Friday, November 20, 2009

Illustration Friday: Music



The IF topic today is music. Music has a big role in my family. My father is a musician, he can play the piano and just about any other instrument he might want to play. Most of his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren have inherited his love of music. We sing. We love to sing! One of my greatest joys is to sing with my grandchildren or to have them sing to me.

The tapestry, "Prairie Polka," is one of my Heritage Series tapestries. It was inspired by these two small contact photos of my dad with his parents (my grandparents) when he was young . They lived in Kansas, thus the wheat fields and distant grain elevator in the tapestry. This is the smallest of the Heritage tapestries, at about 36"x36" square. It is still in my collection. In fact, it hangs in my studio.




Technically, this was a challenge for me to weave. It was woven sideways, so I could do a lot of eccentric weft work in the prairie. That was a lot of fun! The sky then, which was to be a gradation, had to be hatched, instead of the color blended gradation I could have done if it was woven bottom to top. There was also, then, the long vertical line of the bottom border, which I had to use a join on, as a long slit would have caused problems. And then the line work in the wheat bundle in the border was also going up the warp, so was woven in the 'weft-wrapping' technique I frequently use, but which is also a slow technique. All of those technical issues had to be decided before I began weaving, as I was making the choice whether to weave it bottom to top or from side to side. I prefer to always weave bottom to top, unless there is a very good reason not to. In this case there were very good reasons to weave it either way, but I chose to do it 'the hard way' so I could do the prairie in eccentric wefts, in shapes that would be vertical when the tapestry is hung. Weaving it sideways also made the accordion easier to weave. (I know a lot of this is complex technical gibberish to many of you, so just pretend it's not here.) I learned a LOT from weaving this tapestry. It's good for me to remember it all today.

(Also, to continue the music topic, Booker's official AKC name is now "Booker T Sings the Blues." I thought it should have been "Booker T's Mama Sings the Blues"!)

9 comments:

Patricia Lee said...

Love the story of your heritage behind your beautiful tapestry art!

Suzy B said...

Oh~~thank you for the written details right under the actual tapestry! For a beginning tapestry weaver it was great fun going from one sentence of explanation, right back up to the image to see what you meant. I have also enjoyed long looks at your Heritage Series. Suzy

Jennifer said...

What a great tapestry! I loved seeing the pictures that inspired it also. Most of all I am gratefull to hear the technical aspects - particularly the thoughts behind which direction to weave based on the techniques you want to use. Thanks for sharing!

Jack Foster said...

This is amazing! The photos that inspired you were such a visual treat! Thanks for sharing your work and your heritage.

Indigene said...

Wow, this is an incredible piece, there is mastery in your hands!

Cintia Yamane said...

wonderful!!

Theresa said...

The piece is beautiful but the history that you've shared bring it to life for anyone reading. I loved the way the wheat looks and the people stand out. You may not know exact location, but you know exactly where in the country you are. I want to touch it to see the texture and the weaving.

Great registered name for Booker! Is he still singing the blues post sock debacle?

Gai said...

what a beautiful piece captured from real life and woven with great feeling into a tapestry.

ratu lakhsmita indira said...

i liked those old pics...