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.
ready,
set,
weave.
 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.

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