Thursday, February 24, 2011

tapestry pix

I'm going to try and post the new tapestry I just finished. It's called Please Don"t Shoot Me: Portrait of a Young Man, As Witnessed by the Artist, Cincinnati Riots 2001

More news from Dahlonega

Thanks to Karen Donde, the loom company which manufactures the Baby Wolf loom that collapsed when I was unfolding it and causing my recent injury has made some changes to printed instructions that may help prevent it from happening to anyone else.  Karen, of Sutherland Handweaving in Asheville, is a Schacht dealer and she contacted the company with news of my injury.  Within 24 hours I had an e-mail from Jane Patrick at Schacht saying that they were sorry to hear about the incident and they were immediately making changes to the wording of the instruction manual; they're also considering a possible change to the loom to make it impossible for the same thing to happen again.  Below is the latest e-mail from her, reprinted with her permission:

Dear Tommye,
Here's the new copy for the instruction manual for the Baby Wolf, Wolf Pup, Wolf Pup LT, and Mighty Wolf Looms. These changes will be made in our instruction booklet tomorrow. I've also included the notice that we'll attach to the outside of the loom on all new loom shipments.
Best regards,

Jane Patrick
Schacht Spindle Co., Inc.
6101 Ben Place
Boulder, CO 80301
303-442-3212; 800-228-2553
Change for Wolf Pup, Wolf Pup LT, BW and MW instructions—printed and on-line instruction change.
Unfolding the Loom
Remove all plastic wrap from the loom. Slightly loosen the two black plastic fold knobs on both sides of the loom. Generally, a single turn will do. Note: loosening the knobs all of the way or removing them will cause the loom to collapse which could cause injury. Hold onto the front and rear beams and pull them together slightly. Pull the slide lock bars out toward the back of the loom. Continue holding onto the front and rear beams and allow the loom to unfold all the way. If there is a warp on the loom, you may need to step on the brake release pedal while unfolding the loom to loosen the warp. When the loom is all the way down in the open position, push the knobs down to the bottom of the slots and tighten them.
Tag to add to side of loom used for shipping.
Caution: When unfolding the loom, slightly loosen the black knobs (generally a single turn is enough). Loosening them too much or removing them may cause the loom to collapse and cause injury. For the proper unfolding instructions, see the Assembly Manual included with your loom.

This effort on the part of Schacht Spindle Company to address a problem is to be applauded.  I hope no one else has to have such a gruesome experience with ANY weaving equipment in the future.  I appreciate what Schacht is doing toward that goal with their products.  I also very much appreciate Karen Donde's quick response in contacting the company after she read about the accident at my blog.  Contacting the company wasn't on my agenda--should have been but wasn't.  So a big thank-you to you, Karen!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

news from Dahlonega

As some of you may know I had a fluke accident on Sunday.  I wrote about it today in my other blog... here's the link to that, if anyone's curious:
Hope all are weaving away happily!  I will be again, soon, I know.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

a few days late but...

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A few photos from the recent tapestry workshop

Pat Williams graciously opened her studio for six students as Pat and I co-taught a one-day workshop, February 12, 2011.  Although each person was working on individual challenges on their own looms, we talked about meet and separate, several texture and/or line making methods (twining, soumak, weft chaining), using different textures of weft materials, and mounting small tapestries.  Pat also gave us a guided tour of her looms, works in progress, and some of her many small sketches from which she designs larger tapestries.

Here are a few photos taken during the day... our thanks to all who came and shared with each other in this workshop!  Pat and I hope to schedule another workshop in the future to be held at my studio.  Again, the number of participants will be limited to six.

Pat talks about different textures of weft

Dinah Rose's lovely tapestry used her own handspun wool; Gail is in the background pondering meet and separate on her tapestry.

Gail and Pat discuss the Kirsten Glasbrook tapestry book.

Dinah at the left... reaching for weft; top of AnnLyn's head next, then comes Ann and finally Gail around on the other side near the computer.  Several of Pat's tapestries hang in her studio... you can see four of them in this photo.

Nancy is barely visible at the upper left talking to Terri.  In the foreground is Ann, with AnnLyn and Dinah at the end of the table.

Pat discusses mounting small tapestries for display.

Pat pins the small tapestry down to the fabric covered mounting board.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011 a group of us were fortunate to have a day long tapestry workshop with Pat Williams and Tommy Scanlin. We reviewed some old skills and learned some new ones. It was a terrific day of sharing. Even the weather was perfect. Many thanks to Pat for opening and sharing her studio with us and to Pat and Tommye for leading us forward!! Favorite saying from Tommye: "Any forward gear will do!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Penelope Syndrome

The other day my husband noted that I never seemed to make any progress on a tapestry that I've been fiddling with a long time. He wondered if I had really been weaving. I explained to him that I was working from a photo and I was having a difficult time with weaving it. I was "unweaving" as much if not more than I was actually weaving. Finally, the light dawned---I was trying to force a weaving to be like the photo. That's not going to work. So, now I am using the photo as a "guide" not as an actual pattern. My goal is to let the weaving be a weaving perhaps inspired by photography. We'll see what happens. So much to learn about this "just plain weave" and design.

thanks for much needed guidance

Hi Tommye
Thanks for all your help. I'm sewing up the slits today. Now that I know how to block from your great description (and Pat''s gorgeous video), I should be firing up the iron tomorrow!
thanks again.

Help for Cathie!!

Cathie, congratulations on finishing the tapestry!

Let me say that blocking can be your friend.  I resisted blocking after my unsuccessful early attempts but through the link at Kathy Spoering's blog here and also Pat Williams' encouragement I have been happy with the process.  I don't block everything I do, especially the ones that are 60" or so is either width or length.  But those that are under 25" or so I have started blocking.  Even if nothing needs to be shrunk to fit (and that's the key... shrinking the wool weft, not trying to stretch it) the pressing gives a crispness to the surface that's nice.

I've briefly described about the way I block on my website at this link.

Also, if you've watched the YouTube video of Felix Haspel that Pat posted a short while back, you'll see the tapestry artist steam pressing his tapestry.

Good luck with the finishing off of the tapestry... and be sure to post a photo to the blog, if you could!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I've woven a tapestry(yeah) 29 x 37. I decided to finish the edges(bottom and top) by darning the warp threads back into the heading (it was already twined). Unfortunately the tapestry started to buckle along the horizontal(terrible:( I took out the darning and the darn thing was still buckled. I realized that in darning and undarning I pulled the warp threads so as to push the weft in tighter through out the piece. Now, I have tried to smooth this out with my hands running them along the warp threads trying to get the wefts to move back. However this has only helped a little bit. My next thought is to hang the piece for a day and let gravity help. Would ironing with steam and press cloth on the back help? I hate to really block this since I've never done that before and sounds pretty aggresive, would that screw it up further? Help please!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

workshop ideas being sought

Hello folks,
I'm currently scheduling for my teaching gigs for 2012.  So far, I've locked in January 22 of 2012 as the start of a weeklong intermediate class at John Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC.  I'm also in discussions with another craft school in the Southeast about another intermediate level class and don't want to make it a repetition of the one at JCFS.  So... my question to any and all who might read this and who might want to attend a week-long workshop targeting "intermediate" level (whether it would be one I'd teach or someone else)--what would you like to learn???

My own "tool kit" for tapestry expands constantly.  I am, of course, only comfortable teaching techniques I use in my own work.  There are some topics I wouldn't touch at this point since I've only briefly experimented with them (wedge weave, for instance, since Connie Lippert and others do such a wonderful job with this method in their work and also in their teaching).

SO... any thoughts from anyone?  I will appreciate it greatly!