Been a very busy Spring Break! Finished the long warp, Worked on drawing each day, and just wrapped up a project I’ve been working on since last summer on eco dyeing with leaves etc.—little major gets done during the school year. The eco dying was done while I was dying fabric for “Stitches, not Words”, only it was on paper and also involved plant material.
I layered various leaves from my yard between pages of fairly heavy paper, bundled them up and dyed them in a pot over heat for an hour – let them cool for several days before opening the bundle. Very happy with the etherial result, on both sides of the paper.
The original idea was to make a small book but when I saw them I wanted to see them much larger. That’s when they went into a drawer with other ideas, waiting for a final solution. Sooooo, a bit ago I took them out and scanned them at a high resolution to be printed archivally at 18 in x 24 in. This one and two others are posted on my printmaking page
One of a series, more on my Printmaking page.
I’m really happy with the results and have entered 2 in different juried shows (not pieces shown here)—so we’ll see where this goes. I’m always nervous about entering work but regardless of the outcome there, I will be doing more of these – once school is out in May and once something grows in my snow covered yard!
Two and a half years ago I decided to explore Theo Moorman’s weaving technique. I have done double weave before and long wanted to try the imagemaking possibilities of this method. It is basically a double weave—one fine warp is used to tie down a supplementary weft. Being fine it does not show and is also integrated into the thicker main warp of the background. I sent away to Halcyon Yarns in Maine for my yarns. Green for the main warp and black for the tie down warp. Purple and green were to work as the main weft and I did lots of experimenting with the image weft. The yarns arrived and I got busy winding the warp!
First the green warp through the front heddles and then the black through the back two. I used strings to keep my two warps separate as they went through the reed. A 12 dent reed with 3 ends per dent—one black and two green.
My small Harrisville Loom!
Finally all tied on and winding the bobbins. This is a hand bobbin winder that belonged to my grandmother’s cousin. I was given her counterbalance loom which is currently in my attic.
For warp I also used some pine needles from walks in the Wissahickon, some sticks that I soaked, shredded, and dyed with rusty bits. I used some yarn that tied up lunch from my trip with the Garden gals… This warp turned into a journal of my life during this time.
And I did The Moorman Technique with it’s ability to make wonderful densities of design. A square within a square. Towards the end there were squares – positive squares, negative squares, heavy squares, delicate squares, squares with stripes…and then I ran out of warp!
My “Stitches not Words” project uses squares and lots of squares appeared here. One early bit of weaving that was removed to adjust the warp didn’t have squares but it ended up in a rusty bit dye pot with stitched bits on it!
“Stitches not Words!”
The final project in Rebecca Mezoff’s “Little Looms” online tapestry workshop was to weave some letters. I decided to weave this sideways and leave some fringe. I designed the letters and while they didn’t look quite like this, you get the idea. It’s 2.5″ x 4″ woven 8 epi on my Hokett loom.
The green and bright orange yarns are natural dyed and the brown is natural fleece handspun. The background and the white are commercial, all from my yarn stash and the depths of history…
Love my little lettering tapestry.
Again, I’m happy with the results and the color but the jaunty charm is mostly due to my inexperience.
We had a snowy day on Jan 7th and I settled down with my snuffy cold to warp my little loom. I was starting the part of the Little Looms Workshop dealing with curves and decided to work with the drawings I’ve been doing of the small shell bits I gathered on the beach shortly after Christmas. I loved their curving stripes of various oranges and had been wanting to do something with some dye samples I had. I had used various mordants with onion skins with one dye bath to produce a range of colors. So I warped the loom, made a series of simplified sketches, and wound my samples into little balls of yarn.
Getting set up on a snowy day!
There are 4 different shades of orange: a dark brown using chrome and iron, a brighter orange above that using alum, tin and iron, a lower chroma resulting from just alum and tin and finally the top two had no mordant at all, plus white. These samples were done years ago and I was pleased that not only could I find the small skeins but also my dye notes with attached samples. I was taught by very thorough teachers. Linda Berry Walker, Myrlie Misskelly and Trudy Van Stralen to name a few.
One of the reasons I wanted to do these small tapestries was to use some of these small samples.
Finished product with it’s inspiration.
I’ve learned a lot and still have a lot to learn. I like the free forms of these arcs but I’d like to gain more control over my weaving – time and practice… I also wanted to have more variety in the orange areas but felt at this stage i had enough to work with keeping all the yarns in the correct sheds. This too will get better with practice – so I may revisit this idea in the future but for now I’m pleased with the result.
Every year between Christmas and New Years I like to taste the ocean – sort of touching the rest of the world and reminding my self that there’s more to life than the day to day! Not that I mind my day to day—I love my work and I enjoy teaching but by the end of the year I need recharging and there’s nothing like an empty beach – or nearly empty beach with endless waves to do that.
The light keep changing – sparkling off the waves. Almost every image I took had a different feeling.
At first it looked like the beach had very little on it but there are always treasures if you keep looking—this single leaf, a broken shell here, another there. My gift for the day was Orange, orange stones, orange shell bits, stripes and patterns of all sorts! These will show up in studies of stripes, of curves in my little tapestries, perhaps even paintings…they fill my dreams!
More textures and patterns.
It was a beautiful day—not too cold for late Dec. Sun in and out—always changing— clean, crisp fresh air—this will keep me working for a while!
And we like to end this yearly tradition with a crock of chili and a beer at Charlie’s in Somers Point, NJ. Oh, and the ocean tasted salty!
I was pleased with my first small loom tapestry project and got too cocky at attempting my second. Bit of beginners luck with the first I guess, the second was pulled in and crooked and while it might have a certain naivete and charm, that’s not I was looking for, so I decided to work through the workshop step by step and guess what—I’m learning a whole lot!
Here are my next two samples. The first is just dealing with meet and separate, a method of changing colors and it helps with my selvages… not pulled in and crooked! It was woven with yarn I had dyed with madder many years ago. The second builds on the first by concentrating on rectangles and blocks as it changes colors. This one uses Indigo dyed yarns.
Next is diagonals.
One of my plans with this little looms course is to create something with the bits of hand dyed yarns I have piled up. This is doing that, and it’s making me slow down and it’s keeping me sane as the world goes crazy.