Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Soltice and tax season

Yesterday was the winter solstice. Merry Christmas family and friends. It's 4:30 and the sun is almost down. Night for the most part equals day. The sky is all soft pinks, lavenders and grey blue clouds I love this time of year. Chene', Spencer and I walked down by the river today. It was a nice winter walk. Chene' kept getting lost in the grass that was taller then he is. At least it's better weather then Shane's and the grandkids 3 feet of snow in Maryland. Asa and Kathy get home to Maryland from their tour of the Mediterranean on Christmas eve. They have pictures of tapestries and weavers for me. I like the solitude of my studio this time of the year. Pat is in Washington visiting family for Christmas. I can work with my music full blast without disturbing anyone or I can have absolute quiet and peace for my thoughts and weaving. We did have a little snow up on Marys Peak a few weeks ago. I don't know who was more excited about the snow Spencer or Chene".

My cartoons are now sewn to the looms. Chene' kept inspecting the cartoon every time I laid it out flat so I could see it before I sewed it on-big help. My selvedges are finished. I redid the cartoon for the black leaves in the small Kona piece and I am ready to begin weaving the big piece. The selvedge is done. Colour is next. This is the biggest piece have woven in a while. It is 58 inches by 48 inches- 20 square feet. The big Shannock will be getting a work out. I'll see how long before I crave working smaller on a major piece. I am not so sure this piece might not have made me happier weaving it at 20 epi rather then 10 epi. It would have been almost 24 inches tall if I had and 15 inches wide-really big for a small format/small scale piece. Hopefully the wool piece will feel right and I won't end up reweaving it in sewing thread which has happened before. I started the Kona orange over because I lost the colour in my head and I wanted to start over with the colour in stead of trying to make the colour conform to an old palette that I created in my head to weave the piece. I am glad I did.
Pat will be out of the studio for about a month. She is having foot surgery and 2 weeks later wrist surgery. A big major event that will happen in this time period is a good house cleaning, organizing, clutter removing, and reorganizing the yarns and threads around my looms. I am so tired of the chaos in the studio. I will also be pulling ivy down because we are getting new windows in the up stairs studio in January. The new windows will be nice, energy efficient and will be heavily UV protected to spare the textiles. I have an east and west window that allow a tremendous amount of light into the studio. All while weaving as many hours a day as I can.

Pat and I spent several days photographing warping procedures-bouts, figure 8, circular warping. Warped a small Turkish Old Believers belt loom with a tapestry warp, which we also photographed for the book. I had almost forgotten how to do the heddles. I had forgotten picking the cross of all things. The So Warped book is moving right along. I think the layout and photo stuff is 33% finished. While Pat is laid up she will be working on another major junk of the photo's and layout. We are going to have a working copy of the book by the time i go to Las Vegas to teach. They Will be the first people to read it. Hopefully by CNCH it will to the printers. Pat is convinced it takes 9 months to do a book once you start it. Much like having a baby-Sometimes almost as painful.

Chene' is being a quiet comfortable presence as he sleeps behind me on my chair waiting for me to move to the loom so he can sleep and gnaw on his black pillow to the side of the treadles. There is no peace in the house Rya has seen to that this year. I have chosen not to put ornaments on the tree, but have a tree for the smell. Rya is too untamed and Chene' feels the need to steal everything before Rya can tear it up. The training squirt bottle is working overtime on both of them. Rya has a kitten's energy and we are all his toy from dawn tell the middle of the night. So we hide in the studio silently doing our thing.

Then their is Christmas vacation race to see and do everything before tax season starts and Spencer has to work 12-13 hour days doing taxes. Of course, this all so produces good things in a great hurry. We went to opera on Saturday to see Tales of Hoffman. Loved it. I really liked the muse and the thoughts about doing art-the rebirth of art. etc. Today we saw Avatar. It was incredible. The Naby were so Lakota like and in a way reminiscent of half a dozen movies about plains Indians and a healthy dose of Joesph Campbell mono myth. Wes Studi played the father. AND then you see the credits and realized the movie was made in New Zealand. Talk about universals-or not. -I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had taken my other path as a cartoonist and animator when I was 20.

Christmas we will see Sherlock Holmes and then spend a couple of days at the coast. Then with the new year I will work long days because Spencer will be working long days and often 6-7 days a week. I do have a couple of students coming to the studio for instruction to break up the long days of waiting for the tax season to end.

I have been spending my spare time trying to get a handle on my soumack and brocade stuff-handouts. I have decided I am going to put them into the form of a monograph that I can sale. I have so many people asking for more information on the lines and soumack that I do. I am including some pictures of what I have been studying lately. I want to do diagrams and pictures. It just seems like at times so much information to get ready for the handouts. Way too much for people to take notes on in a workshop, but not so much to take home and look at another day once having been introduced to the techniques . All this should be ready by the time i teach at at the Northern California weavers conference. Turkish brocade

Brocade Afghani bag and more patterned soumack

Line Soumack-vertical

Brocade or inlay

Guess that's all for now. The last sunset was taken about 10 minutes after the first sunset picture at Yaquina Bay on a perfect Winter day.

Celebrate the solstice!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Between and Betwixt

Between, in the middle of, at intervals, in the midst of, among, betwixt, interjascence, etc, etc, etc. Things barely started and nothing near finishing or even begun enough to have a definitive personality. ..which always seems to morph into waiting, biding time, attend,anticipating, mark time, delay, tarry, lurking, hovering, dangling, wait in suspense,be left hanging...boredom and depression. Well, guess that pretty much covers my feelings for the last week or so. Think I better leave the thesaurus alone for a while. Just another way of killing time is to play the curious game with a book, but so much fun.

Now that I have written the words it feels almost humorous or possibly ironic. They sounds so static and lacking in energy-lackadaisical-almost. I still put in 8 hour + days. I have just added things like holidays, company, shipping times, cooking, Doctor appointments, research and writing.

I decided to start over on one of the Kona Balcony sunsets. I love the photos and the colours I took while setting on the veranda/balcony. Last Friday the electricity went out for about 5 hours. Fortunately, i had finished cooking our Friday Thanksgiving dinner eating in the dark was interesting. I was able to get out my collection of kerosene lamps to helpwith the darkness. My Father-Grampa- couldn't come on Thanksgiving because of a very long standing commitment to deliver Thanksgiving diners to the Elderly and infirm. He's 84. I am not quite sure when he things elderly starts. So, we changed diner to Friday. So when it got to cold we went to see the movie 2012. I kept laughing about valcanos and sky. They really needed a better colourist.
I had been away so long finishing so many chances I had lost the colours in my head. So I am resetting up the warp to start over. I'll need to finish it in the next week or two, because we will be photographing warping the Shannock loom for the So warped book Pat and I are writing.
Part of my research for this week has been the warp weighted loom. When i was requesting photo's of various tapestry looms Fireside Looms offered me a photo of the Sami warp weighted loom. The photo on the left is actually from wikipedia and is a Icelandic loom. I have had a sort of background low key fascination with warp weighted looms since I was at OKAC formerly known as OSAC doing undergraduate work. Marlene Kerrigan who taught Craft history showed slides of Greek pottery with warp weighted looms incised and or painted on the vases. Of course their is also the story of Penelope and Ulysses and of archaeological finds of viking loom weights and weaving. Pat who has a a really good background in Scandinavian weaving informed me that the warping begins with a rep weave that stabilizes and creates the top selvedge. The wefts of the rep become the warps for the tapestry or other weaving that can then be rolled around the top beam with the weighted warps hanging down the front of the loom. I am going to set up a small warp weighted loom. The process is totally fascinating to me. Beating is done with a two handed batten, so, any tapestry would need to be woven straight across the fell line and not up or down in this case.
Adventures of a Beginning Silversmith

Well this is as far as I have gotten. It's starting to come together. The top is laid out. One side is finished and the two sides are ready to sew together. My way of getting around pieces that are two large for me to handle. The pieces will be stitched together with gold thread/wire.

You can sort of make out the letters of the word miracles on the right side of the black paper. The green looking stones are Peruvian Opal and the other stones are died agate. These are the two tapestries that will be inside the box when I finish. Today almost became a little two exciting. I learned several valuable lessons. One, always work with shoes on. Two, always check the torch fittings and make sure they are tight. Three, Remember where the shut off valve is and reach for it first. Four, move fast, panic later. Five, Remembering, it's a good thing to keep Chene' in the house and not the studio when working with silver. No matter how much he wants to be in the studio.

Other then a melted floor, a few flames and scaring myself half to death nothing bad happened. A fitting on my torch head came loose and exploded/popped off the supply line in my hands and I dropped the flaming torch and pieces of the torch on the floor. Andy is going to check my torch for me to make sure I didn't damage anything and I am good to go. Probably not necessary for any reason other then my sanity. Valuable lessons learned without a lot of damage. Andy checked it a few minutes ago and taught me a little more. Helped me mark directions on the tank for turning off the valves. Gave everything a clean bill of and health and I am good to go again.

I am making great strides on a new monograph on Soumack and tapestry. I decided that my handouts for my class at ASCH 2010 were getting to be so many that perhaps they would make a good monogragh. I think I may also be teaching a variation of the class at the Eugene Textile Center. I have had several students come to the studio wanting to learn how I do my lines which are soumack and lacing. This week I also finished writing the chapter on the Old Believer tapestry loom. We just need to photograph the process for So Warped. Pat completed several major sections and layout on warping.

I had two small mentions in national Magazines- Fiberarts for an ATA award and An article about Small Expressions. There is a photo of one of the 3 pieces I had in Small Expressions.
Guess that's all for now.

Bye for now!