Sunday, December 17, 2017

Tapestry Diary--a Personal Journey

Tapestry Diary for 2017 is approaching the end.
I guess some of you know that I have been doing what I've come to call "tapestry diaries" for several years now.  As others begin to think about trying out the idea for themselves, sometimes questions come up.  For instance, "How do I do it?"  Well, my answer to that is, "Anyway you want to!"

Yes, I know it's a bit daunting to think of making a commitment that you're not sure you can or will want to continue.  Will you feel like a failure if you give up on doing a daily bit of weaving after trying it for awhile?  You certainly don't want to set yourself up for that!

I will tell you that my experience with doing the daily weaving exercise since 2008 has been in almost equal parts: fun, engaging, challenging, boring, tiring, frustrating, rewarding, exciting, pleasing, time-consuming, tedious, absorbing, demanding, fulfilling, productive.... in fact, think of any synonym to describe something with which one becomes involves and that probably would apply to how I've felt about my tapestry diary work at times.

All of that said, let me tell you about a few of my self-imposed rules for the first of the tapestry diaries I made in May of 2008.  First of all, giving myself a few rules to follow was helpful.   My rules are my own and I've given myself some guidelines each year, always changing them a bit to make it more interesting.  Having some guidelines for daily work, I've found, helps me to move into the activity quickly and without having to do too much (or any) thinking about what to do.

So... here's what I decided to do during my first experience of daily practice when I committed to one month in 2008.

  1. I decided to use only yarns from past tapestry remains (I have lots and lots of those).
  2. I decided on the size to weave for each day.  For that month, I'd set up a 4" wide warp of 8 epi, long enough to weave just a bit over an inch high across that width each day.
  3. I decided to end each day's weaving with a pass of black to give a linear separation.
  4. I also decided to make a "weaverly" marking of the date throughout the month.  For instance, on the 1st day, I wove one vertical bar of contrasting color.  That idea was pretty easy for the first part of the month but once the days began to build up, I had to become more creative in how to show the number of the day.  Pick and pick became my friend, as well as hatching to give distinct lines of difference!
And that was pretty much it, as far as rules of the game for May 2008.

I really didn't know if I'd have the discipline to stick with the activity for a whole month.  That may seem like a silly thing to say for someone who weaves other tapestries that may take up to six months or more to complete!  But the though of not having a plan, no cartoon, nothing to give me guidelines other than my few self-imposed rules seemed to be very challenging.

But, I did it!  And at the end of the month I was so happy that I'd done what I set out to do.  I decided to try it for a year and see if I could accomplish that.  However, I waited until the start of 2009 to begin since, in my mind, having a January 1 to December 31 time frame made the most sense.

I've described more about the tapestry diary work at my other blog.  Here's a link from 2012 that will give other earlier links.  I also wrote about the daily practice in the Summer 2017 issue of Handweavers Guild of America publication,  Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot.  The article, "Time Warp and Weft: A Celebration of the Passage of Time through Weaving," included the work of Janet Austin, Geri Forkner, Janette Meetze, Rebecca Mezoff, and Kathy Spoering, as well as mine.  We exhibited our time celebration weaving together in a couple of shows.

I'm writing more fully about my tapestry diary experiences since 2008 through 2018 now and will publish that somewhere, either here or at my other blog, sometime in the future.  I'm also teaching a workshop for the Weavers of Orlando in February, 2018 with "Weaving the Days of Our Lives" as the title of the session.  You can find out more about that here.

In the meantime, have a go at it--and have fun!  I'd love to hear more about your experiences with this amazing way of marking the days of our lives through tapestry weaving.
Warp for 2018 Tapestry Diary is prepared and ready for January 1, 2018 to roll around!

Friday, February 24, 2017

American Tapestry Alliance video

Here's a link to a recently compiled and released video by American Tapestry Alliance.  It gives a brief overview of historical tapestries and shows a bit about the designing and weaving of tapestry.  At the end, there are many contemporary tapestries shown.

I've added the YouTube link at the left margin in the links of interest.  It's hard to keep up with everything that's out there in cyberspace where you can find interesting and inspiring things about tapestry!  My list gives only a few of them.  American Tapestry Alliance's website includes a listing of links and I'm sure it will grow.  That link is also at the left margin--and here.

There's nothing like seeing tapestries in person.  But books, catalogs of exhibits, magazines--and the ever expanding online resources are, in some ways, the next best thing.

Enjoy the viewing!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

New Year--New Post and fresh start for Tapestry Share

This is a detail of a tapestry I have in underway as the New Year begins.
Greetings to everyone in 2017!  Yes, Tapestry Share--my blog about learning, teaching and sharing is still here.  Although I haven't added a post in a l-o-n-g time I check in periodically to see if any of the other blog authors have.  Terri Bryson has been good about sharing ideas... like in the last post--thanks for doing that, Terri!

So... here's a refresher about what this blog is about.  It's something I started a few years ago in the hopes that some of the students I've had in classes and others among the tapestry weaving community could have a place to share their learning and teaching adventures.

I've made several posts about tapestry techniques and also with suggestions about yarn choices, finishing methods, and other things.  I try to keep a link list to those in the side margin so they're easier to find.  I've also noted classes, blogs, websites and other things from several tapestry teachers.

There's lots of information on the web for tapestry.  One of the valuable places to start your internet search for tapestry information is at the link list on the American Tapestry Alliance website.  There's always room for improvement in anyone's skills and knowledge and much, maybe most, of that improvement comes with experience.  I think it's good to see what's out there, try some things that resonate with one's working process--and also explore things that may be unfamiliar.

As far as teaching adventures go, I'll be on one very soon when Bhakti Ziek and I co-teach at Penland School of Crafts for Spring Concentration.  Our class is called Weaving: a Dialogue and we hope it will indeed be that for everyone who'll be there with us.  The class is full and it seems to be made up of a variety of experience levels--which is just great.  Here's the description we provided for the class:
Tommye Scanlin, tapestry weaver, and Bhakti Ziek, jacquard expert, will team teach the Spring 2017 at Penland. The class will focus on image making and story telling in weaving, and will be open to weavers and artists of all types and at any level. Both instructors are former college professors and have extensive knowledge of weaving in all its forms. This is a chance to participate in a studio where advanced weavers as well as novices are encouraged to learn from each other as they explore woven structures for ways to make images. Work will be done on tapestry looms and/or floor looms. Everything (almost!) possible in a "weaverly" way will be explored.
Here's to a successful New Year of tapestry to everyone!  I hope to be sharing more about my own adventures in tapestry teaching and learning in 2017.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Tapestry Study Group at Chattahoochee Handwweavers Guild 23 June 2016 Loom Day

On June 23 our Tapestry Study Group shared some unusual looms that some members of the group were weaving on.

The most unique loom was shared by Susan Flowers.  She had been at the beach and didn't have a loom to weave on.  She went to the office supply store and purchased a wire basket  that us usually used to keep papers together on a desk.  She warped it and began weaving.  She also has a nice little storage area under the tapestry. In the pictures: Susan with her loom and then a close up of the loom.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A small galvanized pipe loom--with nods to Archie Brennan and Sarah Swett

It's been a LONG time since I've posted to Tapestry Share!  I'll try to update in a more timely way in the future.

As Spring begins here in north Georgia, USA, I want share a version of a pipe loom that I've recently made using 1/4" diameter galvanized pipe.  The design is based on the Archie Brennan standing pipe looms as seen in diagrams he graciously posts at his website and that are also at the American Tapestry Alliance website in the Educational Articles.  I also took inspiration from Sarah Swett's blog in which she described many pipe loom options.

This loom is small and is sitting beside my computer right now on a small folding table.

 It's 6" wide and 24" tall +/-.  Here's the loom:

Here's the basic parts list for both a frame without the extensions that I've called leash hanger, and the option of adding the extensions.  The only other things needed that I didn't put in this list are a couple of dowels--one to hold the open shed and the other to extend from side to side across the leash hangers.  Of course, warp and weft!


Small Galvanized Pipe Loom

Parts needed:

6 – ¼” diameter threaded pipe (called nipple), 6” long each

4 – ¼” diameter threaded nipple, 4” long each

2 – ¼” diameter threaded nipple, 1” long each

4 – Elbows to fit the ¼” threaded pipes

4 – Tees to fit the ¼” threaded pipes

2 – Caps for the ¼” threaded pipes

2 – Threaded rods, 12” x ¼” diameter

4 – Wingnuts to fit the threaded rod

Optional parts—to make leash hanger:

2 – ¼” Tees for the top of the loom

2 – ¼” Street Elbows to fit the ¼” Tees

2 – ¼” threaded nipple, 5” long each (leash hanger)

2 – Caps for the ¼” leash hanger
The frame of the loom is built with the 6 pieces of 6” long nipple. 

The top has two Elbows joining three of the 6” pieces into a U-shape. 
Optional—use two Tees here instead, for the 5” leash hanger extension.  Screw the Street Elbows to the top Tees, then the 5” nipple to extend forward.  Put the caps on the leash hanger.

The bottom has two Tees joining the three remaining 6” pieces into another U-shape.

The two 1” long nipples screw into the bottom Tees.

Screw two more Tees on the other end of the 1” pieces.

Put the 4” nipple at either end of the bottom Tees, placing an Elbow on one end and a cap on the other end. 

Oh... by the way, the tapestry from the last post ... that I was hemming?  Here it is finished.  It's now living in a new home, as a gift from a husband to a wife.  I think they're enjoying it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Finishing Tapestry with Hem or Turn-back

Once upon a time someone asked me about hems or turn-backs as finishing steps for tapestry.  I delayed answering because at the time I hadn't been using that method for finishing very often.  However, in the last year I've done turn-backs with several pieces.  I photographed the steps I took on the last one (the landscape shown in the previous post) and so here's my take on using a hem or turn-back.

When doing the hem or turn-back I use a suggestion from Barbara Heller and weave several slits across the width of the piece so that the turn-back area won't pull in at the edges.  I usually make the slits 3" to  8" across, more or less, depending on the width of the whole piece.  On the 19" wide landscape I made two slits at each edge as I wove the 1" wide turn-back (on a larger piece I make that a bit wider):

Above is the piece laid out on the grid board.  Weft ends have been trimmed and the piece has been steam pressed (I didn't block* it, just gave it a pressing using steam in the iron and a dampened press cloth on top).  The turn-backs were finger pressed down and T-pinned, then steam pressed and left overnight.

Next, I basted the turn-back using regular sewing thread and a big running stitch, removing the T-pins as I did that:

Once both sides were basted, I stitched down the turn-back using a tapestry needle and a tiny stitch that caught only a little of the weft at the back of the tapestry.  Since this piece will be mounted onto a fabric covered board I don't need the turn-back tacked down more than that.

The white thread in the big running stitches is the basting thread that is to be removed at the end.  I'm stitching down the turn-back using a double strand of the same yarn as used in the weft.  You can see that I'm only catching a bit of the weft and then coming through near the edge of the turn-back.  The stitches are about 1/4" apart.  Other times I have used a regular sewing thread to stitch down the turn-back instead of weft.

Finished turn-backs on both top and bottom; I've trimmed the warp ends a bit more and left them about 3/4" long:

Soon I'll post about the next finishing steps for this piece.  It will be much like what I've shown before when I've mounted small tapestries on a fabric covered board as described in this post.

*Kathy Spoering wrote a great post about blocking at her blog--find it at this link.  I don't always block tapestries but when I do I use her suggestions.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Many = One (weft color, that is)

I'm approaching the top of a tapestry that's 19" wide x 14" high, sett at 8 epi with 12/12 cotton seine twine.  As you see, it's a landscape and it's based on a drawing I made a couple of summers ago.  The area of land includes foreground with shallow field and a couple of trees that cast a deep shadow across the ground, a deeper middle ground that has a mass of foliage across the width as well as a small hill in a bit of distance, and then background with mountain ridge in more distance.  Cumulus clouds are building up above the mountains.   Blue sky is all across the top for about 1" above the top of the highest cloud.

You'll notice that the foreground and middle ground areas had many wefts making up the shapes.  Fewer shapes were used to create the mountains and the clouds.  However, I tried to break up wefts throughout the tapestry so that selvedges wouldn't begin to pull in once there were less wefts in play in any of the areas.

That's the reason the blue sky is being woven with so many separate wefts (twenty of them, in fact) -- even thought the entire sky is of the same color.  I wanted to keep the weft from beginning to draw the warps together and creating width problems at the top.  Seeing the top of a tapestry narrow as the end is approaching is a common problem (nightmare? headache?) faced by many tapestry weavers.  And it's usually caused by having fewer wefts at work across the width.  And/or by speeding up the weaving because the end is in sight!

Simple weft-faced plain weave--always a challenge!