Thursday, February 21, 2013

New Cartoon

Now that I have finished my daughter's portrait, I am planning my next weaving on my loom.  I had thought about doing an ocean piece from a vacation photograph from the Bahamas, but it was not speaking to me.  I tried to like it and had already bought the yarn for it.  However, I figure if I am going to spend a month or so with a piece, I better really like it.  I learned that the hard way with knitting.  I had someone discourage me from knitting a sweater when I first started.  She talked me into knitting a vest.  I never liked the vest, and never really liked the yarn I chose.  Therefore it sat for years.  The next person I went to about knitting said never begin a project unless you really love the yarn and the piece.  You are going to be spending a lot of hours with it, you had better be in love with it from the beginning or you won't finish it.   That advice has stuck with me, and works well with tapestry weaving.  Therefore, I returned the yarn for the ocean piece, and exchanged it for a flower piece.

I love flowers; I have painted flowers since I was a teenager.  I continue to paint and draw flowers.  So, I went back to photographs that I had taken last spring and pulled one out that would work with the warp that I have on my Macomber.  I took the photograph, worked with it a bit in Photoshop, and here it is:

For whatever reason, I don't like weaving from a photograph.  I prefer to redraw the piece and color it myself.  I want it to have a more impressionistic look rather than a more photorealistic look.  The piece shown below is an 8x8" drawing that I drew and colored with these fabulous Japanese art markers.  I then uploaded it into the computer.

Next, using a program called tiler recommended to me by another weaver, I printed out the piece on 6 sheets of paper from my computer.  I taped them together, and now I have a full-size cartoon of my hand drawn and colored piece.  

I have started to gather my yarns and make my butterflies, but will need more time to get all of them together.  I look forward to starting this piece, which should be approximately 20x20" when complete.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Weaving Finished

Today I finished weaving my portrait of my daughter.  It was my first piece using Helena Hernmarck's weaving technique.  Overall, I am pleased with the outcome.

I do have some tweaking to do after it comes off the loom.  There are some problems with the chin and the right side of the cheek. I can fix those with a bit of yarn and a tapestry needle, but otherwise, I will leave it alone.  A detail of the piece is shown below.

I still have quite a bit of warp left on the loom, so I am thinking of weaving my first color piece using this technique.  I bought some yarn for it, but I need to do adjust the warp a bit  and rewind the weaving onto the cloth beam.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tapestries on the Web

My last two weeks have been filled with sick children.  Right now I am keeping my fingers crossed for myself.  So, I haven't touched my loom in two weeks.  That three inches is calling me, and I hope to go in and weave for a couple of hours after I get ready to teach my science class for tomorrow.

In the meantime, I found a new-to-me blog with all things animal art.  It is written/managed by an Italian woman.  Today she posted photos of tapestries by Jean Picart le Doux and Jean Lucart called Wild Tapesties.  Have a look and enjoy!

Friday, February 1, 2013

More Portrait Progress

I have made some more progress on my daughter's portrait.  I became a bit discouraged by the amount that the piece is pulling in at the edges.  I thought about cutting it off the loom and discarding it, but in the end decided I would never restart this piece again so I am carrying on.  I have had some difficulties with the loom.  I think it needs some adjustments, but I will have to figure those out before I make the next tapestry on the loom.

In the meantime, Helena Hernmarck in her workshop stated that she never unwove anything.  However, I am certainly not Helena, and I as I wove on the second eye and eyebrow realized they were both out of place.  So, I did unweave that piece.  Luckily, I noticed pretty early on that they were not in the right place so it wasn't too difficult to repair.  Another piece that is not quite right is the shadow on the chin.  However, I will leave that to be fixed after it comes off the loom.  Because it was in a pattern part of the piece, I can use a tapestry needle and the thread to fix that.  You can see that thread in the photo hanging loose at the neck.

This tapestry has been a BIG learning experience for me.  I learned to warp a floor loom with a fair amount of success thanks to Rebecca Mezoff and Klaus Anselm and their generous help.  I have gotten the process of Helena Hernmarck's technique in my head if not in my hands yet.  I have learned some of where my mistakes are coming from thanks to Winnie Johnson, a student of Helena's, who has kindly answered lots of questions, and to Helena herself who answered several of my questions.

I have four more inches to weave, and I am excited to see how the piece looks after it comes off the loom.  One thing about this technique which is interesting, it is best viewed from several feet away.  When I look at the portrait as I am weaving, I am a bit unhappy with it, but when I view the photographs of the piece, I am much more pleased with the results.  That will present a challenge when hanging the piece, but that is a problem I will address much later.