Sunday, January 31, 2010

bit by bit, inch by inch

Today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining. There is a promise and perhaps a hint of spring-pregnant with waiting. The camellia buds are swelling. I saw the first of my Grandmothers violets of the season. The moss in the side yard is beautifully green. The last week or two has been busy, dreary, tax season and solitary in the evenings. I am definitely ready for a trip to the coast, seeing a movie or going to the opera-Anything!! that doesn't take place in my home, yard or studio. Spencer is working 50-60 hours a week doing taxes-probably a good thing. He seems to enjoy the people he does taxes with. Even closing in on 45 years I enjoy his company and friendship and miss im when we don't get a chance to talk and do things together.

The ducks are starting to migrate over the house. Chene' is chasing them as they pass over the yard. He's got this thing about geese and airplanes. He has great hearing. Spencer thinks I should be grateful that he only chases flying geese and airplanes. He starts barking and running towards them before we can even hear them. Wry/Rya is back from becoming an "it" and hernia surgery. The results of the hernia surgery have turned him into a leaping ballet dancer with incredible karate chops and jumps. Usually done and around the dog for maximum exsposure and impressive value. Chene' is learning not to try and follow him, anymore over the furniture. Chene' drops like a rock trying to follow Wry/Rya graceful jumps and ascents. Chine’s ungraceful splats can be heard all over the house.  Can't seem to get it across that belly flops should be done in water and not hardwood floors.
I am proofing the galley for the So Warped book.
 Pat's illustrations are incredible. I wish I had been lucky enough to have a book like this when I started tapestry weaving. Especially since I didn't come at tapestry as a weaver, but as a surface embellisher (old term for surface design). Everyone just assumed I knew how to warp a loom. I can't tell how many times I reinvented the proverbial wheel.  At this point it is around 90 pages and still growing, BUT, Pat and I can see the end of the process. In some ways this has been the hardest of the books because it isn't actually about technique and a new program had to be learned-In Design by Pat. I like the fact that it's has no frills, but is loaded with information and packed with pictures and illustrations.

The last month has been difficult. Pat has been recuperating from 2 surgeries and I have had some type of atypical something that has still left everyone wondering.  I feel fine now and am back to exercising and my better Bones and Balance class. Everything always seems to be behind or running toward major deadlines.

Yesterday I realized that I don't have a piece for the next ATA small format show that fits within the 100 square inch perimeters. I still have a year, but with small format the year slips away really fast. My Orange Kona piece is only half done, but at least it's the hard half. It will be going to ATA unjuried small format show-Enchanted.

I am building a galvanized pipe loom to photograph for the book and to illustrate the Gobelin heddles I used to use all of the time.finall figured out that a entretoise just means arched template.  Of course back then I loved sitting on the floor and weaving. Now I want a chair and cushions for my hip. I started weaving on a galvinized pipe loom in 1978-79. I wove on clear up[ into the 90's.  It was before I could afford my Shannock. It's so easy to put together and adapt and inexpensive. I spent several hours picking up pieces for the loom yesterday. I think the Home Depot people were glad to get rid of me by the time I found all of my bits and pieces for the loom. Things have changed since I built my last galvanized pipe loom. They barely carry galvanized pipe anymore. Everything has moved to copper or plastic pipe.

I think of all the looms I have been trying and researching I am beginning to really like my new Mirrix-best. I loved my hagen, but it's to difficult to get anymore. The heddle system and treadles on the mirrix is quite unique and portable. I am not so fond of reaching up and shifting by hand each shed, but the treadles do away with that problem. I find it to slow and it irritates the scar tissue from my hand surgeries to do for very long at a time.  With the treadles I don't need to worry about my shoulders or my hand pulling treadles or shifting the heddle bar. Also a definite plus when I am demonstrating to students both hands are free to point and weave. I am starting the thinking process for weaving a tapestry on it. Maybe I will weave two tapestries side by side so that I can practice taking one off and continuing weaving on its companion.

Both the Kona piece and “He who Tells...”have some interesting colour phenomena’s that I photographed and am trying to weave in the two pieces. In “He who tells...”I was photographing on Mary’s Peak at sunset what I am now using as the background for the piece and an interesting flash effect occurred. The green grass and trees suddenly flashed red. I was actually able to photograph the happening. I am trying to weave the effect in the background. By rights if you mix red and green you come up with grey or a muddy brown at a distance. I am using chine’s to try and get the effect of the red and green as they mixed in the photo. Logically your mind tells you can't do that because grass and trees are green or red. It almost shimmers. But it's amazing how the two colours when mixed on a bobbin and then woven become one colour and blend together. The Kona orange piece is a mixture of blue and orange to get a slightly foggy appearance as the colours blend together in the hatches and the Chinés. There is black foliage in front of the sunset that makes the orange appear particular bright. The thing that really interested me was the orange didn't seem to affect the bushes and the houses in the fore front. The colour splashes and houses all stayed magenta and turquoise-rather cool contrast to the intense oranges and blues.

The real problem with these colour mixes is they never photograph well or simply disappear in the photo of the work. One ends up trying to explain how the effect is really there, but you can't see it in the photo or slide. They need to be seen in person to get the correct effect. The blending is so subtle especially with the small needle thread tapestries. In some ways the colour relationships defines how you wish to use technique. Is the technique more important than replicating the picture or the design the design? Is there a difference or a new paradigm being created between architectonic, graphic, colour usage and blending almost photo realistic work? Is this starting to take the place in the tapestries some of us create? Well, at least mine. It's definitely a move away from the bold simplified designs that were woven in the past and ruled by Lurçat's dictates about what good tapestry should be. Based on the premise that all colours fade thier for the technique will become the design rather then the colour elements. To me it's more of a revisit to tapestries of the late 1700's a way from the tapestry designs of the apocalypse and earlier. For me and my tapestries not a bad idea!
I wish I could figure out this new blogger problem. It  seems to have a bunch of new features and no spell check.   What is it about us that always wants to change things whether they need it or not.  
Tell next time cheers and all


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stuff and the not so exciting stuff

Not as far as I would like to be, but with the studio cleaning and all of the other things i have had to do i at least have the hachures set up and the lace begun. if one looks really closely in some of the squares you can see the long jump diagonal soumack i am using to create the x's in the lace. i am still deciding if i like it. Many of the diagonal crossbars are a little over .5 inches. the float of the soumack rides on the surface of the tapestry and adds a raised effect. it looks very much like embroidered cross stitch, but isn't.

The Kona orange tapestry is a little further. i think it is the tapestry that i am going to send into the ATA unjuried show. Good thing i only have to send in the entry form and not the piece.
It's that time of the year when I do resolutions, goal/ guilt setting stuff, and scrunge out the studio. It's been a little harder this last week or so because I seem to have an inflamed nerve in a new place-my ear and scalp. O, well-could be worse-maybe. At least I am not dead and still have the energy to complain work and shake my fist at fate...Talk about trite sounding. I really don't like woe is me, but it seems to be my mood.
For the year I am doing a photo journal-one picture a day and a couple of comments about design. I really wanted to do a daily weaving journal, but realized how impossible that might be when I take off and travel days to weeks at a time several times a year. I really didn't want to set myself up for failure. I do enough of that accidentally with out planning it into a project. AND, doing a weaving journal entry ever day that I weave. I hate loosing the ideas that come unbidden and leave when not honoured. The photo journal is something i have wanted to do for a long time. I like the discipline of deadlines. Since it seems I have discipline only if i set a deadline to finish something. I think I have the personality of a grasshopper rather then the ant in the fable. Which would I rather be-ant grasshopper or butterfly? It is an endless debate as I get older. I know there is no butterfly in the fable, but I think there should be-look at the Monarch butterfly they get vacation in the mountains of Mexico-let alone flit around from flower to flower or idea to idea with no real responsibility. I wonder how long it would take before I was to bored to function?

Please note the reaction i sometimes get from the guys in the peanut gallery before i get my shots in for the day. Fortunately, they are usually in the mood to humour me as i try for one last perfect shot. Love you guys for your patience.

The good news is that the tapestry studio is just about scrunged out and reorganized. I look at some of the things that we have liberated from the corners. The ubiquitous plastic boxes I put everything into in hopes that by hiding it in a plastic box I can deal with it later-an unidentified later, of course. Seems i might be a closet hoarder, but in denial. My logic seems to be that if I put it into something I am really not hoarding. There once was a TV show called Weird, Indiana that had the lady next door storing everything including her children in "foreverware" with whom I tend to identify with. The same town that had a secret department for lost things--in "the loser" episode that all sock pairs missing one sock go to. You know the one sock that is always missing from a pair. The same department that hangers go to breed and take over or disappear into to every time you need one in a hurry. Another stash I wonder about is the cord saving place that we save all cords in because we might need the cord someday, but really have no clue to its relationship to any piece of equipment that is now in the studio or may be in the studio in the future. The cords last longer then the equipment it was meant to be used on. Or the stacks of magazines and papers I might need someday that just gets taller and forgotten because that time hasn't been yet, but when you do need it you have either forgotten you have it or has mysteriously hidden between something. Something and cannot be found for love or money. Added a resolution that I will date all strange pieces of paper and put names by all phone numbers that I write on slips of paper for future reference. ( (ASIDE) Sorry I decided I wanted to look it up and it is Eerie, Indiana not Weird Indiana even though there is one.) Also, Chene' seems to have found a new dessert wrapped electrical cords, but the cord has to be wrapped in a neat coil. He doesn't touch attached cords. He chews through the coils so it ends up in thousands of little pieces waiting to disintegrate when least expected or wanted.

I am slowly weaving on my two pieces. The large format piece isn't difficult. It just seems so large in scale. I keep wondering if I am really comfortable weaving this size-10 epi. I look at the maquette which is exactly half the size of the large format piece and wonder if it would really have been too much to weave a 2 foot tall needle thread tapestry at 20 epi. Then I think what and where would I use it? It wouldn't fit the criteria of any show or exhibit that I enter. Probably not true, but it would be a hassle to find where it belongs. Sometimes weaving the lace feels so coarse, but it is exactly twice the size in warp sett-10 epi. Everything is twice the size of a 20 epi piece. but it feels odd. i will be interesting to see if it still feels over sized in a square foot or two.

Guess there is till no place like home even if you have to scrunge it out and reorganize it very occasionally.

Cheers for now!

HOME! Small format tapestry-20 epi-sewing thread. This is actually my backyard from a hill not to far from here.