, that have been worn away from rock.2. Matter produced by the decay or disintegration of an organic substance.detrital adjective

On the studio level or my personal work-With the exception of a 4 day retreat to the coast with DSC_0686Spencer and having a student the last week of September and one student just leaving everything was  been spent in a hectic, but fun workshop trips-roughly 7 in various parts of the country. Two of the seven- granted- were private students in the studio---but no actual weaving.
 All I can say is it was a  very good thing last night that Cathie Beckman let me weave on her loom. I was so jealous.  I just wanted to grab the loom away from her and weave. Cathie had been weaving in the my studio for 3 days  as an jacobs-coat-of-roses-tam-ishmael--eizmanonly student. Her cartoon was based on a Jacob rose. A rose that I have not yet woven. This isn’t the photo of her rose, but it is a Jacob's rose so that you can see what the colours and techniques were like. I hadn’t realized how starved I was toDSC_0684 begin weaving again. I haven’t woven in 2.5 months, because of everything that needed tending to in life at this point. It was neither a good thing or a bad thing just a specific time in life with very specific challenges.  
Anyway, I wove today on a new/old piece that I had started prior to this break. A small narrow one inch strip of sunset.  I am also starting two  small rectangular designs. They are about sunsets on the ocean and a rock mossy wall over looking the ocean.
These are the five photos that I am considering weaving or variations and or combinations. They were all taken on my Xmas retreat. I really like the format of tapestries that are no larger 3 inches high and 7-9 inches wide.  Usually they take me around 30-40 hours to weave- On a good week, it’s a weeks worth of weaving. I am really done with weavings that take 124 days to weave. (see prior blogs about “And he…) The bottom 2 photos are not dust but the sun shining through a rain squall. 
DSC_0465 DSC_0436
A Little more, but about tapestry technique--
One of the discoveries I have been making is that many students don’t understand the importance with working at a very tight tension when weaving tapestry.
There are some very good reasons for having really tight tension.
It is so much easier to beat the warp down and cover the warp. The bubble of weft and the tightness of the warp help prevent lice(this happens when the weft won’t cover the warp as you weave. It is a play on words of the French term licier.) Turns are easier to keep from pulling in or being pushed out of place as you make turns. The tapestry is less likely to pooch or create a blister as you beat down or stretch the warp as you beat down. The hand of the fabric is more solid, you can’t but your fingers through the weave structure. When you beat down hard on a warp the is less likely to collapse later-squares stay square. Circles don't be come ovals. etc. etc. -
The excuses range from lack of a good loom or the loom isn’t capable of having or maintaining a really tight tension. There are also those who have never been told how important a tight tension is to in the weaving process.  I have seen so many people  lately that are trying to weave on picture frames, looms with absolutely no tensioning device and then can’t understand why their tapestry have problems. In my whole career-35 years. I have only seen one or two people that have the actual strength to warp a picture tight enough to get really good results or not destroy the frames they are trying to weave tapestry on. And a handful of people who can actually get a really great tapestry from a picture frame.
Looms that are too wide can become too wimpy if the bars are not the proper size in relationship to the size of the loom width and metal fatigue sets in.
Or, they are trying to use a jack loom and trying to get a good shed. It is extremely difficult to get a tight enough warp on a loom with a  jack type mechanism. And, yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but why fight the battle that most likely is lost before one begins.
How tight is tight enuff! Warp should be tight enough that it sounds like a harp or a guitar when you drag your fingertips acrossDSC_0780 the warps at a right angle. Warps also should not be able to be displaced when you do this.  If you are using a warping method such as circular or figure 8, over tighten the warp, leave it be for over night, come back and loosen the warp down to where it is the right tension-still tight enough to sound or thrum like a a musical instrument... In most cases it will even the warp tension across the whole width of the web of warp. Both loom pictures of looms –galvanized and copper loom are from the Copyrighted book So Warped that I co-wrote with Pat Spark.
There are some really inexpensive solutions- such as building a copper frame loom with  a large screw with large wing nuts or nuts that tension. There are directions in several of my books DSCN0507for building copper looms. Archie Brennan also has a web site that has plans for one of these looms and so does the ATA web site with great diagrams. Parts can be bought very inexpensively at Habitat Re-Stores. If it’s a technical problem with cutting often times large box building supply places will have pipe in stock cut to smaller dimensions  in stock or will cut it for you.
Another solution is to build a pipe loom with galvanized pipe. Where everything can basically be screwed together. A little more expensive, but doable compared to the cost of many large tapestry looms.
Both of these looms cost in their small sizes are under 20-30 dollars for parts-sometimes less. The big frame loom made of galvanized pipe was less then 100 dollars. I worked on a larger version for years and wove 8 pieces for my master’s thesis on a loom like this sitting on the floor.
OKAY-that’s enough from now. I am off to weave. YEH!!!!!
Photo taken just barely South of the Sea Lions cave, on the Oregon coast Xmas 2012.