Thursday, July 12, 2018

tapestry changes

for many years the only weaving besides darning socks  i did was tapestry.
they were small,
less than seven inches in any dimension, most about three square inches.
i wove many one of a couple  little canvas stretcher frames
or sometimes on warp wrapped round a book.
i made dozens and dozens.
at first they sold for $35.
i used all kinds of weft yarns
everything from quiviut to raw flax.
and much wool and dmc embroidery floss.
i also made igolochkoys with a tiny punch needle
with silk and cotton thread which allowed
for imagery that was more complicated than my fairly thick warps allowed me to make.
i didn't make so many of these.
they often had animals on them,
celebrating my other passion,
the animals filling up my now fallingdownbarn.
every single one of these except the ones my dog Tater chewed on
is somewhere else, not in my possession.
the tapestry thread basket is still here
then came a period when i was studying shifu and making kami-ito
and books for my papers and stories and poems
and i wanted to make shifu books.
of course.
i was trying to make fringe-free discreet pages.
i was driving my subaru one summer when it came to me
(i know it was summer because i remember my bare legs under the steering wheel)
make a loom that is just warp and weft at once.
and is plain weave.
which is what tapestry is, except tapestry is scrunched together,
weft beaten down to completely cover the warp
but it's still plain weave.
anyway, make a loom--a stump loom.
                    side story: i later discovered that the amazing jim bassler
                    started making four selvedge pieces about when i did,
                    inspired by the same weavings. he wove with nettle, i with paper.
i went into the paper mill and found a 4 x 4 x 8 chunk left over from a deck project

i used in the paper press,
and very very carefully eyeballing,
and bearing in mind that i like odd numbers,
i hammered two parallel lines of small brads in the chunk of hemlock.
it's a tiny square, 17 brads in each side
and i took one long kami-ito thread and warped it and began weaving with a nice long needle.
well, my idea had been to make each unit or page with one piece of kami
but that proved too hard with this size
because of abrading the thread before I was complete with the weaving.
I later achieved this with goal a smaller stump loom that's now in the possession of a friend.
i've made more than dozens of shifu squares now. maybe hundreds.
pages for books.
little bags,
little stories,
patches on clothes,
a couple tsunobukuros
sometimes writing on the paper before it's spun
weaving in tales.
some dyed, some printed.
and now
in a return to those tapestry roots i guess
i'm taking an online class with sarah the magnificent
and her friend rebecca (also seemingly magnificent)
called fringeless.
i didn't know that this was coming when i told my PBI classes this history
more or less, you know how stories are,
and said that i really didn't want any fucking fringe.
i'd looked at old peruvian textiles trying to figure it all out
but i couldn't quite, but those ancient ones were calling to me
make it without fucking fringe.
or, as sarah says, fringeless. 
the side story: 
 my first weaving was fringeless.
pot holders.

one loop doesn't              
  count as fringe.
       my first tapestry was woven when i was 17.
  there was fringe. 
and beads,
and holes. 
    and linen! delicious linen.
     it was 1975 and i had a lot to learn.
      but i was smitten.
detail of how i solved the top fringe problem.
pretty clever for an untrained weaver.
this is my new pipe loom for fringeless,
the class
here she is with the warping jig taped in to see if it fits
i wonder where this will take me.
or if, 
in frustration because of computerese and my inability to understand it, 
i give up,
but i've constructed my loom, my jig, and have fly line.
i have yarn here, or if i need any i'll make it.
 since beginning this post,
and because i don't have the heart to do more right now,
one of the dogs you sometimes see here, the orange and white setter,
our friend Gwen, has died.
i'm sad, but it's ok.
she was a fine bird dog and a good companion, 
my partner's best friend.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

blue and yellow

 indigo and silk.
stitching on the indigo flax paper is making me so happy!
 working this surface is very different than sewing with linen or kami-ito
the silk is easy and wide.
you can see that one french knot made an appearance.
so far.
 little filaments all stuck together with seracin 
 there are little dots on the paper's surface
that showed up with the dyeing
i'm exploiting dot-ness.
 this double sheet was made at pbi.
the inclusions are rubberbands that were sliced when removing
from another of Mary's projects.
i'm happy to give them this new life
playing with their shapes and, of course, poking holes.
truly, more holes may appear.
and knots.
and stitches.
the heat we're having interferes with hot projects,
but i have made a bunch more big sheets of heavy flax.
going to bring them home today.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

reading design

i'm reading about two compelling things,
(when i'm not reading Phryne Fisher stories)
design and craft.
phryne i reserve for the very humid and hot days, in the afternoon
when my head feels enormous and mushy
especially after i did this
have you tried to walk or make paper or garden 
when your big toe is swollen and bruised
or hauled a fan up and down stairs (16) because you only have one?
i did, however, complete this chore first:
i felled a basswood that was growing in my perennial border
where it's not allowed.
sawing basswood takes almost no strength, 
such a pleasure to do this job quickly (the cutting, that is, stripping is still work).
i clip off the branches
and then stripped the bark leaving outer and inner bast intact, 
to send to Heather from PBI
who is sending me a trade.
grin. this is fun.
and basswood, well, it's delicious.
it doesn't smell or feel quite as lovely as slippery elm, 
which i still have to "weed" out of that know,
the end of the border where it becomes forest?
i also made a little stack of 27 square flax papers
laying them flat to air dry without restraint.
(black cases hold typewriter and sewing machine)
as they dry they become dimensional
which always pleases me
stacking them is fun
especially when i can stack them on top of some shifu
that i dipped several times,
i lost track how many,
maybe 7 or so,
 in the vat.
and below is one of many dimensional pieces i made in Mary Hark's PBI class
flax with inclusions,
dipped in the same indigo vat,
see how the dye works on different fiber
and different numbers of dunks?
can you guess what the inclusions are?
so this morning,
toe feeling much better,
i worked in the mill for 2 1/2 hours
made a big stack of larger heavy flax sheets.
(i'm beginning to understand flax)
and reading design and craft?
i'm still very much pursuing that, 
 today, after spending the early morning with this book
i went off to make paper.
a very good balance for me.
andrew's book is a treasure, teaching through stories. 
i read a a few pages,
go away mulling it over, and return to read and think some more. 
his understanding of the creative process, of problem solving, 
and building well designed and beautiful environments
combine teaching wisdom with caring wisdom.
i am learning so much--
a very good book.

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