Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Using tapestry techniques to blend color: irregular hatching

A painter can add a bit more red to her blue and make the purple she wants. A tapestry weaver has no such luxury. We either need to dye another color or use tapestry techniques to make the colors of our yarns blend optically.

One of the easiest color blending techniques is irregular hatching. Let's look at how we create this effect.


Most contemporary tapestry weavers use a method of weaving often called meet and separate, though I've had many students call it "meet and greet". This means that adjacent yarn butterflies or bobbins are moving toward or away from each other. It looks like this:
I find that this little graphic can be rather helpful for people to remember how this works.

Understanding meet and separate is essential to blending colors using irregular hatching. Let's talk more about meet and separate in a short video. (Remember that if you get my blog posts via email, you will have to go to my blog on the internet HERE or on YouTube to view this video.)




Once you understand how meet and separate works, it is a short jump to understanding irregular hatching.

Meet and separate can be used with butterflies of the same color. If two different colors are hatched together using the meet and separate technique, irregular hatching is the result.


Much of what I achieve with color gradation in my own work is done with irregular hatching. For example, in this piece, Emergence VII, all the darker shading in the teal band is done this way.
Rebecca Mezoff, Emergence VII, 45 x 45 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry
Rebecca Mezoff, Emergence VII detail
Using irregular hatching is a great way to change colors horizontally across your warp. In the section where the two colors are overlapping or hatching together, you'll create a third perceived color. Depending on the hues and values used, this can be very subtle or look like distinct stripes.


In the image above, examples 1 and 2 were done with simple two-color irregular hatching. Notice that the places the colors meet change with each sequence and are random. When you use more similar values as in examples 2 and 3, the blending is more subtle. In example 4, the colors were mixed even further and the points where individual colors meet is lost. This is the point at which you can start to create horizontal color shifts that are seamless.

Let's look at a how to weave irregular hatching in a video. (You can see this video larger on my YouTube channel HERE. Subscribe to my channel while you're there!)



Why would we want to use irregular hatching?

If you are trying to create effects with color blending, irregular hatching is an important tool. Certainly many tapestry weavers use sharp delineations between colors in a very graphic style. Others like to blend colors to achieve more subtle gradations and movement of color. Irregular hatching is the first of many tapestry techniques that allow this kind of expression in tapestry weaving.
  
Below is another example from my own work. Notice that the colors in the five rectangles moves from yellow to red. In each of the rectangles, there were three colors. I hatched those three colors together to make the color change horizontally. There were fifteen colors total in those five blocks, three in each one.

Rebecca Mezoff, Emergence III
If you are interested in learning more about the other ways to create color movement in tapestry, consider my online course, ColorGradation Techniques for Tapestry. If you are just beginning your journey in tapestry weaving, I recommend my beginning online course, Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry.

Information about the blog tour

The Blog Tour Line-Up
December 23rd: Vancouver Yarn
December 30th: Rebecca Mezoff
January 6th: Terry Olson
January 13th: Mirrix Looms
January 20th: Elizabeth Buckley
January 27th: Sarah Swett

This blog tour is in celebration of ATA's upcoming international, unjuried small format exhibition, Tapestry Unlimited, which hangs in Milwaukee next summer. We hope you'll consider participating!

The American Tapestry Alliance is a nonprofit organization that provides programming for tapestry weavers around the world, including exhibitions (like Tapestry Unlimited), both juried and unjuried, in museums, art centers and online, along with exhibition catalogues. They offer workshops, lectures, one-on-one mentoring and online educational articles as well as awards, including scholarships, membership grants, an international student award, and the Award of Excellence. They also put out a quarterly newsletter, monthly eNews & eKudos and CODA, an annual digest. Members benefit from personalized artists pages on the ATA website, online exhibitions, educational articles, access to scholarships and more.

There are PRIZES for participating in the blog tour. Unfortunately, American Tapestry Alliance members are not eligible to win, but if you are not yet a member, consider entering. All you have to do is complete one of the easy social media options in the Rafflecopter box below, one of which is leaving a comment on this blog post. During each of the six weeks of the tour, there are two prizes. One is a free ATA membership and the other is an ATA membership plus a free entry to the unjuried small format tapestry show (tapestries are not due until March, 2016). You can enter every week by following the instructions in the blog post. Many of the bloggers will be using Rafflecopter. Others will choose winners from those who commented on their post.

Some options can be done every day to increase the chances of winning one of the prizes. ATA is a fantastic source of information about tapestry weaving, so don't miss this chance for a free membership!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


And even if you don't want to enter to win, please leave a comment below and share this post with your friends and weaving buddies.




43 comments:

  1. Great post, Rebecca. Today is the day to get back to my classes. Come on January doldrums and give me more time to weave.💖💖

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  2. Interesting and informative, as always, Rebecca! Joan Baxter calls meet and separate "a friend and an end" which makes you graphic pretty accurate! 😀

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    1. I forgot about the friend and the end. :-)

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  3. Interesting. I have always wanted to try weaving....maybe that's what's next for me in 2016.

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  4. Thanks, Rebecca, very excellent description and video! Thank you for all you do to promote tapestry! Now, how do I get me one of those puppies??

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    1. I can't help you with the puppies Tal, but thanks for the compliment!

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  5. Thanks, Rebecca. I learned a lot and look forward to signing up in 2016.

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  6. This is great, I've always wanted to learn a blending technique.

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  7. The 'uh oh' from the cat is what I'd like to learn. If you need to insert a design there, in the middle of a hatched area, where do you start?

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    1. You just have to maintain meet and separate (usually that means introducing two butterflies or changing the direction of others). A good place to start is my Warp and Weft class!

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  8. Always informative and entertaining, Rebecca. I have seen all this before, of course, but never tire of reviewing especially when I can watch and listen to you. I think my favorite example of "meet and separate" is the puppy dogs.

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  9. This entire blog series is a terrific way to put tapestry front and center.mi enjoy any chance to think more about hatching too so this post was especially welcome.

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    1. Thanks! I'm looking forward to the rest of the posts. Glad the hatching was helpful.

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  10. It's a pleasure to watch others weave!

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  11. What a great post! Thank you. I am also happy to find your YouTube channel! I'm getting back to the loom after some time off.

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  12. Enjoyed this very much. Does your loom change sheds automatically? I didn't see you move anything manually.
    Diane

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    1. I am using a Spencer electric treadle on my Mirrix in these videos (or at least one of them). I can change the shed with my foot instead of my hand.

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  13. So clear & concise as always - and those puppies! Unforgettable :)

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  14. this was very interesting to me. i really enjoyed reading it. i am just getting interested in tapestries. this made them seem like painting in threads instead of my oils and acrylics.

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  15. Thank you. How ever much you think you know about tapestry weaving, there is always something that sends you off on yet another journey of discovery and makes you see things in different ways.

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  16. Thank you for taking the time to share with everyone.

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  17. Loved your presentation! Great job as always! Thank you.

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  18. Wonderful information! I can't believe that after all these years of weaving I didn't know about about Meet and Separate. Now I can get rid of double shots in my work. Also, I have always wanted to learn how to do color gradations/movement of color. I have been unsure how to do this. Your irregular hatchings techniques video is very informative! Thank you.

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    1. Hi Donald! I somehow didn't answer your comment last month. What you do is traditional, so don't let me talk you into getting rid of the way things should perhaps be. But meet and separate is a great way to go if you're creating less prescribed or geometric forms than traditional Rio Grande weaving. My Rio Grande teacher at NNMCC was Karen Martinez and she always explained it to me as a production weaving thing. That the double shots meant everything could go in one direction and it was FAST. (she is right, it was) Anyway, glad you liked the post. As always, looking forward to your next weaving!

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  19. Your explanations were very clear. My sample now includes solid weaving, 2 color meet and separate, 3 color meet and separate, and irregular hatching. Can't wait until next Wednesday's blog. This is more fun than a Downton Abbey knit-along. Thank your for the demonstration.

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  20. Thank you so much. Your discussions are so clearly laid out, love the video and love your beautiful tapestry example. Inspiring!

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  21. I enjoyed watching this video. Thank you - and my New Year's resolution is to get back to your Beginning Tapestry Weaving online course I signed up for last Fall. I was distracted by too much going on over the holidays. Oh - I do have a question - and I am not joking when I ask this. If this technique is called "Irregular Hatching", is there a "regular" hatching technique?

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    1. Thanks Nina! Yes. There is a regular hatching technique. It is in Part 1 of your course... so you'll get to it soon!

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  23. Great video Rebecca- very clear!

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  24. Yours is by all means a welcoming and explicit video, especially for a visual learner like me. I’m a huge believer in synchronicity, meaning I woke up this morning and said this is the day to start learning to tapestry weave. A positive message website I belong to advised me today to “Just start!” So I opened up a box from my first and only class I took 11 years ago, before life got in the way. Inside was a page from my teacher listing helpful websites, including one for the ATA, with news about the two-week blog tour, leading to your page containing clear and concise video demonstration, and don’t you love synchronicity! So excited to have this new window open for me. Thanks for allowing me to tell me short story.

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    1. Yay! Today is always a good day to start. Have fun with it!

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  25. I love the info on blending. I have done some hatching for blending but I have not tried the style like #4 when it is hatched even more for a closer blending. Do you also mix the two colors in your butterfly/bobbin?

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    1. Hi Sue. Yes, I definitely mixed the colors in the bundles. This particular example was done with Harrisville Highland which is a yarn you can take apart and put back together (2-ply). There is a video on my YouTube channel that shows how to do this (something about Swivel Technique). But of course bundling with other yarns works the same way.

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  26. Thank you for explainng irregular hatching and how it is used to blend colors. I am still very new to weaving and the information you provided now helps me to understand some of the color blending I have seen in the works of other weavers.

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    1. Yay! Enjoy your exploration of weaving. It is a great deal of fun.

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  27. Thank you ---- I can't wait to try this!!

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  28. A lot of useful Information!

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  29. I was thrilled to learn that I have won a one year membership to ATA. I can't wait to tell the members of the tapestry study group in my spinning and weaving guild. Some of them wanted me to try tapestry weaving. Looks like the blog tour pushed me over the edge. Thank you for teaching me some new weaving skills.

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    1. Whoot! So happy about that actually. The more tapestry weavers in the world, the better.

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    2. Whoot! So happy about that actually. The more tapestry weavers in the world, the better.

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  30. Thank you, Rebecca. (Catching up on the ATA blog tour). (Maybe this is a sign I will get back to class? I do miss it! Thank you so much for allowing "all time" access. )

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    1. You bet Angie! You'll find the right time, I'm sure. Take care!

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