Friday, December 31, 2010

Tapestry cartoons

I (egocentrically) always assumed that everyone did tapestry cartoons like I did.  But recent discussions on the tapestry list seem to indicate that some people even weave tapestry without (gasp) a cartoon.  I aspire to this level of freedom, but doubt my somewhat controlled personality will allow me to get there any time soon.  Here are some photos of my cartoon process taken while I was working on Emergence II earlier this year.

I draw the initial design fairly small and then bring it to a photocopy place that makes blueprints to enlarge.  They can get at least one dimension any size I want (and both dimensions if I keep my initial drawing in proportion).  Then I transfer it to acetate (sometimes--sometimes I just use the paper... but have to remember to reverse the design as I weave from the back!  Acetate you can just flip over before transferring it to the warp).

Drawing the design in two colors (so I can keep track of which part of the design is which) on the acetate.

Then I transfer the lines to the warp.  This has to be done repeatedly while weaving as the warp advances.

Here the tapestry is finished by still on the loom with the cartoon hanging behind it.

And eventually you have a new tapestry!
Emergence II
Rebecca Mezoff
45 x 45 inches; hand-dyed wool tapestry

Now if I had only gotten the next cartoon ready before the day before New Year's Eve.  It seems that the two copy shops I have used to blow up cartoons are closed until Monday January 3rd.  This will inhibit my beginning a new tapestry unless I can screw up my courage and enlarge my drawing freehand. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Further uses for ironing boards...

When I moved into this rental house there were two extra ironing boards in the storage building.  I have put them to good use!  And I even sometimes use my own for actually putting one of those hot steamy things on my wrinkled clothing in a futile attempt to look more professional when I go to the paying job.

I had a prior post about uses for ironing boards (related to weaving).  Here are a couple more.

Ironing boards have very adjustable heights--good for tall people.  And the padding helps keep things like warping boards and dowels holding wet yarn from slipping.  I imagine there are thousands of other uses for them that I have not yet experienced.  Mostly one just needs the occasional portable work surface.  (Of course the people who know me might just say that I should clean the other surfaces in my studio.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Opaque transparency and sandhill cranes

Well, I tried the transparency with the actual tapestry and was disappointed in the results.  I was skeptical from the beginning as I think transparencies are best when hung so that light shows through them somehow and hanging one against a dark tapestry was perhaps not the best idea.  I was hoping the design from the Anthem tapestry would show through the open weave in the linen, but the bright colors of the bar design in the tapestry did not show up well.  I didn't end up finishing the transparency because the original tapestry was so much prettier by itself.  I will have to return to the design phase for the white pulpit hanging and perhaps figure out how to bleach wool.  But before that, the red Pentecost hanging sounds more appealing.  And before that I have a commission to weave.  When is Pentecost?  I may not have time to complete that line-up.

Westminster Presbyterian Church, Gallup, N.M.

And on the way to Gallup for Christmas we stopped at the Bosque del Apache NWR to watch the sandhill cranes.  This is something that I love to do.  Their haunting cries and beautiful flight contrasts with their goofy landing gear and social behavior on the ground.

Cranes after evening fly-in

Monday, December 20, 2010

Woven Transparencies

Several years ago I completed a couple tapestries as pulpit hangings for a Presbyterian church in Gallup, NM.  There are four liturgical colors in this tradition: purple, green, white, and red.  This piece was for the purple periods (around Christmas and Easter).
Rebecca Mezoff
17 x 28 inches; hand-dyed wool tapestry
I also wove a piece called Common Time for the green seasons.  I had planned on weaving a white overlay for this purple tapestry to be used during the white season starting at Christmas, but have not gotten to it for several years.  Last week I finished a tapestry and thought, what with Christmas right around the corner, it might be a good idea to finish that commission in time for Christmas.  I had previously planned a transparent loom-controlled weaving inspired by Doramay Keasby's book, Sheer Delight--Handwoven Transparencies.  I had the linen and silk and even had the design, I only had to weave it.  So with Doramay to guide me, I gave it a whirl fully expecting it to take the several days I had at my disposal.

It has been 6 years since I wove anything loom-controlled.  I had completely forgotten how fast it can go once you get that warp on the loom.  I had to use my little Macomber as the big one has been relegated to the shed for now and the Harrisville has a tapestry warp on it.  I wove the whole thing off in a matter of hours including experimenting with the rosepath and how much silk to use (the yellow inlay is silk).

I warped it for rosepath and used a tabby ground in linen with a rosepath design in silk.  I had to write the treadling on a scrap of paper and tape it to the loom--it has been a really long time since I wove something that wasn't just plain weave treadling.  I think the project might even work out... though of course the tapestry is in Gallup and I will have to take it there for a final fitting.  I did a twisted fringe at the end.  The linen seemed to twist well.

Off the loom and pressed, it looks kind of like this.

I want to shape the fringe at the bottom into a point, but need the original tapestry to judge it by.  The top will have to be finished so that it can attach to the pulpit and hang over the Anthem tapestry.  I'm entirely unsure whether or not this experiment will work out.  But if it doesn't, I learned something anyway!  I did like working with the linen (Newport linen 16/2 from Halcyon) and will probably try something like this again.  In the meantime, the Macomber is going back into storage and I'm off to warp my Mirrix for a little holiday tapestry work at my parents house.
Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Woven Stories

I ran up to Taos this morning to see my pieces hanging at Weaving Southwest.  You can see them here hanging near the ceiling.  The leftmost panel of Inscription should be hanging several inches higher, but otherwise I was glad to see them on the wall since I was almost two weeks late getting them to the gallery due to the idiosyncrasies of customs.

Left to right: Inscription, Halcyon Days II, Emergence II
The fourth piece that I brought back from Germany is currently at the Taos Inn in a display advertising Weaving Southwest.  I went to the Inn to see the Andean textile exhibit (with great photos) by Andrea Heckman who write a fascinating book called Woven Stories.  I was amazed to see a textile woven in the 10th century hanging on the wall of the Adobe Bar.  So surreal.

Contemplative Garden
Rebecca Mezoff
30 x 48 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry

And we had snow in New Mexico this week.  I have enjoyed the white landscape a great deal.

New Mexico holiday fire