Friday, April 1, 2011

Craig Gallery Tapestry Weaving Project 2011, part #2

Balls of yarn, the beginning is near. One might think that having a hand cranked ball winder rather than a nostepind makes everything happen in a second or two. However, when there are about 43 skeins of yarn one can actually watch several episodes of whatever series one favours at the moment or listen to several podcasts of one's choosing whilst turning the crank and getting all the balls lined up and ready for commencement.

First row of bricks is in. Well first I have a couple of inches woven which will be taken out when the piece comes off the loom, it steadies up the bottom line of the piece and is the removable foundation for the whole tapestry.

 Weaving the first row was exciting, choosing the balls of yarn which looked like they were the ones strong enough to carry the whole piece necessitated a thorough thought-process, but once it felt right it was all pretty straight forward, wind the butterflies for each brick and also for the mortar between the bricks - the glue in the whole piece. 
Then it was time to put in guide threads for the next row of bricks, which had to be contemplated for a little while before they could start their meandering around the warp threads.

I am not the precisest of persons except when I start certain pieces of tapestry, then suddenly I am in full need of guide threads and repetitious counting of warp threads, over and over again, making sure that I am at the precise intersection where I want to be. 

No room for ...... seeing what will happen next ..... right at this moment the next step has to be 'just so'.

Third row of bricks is almost done, still need to put mortar along the top edge so they won't keel over in a windstorm. After that it is time to start the fourth row, but that is close to being one fluid motion now, from one row into the other, my hands and eyes have agreed on how it needs to be done so the many moments of thoughtful deliberation  and hesitation have dwindled quite considerably. Which also bodes well for the 'speed' with which the tapestry can progress from now on. Not that it is a race, but when spending between 6-8 hours on each row of bricks time is still a factor which needs to be part of the equation.
Several layers later it is time to put in the arches - had I chosen to use finer yarns I could have made the arches and the bricks along the top of the arches much more carefully rounded, but..... my hand-spun yarns do have a mind of their own so I have to smile and greet each brick as it takes its own shape and shows me its own special profile and place in the weaving. At one point I thought I had to take it out again, but fortunately a break and a walk brought me back to my senses and my eyes again agreed that it was fine and just the way it ought to turn out. No big adjustments needed at this point in time after all. 
After about each foot of weaving I have to move to the back of tapestry, for it is time to tuck in ends and clean up the not often seen surface. Some weavers leave all the ends, lots of them, I like to tuck them in, and cut them off so they are not in the way and don't interfere with the surface of the piece when it hangs on the wall. It is a nice time and an impatient time, for most usually I am anxious to get on with the next bit of the weaving, and yet, I know that tucking in ends is what must happen. If it is done after the piece comes off the loom it can leave undesirable marks in the weaving and.... I don't want that. So tuck I do with a big darning needle, with a small pair of scissors near by and scrunched up on a little stool between the wall and the loom.
'Artistic freedom' also plays in at this point. I had made the cartoon fairly true to the original photo I had taken of the wall, but when I got to the top part, where there was one row of 'diamonds' only and then a row or ordinary bricks it just didn't feel so right and I had to walk away again. The solution to calming down the voice that was protesting was to allow myself the joy of weaving more than one row of diamonds, I had the pleasure of adding 5 of them + the two half ones at the bottom and the top of this part and then.... all was well, my brain and my fingers could calm down. I did have a discussion (with me) about how many rows of ordinary bricks were needed at the top, one side was three rows for sure and the other kept shaking her head saying, ha, I don't think so. As the one row had been laid, we all had to agree, that ... one was enough. (and please take into account that I was born in the sign of the Gemini so...... we, myself and I have many good discussions always, on many topics!)

Finally Bispebue - Wall is on the living room wall. It got to hang here for a little while before moving to the gallery space at the Craig Gallery, Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia along with all the other beautiful pieces of artwork from SEVEN, the group I exhibited with in Denmark, August 2010. 

This exhibit Udveksling is up for a month and the opening took place two days ago on March 30, a beautiful spring day and night for the drive to the city (approx 120km away from here for many of the guest who came to celebrate with us)

I love weaving and seeing the colours and feeling the textures and most of all the surprise when the finished tapestries come off the loom, for ...... most often there are expressions in them which I hadn't imagined they just came forth and took shape. 

Happy snowy spring day everyone!

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