Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring seems to have Sprung And It’s almost summer?

This has been an interesting spring. I have been on several major orchidstrips.Sedona, Cincinnati, Tec Nos Pec ,Santa Fee, seen a great many private students, the coast and Bend and numerous points in between. BUT, the hardest trip I have been on has been a mental trip of working on a piece about one of my Gramma’s. It was hindering me so badly with unresolved issues-hers and mine- that I decided toGranpa's piece 5-8-2014 shelf it for the time being. I am now working on a piece about my Grandfather and the charmed life I led when I was with them while I was growing up. Someday I’ll reconcile or at least come to terms with my other Gramma, but not now.

I have another small loom to the side that I am going to be doing some small studies of things I have always wanted to weave, but couldn’t figure out where to put them in larger DSCN5252designs. On the same loom I decided to see what would happen if I tried having a piece(s) that world be more of a daily calendar type thing-sort of in the nature of what Tommye,Janette and Jan’s group does. It’s not going well so far. I admire the work they do with calendar type weavings, but in on the calendar pieces. What I am discovering for myself is it gets in the way of the focus  and concentration I need to have on a given piece.It’s almost more of an irritation then any thing else. So, I am going to keep trying and see if I just need an attitude shift in someway or maybe there just not for me to do. I’ll see.


This is going to be sort of an odd blog in 3 chapters or perhaps 4. I found while I was away teaching my “More class” that I really didn’t have the backup materials that I needed for teaching my method of warping a mirrix loom-which is both faster and easier then using the wrap around bar system that many use or try to use  and eccentric weaving. So, I wrote to rather long sections on doing both that I am going to publish as blog entries for my students.




A 3 stage trip-


Stop 1- Sedona, Arizona

I enjoyed teaching in Sedona. The weather was beautiful!  It’s a beautiful place especially out away and into the red rocks where we are at. It was kindasedona red rim wild and very natural.One could look out and watch the birds while weaving and teaching, which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately my camera battery refused to stay charged and so I have no pictures   I wish I had taken more photo’s of the area and the class, but I discovered a new allergy complete with runny nose that sort of limited my picture taking. I really enjoyed the group. I am hoping to teach there again in the fairly near future. My  “More” class is fun to teach because it’s based on those skills already learned and pushing those skill  further.

I did see an interesting show in Cottonwood. It was in the Clarksdale library.My notebook got wet somewhere along the way and the ink ran so I called Carol VanSandt to retrieve the information and she’ll give it to me when she gets moved up to Southern Oregon this month. It was a really great fiber show.The pear and the orange sunset with rocks are done in embroidery floss by Carol VanSandt. Linda Pierce wove the orange sunset. Mary Liggit wove the other small framed piece. The larger wool pieces which are actually much better shaped and squarer were woven by about 12 weavers who were in a group project in the Verdi Valley Guild DSCN1426





Teec Nos Pec, Navajo Nation, Arizona

Diane picked me up in Cottonwood and we headed out. The country is very different then what I am used to and know. Rock formations just pop up out vast flat areas. Rich colour is everywhere, but not the  vivid greens-created with an entirely different palette.  I am used to.The distances feel greater and vaster. In places the colour is like some one took a large brush and left brush strokes of reds and pinks. We stopped at the Navajo National  Museum in Window Rock.The exhibits were fascinating. I especially enjoyed one called a Beautiful Life.We finally arrived in Tec Nos Pec after taking a very long short cut.

I loved visiting with my friend Roy Cady. It was fun DSCN1439talking as weaver to weaver. Our weaving styles and/or philosophy are more similar then dissimilar.I enjoyed talking with several of the older weavers with Arieta as a translator.  Roy is a traditional weaver who enjoys pictorial tapestry, but with his own distinctive style. I love weaving just about anything that is pictorial. I first met Roy at a workshop in Santa Fe that was being taught by Jean Pierre Larochette, Yael Lurie and Phillipe Playier. The piece on the loom he has since finished and it is for sale on his web site. DSCN1438Roy, of course, is the better weaver because his ends don’t show, but I’ll get better-grin! I promised the “Older One.”

This is a detail of the twills  Roy has used so effectively in the piece.I am very fascinated with the contrast between the pictorial and the use of the twills. Roy is a great weaver and makes it look so easy. If I did this right you should be able to see the finished piece and an announcement for an exhibit he has going on. (Diné(Navajo) Master Fiber Artist & Navajo-Churro Sheep Herder Shimá's Gifts-My Mother's Gifts)DSCN1460DSCN1453DSCN1446

The bag is one that was done by his Shima Mary Clah. The mountain of rocks is I think called Goat Rocks, but to my way of thinking will always remind me of Monkeys because of a story Roy told me about escaped Monkeys, which reminded me of  my Grandmother and her tales of what would happen to children that disobeyed and the drumming of the birds wings.


Santa Fe, N.M.

This is probably one of my favourite places to travel  and visit. It’s a blending of new and old, traditional and non traditional. The Plaza is one of the few places I enjoy being a tourist.  I love picking up trinkets and needful things(?) such as wind ups and Milagros. I enjoyed talking to   the native American artists that were selling along one walls of the  Old Plaza. I bought a copper torque style and jasper  bracelet that I love . Had a great time talking about copper and where he was from. I stopped in for a few minutes and visited with Rebecca Metzoff in her studio. It was fun comparing a few notes and seeing more of her work. pages of notes

Two of the 20 pages of notes that I am  still sorting through on everything that I saw, tried to absorb, and talked about with others. While trying to have a good time hanging out with friends Tony and Diane. The business cards are Rebecca Metzoff’s. They are beautiful little works of art that I liberated from her studio. The wool samples are all of the various wools used in the area by regional weavers in Arizona and New Mexico. It also notates to different weaving groups that I want to research as I saw some of their weavings in different shops and galleries.

From there-Santa Fe-I took a train  home-2 days of reading writing and sleeping and watching the world change from one eco system to another-one life to another.

STOP 4, 3-weeks later

Cincinnati, Ohio

This was a  very anticipated teaching trip that had been planned years in advance.  Sometimes guilds schedule 2-3 years in advance and this was one of those. Again, I was teaching my “More” class, lecturing on designing tapestries and loving it. The lecture I gave for the guild is one of my favouriteIMG_0638 lectures to do because the skills involved can be used to plan any project-whether it be regular weaving, tapestry or even silver. Then emphasis is on the fact that there are no tapestry police and never dumb it down just because it might be difficult!

Best of all I would be spending any spare time I had with my Good Friend Cathie Beckman and her husband Ed.

There were extra days planned around it for talking, sharing and site seeing. There were also very heavy rains, lightening storms, a wonderful bird feeder with crazy squirrels and not quite spring.

There were 16 or 17 people signed up for the class and many different levels of weaving skills.  The workshop was held in a beautiful old house that belongs to the Cincinnati Guild. The questions and wants of the class were exceptional and unique-never a boring minute. We covered optical blending, hatches and a dozen other things-just touching on soumack. The contentDSC_0209 of the class is determined by a questionnaire prior to the class and subject matter for the class is created from the questionnaires. 

I am excited and will be even more excited to see what comes out of the class in the next year.  It’s already in the plans for me to teach in 2015 or 2016. I have been asked back, but the date is still up in the air. The class will probably be Soumack and friends+more of More! One of the things that came out of all of the classes was the need for me have better or more support materials for eccentric weaving and more detailed notes for warping Mirrix looms my way.

One last thing About the Cincinnati workshop- To the person  in the corner with the short blond hair whose name escapes me that I was talking to in the class about Zentangles.  I apologize that I am so bad with names.  I can totally img054envision you what you were and our conversation, but not your name. This is the book that to be me always reminds me of Zentangles, but are drawn more from nature then Zentangles. It was edited by Christian Stoll and is a Dover book, which means it comes from a book that was published in 1906 so you should be able to use any of these designs with out worrying about copy right or needing special permission to use them.

In the process of roaming around the city of Cincinnati with Cathie B. and sometimes Ed, there was wayIMG_0474 more then  one can see in a day or two. Two of the many places we went to really stood out to me.  We went to the Taft Museum of Art. We/I made some incredibly discoveries. One was Called the Threads of Hdragon lay out as woveneaven- Silken legacy of China’s last Dynasty. The exhibit was probably a third tapestry-Dragon Robes, lesserdragon in colour robes and pockets, shoes and purses. I am still sorting out my notes that I eventually wrote in my journals. BUT, here is what I consider to be a remarkable, happy, serendipitous, curious find. It has both eccentric weaving, pick and pick and probablyBW dragon eccentric pick and pick. AND, best of all the pieces had not been cut apart  from the way they had been woven initially and not cut apart. It allows one to see how they were actually woven and the fillers that were were used.  It’s a whole ensemble of accessories-fan cases, pockets, eye class case colour and various purses.

adoration of the magiI feel a little like a fair huckster by saying—AND, if that is not enough there was a small devotional tapestry called the Adoration of the Magi woven in Brussels in the first qtr. of the 16th century. It is less then a square yard35 3/4 inches by 33 1/4 inches with wool silk and silver wefts at 24 epi. I have pages of weaving notes to sort out. Unfortunately,  it was in a space that was fairly dark and one wasn’t allowed to take pictures and it was mounted a little too high for some one as short as me. But, it did open up another line of research for/and of  small devotional tapestries.

At the Cincinnati art Museum there was an exhibit called Genius and Grace-Francois Boucher and the generation ofGenius and Grace cover 1700.Many of the drawings in this exhibit-Genius and Grace- were done by artist who often designed for tapestries of this period-Boucher, Fragonard, Coypel, Oudry and 29 other possible tapestry designers. By looking at the drawings you can see how they relate to the cartoons and tapestries that were being designed and woven in the 1700. The drawings are incredible to see close up. And made me want to pull out any books I might own on tapestries woven in the 1700’s.


And then again-A Fabulous exhibit of Jewelry designed by Art Smith. Also part of this exhibit were pieces of jewelry by artist such as Calder. It was totally fascinating to me, but I am finally getting to the point that I can look a piece and have a small understanding of how it was done.

From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith February 22, 2014 - May 18, 2014 Organized by the Brooklyn Museum of Art, this exhibition features 24 pieces of silver and gold jewelry created by African .... - See more at:

And, on that note,

it’s time for me to finish

up and post this before it

gets any longer.


Eccentrically yours-

I promised my class in Cincinnati that I would do some writing about eccentric weaving. So this is for you all.


I am not fond of eccentric weaving for so many reasons. Which is the reason that I have written very little DSCN5238about it in my different books. I will occasionally use it as a very fine eccentric pass if I want the texture of the long loopy look instead of a soumack line note light edges of rose. But, for the most part I find eccentric weaving not appropriate technically and or visually to my designs. I like my designs to lie flat and be the shape that that I create with straight edgeseccentric woven shape. I like to be in control. I never feel in control when I weave eccentrically. With those caveats here are my thoughts about eccentric weaving.

First a definition- Eccentric weaving and Eccentric passes are woven areas or passes that run up, over and down another shape and then back. img038The wefts are not perpendicular to the warp, but move at an angle to the warp, thus they are called eccentric.

img040It is not my favourite technique-mainly because it is rarely done well-myself definitely included.wedge weave sampler I have very few exampafhani raised medellionsles of things I have woven eccentrically over the last 36 years. When it's not done well it creates all sorts of tensioning problems, warp distortion, blisters, scalloped edges and wedge weave like constructs. I wish that I had taken pictueccentric outlining and hatchesres ofeccentric pick and pick all of the eccentric weaving problems I have seen over the years. I am now looking for examples. These are a few of the ways of using it as raised medallions, a sampler of raised blisters and scalloped edges, Raised dots, zigzag edges, hills and valleys, raised dots, to outline an eye in smaller threads with ecceneccentric haalf pass and eccentric outliningtric hatches, chinese half pass eccentric and goldout DSCN5241lines a full eccentric outliningpass and half a pass, outlining flowers with silk and gold threads in kesi, eccentric pick and pick,  outlining wings and creating longer weft overs to change texture, just to name a very few.

There are some great exceptions of weavers who do it really well-Christine Laffer, Connie Lippert, Silvia Heyden, Michael Rhodee, Shelley Socolofsky( in her last piece-Trade…) to name a few and none of these are beginning weavers. All these weavers have a web presence so Google them or got to pinterest and take a look. What they can do is totally fascinating.

 For some reason

eccentric weaving holds a fascination for beginning weavers who seefirst tapestrym to like the idea of the long pass that goes over anything in its path. Perhaps it’s just breaking out of the pattern and feels like it’s breaking the “rules.” Interestingly enough to me I found that I had even attempted it in my very first tapestry. What they don't understands is the inherent problems it can create. An advanced weaver who can control its eccentricities can create incrcoptic-mineedible shaped tapestries and 3-d weavings or even flat wedge weaves with scalloped edges and imbricated feather like shapes, shapes can used it produce. In Coptic, Turkish, Afghani and Navajo weavings eccentric passes can be used to produce blisters, raised  medallions and scalloped edges, and img040changes in weft structure.

Raised medallions can be made by pulling the eccentric weave at the top and the bottom tighter,  but usually the act of beating down on the diamond shape in the middle is enough to pucker the center diamond by tightening the eccentric weaving. The Afghani medallions look flat but are actually blister and rise liafhani raised medellionske small mountains in the center of the salmon pink shapes. At the bottom in the blue the dark dots with white centers are also puckered with eccentric weaving to make them rise a bit from the surface.

Wedge weave by using an eccentric line that is tighteimg043r then the base weaving can also produce a scalloped edgediagram wedge weave on a tapestry. More complete directions for doing wedge weave are in The Line and Tapestry book that I wrote

BUT, Unintentionally,

Usually beginners come to eccentric weaving unintentionally. The problems can be caused by—

A. using too little weft in the bubble over time in a given area or two much weft in another area that forces the warps closer together in another area

B. unequal tension on the warps(loose tension sinks and tighter tension rises because it doesn’t pack down as well as the area of lesser tension

C. turns that pull tighter or looser because when the weft turned around the warp it pulled the half pass it was weaving over tighter.

D. by the way the weft is packed down or beaten unevenly in different places.

E. as the fell line becomes more eccentric the weaver doesn’t correct and the problem or tries to correct it by filling in and pulling the top warps on the eccentric line together tighter because there isn’t enough weft .

The passes along the fell line sink and or rise becoming a form of eccentric weaving as they follow the uneven fell line, OR If the problem isn’t dealt with overtime the problems increase and increase creating havoc as it begins to distort. The warps becoming too close together, or too far apart, massive pull in and/or pullout that may or may not be close to where the original eccentrics are woven and you’re weaving at an angle.

So lets think about how eccentric weaving works. In a perfect world one creates a base of valleys, hills, or an angle.eccentric woven shape One just weaves across, over and down and continues on weaving- feeling in the valleys and creating more eccentric shapes. Sounds easy! One does this andimg038 eventually strange things begin to happen-sides pull in for no apparent reason , warps begin to pull out of position or become too close together. The fell line does strange things-dips and rises no matter how hard you try to get it to weave perpendicularly to the warps and fell line. To simplify eccentric weaving can and will cause severe pull in and warp distortion. It’s what it does.   The only possible correction is to use a great deal more weft in the weft bundles then used on a normal fell line. If you’re using a 45 degree angle in your bubbles you may need to change that to 75 percent, but in the long run it still may not be enough.

It basically breaks down to cause and effect.

If you don't have enough weft in the bubble and you weave on top of a img044pass the weft has to pull weft from somewhere as weft is beaten down in to the valleys. It takes more weft to weave at an angled then on a straight fell line more the the normal 45 decree angle.

longer loops and flow of linesVisually and structurally the further the weft travels  between warps the greater the weft length on the surface of the tapestry.
Which will automatically change the look and the hand of the tapestry.  Done in fairly large areas the hand of the fabric can be a great deal softer in the eccentric areas and stiffer in the non-eccentric areas.

The eccentric area can create areas that will snag easier. The extra has to come from somewhere. If the extra weft isn't to be had it gathers up warp and fell line moving everything closer together. Perhaps, If you are experienced enuff to handle this you can control it and make it do what you want it to do and use it as a design element. If not you have a couple of major problems to deal with.
So if you like the look of eccentric lines and shapes these are the possible solutions to making it look good. ---

A. more weft in the bubble in  the passes.

B. Try not to weave eccentric lines from side to side in one pass. Break up the pass into smaller passes. This will keep the distribution of the weft from being distorted quite so much and controlling smaller areas.

C. use more bobbins that travel less distance along the eccentric fell line. It will still look like  single pass, put will have more give and be less likely to pull in at the very edges of the tapestry. Test the line by weaving a few passes on top of the eccentric pass and beat down. Watch for warp distortion and still use more weft in the bubble

D. Instead of using an over and under passes, use dot or line soumack dependineccentric soumackg on the look you want. I would still put a break in the line of soumack every couple of inches just to give the line more give. Mostly this works because the soumack looping doesn't  move up and down the weft-or at least very little and generally the soumack loop only pulls the area around each loop or warp and the stays where put. You still need to make sure to use plenty of weft, because the greater the angle between soumack loops the more weft that is needed between the two warps and wraps.

E. When all else fails twine and pull the edges out. If you’re in the middle of a piece and you don’t want to take it all out and start fresh before the problem occurred, you can sometimes weave the fell line as flat as possible by filling in. Twine all of the way across the tapestry. Pull out and tie the twining on each side and hopefully the twining will re-space the warps.(see Tapestry 101 page 97)

Short Time solutions for moving and repositioning warps as you weave eccentrically. These are also solutions that can be done slightly eccentrically and always a long a flat fell line to re-space warps.

First trick-Where ever the warps are two tight add extra weft in the bubble then in the area where the warps are too far apart don’t use a bubble. Theimg034 extra weft will force the warps apart and move into the space where the warps are too far apart. Always do this sooner than later. It’s much easier to fix a problem as soon as you see it happening when it can be correct by one or two passes.

Second trick- Whenever possible Fill in sinking areas as quickly as possible with short passes so passes don’t become eccentric and pull at the edges.img036

3rd trick- Twining can be your friend. You can use it to respace warp or use it to pull out the sides of weaving to where they belong. Twining is a neutral shed like soumack. It doesn’t change the over and under pattern if you weave img035over it. No lice to deal with later!(Lice is a play on words about those little annoying white dots that sometimes appear when warps are accidently left exposed in the weaving process.) Twining can be picked out easily when the weaving is finished.