Sunday, August 25, 2013

Barn Burned Down

I sold a piece in a show in Colorado recently. I actually am quite fond of this piece. It was inspired by a specific moment when I was in Austria in 2010. I was hiking up a mountain and there was an old barn next to the trail. I peered through the slats in the barn and could see the sunlight coming through the other side and making patterns. One day much later as I was working on some tapestry designs, I started thinking about the barn and about a haiku that I like a great deal.

The poem is by Mizuta Masahide, a 17th-century Japanese poet.
Barn's burnt down --
I can see the moon.
For many reasons, this poem has been helpful to me over the years. I think it is mostly a reminder that things change and simplification, even when it seems catastrophic, can lead to better things.

Here is the tapestry. It is called Barn Burned Down (Now I can See the Moon).
Barn Burned Down (Now I Can See The Moon), 5 x 17 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry
It was bought by a tapestry artist who I respect a great deal. I am happy to think of it being enjoyed by him for years to come.

That piece had a companion piece called (Barn Burned Down) Now I can see the Moon. I don't recommend ever naming two piece with the same words in the same order with only parenthesis as a distinction. I submitted both of the pieces to the show and it was hard for me to figure out which one actually got in! And you can see that if you go to my website which has the names reversed. Perhaps it doesn't matter that much as both tapestries were about the burning and I have yet to weave one about the moon. Perhaps that should be up next on my list.
(Barn Burned Down) Now I Can See the Moon, 5 x 17 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry
The show was a special event in itself. The link to the show information, Woven Together: Firestorm,  is HERE. There are photos of the show near the bottom of the page in a slideshow. The show was a response to the 2012 fire season in Colorado which was catastrophic to say the least. Fire is a reality we live with more and more in the western USA. We have had years of drought and lots of beetle-killed forests. Things burn fast and hot. People die fighting the fires. Hundreds or thousands of homes are lost in many fires every year.

By the way, I accidentally set the second tapestry on end in my studio one day and a student said she liked it that way. I think I do also. What do you think?


  1. Nope - I think I prefer it on its side. The red seems to dominate more when it's on its end. For me, anyway :-)

  2. Nope; keep it horizontal! I prefer the first one; it has more intricacy and shading(from here, anyway)

  3. Hmm, seems to be bottom heavy with the read on the bottom. But on the other hand, fire does reach up and (oh yes) move sideways. I love the first one with the slits.

  4. Thanks you all! It is great to get some second opinions on the direction of that piece. And if I leave it horizontal I don't have to change the hanger! :)

  5. Trish at Tangled ThreadsAugust 26, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    OK, I'll weigh in, too. I like it both ways but the 'portrait' style has the fire much more in my face and the 'landscape' is much more subtle and causes me to think and ponder more. And it also seems to me to have me peer through toward the moon. I also really like the top piece. Was that the one that sold?

  6. Beautiful piece! I prefer it oriented horizontally. The interplay between positive and negative space is more pronounced and intriguing. The vertical orientation seems more literal.


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