Thursday, April 25, 2013

An Under-the-Bed exhibit...

"Cabin Fever" tapestry 24"x36" 1988

I am doing my spring cleaning. Well, okay, I am supposedly doing my spring cleaning, though you know I am really at the computer (any diversion helps in these situations.) In cleaning the bedroom, I pulled a big box out from under the bed. It is a box that only gets pulled out once a year, during spring cleaning. Sometimes I don't even open the box; I just clean the floor where it was, then cram it back under there. Out of sight, out of mind.

But, knowing what lives in the box, I decided to open it today, and check to make sure everything was doing well in the box, and not being eaten by moths or an unruly cat. What lives in the box are about a half dozen of my very early tapestries. I truly do not know what to do with them! I have considered stitching them all together and using them for a studio rug. I have considered letting the dog sleep on a couple of them. But I just can't destroy them. They not only constitute my technical learning years, but they also contain some of my 'visions' and 'visual thoughts' of those early years, simple though they be.

This tapestry, woven in 1988, was a pretty ambitious piece for me at the time. Each of my tapestries back in those days were woven with certain technical challenges in mind. This one, I remember, had a couple of challenges. I wanted to figure out how to use lines in a subtle semi-transparent way. So I included the shapes in the background, which you can see if you click on the image to make it larger. Also, I was working my way through the weft-faced techniques in Peter Collingwood's rug book (which is how I learned to weave tapestries.) I wanted to work on using joins, and I wanted the joins to leave a jagged, irregular edge. So all of the sides of the house shapes are joined, using a couple of different techniques. Where I wanted clean edges (the sun and moon shapes,) I used slits.

I was loving the work of Paul Klee at this time. I had been to the San Francisco Art Museum, which then had a "Paul Klee Room." I remember walking into that room and seeing his work for the first time, and being reduced to tears by it. It was actually a pretty embarrassing situation, as I was the only person there, so the docent came over and asked if I was OK. Probably not too many people weep at Paul Klee's art, but I did. I loved it! So this tapestry still speaks to me of his work, and his colors, and my love for what he does.

I designed and wove this when my sons were young, still playing with Legos in the family room where my floor loom was. My husband was very busy building his pediatric practice, and was gone a great deal of the time. This tapestry was woven during a very long, hard winter. It is called "Cabin Fever," for obvious reasons.

If you read my post a few days ago, you saw one of my other tapestries from my under-the-bed exhibit, woven the same year as this tapestry was. The technical challenge of that piece was to learn to use an outlining technique. As you can see from both of these, I was in my 'bright colors on black' period.  1988 was a pretty productive year. I designed and wove four pretty good-sized tapestries that year. Those little boys with Legos didn't slow me down anywhere near as much as age and a tendency to over-detail my work has done lately!

Back to spring cleaning. Wonder what else I'll find....

1 comment:

The-Unknown-Weaver said...

I love your "Cabin Fever" tapestry. Don't throw them away. Someday you'll take them out of the box and be glad you have them. I am an artist who gets rid of old work because, as I grow artistically, I start to dislike my old work. Now, late in my life, I have no early works left. Well, wait... smarter family and friends have run off with some things that were on the "about to be destroyed" list and those are all that are left of a lifetime of work. And now, in retrospect, there ARE some things that I wish I had kept. You may get to that point one day, too. A box under a bed isn't bothering anyone really. Keep them.