Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vacation Time

Here I am, on vacation, a stone’s throw from Cape Cod Bay. I spend most of my time sitting and reading in my rocking chair on the porch, paddling my kayak, swimming, and riding my bike to the general store for my newspaper and some “Penny Candy,“ (which costs a LOT more than a penny now).

Occasionally I go to the local library to check my email.

Everything is planned around the tide here, because at low tide there is no water, and you can’t swim or kayak, unless you want to drag your kayak a mile or so. It’s fun to walk out to the “Outer Bar,” collect hermit crabs, or dig clams, but I’m always waiting for that late afternoon high tide when the water will come in warm over the sand bars that have baked in the sun all day. Even the 5 year olds around here know what‘s up with the tide.

When you first arrive you ask the first person you see “Is there water?” or “What time’s High Tide?”

My family made a pledge back in 1970, that we would never have a television at the cottage. So we read, play cards and board games, do jigsaw puzzles and I always bring along a few looms and art supplies to play with. This year, since I’ve been deprived of weaving for the past few months, I actually started weaving as soon as I got here.

So far I’ve been using my Friendly Loom. This is the simplest loom, from Harrisville Designs, just a frame with pegs, no tension or shedding devices, but its most endearing quality is that it has LEGS. I find it much more comfortable than weaving on a frame loom that sits in my lap. The height of the legs is adjustable and they come off easily, so it fits in my car with no problem. I don’t use the pegs, because if you do that with the tension as tight as I like it, then the top and bottom beams start to tilt inwards, and I fear they will snap.

At the moment I have the warp wrapped around, and I have already woven 2 small (8x8inch) tapestries on the front and have started another one on the back.

These are what I call Studies, Exercises, Sketches or Doodles. OK, I don’t really know what to call them, but they are different from my usual tapestries. It's like playing scales on the piano, or doing warm-ups before a soccer game.

I don’t use a cartoon, I just make them up as I go along, although the newest one comes from a drawing I made while I was on the phone with the Dell Tech Support guy.

There were long periods while we sat at our phones, halfway around the world from each other, and waited to see if the latest fix was going to work. I was bored. I considered trying to chat with him about the weather in India, but I don’t know what the etiquette is; are we supposed to pretend that we don’t know they are in India? I was too depressed to be social so I doodled.

The idea is that I’m only using white, black and gray, but of course, the black is really dark red and brown, and the gray has some other colors mixed in too. Although the colors are limited, there are lots of patterns, spots, stripes etc, and I will certainly make changes as weave it. In fact, I already have.

Yes of course I think of Paul Klee. Actually, I wonder if I unconsciously stole this whole design from Annie Albers

It looks very familiar……

I started the first red grid piece when I was demonstrating tapestry for National Spinning and Weaving Week at the American Textile History Museum , and I needed something easy for people to understand, and easy to weave amid distractions.


K Spoering said...

These are terrific, Janet! I love how you've left slits, then full passes to tie them together, both visually and structurally. Very cool.

We are headed in your direction in a few weeks, then further north to Canada. I'm hoping to be inspired by beach, as well.

lyn said...

Hi Jan!

I've really been enjoying your blog, I knew you would take to it like a duck to water!

Speaking of water, I really enjoyed this post because it reminds me of living in Florida (tides & weather are THE focus) & also because my parents honeymooned at Cape Cod (my family's originally from NY).

Your tapestry "studies" are wonderful, they make me think of images so enlarged that they are only represented by their pixels. Hmmm, perhaps an unconscious reflection of the time you spent on the phone with Dell tech?

Jan said...

Thanks for the positive feedback!

I never know what to do with all these "studies," so I decided to make a bunch that are the same size (8x8inches) and similar theme, so at least sometime I can exhibit them together.

I have stacks of them waiting to be framed...(who me, procrastinate?)