Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My newest tapestry...a beginning

I have been working with Pat Williams since November. I have been weaving for almost four years now, but have a woefully small number of tapestries to show for it. The last four years have been busy…my daughter was born and now has started her first year of preschool and my son is in first grade, I lost both my parents whom both died at home with hospice care, and just life that goes along with being a parent of small children. Anyway, I have only woven small tapestries on a lap loom. This year I found a Shannock loom for sell on the web and I bought it. Pat and I decided that I should stretch myself and weave a bigger tapestry. I searched for lots of subjects.

I have a small cheap digital camera that I bought when I was looking for a new horse. It has come in handy, and my kids love it. They love to take photos and sometimes they surprise me with their photos, although many of them are of thumbs, close-ups of legos, blurry pictures of the dog, … However, I found one of a bucket in our sand box and it really called to me.
I took this photo, and after many sketches I came up with this one.

I wove a sample with a mixture of Appleton wool and Brown Paper Packages silk/wool blend.

I am almost ready to start weaving. I took my sketch and copied it onto vellum. Now I have to figure out how I am going to represent the colors in the various areas, simply by coloring them, or just calling them out by number or name. Hmmmm, I am still thinking about this.

Meanwhile, I figured out my sett and warped the loom with a few too many warp threads, then a too few, now I have the number just right and I am working on the selvedge at the bottom. It is supposed to be a table loom, but I am afraid the kids will pull the heavy thing over onto their heads, so I have it sitting on the floor and just sit cross-legged on the floor with my dog, and weave. It suits me, I have never really been one who likes to sit in a chair with my feet straight (which also makes it hard for me to correct my son’s wiggles and squirms in his chair at dinner—“Sit straight” doesn’t quite ring true when my legs are sprawled out to the side of the table.)

The rain has cleared, and the kids have gone to school. I need to go out and work my silly horse. We both need the exercise. After Oliver's second day of work at home again , (He just came home from being away for the last 7 months after breaking my arm), he was really trying. The first day he was angelic. Day 2 of work, he refused to trot, and after a couple of discussions gave in, and then it took 10 minutes of work to get a good trot. He then refused to canter, and started bucking. Now that I have broken my arm and have a family to take care of, I don't have the nerve I once did. I used to ride pretty much any horse. Now, I want to have fun, but don't want to injure myself again. We had another little discussion, and then he finally came around to my way of thinking and cantered nicely both directions.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My first post....

After viewing blogs by friends from my fiber arts group, and thinking of starting a blog for months, I have decided to take the plunge, so here it goes....

I struggled with naming the blog, and found this quote from the poet Austin Dobson:

"And I wove the thing to a random rhyme"

which seems to be how I arrived at this place and time in my life.

I rebelled against doing many home arts as a child. I was the tomboy in my family. My sister was the one who did the “girly stuff”. I did the boy stuff like hunt, fish, and build things with my dad. Then after I had been out of school and working for a while, I decided that I wanted to learn to knit. I bought some yarn and got talked into buying yarn for an “easy” project, a vest that I had no interest in. Well, if you don’t like it, you aren’t going to work on it. Then I left work and went back to grad school and decided to try knitting again. This time, I took the yarn I already had, mixed it with some new yarn and knitted a sweater that I wanted to wear. I still have that sweater and still wear it sometimes, mainly on really cold days, it is heavy and warm. After that I was off. The sweater is baby sweater that I knitted while I was pregnant with my daughter. I just cast on and start knitting with about 45 or 50 colors of Paternaya yarn. I love this sweater; it is very similar to many of Kathryn Alexander’s sweaters, but not an exact copy. I took my one and only knitting class from her because I admired her work so much. Her class was called "Just Cast On". That is what I did, I just started knitting it together. The idea was to do a small version and then knit one for myself. Well, myself is still waiting!

Now for a change of subjects…I will get back to fiber arts, but believe me, they are related…

I have been riding horses since I was nine, but did not have access to a serious riding instructor until I was past 30. I took lessons and boarded my horse with Tad Coffin. He won two gold medals in 1976 at the Montreal Olympics in team and individual 3-day event. I thought I was a pretty fair rider until I started working with him. He had me relearn everything I knew about riding. I went back and became a beginner spending the first few months learning to sit in the saddle and walking my horse around the arena. I was finally allowed to trot and spent the next two years learning how to sit and post the trot and truly collect my horse from back to front. I was finally allowed to canter, then jump, then show my horse. In the meantime, I got married, we found a farm, I moved my horse, and then had two children. Now after a 7 year hiatus, the death of my riding horse and the acquisition of a two year old Hanoverian, I am now ready to start back to serious riding. Here is a photo of Oliver (who is by Romantic Star) as a two year old (he is just about to turn 5).
Last fall, after surgery for OCD, Oliver had been in his stall for 6 weeks. He had been released a week earlier for going out in a small paddock. We had successfully been going out down a hill to a small field for 6 days. Day 7, Oliver bolted, I couldn’t hold him and as he left he kicked up his heels in joy. He was happy to be out of his stall and free. Well unfortunately, he kicked my arm and broke my ulna in two places. Needless to say, that occurrence really changed our family life for a while. I was in a cast for nine weeks followed by 12 weeks of therapy for frozen shoulder. I was unable to cook for weeks, couldn’t lift anything, and couldn’t drive for almost a week. Life was a bit tough for a while. My husband had to pick up the slack, taking the kids to school, driving me to the doctor, cooking dinner, doing laundry, folding clothes, giving baths, …

However, I started doing several things. I started a tapestry apprenticeship through the American Tapestry Alliance. Pat Williams became my mentor (see her website and her wonderful, whimsical tapestries). I also took a creativity and collage class from Jane Broadwater Larew. I have been working on creating a larger more complex tapestry, and I created a collage from my creativity class. In that class I created a small art quilt, modeled after Leslie Gabrielse quilt. I then decided I had found two things that I really loved to do, tapestry and art quilts.

Come on my artistic and my horse training journey with me. I am going to see where my random rhymes lead me in the fiber arts area. Of course, I work on these things in between caring for my children, spending time with my husband, our horses, our donkey, our chickens, our dog, mowing grass, caring for the vegetable garden, cooking dinner, packing lunches, doing laundry, volunteering in my children’s schools, recovering from the latest illness brought home by my young children, …If you are a mom, you know how it goes.