Monday, August 30, 2010

Weft Interlock Front and Back

Chair-loomThe subject of weft interlocks came up on the tapestry list, and since I had written about it on this blog a few months ago, I jumped right in with an opinion.

Donna asked if it looks the same on both sides. I said I thought it did, and then she asked if I could post photos of the front and back of my samples.

Well, I am not at home, so my first reaction was that I could not do this. I hate to admit defeat, though, so I thought “I can just weave a small sample and photograph it.”Ready-to-weave

Although I have 3 portable looms here with me, they all have projects on them so I can’t just weave a sample and cut it off to see both sides.

I looked around for something I could put a warp on, and spotted a nice little chair.

Bran Flakes? You might be wondering how they function in tapestry weaving.

Finished-weavingIs this why they call it Fiber Art?

I use a piece of the box to put between the 2 layers of warp so I don’t go crazy looking at both layers at once. I also use small strips of the box as a header at the beginning.

It’s only 12 warps wide and it took about 45 minutes to warp it up, weave the sample, cut it off and photograph it.

Unfortunately I forgot I would be looking at the back, so I had some short weft ends hanging out Weft-Interlock-Backand to make the photo look nicer I just snipped them off leaving some fuzzy areas.

My conclusion after performing this scientific experiment?

The weft interlock looks the same on the front and the back; but don’t take my word for it, try a sample yourself!Weft-Interlock-Front-2

It’s not that hard after all!


Friday, August 6, 2010

Small Expressions and Chaotic Fragments

One of the exhibits I saw at Convergence was “Small Expressions.” It was an excellent show, and I was honored to be included,  but a bit disappointed that it was in the Convention Center instead of in a gallery.

The organizers worked very hard to find gallery space in Albuquerque, but it was just not available. After all the work organizing, jurying, mailing and hanging this show, it’s too bad it was only up for 5 days!


The juror was Rebecca A.T. Stevens, Consulting Curator of Contemporary Textiles,  at The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. If I remember correctly from past years, there will be photos of the Small Expressions pieces in an upcoming issue of Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot, the magazine of the Handweavers Guild of America.

Chaotic Fragments Part 1 lowresMy piece in Small Expressions was Chaotic Fragments: Part 4 (above right), 9x9 inches. It’s the 4th in the Chaotic Fragments series, and that whole series is based on a larger tapestry called Chaos, which is 24 x 19 inches.

Chaotic Fragments: Part 1 (left), 10x10 inches. In this piece I included some very thin strands of dark red and blue, so that the black is not really black. ChaoticFragmentsPart2

Chaotic Fragments: Part 2 (right), 10x10 inches. A detail of this was on the cover of the catalog for Connections: Small Tapestry International. The designs for these first 2 came from fragments that were cut into strips and then reassembled.

Chaotic Fragments: Part 3 (below left), ATB8catalog14x14 inches has been accepted into the American Tapestry Biennial 8, which opens in Lincoln, Nebraska in September.

More about this exhibit in a previous blog post. Excuse the repetition, but I thought it would be fun to see all 5 of these together!

I’m working on 2 more tapestries in this series, one large like Chaos, and one small.

I’ve had a great time experimenting with different ways to make black and white marks in tapestry. Below is Chaos, 19x24 inches. JanetAustin_ChaosAll the Fragments come from this original cartoon, cut into pieces.

As I wrote in the ATB8 catalog, these tapestries evolved from a 27 year old oil painting of my messy studio table…..studiotable

there was copying, dismembering, tracing, then in a flash, the fallen cone of yarn morphed into a black hole in the universe.  “I had found the chaos I was seeking.”

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Totally Enchanted

SFtoTaosThe license plate doesn’t lie, New Mexico is truly the Land of Enchantment. My trip was only a week, and packed with visits to exhibits, Convergence, and the ATA retreat, so I didn’t have nearly enough time to explore. I will definitely be back! I arrived in Albuquerque in the early afternoon, and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of traffic, and ease of driving. (OK, if you can drive in RI anything else seems easy).

ABQhotel-blue-view2 The airport is only about 15 minutes from downtown. After checking into the remarkably inexpensive Hotel Blue, I called Donna Loraine Contractor and invited myself over to visit her studio. She gave me an important clue about finding my way when she said “Follow Central Ave east, that’s towards the mountains.” AHA! Central Ave is also Historic Route 66, and features some lovely old buildings, like this one, the Kimo Theater.ABQ-KimoRt66

Sadly, my photos of Donna’s studio seem to have disappeared, except for this one. You can see her tapestries on her website, and read about her latest adventures on her blog.

Donna-ContractorThis photo of Donna taking my picture in her studio shows her amazing AVL loom, and some of her many collections. As a glass collector myself, I’m jealous of the wonderful window that shows off her glass.

The next day, my friend (and roommate) Marcy and I drove to Taos, because I felt the need to visit Weaving Southwest. Weaving SW3This is a wonderful gallery that also sells hand-dyed yarns, and looms and spinning wheels.  It was the brainchild of the legendary Rachel Brown, who opened it in 1985 as a market for her Rio Grande Looms and Spinning Wheels. SFtoTaosgorgeEven though the drive was incredibly scenic, I was a little doubtful Taos-Lalana-2about driving for 3 hours just to see one store, but when I walked in the door, I was overwhelmed with delight: totally worth the trip.

The walls are covered with tapestries, and there are racks full of handwoven rugs and tablerunners. And yarns, many many yarns.

After spending lots of time and money at Weaving Southwest, we walked a few blocks to LaLana Wools,  a small shop just packed with plant dyed yarns and fibers. Taos-Lalana-Wools

More oohs and aahs, and more exercise for my credit card!

After a very late lunch, we hoped to get back to Albuquerque in time for an opening reception, but it started raining so hard we couldn’t get back to the car for almost an hour! SFtoTaosclouds2web

Of course we were prepared, with a raincoat and an umbrella… the car. All the way back to Albuquerque we could see lightning off in the distance in every direction, and occasionally had to slow down for more torrential rains.

ABQtoSFNew Mexico has the most amazing clouds, particularly during this “monsoon season!”

We missed the opening reception, but the drive was spectacular.


Stay tuned, there will be lots more about New Mexico.

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