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!

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