Monday, October 26, 2009

I am finished two weeks later then I wanted to finish, but 7 of those days were tied up in very long silversmithing classes. It is so good to be finally done. I'll leave it on the loom for a few days and keep looking for threads and missing lines.
I really enjoy silversmithing-novice that I am. FFP purchased a smith torch so that I can work a little larger, if I want. Putting it into the studio is a big scary step for me. It seems like a really big step. Acetylene torches burn so much hotter the the small torches we have been using. The tank is larger-much larger and has many more pages of stuff one should be aware of and not do. In the culture and age that I grew up in so much of what I am doing now was not in the job description we were taught was the right thing to emulate-like using tools. I was supposed to marry a husband that would take care of that aspect of my life. I am married, but not to a man who can handle tools and or do any of the whole tool thing. So as I stumble on-hopefully- I won't blow up the studio or remove a finger or two in the process of learning. The next step is to buy a Fordham grinder before I wear out my Dremel-another step up. BUT, again as always I am more interested in how I can apply and combine the silver designs with tapestry. I am such a beginner!!! The next snaps are the pieces I have designed in class with Don Norris when he comes to Albany. With the exception of one pennant that is a piece I did on my own that contains a piece of broken china from my favourite set of dishes that I love. It seems the odder the shape the more I love the design. I have never gravitated to or felt the pull of using small oval stones.
In another day, hopefully, I will be ready to start my large format wool piece. I am not sure I can get it done by the deadline at the end of the month. I want it to submit it to the ATA exhibit. The deadline is 5 weeks away from now. I already have a smaller sewing thread piece to submit, but would like to do a wool piece just to see how my small format images will translate to a larger format and scale-again. I seem to be continually testing and focusing on how the images will apply in the two formats. Scale doesn't seem to be an issue. I know that the smaller the scale the more detail I can have in a given area/piece. There is a balance in creating the format size that sometimes has to do with the scale of the rib structure that I find unendingly interesting and fascinating. I have no desire to weave a large format piece in a small scale or a small format piece in large scale.
With the silver I can't seem to design small uncomplicated pieces. Every design I have done so far-not that there have been that many-has felt the need to be larger with more complicated elements not smaller. The opposite of my tapestry weaving with the exception that i keep adding more elements and complexity to the designs. Most of my silver pieces are bearably wearable because of the size of the piece. Too large to be practical in everyday settings. I guess it could be that I am not really wanting to design jewelery that will be worn or adorn the body, but architectural pieces-well-small boxes and reliquaries that can be closed, locked, used for concealment or concealing the tapestry images. Again for the same reasons that I put many of my tapestries in wooden boxes that could/can be locked. The nice thing about doing the boxes in silver is that I will be able to do my own boxes and not have to depend on someone else to do the work on the boxes I design. When I research metal working I find that I am focusing on pieces from the the 3rd century to the 14th century. Most of it is gold. I prefer silver. I wil probably be using some of the same elements, but in silver. Many of favourite are Russian, Viking and Celtic-not- surprisingly-American Indian. Another case of nuture vs. environment.

I am still researching soumack and its various structures that can be used in tapestry. This is a Turkish piece that uses a very interesting vertical and horizontal soumack to create a grid. The background surrounding the soumack is tapestry.

These are shadows from the City of Refuge that I think might make good a good soumack study. I took these while I was in Kona this last summer.
Cheers and all,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Almost there, but late again- once more.

Sometimes I just want to be done with a piece. It's usually the last week this happens. Invariably I get slowed down because something takes 4 times longer then it should. It leaves one wondering such mundanes things as why on earth did I put one hundred peddles in a chrysanthemum when maybe I could have it done it with 30 and just been done with the flower. I know because it felt needful. I need to reread Needful Things by Stephen King to reinforce the thought that needful things are not always what one should do or have. Somewhere in the process of setting my deadline to finish I forgot that I would need to soumack around each of the very small petals some only a warp or two wide. Somewhere I forgot that I wasn't just weaving a big shape that I could knock out in a day. Somewhere I forgot that bookkeeping in the studio would be full of personal and personnel challenges I needed to correct and deal with in the last week. Chene' would hate the neighbor cat that torments him and I would constantly need to retrieve him. In the city of Albany he can only bark 10 minutes in an hour. I am so ready for more rain that keeps him in. The poor thing hates having wet feet. Pye would decide it's cold and demand to share Chene's bed. He finds his baby
much easier to deal with and easier to share his bed with.

I forgot that finishes on dressers dry slowly in Oregon so everything is backed up waiting for it to dry-more chaos as things can't be put away. This stuff only seems to happen when I am almost done with a piece. Somewhere I forgot that the world goes on out side my studio while I am lost in the zone that I create when I weave where time doesn't exist. Only, unfortunately, the end of the day comes and I realize that life has gone on and I still am not finished. Okay-that's the end of the pity party. I wil, be happy I get to weave tomorrow that is enough for me!

These are some flowers- Asters- that I bought because I get so tired of the oranges and fall colours. Fall colours always seem over baked and dried out to me. These asters are an incredible blue red-very cool with cyan green leaves, totally intense. They will probably show up in the next tapestry I am weaving. I am hoping to capture the same intensity in wool. The next tapestry is probably going to be 2 feet by 5 feet. It's becoming more and more a study about how much of the intensity, detail and contained chaos of my small pieces in a large wool piece.

Pat Dunston kindly sent me 23 jpegs of a soumack rug. I received it a day ago and haven't even had a chance to thank her for the jpegs- yet. Ifn you read this Pat thank you, thank you so very much! The details are wonderful and I will be spending the next couple of evenings analyzing the technique from the front and back photo's that she sent me. It's larger or grosser in soumack size then the small sample I had in the last blog. Seeing both sides makes it easier to see how the technique is being done.

The left side is the front side and the other is a detail of the back. One can see that each row of soumack is countered with a half pass. They only do the detail design in small areas with small floats. It also looks like they are using 2 different sizes of twiners. They are also using vertical soumack to do the verticals or perhaps and more likely just wraps rather then vertical soumack. It's all very intriguing.

Pat and I put up a file on the web page from the Shaped Tapestry book on weaving a box. Weaving and thinking about boxes are a memory that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, because I wove these boxes with my Grandmother. I was small and would sit on the old pop cooler weaving when it was so hot or sometimes in a corner by the bread that was brought in from Rogers Bakery every morning. What's very coincidental to the discussion that was going on the list was the fact that I will be teaching in February a workshop through the Corvallis Guild a workshop on making boxes. One of these days I'll ask Sarah Swett who taught her to weave boxes.

I have been thinking a lot about how boorish and disrespectful and just plain mean our culture has become. Often times I just tune things out because I can't deal or don't want to deal with the bad mean jokes and rude behaviour that is becoming so prevalent. I now have a better understanding of the roots of the problem thanks to this editorial peace. It makes me feel sad to think that perhaps we can't go back to a nicer kinder time. I have spent most of the week thinking about an oped article by Tim Rutten called The politics of Incivility-A Crash course on our descent into coarseness. It's copyrighted through the LA Times. It's an article well worth reading. To quote- "The growing culture of assertion and the death of persuasion, rather then the loss of civility, are what we ought to fear about our politics. Because there is no insistence on a common set of facts, we're perilously close to the point at which we stop talking past each other and the language of politics dissolves into mutually unintelligible dialects." It's well worth reading.
Guess that' all until next week. Hopefully I will be able to say my piece is finished!!!
Cheers and all!