Off to Virginia to stay with Fletcher and Cooper while their parents were away and I took my Hokett Loom, yarns and design materials. I knew the boys would have their noses in the World Cup and I would have time to indulge in weaving.
I pack my weaving supplies in translucent bags that all fit into a larger bag. One for my Hokett with the tray I use it on, one for a selection of yarns and one for little bits of equipment. My design supplies go in a small shoulder bag with watercolors, sketchbooks etc. With these two bags I could set up a little studio space and was set!
Got out my sketchbook and watercolors and came up with my design. I’ve been sketching trees and leaves lately so decided on stylized leaves. Next to warp my little loom and prepare my weft yarns. I did bring the little spinner thing that I got from Rebecca Mezoff to un ply my Harrisville yarns. BUT… my design called for black and I forgot that while I needed to un ply the blue and green yarn, I needed to double the black and didn’t bring enough… You can see where I ran out of black yarn in the image above!!! Always something!!!!
I did have more black at home and was able to finish!!! So all is well with one part of my world, at least…
Been tied up with weaving for a while and felt I needed to get back to sketching. These tulips (from a super market, not my garden) were on their last legs (stems) and I loved their nearly spent – never give up enthusiasm.
Watercolor and ink
Well, I’ve taken the little looms class and attended the little looms workshop in the mountains of Colorado- both with Rebecca Mezoff. I’ve done a number of small tapestries on my Hokett looms and felt I knew what I was doing enough to sign up for the Unjuried Small Format Tapestry Exhibition through the American Tapestry Alliance. I worked on my design, did some samples on my 8 epi Hokett and ordered yarns from Harrisville. I thought I had simplified my design and thought Harrisville would be good as I do know I’m a beginner. WELL, the real world works to keep me humble. I still like my design, but should have explored more ways to do the veins in the leaves. There are slits all over the place to the point of making it unstable. I’ll try stitching them but…
Anyway, here’s my process – I do still like my design and will rework it after I pick my self up… I may do a series – I like the simple concept of friendship and nature. I call this one, “Have a Cup of Tea with Me”.
I had a watercolor sketch that I had done of leaves in a jar and liked it’s spring like quality and colors. I selected my colors based on it and ordered them – it was exciting when they arrived!!! Much of my work is with low chroma colors so these bright hues were a big deal for me!
I knew the watercolor was beyond my abilities as this was my first real tapestry so I redrew it, cropping in and eventually cropped in a lot more. I wanted this to be a friendly, cosy, spring like design, so the jar changed to the suggestion of a cup of tea. I then scanned the color sketch and redrew it in Illustrator to flatten it and to simplify it even more. Once sized, that became my cartoon.
I made samples. First, testing how yarns could mix to extend the colors I have, then adjusting the values of the greens to get the feeling of the tea cup under the leaves and finally exploring various angles I could achieve. I considered weaving this side ways, and perhaps I should have but I thought I could get away with a vertical design as I wanted the texture to be vertical and not horizontal.
Finally I got started. I had warped my new loom when I got it to make sure I understood how. I didn’t use the shedding device as I used my fingers and it doesn’t seem to make a very large shed anyway. Also when I attached the cartoon to the back it made the shedding device unusable. I attached it with some bag clips from my kitchen – need to research how others do this. I re did section after section as I began to understand how the weft packed down – think I might be packing too hard??? My main problem was the vein lines in the leaves. My original design didn’t have them but I felt they were important to describe the leaves. I tried different blues (limited to the blues I have) and eccentric lines, and wrapping a single warp yarn. I ended up using anything that seemed to work – resulting is a fabric with too many slits. I thought I could stitch the slits but there is a problem with the wrapped warps – perhaps if I had stitched as I went along…but I didn’t. When it lies flat the problem doesn’t show but when I took it off the loom…
So, I have a lot to learn and I learned a lot.
Spent Friday afternoon at The Wagner Free Institute of Science drawing from their extensive collection of birds. This museum is one of the lesser known gems of Philadelphia and my friend Jane and I had the place nearly to ourselves—Snowy Owls, Turkey Buzzards, Sparrows—you name it—they seem to have it—all set in natural poses.
Jane is taking a course at PAFA with live birds as models and wanted to brush up on her bird anatomy with some that held still. I tagged along. A wonderful afternoon—and humbling. With all my work trying to meet a deadline for a tapestry project, I haven’t been sketching … bit rusty …
But these make me think of spring.
Beaks are hard—each has it’s own personality.
Love how they displayed the spread wings.
Reminds me of summer—down the shore.
We’ll be back!
Working on a tapestry design of tree branches and spent the morning at Morris Arboretum sketching trees. Came across an area I didn’t know about called a Bark Park.
Had to take time from my sketching and shoot these wonderful textures.
Never posted about our trip to VT this Sept. We had put off figuring out what we wanted to do for our anniversary. Finally it was a few days before and we decided we should do something and we didn’t want to go south as there were terrible storms etc and reports said they could effect the north eastern coast so we figured we’d go to northern VT. Bread and Puppets were having a last of the season performance and that could be fun. We headed to VT and it turned out they had a heat wave—in the 90’s—but we stayed in Rochester VT and saw Peter Brooke’s exhibit at Big Town Gallery and one evening headed south to see Susan Abbott’s exhibit at Gallery North Star which were both great! BUT…Bread and Puppets on a 90 degree day… Once the sun goes down things cool off quickly and the evenings were lovely but that heat and a hot mountain sun… nope!
I did these sketches early in the morning before Bob woke up from the window in our room—well not the berries—they were done on a little hike we took. I think they might turn into a print design…
This morning was very foggy and this sketch was done as the fog was burning off.
So, we left Sunday and headed home and since we had planned on taking off Monday—we did—we went down the shore—to Cape May Point and the weather was perfect and we had a most wonderful end of summer day!!!
Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving and as much as I love fall, I miss summer!