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.