Thursday, February 14, 2008

Small Format Tapestry

Every two years, ATA has been sponsoring a small format tapestry exhibit in conjunction with Convergence. This year it is at the TECO Plaza Art Gallery in Tampa, Florida, and called Woven Gems. It is opened to all tapestry artists in the world and is unjuried so, in my opinion, it is the most exciting tapestry exhibit. There are some first ever tapestries as well as the work of the tapestry "stars". Often there is experimental work because of the 10" x 10" size maximum which makes it easier to try new ideas. This year there are 189 entries from 30 states and 9 countries which is a record breaking participation.

Ordinarily, I have my tapestry done well before the Jan 15 application deadline but this year I hadn't even started. I didn't even have a design in mind. I almost decided to just forget it this time but at the very last minute I went through my sketchbook, picked out 3 possible watercolors I could work from and sent in my application. I decided to warp the loom for 3 small tapestries and hoped that I would like one of them enough to send in. All three of them wove up like a dream. I loved them all and had a hard time deciding which one to send but chose this first one to go to the show. It was actually woven second on the warp.

I thought the sky was the most interesting and showed a lot of depth. This is the watercolor used to make the tapestry cartoon. These are all views that I see out my window everyday of the Bridger Mountains in southwest Montana.

This next tapestry is the first one that I wove. All of these are on a wool warp sett at 8 epi on my Mirrix loom. The weft is handspun singles.

Here is the watercolor sketch for this one. I've only recently started using watercolors and just do small paintings about the size of a postcard for my sketchbook.

This is the third tapestry I wove.

Here is the watercolor I worked from.

And this is the photo that I did the watercolor from. Sometimes I see a beautiful sky but don't have the time that moment to paint it so like to take a photo for later.

I had so much fun making these which are all 9" x 6 3/4", that I would like to do more of the same scene in different moods and weather and somehow assemble them into a larger piece.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

New Year...Start Up the Blog Again

One of my resolutions for this year was to post to my blog again. I now have a wonderful, super-powerful iMac and broadband so it should all work a lot better and quicker for me. This post is mostly photos of what I finished up last year. It's not a complete list because there were a few things that got away without having their photos taken.

These are some photos of the finished saddle blanket. This is the first one that I've ever woven and I was pleased with the end piece. The yarn is all organic and naturally dyed by Thirteen Mile Farm here in Belgrade. It was a fun project to work on and I liked doing it at the time but I don't think I'll be doing another one. My heart is still with tapestry weaving.

The horse, Squire, looks like his saddle blanket is comfortable to him.

Here is the only tapestry that I wove last year. I had another tapestry on the loom for a long time and it just wasn't working for me so scrapped it and used the rest of the warp for this one. Right now, I'm working on 3 small tapestries for the small format exhibit in Florida this summer in conjunction with Convergence. I can only send one but decided to warp the loom for 3 so that I could send the best one hoping I got a decent one. So far I've finished two, love them both and can't decide which one is better. I'll be thrilled if I have a problem picking from the three which is best. Photos of these will be coming in the next week or so.

I made this doll for a good friend for Christmas. When I was in Washington last summer, I did a lot of hiking and the woods were so lush and overgrown, it seemed they just had to be inhabited by fairies and elves, or Smurfs. I was sure that I would see some little forest folk peaking from behind a leaf. That got me thinking of dolls and some little forest people so I made this doll. Her body is an inkle band, her head and limbs are crocheted and her skirt is weavette squares. I figured out a way to weave small beads into the squares to look like dew drops. She has a wire armature inside which I had to figure out how to do but it was well worth it to make the doll poseable.

In the evenings when I'm too tired to work on anything else, I've started making these little crocheted amigurumi. I am having so much fun. I hadn't crocheted in years and I'm enjoying that but I also like making the little animals. Mostly I use patterns out there and change details and features, etc. It's great for using up all the odds and ends of yarn too. Mine are all wool and I stuff them with wool too, so they are very cuddly. I've made several more but they've gone to live at other homes.

I love cats and really love making fortune cats, Japanese maneki neko. The first ones I did were from a knit pattern I found online but I converted it to crochet to make it easier for me. It's fun to decorate them with coins and bells.

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