Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Mini-Bobbins

OK, so it was my idea, but Kim had to assemble them. Having a woodworker husband has spoiled me!IMG_5231

When I started weaving tapestries we were poor starving students, and there was no way I was going to buy bobbins. For 25 years I have used butterflies, or just short strands of wool.

A few years ago I tried some Aubusson bobbins, the ones that are rounded on both ends, and I like them very much. This photo shows the Aubusson bobbin on top, and my 2 sizes of mini-bobbin below.

IMG_5236 I often work small, and I use fairly thin weft, so it seems silly to use such large bobbins.

I also weave on frame looms sometimes, and since the shed is not that big, I wanted something smaller.

I just knew there had to be something out there that would function as a mini-bobbin, and then Kim told me about this great website:

I looked under Shaker Pegs, and found 2  5/16” tie pegs. Then I found dowel caps whose holes are the same width as the peg: 3/16”.

I also bought some dowels the same size, so we could make some slightly longer bobbins.

IMG_5235My problem was that the dowels and the pegs were slightly too thick to fit into the holes on the dowel caps. I tried sanding them, but then they were uneven.

Kim used his excellent woodworking skills, and a little glue, and in a very short time he brought me a whole bag of bobbins!  I’m already using a bunch of the longer ones, and we still have a dowel and some caps to make more. With the fairly thin wefts I use, I can fit about a 24” piece on the longer bobbin.  IMG_5243

I tried using the tie pegs the way they come, and it worked OK, but I didn’t like it as much. I think you would not be able to put as much yarn on it, because it would slide off the end.

I had a little help with the photography from Xerox, my 16 year old cat, who came in and knocked over the cup full of bobbins. Xerox in Catmint

She’s been acting a little weird since she discovered my Catmint plant the other day! Here she is rolling around on it.

Click on any photo to see it full sized.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Very Impressive Student Work

My tapestry classes are going very well. We have a lot of fun, and the students are totally “GETTING IT!”Class sampler

The Wednesday morning group finished 4 weeks (although we had a few snowy days to contend with), and are taking a break until late April, when we’ll do another 4 weeks.

They were my first group, my guinea pigs, and they took off like a shot, jumping right to the advanced techniques. Before I knew it, they were all weaving circles! YIKES!

IMG_5164I had to re-design my sampler. Now it has more specific elements listed, and some of the advanced techniques are on a separate sheet, so I can present those when I feel the students are ready.

The Monday class is almost done with their second 4 weeks. Two students are weaving every element on the sampler. 

Two students have finished the sampler and are working on tapestries now.  

I have never seen a cartoon drawn on a post-it note, never mind HALF a post-it, so I had to document it! Glenda's post-it

She is weaving it bigger than this, obviously.  In this case the cartoon will be a rough guide, as she works with color blending in lovely muted shades of green. 

If you’re wondering why you don’t see any pick-and-pick, it’s because I’ve noticed this is one of the hardest techniques to understand. So it gets introduced later, after all the basic shapes have been covered.

Hopefully I’ll get good photos of every student’s work and post them all together sometime soon.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Finally! Just in the Nick of Time


The stupid thing is that I finished my Enchanted Pathways tapestry, “Mille Fleurs Minus 978,” back in November.  Then I couldn’t stand to waste all that extra warp, so I decided to weave another tapestry on the back side of the frame loom. It’s from a photo I took of Castelgrande, a castle in Bellinzona, Ticino, the Italian canton of Switzerland. Here it is, all finished.

Appleton 743A few weeks ago, I realized I’d better finish it , so I could cut them both off and send my entry to New Mexico. Then I ran out of a color. I thought I had plenty of it, but it turns out the color I had was slightly different.  Even though it was only 1/3 of the weft bundle, it was sky, and I was afraid the difference would be noticeable.

Luckily I found a lovely website that carries Appleton, among other things. It’s the Needlework Corner. Appleton 2 colors Then life intervened, and next thing I knew, I was at UPS, paying way too much money to have my tapestry delivered in 48 hours. Whew, it was worth every penny, but the exhibit chair had a brilliant idea: next time we should get everyone to send in their entries early, and donate the savings to ATA!

I’m not sure how we’d get all the procrastinators to change their ways…, I mean OUR ways!

Milles Fleurs Minus 978detailIn case you’ve forgotten, I’d prefer that you all be surprised when you see my tapestry, so I won’t post a photo here until the show opens.  The title is because my Mille Fleurs tapestry has only 22 flowers, instead of the thousand that the title implies. All the flowers are Swiss alpine wildflowers. Here are 2 Edelweiss.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Exhibit Photos

CFDuet I’m very pleased with the way Chaotic Fragments Duet, my tapestry diptych was hung at the Imago Gallery.

They hung them one above the other instead of side by side, which is probably the best arrangement. 

On one side is a photograph of Africa in very muted neutral colors, and on the left, a lovely print in similar colors.  It all coordinates very nicely

I had a good time on Thursday evening at the opening reception, where I met some other artists. Imago 2

One was Ewa Lenk, a potter who admired my tapestries because she knows how they were made. She told me that when she first came to the USA from Poland, about 25 years ago, her husband made her a large frame loom, and she wove a rug for her living room! WOW! Ewa Lenk Pot2

I got her permission to photograph this gorgeous pot. It’s so organic, and reminds me of the sand collars we find in Cape Cod bay at low tide. They are made by moon snails.

On Sunday there was an art talk by Deborah Baronas, an artist with a background in textile design. Very interesting talk, and very impressive work. At the art talk there were only about 15 people, so I had a chance to chat with the Art League’s president. I am excited to be part of this group of artists.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chaotic Fragments at Imago Gallery

My Chaotic Fragments tapestries are at the Imago Gallery, 24 Market St, Warren, RI, from March 3-21. 9AustinChaoticFragments1

The event is the Art League of RI 4th Annual Associate Members’ Exhibit. The opening reception is Thursday, March 4th, from 5.30-8pm.

There is a Art Talk on Sunday, March 7th, Noon – 1.00.

I dropped them off yesterday, and it’s a lovely space.  10AustinChaoticFragments2

They will be exhibited as a diptych, and they can be either side by side or one over the other.

I’ll see on Thursday!