Friday, May 23, 2008

Winged Rain

I am a member of a fiber arts group that meets twice a month, “God willing and the crick don’t rise.” We missed the last meeting due to sick kids, costume design for a play, a boyfriend leaving for a stint on a salmon boat, loss of a car due to a camping trip… However, we started the group in January, and have been meeting regularly since. We have enjoyed sharing our work which is quite diverse. I bring my tapestries, sewing projects for my daughter, my knitting, and my art quilt (on which I have stopped work, gotta get back to it). We have a clothing designer, Rose, and a dollmaker who does amazing embroidering, Susan (see her blog Threads of Inspiration). We also have Kate, who make amazing sculptures out of different media (felt, foam, …). And finally, Susan who makes all kinds of things in her shop. Check out her blog at the Dandelion Factory.

We meet and have great things to eat. Share some laughs and then help each other with feedback and encouragement on our various endeavors. Two months ago, we started giving assignments that you could do if you wanted. We threw a bunch of words in a hat, drew two, and then you were supposed to design and make something around that theme. The first time the words that came out of the hat were telephone and closeness. Not a theme that I wanted to wrap my threads around! If you want to see the results of this first go round, then check out Susan’s posting on the projects on her blog.

This time we threw more words in a big pot and drew two out. It is funny how diverse the words are, and that they can come out with such an interesting theme. Considering that the first time I had thrown in mud and laundry and some of the other words included geometry, pigs, box, and orange, that we should get out telephone and closeness, I find rather amazing (mathematics and probability aside). Anyway, two meetings ago, we drew words again, and this time winged and rain were drawn.

I decided I needed to get going on some tapestry weaving. The last time I threw together a small quilt without much finesse. This time I decided to spend a bit more time than the 3 hours I spent on the first assignment and put together something I liked. I first went very literal as is my usual mode in life and took a photo of a drop of rain on a chicken feather. Although the feather is quite beautiful in the daylight, it lacks the life in the photo and I didn’t think I could capture its iridescence in a tapestry.
My son suggested rain with wings, I wasn’t so sure about this theme for myself, but he really dove into that idea. Here is his rendition of winged rain.
I had mentioned seeing a beautiful scene of dark rain clouds juxtaposed against the spring green of our poplar trees. Ever the Rothko fan, my husband suggested a color field of green and dark grey. I have learned to appreciate Rothko over the last 12 years of our marriage, but I didn’t want to copy (which I know is something that all artists do to learn about their style and technique). I wanted to put my own spin on the color field idea. (Another interesting color field artist to check out is Blinky Palermo, a German artist who put bought lengths of fabric on stretchers. I saw his work at a MOMA color exhibit recently.)

I warped my loom, and decided the piece would be 4 inches high by as long as I could get it on my loom, which is an Archie Brennan lap loom. It turned out 9 inches was about what it could do. I selected a couple of spring greens of Silk and Ivory by Brown Paper Packages, and then a range of greys. I started weaving (after some time spent warping the loom and readying the warp with selvedge and thread). I looked out our window and drew a tree line, and then wove in the grey. I had a color study but no rain. I decided to put the rain in with glass beads, so I sewed those on with clear thread, and I finished the top selvedge last night and cut it from the loom. So here are the results. Looking at the photo, I still need to do a little more work with the beading, and then I have to figure out how to mount it. Any ideas? Now I need to get back to work on my sandpail project, which by the way, I have started weaving.

I have no idea how I will mount this piece. Then, in the last few days as we have been taking little fun trips with our kids, I have been looking at the sky and the tree line at different times of day and have decided to do a series of these tapestries. We'll see how they turn out.


K Spoering said...

This is a lovely little piece! I love the poetry of 'Winged Rain". Are the peachy colored stripes at top and bottom the hems? I kind of like the contrast they offer. Maybe it could be mounted on a stretched piece of slightly peachy raw silk? Nice work! Congratulations...

Threads of Inspiration said...

I really loved reading your description of our little group and checked out Susan G's as well - I don't think I had read it before. I can't wait to see all of our winged rain pieces
The third Susan

tapestry13 said...

Hi Susan,
This piece is wonderful!
Thanks for letting me know your blog address.