Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mille Fleurs Minus 978

Once we were settled in the house in Switzerland, we looked around for some hand tools, and found a hardware store, then bought a nice piece of wood. Kim spent a few hours making me a very simple frame loom, 24” x 15”, just the size I wanted to weave a 9x9” tapestry for the upcoming “Enchanted Pathways” small format unjuried exhibition.

Frame Loom

The nice thing about using a kitchen fork to beat in the weft is that you can always find one. The forks in this house are nice and heavy with good sharp tines.

Inspired by the Unicorn tapestries at Stirling Castle, I decided to weave a mini-Mille Fleurs tapestry. As it happens, there was a brochure at the house about the Alpine Wildflower Garden at Schynege Platte, so I used it as a reference for my design.

Unfortunately the gardens had closed the week before, so many of these are flowers I have not seen in real life, only in photos. Milles Fleurs Minus 978 detail

Note to self: next time I make a cartoon for a representational tapestry, I should make it WEAVABLE! I am used to taking an old drawing or painting and just weaving it however I can.

For these wildflowers, some were just not possible to weave the way I’d drawn them, on the number of warps I had (9 per inch). So I ended up inventing, and using a lot of trial and error and lots of unweaving (or Penelope-ing as we tapestrists call it). The Silver Thistle was the hardest because the petals radiate all the way around the center.

I used one strand of the Weaving Southwest yarn, with Paternayan, Appleton, and Ymmy yarn (my Irish friend Edith sent me some as a gift). I like how hairy the WS yarn is, and slightly uneven too, like handspun.

The exhibit will open next summer in New Mexico, and I prefer to let people see it for the first time in the exhibit. So I am only showing a detail here, not the whole piece.

Enchanted Pathways, William and Joseph Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, July 17 - 29, 2010.

3 comments:

K Spoering said...

So did you weave it there in Switzerland? Did you take the weft and warp along with you? And did you bring the new loom home? I look forward to seeing it. Need to start my own entry!

J. Austin - said...

Yes, I did finish it in Switzerland. I thought I might not bring the loom home, but I can't stand to waste warp, so I am weaving another tapestry on it, and it just barely fit in our large suitcase. I did bring along an assortment of warps and wefts (way too much of course, but you never know what color you will need!) I did not see any needlepoint or weaving yarn there, only knitting.

Edith said...

Oooh Jan, it's lovely! Can't wait to see the entire tapestry! Mine is almost half-way there.....have decided to call it "Oriental Dreams" since it is based on a book of oriental floral designs and the "dream" part of the title links it to the enchantment aspect of the exhibition...at least that was my reasoning as I filled in the entry form which had to be sent off a couple of minutes later!!! Nothing like pressure to wind up the oul brain cells !! :)