Before we went to Chicago. I had done a search to see what tapestries the Chicago Art Institute might have. As it turned out, all textiles were in storage except one, in preparation for an upcoming exhibit. But the one tapestry I was most curious to see was the one above. And I don't even believe it was a handwoven tapestry. It was mass produced by Montgomery Wards (!) to commemorate their 100th anniversary in 1972.
The title is "Der Paukenspieler" (The Drummer Boy) and it was done from a 1940 painting by Paul Klee. It was a gift to the museum from Montgomery Wards, and is one of 2500. It is described as "Cotton, jute and wool, plain weave with discontinuous supplementary pile warps [really? warps?] forming cut solid pile." It is 59 5/8 by 29 3/8 inches.
Doing a Google search, I found that there are still the other 2499 of these 'tapestries' out there somewhere! They have sold at auction in the past few years for a few hundred dollars. Paul Klee is one of my favorite artists, and I am yearning to find one of these for myself!! I think it is a really odd, but delightfully odd, thing for a US department store to have created for the commemoration of an anniversary - to mass produce a tapestry (!) designed by Paul Klee (!).
For some reason, that encourages me.
If you happen to see one of these somewhere, give me a holler!
Monday, June 28, 2010
Here is a Truth: Time does not fly when you are sewing slits. While people may say that it 'must take a lot of Patience' to weave a tapestry, and while it does take a lot of Time to weave a tapestry, I'd far rather spend my allotted minutes of said Time weaving than in sewing slits! Fortunately, a tapestry that has taken me months to weave will 'only' take me a few days, maybe a week, to get the slits sewn together. But those are days of grueling work, in comparison to the months that, in hindsight, seem to have flown by at the loom.
OK. Can you tell by my drama-queen attitude that sewing slits is not my favorite finishing task? Every job, every art medium, every act of creation, every life task surely has it's 'slit sewing.' Framing a painting... constructing a knit sweater... obedience training a strong-minded puppy... putting away clean laundry or groceries. Thank goodness for these tiresome tasks! Because of them we can celebrate and enjoy the parts of our work that do give us pleasure so much more!
I hope your day is filled with the fun stuff. I'll be cleaning the house for guests, sewing slits, digging more garden path, and working on Booker's training tasks (as he is supposed to graduate from his Intermediate class on Saturday.... keeping all fingers and paws crossed, and using Super treats.) But I will also spend a bit of time at the easel, as I need to get some painting done to fill some emptied spots in the gallery.
Friday, June 25, 2010
The painting above is the only other work I got done in the studio this week. It is "Evening Clouds Over Mt. Garfield;" 8x10" oil on canvas. It is of the eastern end of our valley. The clouds are pretty wild, but actually 'tamer' than they were in reality. There was a sundog in the sky (a partial rainbow), which I left out, because I figured it wouldn't look real. I think paintings with rainbows and such have a hard time not looking cheesy. As it is, it may be somewhat over the top, but we do have very dramatic skies here.
Otherwise, I have been digging a path in my garden, to be filled in with brick pavers, and to ultimately try to contain my strawberries, which want to take over the world.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Weaving all day, for many days, at a loom can obviously mess your internal calendar up!
I cut the "March" tapestry off tonight at about 8:30. The photo above shows the weaving completed, including the upper hem, ready to cut off. I wound the warp back up a bit to try to get a photo of the complete tapestry before I cut off, which is seen below. The colors are not exactly true, as the shot was taken at night under artificial light. I will take better photos when the slits are sewn and it is mounted.
But, "TAA_DAA!" It is completed.... except for finishing it, of course. Well. Close counts. Right?
My husband's comment about this tapestry, which is of crocus and iris, is that it looks 'old fashioned.' Not sure what that means....
The "January" tapestry will be in the ATB8 exhibit. "February" currently hangs on my studio wall. "September" is in the Fiber Celebrated 2010 exhibit, and now "March" is at least woven. Four Calendar tapestries down, eight to go! "October" is the next one that will be woven.
Friday, June 18, 2010
We have been up on the Grand Mesa at our cabin yesterday and today. We filled the hummingbird feeder as soon as we got there, and they were waiting for it. These little buggers are not shy! If the photos had sound, you would hear them saying rude things to me for taking pictures of them as they ate.
I especially like this photo of the hummer looking for the sound of the camera. I was taking the picture from the balcony above the feeder. Booker and I had to turn and rush back inside, though, as my husband began the lawn mower and scared out a bat, who decided the inside of the cabin looked like the place to go. We barely got the door shut in time!
Booker loves chasing sticks into the cool lake, but we still can't say he's a swimmer. He's done a few 'doggy paddles' when the stick goes beyond his reach, but he usually just waits until the tide brings it in closer to him. He does love the water, so we assume he'll figure out the swimming part one of these days.
I was thinking as I walked around the cabin, taking photos of the deer and flowers, seeing skunks run out of our way (thankfully), seeing hawks soar overhead and marmots and muskrats at the lake... I love all of this Nature 'stuff.' And I want my grandchildren to have the opportunity to love it, too. And their grandchildren. The way things happen so quickly and so destructively, there are no guarantees that this will all be there for them. Even around the small mountain lake where our cabin is, oil companies have drilled in every available space. What will happen to the lake if there is an underground spill into the water shed? This lake feeds into the Colorado River which provides water for people all over the western half of the country.
Well. We must all do what we can to keep things under control. Remember that when you vote and consume, won't you?
We went to the lake to fish for the first time this season. My husband backed the boat trailer into the water, and I pulled the boat into the lake. While I was waiting for him to park the truck and get back to the boat, I looked into the lake at my reflection. Oddly, I noticed that in my reflection, I was holding a red fishing pole. "No," I thought, "my pole is green and it's in the boat." I looked in the boat. Yep, there my green pole was. I looked back at my reflection. There I was, with a red pole sticking up above my head. I looked behind me... there was nobody there holding a red pole. I looked at myself again. Big floppy fishing hat, tacky sweater that had once belonged to my mother-in-law, red fishing pole, and new polarized sunglasses. Aha! I remembered that the lady who sold me the sunglasses had asked if I fish, and when I said I did she told me I would see clearly down into the water, and would even see the fish before I caught them, now that I had polarized lenses. So I looked more closely into the water. The red pole, rod and reel, was in the water, below the end of the boat dock. So we took one of our poles and reeled it in! My first catch of the day! It didn't look like it had been in the water more than a week or two, so I cleaned up the rod, and my husband is sure he can clean up the reel to be a nice addition to our tackle! It is the second pole we have 'caught' - though the one before had a rusted reel that had to be trashed. I wonder about the person who lost the pole, though. It was so easy to get out of the lake, right there at the boat dock... did he (or she) have a bad fishing day and just pitch the whole thing into the lake? I guess I'll never know the answer to that.... In addition to the pretty red rod and reel, we brought home 6 rainbow trout.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
That is my constant mantra these days as I weave. The tapestry is nearing the top, but I swear someone is un-weaving it as I sleep. I take breaks to paint little paintings, and, today and yesterday, to go through photo files to look for more subject matter.
When I am traveling, or even here when I am out with my camera, I see things I am sure will make fantastic paintings or tapestries. But then I go through the photo files and can find nothing that appeals to me. There are some great photos, but they don't seem to need to become anything else. I especially have a lot of florals.... and I don't really like painting flowers. The orchid photo above is one I took at the local botanic garden several years ago. Love the photo, but have no need to paint it or weave it. Not now, at any rate. So today I have nothing I want to paint, after weaving for most of the day. Guess I'll just go back to the loom! After all, 'if I keep working, I will get done....'
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Those of you who don't live in the desert may not understand this post. It's been cool (60's) and rainy here all weekend, and I am loving it! Sitting on the porch was almost too chilly! The photo (above) was taken with my husband's iPhone. It has some really fun photo apps.... tempting, really.
A rainy day that is too cool for porch sitting just begs for a nap. Booker agreed. He sleeps on the floor until he's sure you are groggy enough to not notice, then he eases his way onto the bed. I think I was grateful for his warmth, so he got to stay. Besides, he really is so stealthy about it that I don't think I knew he was there until I woke up. My husband took the photo.
This is the latest after-weaving tiny painting. It is 5x7" on a gessoed masonite panel. I really do like it at the small scale, but when I took the photo of it and viewed it on a larger scale, it looks like there is not enough detail. In other words, don't look too closely - this is a small painting! This was from The Chicago Art Institute. I was struck by this girl in front of the Gauguin. The two females in the painting have long dark hair, like hers is. Gauguin would have loved her!
Saturday, June 12, 2010
So who said they were looking forward to weaving the 'simple shapes' of this tapestry? I guess I didn't look very closely at it, did I? But I can now see the end of the cartoon, about 3 1/2" above where I'm working now. Although I've been weaving some every day (and some days, quite a bit!) I no longer am predicting a finishing date for it. It will be done when I get it done.
Amazingly, the most 'fiddley bits' are in the background. But I am also having some trouble with the iris; not the shapes, but with the color. The purples I have are very close in value to the browns of the background, so I am having to do a lot of work as I choose and blend yarns to see that the iris doesn't just disappear into the background.
We are having a thunderstorm here this morning! What a rare treat for us! Booker and I went out onto the porch for my morning coffee, and I think the thunder confused him. He just turned one year old recently, and I don't think he's really ever heard thunder - that's how rare it is here. So it's grey and cool and smells like rain.... lovely! I was going to do housework for the few hours before Booker's intermediate training class, but I think it's a perfect studio day! Housework will wait...
Thursday, June 10, 2010
This little 6x6" painting (oil on panel) is my after-weaving painting for today. It is from my trip to Maine last fall. I have painted, sketched, and photographed beautiful, clean beaches on both coasts, and I firmly believe that BP, and anyone else who works in our coastal waters, MUST fix what they break, and clean up what they dirty. We should be able to expect to find beauty on our shores.
Do you hear me, BP? As 'Oscar Rogers' of SNL says, "Fix it! Fix it! Fix it!"
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
A few weeks ago, I began this little painting, which I should have finished long before now. So today I did a bit of work on it, and I think I have decided that I have invested enough time in it to call it done. I think, with something this small (5x5 inches) it is important to not do too much. So, unless I decide tomorrow that the doily is 'too much' and paint it all out, I am calling it done.
The beginning stages of the painting can be seen here. I spent about an additional 25 minutes on it today, at the close of my weaving work time. I think the quite obvious title will be "Tea Rose."
I was looking through my (unfinished) travel journal of our recent trip to Chicago this morning (need to print out and add photos). We went to the Art Institute there, and I always love to 'discover' new paintings from favorite artists, or new-to-me artists, that I am unfamiliar with. There was a big Matisse exhibit while we were there. Matisse is generally not one of my favorite artists, though I do love his figures and the way he uses fabrics and color. None of those figure/fabric pieces were in this exhibit, though, as it was his work from late in his life. There was the still life above, though, that I really liked, and it's probably obvious why I liked it. The word 'Tapis" is on the magazine(?) on the table. Was there a magazine or book called Tapis (which means 'tapestry')? Was it about tapestries? I know Matisse was an avid textile collector, so possibly it is a catalog of a show or sale? I just love to wonder about these things! I have the book (catalog from another exhibit) Matisse; His Art and His Textiles, but this piece is not mentioned, probably because it does not have an actual textile in it.
Another painting I had never seen that I noted in my journal is this "Poet's Garden" by Van Gogh. It caught my eye mainly because of the tiny lavender building, almost un-noticeable, on the left by the evergreen. Did he put that there to try to soften the acidic greens and the yellow sky? And, if so, why isn't it bigger? Why didn't he repeat more of the lavender in the tree blossoms and the foreground flowers, which were pink and white, with a very few specks of lavender, which look like afterthoughts? Actually, that little building shape itself looks like an afterthought, as if it was added on top of a dry painting. Did he later see that it was needed? Or was he just putting a small lavender building there because it was there? It just struck me as such an odd artistic decision that I could hardly pull myself away from it, and that is not usually why I stand a long time in front of a Van Gogh.
This was a Van Gogh still-life I had never seen before, and I truly love it! Simply called "Grapes, Lemons, Pears, and Apples," I think it is one of my favorites of his still lifes... tho' I also love his Irises and his Apple Blossoms. His Yellow Bedroom was there, too. I have seen it on exhibit before, but it still has the power to make me cry every time I see it. I don't know why.
There were other paintings I 'discovered' that I liked, but, for some reason, the questions I have about the two at the top have kept them in my mind the longest. I guess I must love questions even more than I love perfection, which I found in several other works. And I DO love a story in a piece of art! Even if I have to make them up myself, as the viewer. Actually, those are the best kind, aren't they?
Sunday, June 6, 2010
I rarely recommend books, let alone Highly recommending them. But, in my post-fever state today, I'm pretty sure I must recommend this one. I haven't felt like reading, watching TV or movies, or even listening to music or a book on tape until this morning. Then I decided I'd better look this book over, as I have it on an inter-library loan and it will be due soon. I picked it up, and did not put it down until I had finished it. Then I went to Amazon and ordered my own copy. I am determined to read it every six months, if not more often! It made me feel the urgent need to climb out of bed and get to my studio and work. (In fact, I believe I recall a part about illness not being an excuse to slack off.)
OK, so, I have recommended the book, which is a call to become professional in our work, not in name only but in action. One of the first blog posts I wrote was about the difficulty of beginning, and that is a necessity everyday. So, tomorrow morning I will be in the studio. And the morning after that and the morning after that.... The war has begun, again. Charge, girl!
(Image by illustrator, Shepard Fairey)
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Sick Care When It's "Catching", originally uploaded by State Library and Archives of Florida.
We've had company for the past week+, in fact we still have some. But the past two days I have been sick in bed. 'Sick' is not the same as 'sick in bed,' by the way. I have literally just drug myself out of bed in the past little bit, and plan to head back there again soon. (For those of you who live near me, I no longer recommend the Oriental buffet near the mall.)
My family has clearly never seen this video. That's OK. When you're really sick in bed, the last thing you want propped up in front of you is creamed chicken surrounded by sliced carrots. Just saying ...