Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Snowy New Year's Eve

Well, here I sit, alone watching TV, drinking beer and eating chocolate and caramel coated popcorn, and blogging! What a way to spend New Year's Eve.

Usually my husband and I have a nice dinner and drink some champagne at 10pm, but this year I spent the day visiting my Mom at the nursing home in the middle of a blizzard.

They had a New Years Party at the nursing home today, with live music and party horns, at 2pm.

Mom slept through it. I feel lucky to have made it the 5 miles to her house tonight, what with the 46 mph gusts blowing the snow all around on the windy, hilly, icy road. When I arrived I had to use my little plastic car shovel to clear the pile of snow left in the driveway by the snowplow, and now my car sits at the bottom of the driveway, and I wonder how I will get it out tomorrow. More shoveling I guess.

My hopes for 2009 are pretty modest.

Of course I'm hoping to finish the three new tapestries on my looms right now, and maybe start some more.

I'm looking forward to my daughter visiting from California next week. I can't wait for President Obama to be inaugurated. I hope we can actually accomplish some positive changes with him in office.

I expect to travel to San Jose in May for ATA's Connections: Small Tapestry International opening reception at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in May. It would be a wonderful bonus if one or two of my tapestries were included, but I'll enjoy it either way.

My husband and I are planning to spend 3 months in Europe next fall when he takes a sabbatical leave; I have to control myself, because there is so much I'd love to see, but it won't all fit into 3 months. We'll have to choose. We'll be based in Interlaken, Switzerland, so we'll definitely travel to Germany, and to Alsace, Wales, Ireland, northern England and Scotland, Florence, Copenhagen, and Umea (Sweden).

Most of all I hope my Mom continues to make progress. If she could regain enough strength in her legs to move from bed to wheelchair, it would change her life.

I look forward to seeing all of your tapestry adventures in 2009! Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Tapestry Holiday!

Since I moved a lot as a kid, I hate losing people. I send out about 75 holiday cards every year, trying to keep track of my old friends.

One year I wanted to make tapestry cards, but who has time to weave 75 tapestries?

Back then, at the dawn of civilization, color copies cost $1.75 each, so I didn’t want to weave one tapestry and make multiple prints of it.

So, I wove a strip of 8 small tapestries, each about 3 inches square, cut the strip in two, then laid them on a color copier and had 10 copies made. That came out to 22 cents per image.

I glued the tapestry images onto cards that I designed and had printed on cardstock, which added about 3 cents more to the cost. (Have you noticed yet that I’m somewhat frugal?)

Since there were 8 different images, I figured I could use the same images over and over, as long as I kept track of who got which image every year.

This was years before I had a digital camera, or a scanner, or knew how to use Photoshop.

Even with my rudimentary Photoshop skills, it would be pretty easy now to design cards using these images, and then have them printed on cardstock, instead of having to do all that cutting and pasting.

It was a lot of fun figuring out how to weave holiday images. Some came out better than others.

I’m particularly proud of these very simple stars, which were woven sideways with pick and pick rays of light at right angles to the striped ones. It's a uniquely tapestry solution.

Have a happy holiday season, and a new year filled with tapestry adventures.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What's on My Loom?

I had already started a new tapestry last summer, but then I bought a new (used) small Shannock loom and just couldn’t wait to try it. So now I have TWO tapestries in process.

These are both in the Chaotic Fragments series. These will be #3 and #4. The first 2 of the series have been entered in Connections, the ATA Small Tapestry International Exhibit, so I don’t want to share them here yet. If they get in, I’d rather that people see them for the first time at the exhibit. If they don’t get in, then this can be my Salon Des Refusees.

The one I started second is way farther along than the first. This has happened before, and it always ends up confusing me, because in my head I have already named them. If I finish up #4 before #3, then I'll always mix them up. I’ll wait til I start getting bored with it then switch.

I’m hoping that having foot treadles will cause less wear and tear on my upper body (arms, shoulders, neck) in the long run. I am more used to weaving on my Gobelin style looms using leashes, but I think I can get used to the treadles. One thing I love is the little tool shelf where I can leave my fork, scissors, bobbins etc.

These Chaotic Fragments are excerpts from the Chaos tapestry. There are a lot of marks that are not easy to make in tapestry, and lots of eccentric weaving (where the wefts are not horizontal but instead weave at a diagonal angle).
I discovered long ago that too much eccentric weaving makes the tapestry lumpy, so usually what I do is weave a diagonal (eccentric) line, then weave some horizontal rows before the next diagonal. That seems to keep things from buckling.