Friday, December 6, 2013

Beginnings and ending And not so much-yet

I wish I could figure out how time can be the slowest thing in the world o800px-Ambre_Dominique_Moustiquer the fastest-the speed of light(186,000mph) and or like the slow dripping of molasses and/or amber(mpgh-miles per best guess an hour) on a cold day-sometimes with the ability to happen  simultaneously.
I am better then a fourth done with my next piece. It’s at the stage that it’s becoming fun to weave. The decisions have been made and it should work out just fine. I usually hold my breath until I get this DSCN1077far. The second loom is warped and ready for the smaller pieces. Sometime this weekend I’ll spend time warping a loom for a student that is coming to stay for a few days to study  here in the workshop.

These two smoky sunset pictures were taken by Trish Heath a friend  of mine who generously lent them to me for use for cartoons. My camera was 1209207_10200712010465781_802649779_n1185594_10200712009065746_947326968_npacked and I couldn’t retrieve it in time. So I didn’t get any shots of this incredible sunset.These will be the bases for my 3 inch by 3 inch series called Elements
Nice surprise today. It’s snowing! AND,  sticking around for a bit. I guess winter really is here and autumn is gone. Snow is  little  bit of a rarity in the part of Oregon I live in-especially to accumulate 4-6 inchesDSCN1075 and hang around a bit.   Biggest surprise-Chene loves theDSCN1074e snow. He wandered all over the yard and side walk, jumping through 6-7 inch drifts. Didn’t even whine about his cold bear belly. He has a six inch square bald spot between his back legs and on his abdomen that he tries very desperately to keep warm and dry most of the time.  So does this mean I have to climb up on a letter and remove the snow from the solar panels?
“Small” aside-
 Rebecca Metzoff has a very interesting blog on her Grandmother’s bobbins. It started out with an entry for October 4 and her new blog has some interesting pictures and text from  a pamphlet -Rug Weaving, Dryad Leaflet No. 85, Dryad Handicrafts, Northgates, Leichester. Printed in England by the Blackfriars Press Ltd, Leicester.

Beginnings and endings-
First, the logic of even needing to do anything with ends and tails-
Double sided or not. The difference-ends on the back oDSCN1078r double sided or both. Left is a photo of the back of one of my pieces with the ends left hanging. Right is a very fine double sided tapestry-probably used as a wall to divide up space. in a large room. It may be Scandinavian-maybe. DSCN1070The third and or clinker is a rya edge that has purposely been woven or tied or knotted so the ends could hang out and the tapestry has the ends hanging off the back side.
Secondly,Some materials need to be secured more then others or you're going to have weft ends where you don’t want them hanging off edges or on the front of the tapestry.
Tradition and Romance-There is a whole  thing about damp castle walls and wear naturally felting the ends and protecting the back of the tapestry from wear. Occasionally rumoured or hinted at on the opposite end as a protector against wear on sand.
Does it work?  Who knows? But, I probably won’t live long enough to ever find out if it worked on one of my tapestries. So I rather error on the side of doing too much instead of too like. I pig tail everything.     There are many weft materials that do not have enough fuzz or loft  or along enough staple to do this even over time. The rayon's, silks and embroidery floss and dressmakers threads I use will not felt/full or stay put.
There are basically 5 traditions maybe 4 depending on whose logic is applied for finishing weft beginnings and endings.So this is what I think.
1. Leave the weft hanging on the back of the tapestry and do nothing.
2. The overhand knot to secure ends left hanging. Can be done with a pigtail or without. If I am  using a lot of slick yarns in my weft bundle. I will sometimes do both. I was taught this by one of my Gobelin instructors, but I am not sure if it is really part of the Gobelin tradition.DSCN1047

Overhand knot. Use the tip of the bottom to snug it up tight against the back of the tapestry. Can be done from the front or the back when your weaving
3. Gobelin style using a pig tail or an overhand knot to  keep the weft ends on the back of the tapestry and then cut short.This can be reversed so that one can do it from the front of the tapestry, which is what the diagrams are portraying. MAINLY--because I   now work from the front and teach people to weave from the front. But I used this same technique to weave from the back for over 10 years. Ends trimmed to about .5 inches after the tapestry is finished or while still on the loom as you go. Pig tails can easily done for the front or back of a tapestry.
 That said What I have found when I am teaching is that pigtails are either the easiest thing in the world to do or the hardest.
The diagram below  is of pigtails reversed from working on the back to how to do them from the front. 
The trick  have found is to remember that you always need to be aware of whether the warp thread is a hill or valley. If the pig tail is going to be on a hill thread it goes behind 2. If it’s going to be on a valley thread it goes behind one warp.
Here are some pictures that I hope will help-DSCN1016
note this one goes behind one warp thread

This is behind two warp threads


   3. For double sided or reversible tapestries or just to anchor the weft threads.  This is the wispy  weft thingy where ends are graded at an angle and laid with the ends or tails on each other. Doesn’t really have a name.  It’s all done as one weaves. Related to Navajo and some Middle Eastern cultures. Some have hypothesized that  this technique might have been brought to the America’s by the Spaniards. Usually by those who forget that there was already a tapestry weaving culture in the America's long before Europeans arrived.
DSCN1051Ending Threads on the fell line are tapereDSCN1054d and or graded at an angle. Weft bundle is cut at an angle or graded.
DSCN1055Weft threads are laid on top of of tapered wefts on fail line in the same shed.DSCN1058

Woven over weft  holds the ends in place in place.
This can also be done  by snapping or pulling a singles thread between your fingers instead of using scissorsDSCN1059. The two ends of the singles yarn will  fuzz out and taper out to nothing.


note the two tapered ends are laid in the same shed and then beaten down.
4. Weft ends are needled in down the warp channel that’s created by the over and under of the weaving process. Probably a Scandinavian tradition of beginnings and endings in Aklae and Rolakken.
DSCN1040DSCN1043The needle with the weft end being needled down through the channel by the warp

In real life I probably would have gone down several more wefts and all trace of the black would have disappeared when beaten in. This can be done while weaving or when the weaving is finished on or off the loom depending on personal preference.
5. There are two variations of this one. I really wish I had photos of both these processes, but I don’t. 
      The first is to leave the ends hanging on either the front and back. AND, then fulling the tapestry by washing machine, beating it on a rock with mild soap and water.( Fulling is a process that increases the compactness of a woven woolen fabric by subjecting it to , moisture, heat, friction until the fabric shrinks between 2-5 percent or more.Shrinkage should occur in both the warp and weft.) This traps the ends. One then comes back and trims the ends to the surface of the tapestry. If you brush the wool surface gently all of the fuzzy will disappear into the surface. This works best on woolens. Less so on worsted wefts. Not at all on Cottons, Silks and Rayon's and linen threads.
The second variation is Turkish and before you react with stunned disbelief(my first reaction) I do have a DVD of this process. Everything is the same until the fulling is finished. It was first place into a centrifugal spinner with soap and water.  The tapestry is laid out wet on a hard surface. More soap and water are applied.  A very brushy, sooty, orange/red flame thrower is then used to scorch the surface of the tapestry. It burns off the ends turning the surface of the tapestry black. The tapestry is then thoroughly rinsed of all residue of soap and scorch. The torching doesn’t affect the original colour and the black rinses off.
All that Said-Here are my reasons for securing the weft ends with a pigtail or a knot or even using a fulling process or a needle process to control and ends.
1. Tails have a tendency to move to the surface of a tapestry or come loose, hang out as a thread on the surface and look funky and if just cut off will leave a little puff of weft ends on the surface. It most often happens in an exhibit or when you photograph a piece. Very embarrassing . It’s an unspoken law of the universe you never catch them until it’s too late and way to embarrassing.
2. If a loose end is cut off it can unravel back past the next warp and change the design.
3.If not taken care of properly sometimes an end will wiggle loose enough to leave a small loop on the surface of a tapestry and snag.
4. There’s always the one client who will take an unclothed vacuum to the surface of a textile and suck out an unsecured tail.
3. Sometimes you want to make sure that a half pass or a demi duite maintains it’s integrity as every other thread when ending a line of demi duite
Last, but not least. I have found some new samples of the soumack and brocading techniques. They are beautiful Iranian rugs. I am getting a huge stack of new to me techniques to learn about and study. I’ll be writing more about these later.
This rug is 48 inches by 48 inches with a tapestry woven back ground. All designs are soumack or brocading.

The two bottom photos are the end detail and the central portion of a 9 foot by 2 foot runner of some sort. It is  tapestry woven with soumack and brocading.


That’s more then enough for now!
I kept my promise to several students about beginnings and endings and the elusive pigtail.

as bad as cat when it comes to being right where the action isDSCN1084
Bye for now,

Sunday, November 10, 2013

At Last Autumn is here

DSC_0378 (2)Autumn is here. Autumn is magic. One day Everything  dissolves into fire and light and then disappears into the wind and rain the next.  Leaving only the most tenacious waiting for the next storm to finish the job. To me the light is often more intense then a clear sunny August day.  On a trDSC_0338 (2)ip to Sisters-and, yes that is the name of a town not a trip to siblings- and over the Santiam Pass the colours were so intense often reflected against a deep green of the ever greens or from areas gone grey and then green from past forest fires. By the time we came home, i felt that my eyes had been burned out and needed  to rest in a dark room for a week. Every time I closed my eyes I was left with and after burn/ after image of the opposite colour. An interesting phenomena that happens when one stares at a given colour too long. You perceive it's opposite on the colour wheel.(see box below for a real scientific explanation that isn’t based on emotion)  I want to  memorialize the colours and use them in a  tapestry mixing them into incredible Chene's and mélanges-bobbin blending at it’s best...
DSC_0355 (2)There  is a particular red  that i have been trying to achieve for what seems like a million years. A cool red that darkens into a  a deep DSC_0340 (2)maroon or purple with a hint of a Deep turquoise green  and a hint of salmon.

Actually, who am I kidding there is also a salmon colour that dissolves to yellow-green. I haven't been able to capture.And, the list goes on to several other almost unrepeatable colours. I have more luck i think with the optical blending using bobbin blends then a dyer has trying to create the colours in dying the yarns for my wefts. My bobbin blends don’t turn to muddy colours like some dyes do when trying to copy these colours.  Should try to be less smug about it, but optical blending on a bobbin is pretty cool.
THE WHY OF IT. Negative afterimages are caused when the eye's photoreceptors, primarily those known as cone cells, adapt from the overstimulation and lose sensitivity.[1] Normally, the eye deals with this problem by rapidly moving small amounts (see: microsaccade), the motion later being "filtered out" so it is not noticeable. However, if the color image is large enough that the small movements are not enough to change the color under one area of the retina, those cones will eventually tire or adapt and stop responding. The rod cells can also be affected by this.
When the eyes are then diverted to a blank space, the adapted photoreceptors send out a weak signal and those colors remain muted. However, the surrounding cones that were not being excited by that color are still "fresh", and send out a strong signal. The signal is exactly the same as if looking at the opposite color, which is how the brain interprets it.[citation needed]
Swiped from Wikipedia

Working on clarity and specifics- It was time to journal again and create goals.
I amDSCN0947 at a time in my life like no other. So,  Pat and I spent a couple of days at the coast along with Chene. Whose only concerned was and where is next treat was coming from and with not getting his feet and belly wet needlessly.  After all it is Autumn at the coast. Some times distance and solitude are needed to put things into proper or even a new  light and a time to figure out what is dross and should be allowed  to fall away. It' was also a time of getting away  from  the clutter that has occurred mentally over the last year and to define a new mental space when the old rules and things are no longer applicable because life has radically altered for me-once again.
IMG_0570        It was a good time  to revamp and create a new workable schedule-My weaving time was always disappearing as I worked down lists of relevant needful things to do that were eating in to my non scheduled weaving times. Give me list and I’ll work it through until it’s finished no matter what I really want to do.  So, Monday is silver, Tuesday is Fine Fiber Press book woIMGrk, lunch for updating the week  and writing projects with Pat, Thursday afternoon is Gallery Calapooia and i have scheduled my weaving time, which always works for me. It allows me to say no and tell all to go away so I can weave and  do those things necessary for my weaving.  This new schedule should allow me 4-8 hours a day for weaving. Sort of reminds me of my grandmother’s embroidered tea towels with something for everyday. We all knew which day she was doing what.
I am now at a place to begin my new tapestries-Hallelujah, etc etc. But first- Now is the time when I spend a little- a lot  of my thought process analyzing what I think I could have done better or maybe not so much better-- as should have/could have done differently.  I finished the forever
  "7 times 7..." almost dog piece and photographed it in
time for entering the ATA DSC_0326exhibit. I was a very doubtful that i would get it finished andDSC_0303 photographed in time. Perhaps doubtful it will even be juried into the show, but I needed a deadline to work towards. I like the design and it's well woven, but there are things in it's weft construction I probably won't do again.
      It was almost impossible to get a decent photo because of the high amount of silk and rayon in it. I took the photo's over 12 times. Let alone the same amount of times or more for the details.  My Nikon Color pix couldn’t deal with the silk and weave structure at all. Myrayon floss and silk larger Nikon D-60 did slightly better, but had a tendency to darken all of the colours and moiré.They-rayon/silk- have this thing that they do better known as the  "moiré effect" that happens with a higher rate of frequency the more silk and rayon  that is mixed in with the cottons and embroidery flosses in the weft bundles. This piece seemed to be darker when photographed. I was hoping for lighter and a sheen from the rayon and silk. Didn’t happen!
One of the things I discovered in this piece is I am not particularly fond of the effect of silk and rayon in the tapestry weave process. At 20 epi the distance over a warp thread to the under the warp thread isn't large enough to maximize the visual effect that rayon and silk have over a longer distance.  Instead of shiny reflection one gets a hard look in some cases an almost straw look. I discovered this also happens when using the thin cut layers of silver used in obis and saganishiki for weaving into tapestry. And ,then ,of course almost worst  but in a different way are the moiré pattern that are created digitally when photographed. The bobbins were a nightmare. Always tangling. Handling the weft bundles was best done by not putting them on a bobbin and tying  an over hand knot every 8 inches.
(see section below that i wrote on bobbins)
Moiré effects-again liberated from Wikipedia

Moiré patterns are often an undesired artifact of images produced by various digital imaging and computer graphics techniques, for example when scanning a halftone picture or ray tracing a checkered plane (the latter being a special case of aliasing, due to under sampling a fine regular pattern).[1] This can be overcome in texture mapping through the use of mip-mapping and anisotropic filtering.
…The lines could represent fibers in moiré silk, or lines drawn on paper or on a computer screen. The nonlinear interaction of the optical patterns of lines creates a real and visible pattern of roughly parallel dark and light bands, the moiré pattern, superimposed on the lines.[2] 
… One of the most important properties of shape moiré is its ability to magnify tiny shapes along either one or both axes, that is, stretching

DSCN1000The design is now together and I started wcaution tapeweaving a piece that will be 12 x 12 inches. IT tells'/has a didactic feel and memorializes some thought that I had about my Dad’s life .Perhaps, a narrative about my fathers life.   I wanted to use some caution tape, but didn't have any pieces to work from. Came home one day and found the contractor had tied off thDSCN1001e  sidtruckewalk to keep people away from the scaffolding they were using while working on the soffits. So I have lots of pictures of draping caution tape.If you look carefully you can see the image of the truck and the caution tape on the cartoon behind he warp.
  I am also working on a series of small tapestries. The series is going to be called elements. Most will be about 3 inches x 3 inches and/or 2 x2 inches just be bits and pieces of things I like, but really don't need to put into a larger tapestry. But, Have Always wanted to weave just for the fun of it.  Another reason-not the real reason for doing them-just  part of the nagging thought process  of why not and what for this series is. Since i have been at Gallery Calapooia i am being asked if I do less expensive  pieces for the beginner collector. One of the conclusions i came to while going through my journals is that I have oodles of small drawings,  and photos of what i call bits and pieces that I would love the challenge myself with weaving, but never fit in to any particular design. So why not? Just for the shear pleasure and fun of doing or weaving bits and pieces that take smaller amounts of time. 

On the tapestry list the subject of bobbins circles around about every other year. There's always the discussion of why use them, why choose specific bobbins and such_edited-1ones , how do you use them, why not needles, are they worth cost,appropriate size, etc, etc, etc.
SO I thought I would  list the reasons, show examples of bobbin shapes and sizes, needles, and a few do's and probably nots, etc.
reasons for using a bobbin-
When i compile a list such as this, I wish people would understand their are no tapestry police. There's no right or wrong only what works and what is comfortable to the individual. NO ones going to demand that you stop weaving tapestries just because you don’t do it in a specific way with specific tools and looms.
So here are the reasons I use bobbins--
1 And, let's get it out of the way. Bobbins  ARE not a butterfly or a needle. hallelujah! I am butterfly challenged and hate needles.
2. Bobbins organize weft bundles.
3.Bobbins help keep the weft  bundles cleaner. Less likely to pick up oil from the fingers, debris and dust then when weft is long and hanging from the fell line.
4. protects the weft bundle as it is drawn through the warp.  Less wear on the weft bundle. 
5.  I
n advanced tapestry weaving -it allows you to twist the weft bundle to produce different densities of colour  by twisting the weft bundles tighter or looser between the fell line and the bobbin.
6. Saves time.Less chance of tangling yarns and needing to untangle. Unless of course your working with multiple wefts of silk or rayon, which will tighten down on the wrapped threads on a bobbin and tangle in a whole new way when you try to get more weft from the wrapped bundle.
7. Ergonomically easier on the hands then a needle or a butterfly. Your fingers are not grasping and pulling small elements that can hurt the hands over time.
8. Bobbins will not accidentally pierce a warp.

9.Less wear on the weft as great amounts of it are used or pulled through the sheds. Wool and delicate threads will wear, become fuzzy and become less(wear) when pulled or unwoven over and over. 
10. Point of the bobbin can be used to place weft, pull down the bubble, DSCN0331hold a weft in place or move a warp.

11. The  side of the bobbin  can be used  to very effectively  scrape a weft bundle into place along a fell line. 
12 .Bobbins helps control the loopies and unevenness that can occur in weft bundles left hanging and then picked up to be woven.

13. Once you get used to them you can weave faster.
14. Bones-a type of bobbin without a point are less likely to fall through low warp looms and all of the above applies when using bones.
15. Bobbins are faster because you can change the direction with one hand and you only need to use one tool to move the weft along. Instead of several.
16. If you really get into large amounts of thread on a bobbin there are machines that can feel the bobbin-depending on the size of bobbin used. I have found though that my Swedish Bobbins will hold about 1.5 yards of 4-5 strands of wool. More then enough even on my largest pieces that
I have woven on.

17 the smaller the bobbin down to a certain size the faster you can push it through the shed and turn for the next half pass or demi duite.
Cons- 1. The right size for the hand or the loom can be difficult to find-Fine Fiber Press is a good source for different sizes.
2. Tips aren't meant be used to pry with and can be broken. New tips can be sharpened, use an awl, or get a brassy bob. Expensive, but you really only need one-or two-not all brassy bobs or a small palm awl will also suffice.
3. There usage is a learned skill. AND, people who use needles are often relating back to already learned skills and aren’t interesting in attempting to take the time to learn a new skill. Or, occasionally,  in some cases find it easier to manipulate because of lack of strength or other hand issues. I find that using  needles exasperates my hand issues.
4. Pointed bobbins don’t work really well on low warp looms-Point falls though easily-use bones or flutes that are meant for low warp looms.

5. Need to learn to use bobbins  in a specific way to make them practical-nob always goes through shed first. going point first grabs warps from the other shed.
5. Bobbins can run away. Learn the trick of hitching over the knob and it all stops and you can easily pull the thread off the bobbin for weaving.
1. Check out where the spindle that the weft will be wrapped around. It needs to have a bit of substance. Yes, those bad bobbins are beautiful and graceful looking, but are not built to function over the long term. Plastic bobbins are cheap, but extremely fragile and not terribly practical over time and most of the tips suck because they are the wrong shape to go between the warps easily and who wants to stay in contact for long hours with plastic. Check where the spindle attaches to the barrel. It has to be attached in such away that it’s not fragile and can stand up to being pulled on and with stand pressure from the fingers.
2 It needs to be hard wood. Soft woods break easily and wear with weaving. Best bets are cherry, oak or maple-all hard woods.
3. If the tip of a bobbin breaks, don’t chuck it repoint with a jack knife or carving knife.
4. Stay away from heavily oiled and treated woods. Remember they will be in contact with your hands and the wefts for long periods of time. Finishes don't stay on long. They wear off with use.
5. Stay away from endangered rain forest woods. Don’t create a market for the woods. Usually hard woods from the rainforest are dense and heavier then oak, maple or cherry. If a tip breaks they are hard to repoint and save.
6. If someone tells you the bobbins are from recycled woods, ask the person if the woods that were recycled were ever painted or were from marine salvaged wood. Lead based paints and other not so  chemicals can be found on recycled woods.Know where those recycled woods came from before you buy.
7. If you are just starting don’t go out and by several dozen bobbins just because those are the ones your instructor used. Buy one of several different sizes until you find the one that works for your hand. Companies such as FFP will allow you to trade them back for the ones that do work for you. Once you’ve found the one that feels good buy them by bulk. Usually there is a substantial discount. Or go in with a friend.
DSC_0396 (2)That’s all for now!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

of Cabbages and kings-nonce words and neologisms-and multi tasking

"The time has come," the Walrus said,DSCN0303
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings."
Through the Looking-Glass

Slight correction
There's got to be a morning after bThere’s got  to be a morning After part b

There’s got to be a morning after part A
entry1,Todd-Hooker,kathe, There has to be a morning afterpart1Making a small correction to the Tapestry Topics 2013 Fall issue. Part B was not in the Firestorm Exhibit. The confusion happened when I sent the two jpegs of the pieces to Tapestry Topics for the article I wrote on weaving tapestries in series –A Series of Studies on Changing Light  and  an exhibition review  Cheryl Rinker--Woven Together Firestorm. The two pieces  were conceived as a series, but part b was not finished until after the deadline so only part A was submitted and was in the exhibit. They were both used to illustrate the Review of the Firestorm exhibit.
  Due Diligence-really!
DSCN0280I should finish this piece by Friday.(editorial comment-I lied. It probably won’t be finished until I get back from Alaska-too many annoying  details conspired against my having any weaving time this week. Even this blog has taken 3 days longer then it should have. )   It feels DSCN0288like I have been weaving on it for ever. Well, maybe I have. I guess it depends on the def. of forever. Long enough-anyway. It’s fast approaching the rank of a “Dog on the loom.” My only is excuse is I used the time to finish my remodel and write a legal proposal for ending certain provisions in my Dad’s estate .. .Sounds a little like the dog ate my homework, but even Chene wouldn’t eat this piece. DSCN0298There’s only 2 days left of having contractors all over the place. The fence is done.  New sign is up. The roof is one-ones soffit with vents and a drain pipe to go.  All done before the autumn rains set in. Even though every time we tried  to do  work that shouldn’t get wet… The rains poured in torrential record breaking amounts.  We even struck water when digging the post holes.DSCN0297 It’s raining again so one day after I come back and they’ll do those and add the two new gates to match the ones I already have. They are being built for the space to match the two that were made by a women welder in Silverton, Or.  whose name over time has been forgotten. Only what at the time  that I purchased the was remembered was the uniqueness of a women creating and welding whimsical metal gates. How sad to be only remembered by your craft and gender.
My dad’s estate is over and done with. Sunday I leave for my 45th wedding anniversary cruise that should have happened in Je, but was just too busy to take.  Enough with my excuses for being so far behind in my weaving. Life happens. All that said the piece still isn’t done! I need 3 days more.

I have been having a lot of fun with symbols and cultural Icons-first the broken puzzle, maze, the the 7x 7x7x7x7…, feathers, The scientific formula in the background, the rock wall, etc.
But,  one of my favourites-- is this symbol.DSCN0291
According to one page  source on the internet on iconic symbols in modern comic books it defines the moment of death, or of passing out of an idea,  when drawn over the head of a comic strip character. It is an ideogram or icon used to convey an idea, a phantasy, or a wish a dream that is suddenly annihilated or destroyed by an clip_image001instant awakening or realization or perhaps an AHA moment.
With this piece I wanted to use more silk and rayon. I was looking for-  hoping for a little bit of a shimmer-Different then the way the cotton threads reflected or inter-reflect light. I also wantedimg003 to see if I could find away or a bobbin that would make the process easier. Well, I can tell you it certainly isn’t easier with using European style bobbins or bones. I Still end up with this-DSCN0289SO I am back
So I am back to tying over hand knots  every 8 inches in the weft bundle. It’s a clumsy system as the hanging silk/rayon wefts tangle. It cuts down on speed as I sort through to find the one I wish to use. I have also discovered that I should always cut the loops of the weft bundles where I double back or fold the strands when doing the colour bundles. The loops catch and tangle everything I have tried  wrapping the bobbin with the wefts that are knot, but they always make a mess of the silk or rayon when they unwind when I use my over the know trick so the bobbins don’t escape. (see page 30 in Tapestry 101 for how to use a bobbin)

JapaneseTapestryShuttlesChangedI am  trying to use these Japanese  tapestry shuttles instead of the Swedish bobbins I prefer to use in my weaving.. They are taking a little time to get use to, but perhaps they will work on the rayon and silk weft bundles.  They just feel awkward because I am not used to using them-yet. 
Cheri White one of weaving buddies who comes to the studio just finished this tapestry. It’s fast becoming one of my favourite tapestries.Here  it is just off the loom-not it’s official portrait-yet. Just a snap maybe some day she’ll write an explanation that I can share with everyone. I am totally in love with the imagery.

It’s fire weed season. I have decided to plant some in my yard.  Fireweed always makes me thing of Edith Miller. I did a small wool tapestry of this in 1979(20x30inches and sold it to Edith Miller along time friend. She  is the last person left alive in the group of 20 on going   DSCN0200students from the 80’s  that I taught in Corvallis for years and years starting in 1982.  She’s now in her mid 90’s.  She was also one of the original founders of the Corvallis hand weavers guild in 1948 the year I was born. She is now in a nursing care center for Alzheimer  patience.
Astoria Coastal Fiber Exhibit 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   PaxCheneand Blankie copy - CopyPax Chene received an ATA award of excellence in the Astoria Coastal Arts Textile Exhibit this summer. It as one of two pieces of mine that were in the exhibit. The other was “And He…” These photos were some I snapped at the opening. They are just meant to give the feel and  general layout  of the exhibit-not highlight specific works. There was one wall that I was unable to photograph I couldn’t get a shot of the two walls of the structure  my pieces were hanging on. The opening was well attended.  I could never find a space clear of people so that I could take a photo.  There were some amazing tapestries in the exhibit. Jan Austin, Rebecca Metzoff, Su Eagen, Audrey Moore, Nicki Blair, Terry Olsen, Diane Wolf and several other tapestry weavers whose names I know I missed.  One of the major awards went to a tapestry weaver from back east whose name I failed to write down. But, They are just to the left of my birthday scarf from Pat Scarf t which was also in the exhibit.  
So this is a pet peeve and a rant. Ignore it if you wish. I am grateful that this show was done and acknowledge the amount of great work that went into it.   It’s not just  this exhibit but it seems to be a standard practice in every show I have been in in the last few years.  Both my pieces were mounted  in “Salon Style”and in away that did neither of the pieces justice. Every small format tapestry in the exhibit was hung one above the other.It always feels so disrespectful of the work. It made it really difficult to view some spectacular Small Format work that was in the exhibit. While larger pieces were given a space and hung in away that made them much easier to view and not double hung.  Art work should be hung at eye level for the best view of a work of art. Not so high it can’t be seen or so low you have to stoop to see it.  The argument is always it’s away to crowd more work into a smaller space. SO why do the small format pieces have to bear the brunt of crowding and bad spacing?  I think its like saying the small format tapestry work isn’t important enough to have it’s own space. So be grateful  it’s in the show no matter how it’s hung so we can have a proper look for the large format work.  It feels like “ yeah, you can participate, but the small format work isn’t deserving of being viewed properly and so  go sit in the back of the bus.”   It always feels so disrespectful of the work-not just mine but all small format tapestry weavers.

One of the  many wonderful things I got to do this summer was visit the Cloisters after I taught at MAFA. I have around 200 detail shots of the tapestries not just the Unicorn tapestry. I am doing a lot of studying of those details and gleaning a lot of useful information from those shots.  I am hoping to start organizing the materials in my journal when I get back  from My Alaskan cruise.  Those things that look hatches and hachures are not. They are woven i n the direction the warp travels. The tapestries were turned sideways when woven creating a sort of vertical hachure. Now that my remodel is done I am going to be offering classes in the studio. The first one on “Soumack and friends” will take place on November 2-4th of this year. The second one will be on Jan31-February 2 will be on colour blending and the use of Hatches, Hachures and their Cohorts.
Here’s a few of my favourite shots and details.

I have a plan for I am weaving next. I wanted to be free to start the pieces when I got back from Alaska-one involves a truck not making it through an under pass 2 blocks DSC_0217DSCN0243from my home with crochet  lace and Jacob roses. What could be better a turquoise truck to match my fingernails.

The other incorporate black tree branches that looked lace in several pictures that I took near Hardin, Montana and photos  that Trish Heath took that evening generously said I could use in my colour studies took  of a smoky sunset in Albany with incredible colours  that you don’t often see in Albany Sunsets. My camera was  still packed at the time.
DSC_0114Montana sunset in the area Custer battle’s took place. DSC_0137

Still working on my research on soumack--
I have been scurrying through all my books and notes again because of a statement by a member of a list I am on.  His comment was to the effect that the raised outlining and surface texture on many Coptic weavings was actually needlework that was applied after the textile was woven.
SO I quickly went raced back  to several of my  books to see if it was possible I had made a mistake. When I was teaching myself to do it  I studied 4-5 fragments in the OSU collection and decided it had to be done as woven because the wraps never pierced a warp or weft and it always seemed to be controlled by the placement of the warps.  The our other names for the flying shuttle technique are French Arrondiment and Ressaut or ressort. One book called it ressort and related it back to crappaud(Mary Rhodes book Small Woven Tapestries). All of the other books-The Coptic Tapestry Albums by Hoskins, Woven Structures, by Mallert and a new book The threads Course in Tapestry by Mette Lise Rossing.
I first read about the technique in Tapestry Mirror of History by Thomsen in the late 70’s  and have had an ongoing fascination with it every since.
My research and theirs seem to verify that it was done by wrapping around warps as woven. Of course , they are mostly makers and not not museum curators.  What I did note was that several major museums referred to it as an embroidery technique, but never said if the embroidery was applied after or as woven.

Flying Shuttle- The technique of carrying an extra weft thread of contrasting color on a supplementary shuttle, to create fine internal lines or pattern details. The flying shuttle thread is secured at intervals by catching it under a warp thread. A technique that appears unique to Coptic weaving.
Soumack: A supplemental, decorative stitch used for surface decoration and texture on Coptic tapestries. The soumack thread is wrapped around each warp, or group of warp threads, usually on a diagonal. Used to define lines, or create outlines.

I have run out of time again. So, hopefully, in 2 weeks I’ll  be able to do another blog entry and have more information on my research into soumacDSCN0232k and it’s friends and my new woven samplers. The two pictures are from a recent day trip to eastern Oregon. The mountain in the background is Mt. Washing a mountain I climbed many times when I was much younger. My Fascination was to climb the rock cliffs to the top and and boot ski the scree to the bottom. DSCN0223The there is a photo of Chene as we tried to convince him to get out of the air conditioned car to walk on the pumice beds. Finally ended up packing him around. Smart dog! It was really hot that day. I ended up with blisters.

Cheers and all,