Friday, November 30, 2007

Play, play, we play all day...


Ha! if only that was true! But I did do some Photoshop play today, inspired by one of my favorite Bloggers. This effect is supposed to simulate old photos taken through old lenses. I did the same photo of Possum that I posted at the very bottom of the previous post. Pretty fun, and not as simple as you might imagine. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The beginning of the end...


I enlarged the cartoon for the upper border of the Fall tapestry yesterday, and have begun weaving it. I was whining to my husband in the evening about it. It went somewhat like this:
Me: "I feel like I've been weaving and weaving and I'll never reach the end of this tapestry!"
He just looks at me with that "haven't I heard this before?" look.
Me: "These Seasons tapestries are actually like weaving three tapestries; the bottom border feels like a complete tapestry, then the body and side borders which make up a large separate tapestry, and now I feel like I'm starting a whole new tapestry with the top border!"
Him, summing it all up succinctly: "Well, isn't that what
you should have expected when you started
putting those elaborate borders all around everything?"

Don't you just HATE it when they sum things up so succinctly? It leaves you with nothing more to say.
So now I am beginning the third tapestry in the Fall series.... ummmm, I mean I'm beginning the upper border.

In other late breaking news here on the home front, the light is changing to a winter light. It is so noticeable in a house with deep eaves. As the sun gets lower in the southern sky, it really comes in my sitting room window. We keep our house pretty cool, as the upstairs collects the solar heat from the windows, and the heat rises up there. There can be as much as a 10 degree difference between the upstairs and downstairs, and 10 more degrees when you go down to the basement. Possum, our old cat, seeks the warmth for his old, cold body that has little fat on it anymore to keep him warm. He lies on the radiator when downstairs, but the past few days, he has been following the sun in the sitting room, finding the warmest spot and only moving from it when the sun moves away from it. Not such a bad life for a grumpy old guy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Creepin' up to the top...

I have reached the point where I have to enlarge the upper border design for this Fall tapestry. The upper border of each of these pieces has three parts; the two corners, and the center arched part. Each of the seasons tapestries has a bird (or an egg-filled nest, in the spring tapestry) in the upper left corner. Birds have long been a big part of my tapestries - but that's another (long) story. The upper right corner always has some plant that is symbolic of either the season or the tapestry's theme. So, in this fall tapestry, the bird will be a woodpecker. Specifically, it will be the William Morris woodpecker from his Woodpecker tapestry (image from Wikipedia). I chose that because of the gifts I have received in inspiration from Morris's work, and from the Arts and Crafts movement. I wanted to include something from Morris in this, the last of these tapestries. The upper right corner will have an apple on a branch. I have a lovely crab apple tree in my yard, that both blesses me and curses me in several seasons. The apple is a symbol of the theme if this piece. As in the mixed gift of the apple (or 'fruit') in the Garden of Eden (not the Kansas one, but the original one).

In the center arched area, I have decided to put my house with all the fall trees that surround it. I love my house. It is a true gift to me, a gift of comfort and history. But it too can be a mixed gift; as an old house it also gives us much work, expense and occasional worry. So, these three elements on the top border will contribute to the theme of the tapestry, which will be called "The Gift," and will also add to the theme of autumn. Here is the photo I'll be working from for the house part:


I'm shooting for a December 15th cutting off - which means I need to have the weaving done by the 10th or so, so I can clean house and put up holiday decor before then! YIKES... to the loom, lady!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Procrastinating...


Today I will go back to the loom. It is always so hard to begin again! But I've already said that, haven't I? So here I sit, at the computer, uploading photos I took at the cabin while we were there for Thanksgiving. I took over 100 photos, most of them of sunsets on Wednesday evening. I've done that before too, haven't I? It's hard being original sometimes. But the sunsets at the lake are always stupendous! Maybe it's the altitude there. And the reflections help, too.

When we went up on Wednesday, it was quite warm, mid-60's, even up there. It has been a record-breakingly warm fall here. And dry. Even the cabin (which keeps the night temperatures, so is usually very cold when we get there) was warm. But after our sunset drive around the lake, the wind began to blow, and by morning there was about 2" of snow. About time! There have been many years that we had to ski in to the cabin for Thanksgiving. It stayed cold, so maybe it will really turn into a Colorado winter after all.

The cabin birds can always see us coming. A chickadee came to the window as we were unloading the car, then went and sat on the empty feeder. It landed on the filled feeder as I was hanging it. I swear she said, "It's about time you came up to fill this feeder!" They, and the jays, had it empty by evening of the first day. The next day we re-filled it, and there were the hundreds of chickadees, a half-dozen or more huge Steller and Pinon jays, nuthatches, and a woodpecker(!) spending their time trading spots at the feeder. This is the feeder, and probably the same (or related) chickadees and jays from the Winter tapestry.

I did what one is supposed to do at a winter cabin. Sat in front of the fire and knit a bit, looked at a few magazines, sketched some, did a few crossword puzzles, and enjoyed my honey!
Now, the cup of coffee is gone, so I must quit procrastinating and get back to the loom!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Be ye thankful...



Another tapestry artist who knew I loved blank books gave me the sweetest little handmade Italian blank book a number of years ago. It is 1.5" wide x 2" tall. The cover is marbled paper, and the inside paper is a lovely cream colored paper that accepts watercolor well. I have been using it as a gratitude journal, to note things that I often take for granted, but am really quite thankful for. As this week is Thanksgiving here in the US, I decided to post a mosaic of a few of the pages. These are tiny, tiny sketches, so are not very detailed. I love my little book. It feels 'precious' in my hand, so makes the things I remember to be thankful for 'precious' to me as well.

In addition, I am truly thankful to God for my near-perfect husband, my amazing sons and daughters-in-law, my two totally perfect grandchildren, our parents and the rest of our families, our comfortable home, my supportive friends, my work, etc, etc, etc.... I am quite blessed, packed down and overflowing.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Creative minds are rarely tidy...

We've probably all heard that, or seen it stitched on a pillow, or whatever. That is true - not only of our workspaces, but of our minds, emotions, and moods. Creative people are notorious for untidy moodiness. I have been wearing my grouchy pants all week. My husband has had my sitting room, aka my "sanctuary" all torn up in a re-model. Banging, crashes, and mild curses, and worse yet, "Oh,oh!"'s have been going on in the room next door to my studio for the past few days, and weeks. As I've been trying to work. Now that it is finished, it looks nice, and I'm trying hard to get the grouchy pants off! Sometimes they seem to be quite a tight and comfortable fit, however, so it might take some real effort on my part. The holiday season is coming, too. So I must beware of exchanging the grouchy pants for my seasonal wardrobe, which has a great pair of Scrooge pants in it!
Well, I have reached my 4"/week quota this week (in spite of crabbiness and distractions), so will spend the weekend cleaning house. That ought to make it all better - if not with the 'process,' certainly with the 'product!' And I'll bake cinnamon rolls... my grouchy pants are too tight for cinnamon rolls! They always come off for cinnamon rolls!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The face of Fall...

Childe Hassam said, "The man who will go down to posterity is the man who paints his own time and the scenes of everyday life around him." I like that. Because it is always my intent to show those moments of everyday life that are good; that are worth remembering and savoring. There is so much to see that is not good; that we want and try to forget. Sometimes it seems that those horrid moments stay with us longer than the precious good moments. The Fall tapestry I am weaving is all about the gifts of excellent moments; of accepting them, holding them close, and then of finally giving them back. How is one to say all that in a tapestry?

Well, I have the face and head done. It is not 'a vision of perfect beauty,' as one always wants to create. But it will do.

I have spent as much time on it as I can. I have to move on; to finish the rest of the tapestry body and the upper border (which isn't even completely designed yet). I've also woven 10 of the 12 leaves along the side borders, so I'm "movin' on up." Slowly, but surely!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Diversions...

...but still working. I just needed to get away from the loom a bit. Facing that face has become a bit much. As I drifted off to sleep last night, I determined to un- and re-weave the whole blasted thing! But this morning, I reconsidered. So now I do have the face woven and am working on the hair and the areas around the head. I'll probably post the lot in a day or two. But, as I said, I needed a creative diversion.

In February I will be having two local exhibits. The first is an invitational fiber exhibit at the regional Art Center. The other artists are quilters, etc. I plan on exhibiting the four Seasons tapestries, in additional to several other pieces.

The second exhibit is my own exhibit at the coffee shop in our local Barnes and Noble, which has changing exhibits every month. The exhibit there will be of cups, and coffee/tea related pieces. I'll hang my few small tapestries that are appropriate, and the small cup paintings, plus a few more that I have either done, or hope to do before then (if I'll have drying time for them). But I've also been taking a few photos that I really like. I plan to have them printed up and framed. Here are 3 recent ones that I took in Kansas:



Saturday, November 10, 2007

Of faces and hands...

I did not begin weaving the face yesterday. I had to weave all around the face first, which I did, and that has given me the courage to 'face the face' (so to speak) today. I did finish weaving the hand, and am happy with it. Hands and faces are very important. When there is a figure in an image, the viewer's eye goes to the face first. The hand is pretty important in this tapestry, too. The title of the piece will be "The Gift", and the woman is lifting her hand up in a gesture of either receiving or giving something. I had thought about having something symbolic in the hand, but decided to leave it empty, and thus ambiguous regarding whether the gift was being given or received.

So today, it's the face and the hair. I've been looking again at William Morris's tapestries, which have, I believe, the most perfect woven faces. They are all woven sideways, however, and I'll be weaving from the bottom, up. Still, they will be nearby to inspire me. Aren't they beautiful? And they look so simple... Simply Beautiful.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Home again, home again....

We are back from Kansas. There's no place like Home! Dorothy said it, and I concur. I didn't take many photos in Kansas, so can't give you much of a trip tour.
Not yet in Kansas, we got to see the grandkids for a few short hours. My grandson likes his new hat I had knit him. It's from the winter issue of Knitty.com.
Miss K "taught me" how a sloth hangs. At 3, she is quite into 'teaching' things to all we less-intelligent beings (and that includes pretty much everybody- just sayin'; she's one smart cookie and is not afraid to show it).
Coming home, I was amazed, as always, at Kansas from the sky. How did they do this... really?

And finally, there in the distance are our beloved mountains. My whole being breathes a sigh of relief when I return from somewhere and see the mountains. To me, the mountains mean Home.
I did not bring home much in the way of trip souvenirs, but my old high school partner in crime and I went exploring the outer regions of Topeka, which included several small towns and the Oz Museum, where I got these two magnets to put on my loom to scare intruders and work interrupters away. The top one has Glenda the good witch and says, "Now be gone before someone drops a house on you" and the lower one has the wicked witch on it and says, "Don't make me get the winged monkeys!" Love them both!
Today I am back at the loom, and must work on the face and hair of the figure in the Fall tapestry, so much concentration will be needed. So get out of here, all of you, before I call out the winged monkeys! (Just kidding. You know I'm really the good witch, but I have been know to drop a few houses in my time, as well. And I wouldn't mind a few of those monkeys occasionally.)