Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"June", at the 2/3rds woven point...

I am finally starting to fall in love with this tapestry! Sometimes it takes awhile. I start out concerned with technique, color choices, etc, and I just don't feel the tapestry; it's story or it's mood. But then, as the weaving progresses and most choices have been made, I remember what it is I am trying to convey in the piece, and I start to feel it working for me.

This happened for me today. I have completed the somewhat fussy water area, and am 'on dry land' again. 

Weaving this tapestry is somewhat feeling like a deja vu experience. I wove water, and a canoe, and mountains in the "Yellow Canoe" tapestry, many years ago. It was woven to capture a camping trip in Montana with my brother's family. (That tapestry has sold, and I apologize for the less than terrific photo below.) The tapestry was also an attempt to come to terms with weaving lines, and Kathe Todd-Hooker put it in her wonderful book, Line in Tapestry. (I think you can get it directly from her, but this is the first link that comes up for it.)

As you can see, the lines in the "Yellow Canoe" tapestry are pretty much about woven lines. I have tried to make the ones in the "June" tapestry a bit more organic; more about the lines you would see in actual moving water.

The Yellow Canoe 35x35" 1995 KSpoering
I am actually a bit ahead of schedule in getting done in time for my shortened deadline! But I am not letting up. Although I feel that the most 'fiddley' work is done, I still have a cloud filled sky and a tree-lined horizon to weave. So, back to it! Six inches to go....!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Vote for Tapestry!

I am an American Made nominee for the Martha Stewart competition. I decided to go out on that particular limb, because it is time Martha's audience discovers the medium of handwoven tapestry, I think! So, between now and September 13th, you can click on the big round green link at the top right and go vote for me! I have no expectation of 'winning' anything, but I think perhaps, if I got enough votes, someone at Martha Stewart might try to learn more about the medium. That may be stretching too far, but who knows? If you don't occasionally stretch, you get pretty stiff.

You can vote up to 6 times per day. (That little green arrow at the bottom will tell you how many votes you have left.)

And if you do go and vote for me, Thank You so much!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tread(L)ing Water...

As promised, here is a shot of the "June" tapestry at it's half-way point. I may not be posting much, though I am making myself take at least a five-minute break from weaving every hour. 

I got an email from the Art Center yesterday. This tapestry is to be, with the other completed 7 calender tapestries, in an exhibit there for the month of October. I had believed the center would need the finished pieces by the end of September, as the opening reception is not until October 4th. But they now say all work has to be there by September 18th. That is about the time I was planning to cut this piece from the loom, with the following week to sew slits, block and mount it for the exhibit. 

So now, I need to get it done faster. I'm not really sure that is possible, but I am going to give it my best try. I have informed my husband that cooking and cleaning will wait for awhile. I will be informing friends that our coffee time will need to be put on hold, unless they want to stop by my dirty house on one of my five-minute breaks.

I looked at my calender this morning. I have about 14 days to weave 10 inches. (I'm not counting some days I know I will not be able to weave, due to other commitments.) After that, I still need to do the finish work on this tapestry, and I still have to mount the "October" tapestry. 

My five-minute break is up... back to the loom.

Thursday, August 22, 2013 over my head?

I have told you I am weaving water (or at least a tapestry that is supposed to look like water.) Here is about  a 3"x5" bit of what I am working on. Doesn't look too complex... just a few color changes here and there. A bit of hachure; some line work. But looks can be deceiving. 

I am a silly creature sometimes. Or maybe a 'complex creature' sounds better. I like me a challenge. But I also like to relax and take things easy. And there are times when I need a challenge, and times when I maybe should go the easy route. With a close deadline 'looming' and an otherwise busy life, this should be a time to avoid challenges. But it seems I can't just let myself take the easy route in my work. This water area has a L.O.T. of fiddley work in it! A L.O.T. of very tiny bits of weft change. Now, in my head, I know that I could simplify the water area and it would still 'read' to the viewer as water. It has fish in it. It will have a boat on it. Even if I weave it more simply, it will look like water. 

But, (and here's where I show my stubborn wierdness) what I like about the water is the abstract complexity of it; the tiny bits of light, and the areas of shadow; the subtle color changes, next to the more drastic changes. And, for some reason, for ME to be happy with this abstract bit of woven water, I need to capture ALL those fiddley areas and changes.

Crazy, I'm sayin.' 

So, every now and then, I just have to get up and go fold a load of laundry or post on this blog.... anything to keep from giving into that tiny voice that says, "just weave a big area of blended blues! It will look enough like water to everyone but you."  And I refuse to give into that voice of reason, because, sadly, I don't weave to please everyone but me. I weave to please me.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I live in a desert. I know I've mentioned that before. But our desert is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, and the snow they have each year is VERY valuable here, and in a number of other places, for the water it provides. Our water is one of our regions most valuable resources; in fact, I believe it is our MOST valuable resource, and there are always squabbles over who gets it, especially in years when it is scarce.

Maybe all of that is why I am so fascinated with water. I love going to the oceans (well, who doesn't?) And I am, once again, loving weaving water. But the water I am weaving right now is not all that fascinating to look at yet. I am hoping to reach, and pass, the mid-point of the "June" tapestry this week, and when I do, I'll post a photo of my progress.This tapestry is of the lake where our mountain cabin is located, which I have photographed in all of it's many moods and seasons over the years.

In the meantime, I'll share a couple of photos I took up at the lake last weekend. We went up and met one of our sons and his two precious children for a few days. In the evenings, we generally take a ride around the lake to watch the wildlife going down for water. I took the top photo on the first evening. I mostly love the water in that photo, with the sun reflected on the shallow water, but I also love the lone heron standing and reflected in the lake. Doesn't this photo just beg to be a tapestry?

The second photo was taken the second evening, of my son teaching the kids how to skip stones across the water. You can see in the photo that his stone had skipped four times when I shot the picture. The kids could have skipped stones and waded in the warm water for hours!

You know that one of the other things that fascinates me, besides the water, are the animals and birds around it. While we frequently see herons at the lake, we have never, in our 30+ years of going to the cabin, seen cranes there. If we see cranes, it is in the valley. But there were several pairs of Sandhill Cranes making a joyous racket at the lake! My grandchildren and I  hiked a good bit to see them more closely.

My Grandchildren's shadows, smiling and waving at you!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

No Red Fish, No Blue Fish...

My goal for the week was to get to the third fish, and to get it woven. I reached that goal today. Yea! The third fish is really not a whole fish, but is just a head swimming into the edge of the tapestry. In fact, there is really only one whole trout; the other two are partial fish.

But, anyway.... My weaving week is actually over today, and I have reached my goal, so I am happy. Tomorrow, my Colorado son and his two kids will meet us at our cabin, so he can help us do some summer work up there. We are also  escaping the painters working on our house down here, and it will be good to get away from that busy-ness.

Reaching the top of the third fish pretty much insures that I'll get to the mid-point of the tapestry next week, barring other events that I may not be able to control.

I've been weaving water, and more water, and will have more water to weave all next week, before I reach the next non-water objects of interest. That's OK. I am listening to Dan Brown's Inferno on CD, and it will keep me going for awhile, even if the water begins to bore me. There are a lot of color changes coming up in the water soon, too, so that will also keep me on my 'weaving toes.'

In the meantime, I hope you all have a great weekend, and maybe I will catch a trout or two (or even three) instead of just weaving them!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Still Summer?

Today is the first day of school here. Children and their parents have been passing by my house, on the way to the grade and middle schools that are within a block of my house. The morning air is crisp and cool; just like it should be on the first day of school.


But, good grief, it is still August! The official season change is still more than a month away. 

The beginning of school has always been what I considered to be the beginning of my intense weaving time; a mindset relic from the 15 years when I had children at home and in school. At that time of my life, I didn't even really try to weave in the summer. Summer was filled with swimming lessons, baseball games, camping trips, and summer company. Some habits are hard to break, but that is not always a bad thing. With the beginning of the school year, I feel a burst of enthusiasm for being at work; for weaving and painting, and even for managing my so-called-business-life.

So.... in the spirit of the later, I have added a couple of prints to my Etsy Shop this morning, and they will be there for a limited time, as will all of my 'Summer Sale' items. At the end of the month, that 'sale' will end. SO, if you know anyone who might be looking for inexpensive prints, send them in my direction!

The "Plums and Lavender" print is of a painting that I have hanging in my own kitchen.  It goes so well there, that I have never had the painting for sale anywhere. I guess I have claimed it as mine! One of a few that I will keep in my own collection.

I have a couple of tapestries that I will be listing in the sale later today or tomorrow. (My Etsy Shop can be found by clicking on the link in the sidebar.)

Oh, my. Shameless promotion really is quite a difficult thing, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

One Fish, Two Fish....

My goal for today was to complete weaving this second trout (you can see the very subtle 'first trout' to the the right and below this one.) I have all but the top of the tail woven, though I need to also weave the water around the fish. 

These fish, and one more, are a part of the "June" calendar tapestry that is on my loom now. I have less than 5 of 18 inches woven, and must have it completed, to be exhibited in October. Yikes!

But, for today I am happy to have the fish woven. I have spent the past several days not quite on top of my form. Sick, in fact. But today, I am finally ready to be back at work.

With the fish woven (mostly) I need to quit and run some much-neglected errands, and then fix a real dinner, as my poor husband has been fending for himself for awhile. Inspired by my trout, I'm thinking of some good tuna patties for dinner, since we have no trout in the freezer at present. And some local sweet corn and tomatoes from the garden. It's good to be hungry again!

Oh, Mr. Trout, you have inspired me to weave.... and to cook and to eat!

Tomorrow and at least one more day after that, I'll just be weaving water. But then I will weave the last trout. Wonder what I'll want for dinner that night? I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Home from New England...

We are home again, after going to the Boston area to visit one son's family, along with the other son's family! It was great to all be together and play tourist for a bit. It was especially fun to do things that were new to my four grandchildren.

Motif #1. Supposedly the most photographed site in the US. Rockport, MA

I will not bore you with  my family photos (though I did get some wonderful ones!) I'll just post a few photos here to show a small bit of where we've been. We visited museums, and saw wonderful bits of Harvard that only a lucky few get to see.

We took a Duck Tour of downtown, seeing a great deal of the Freedom Trail in a fairly short time (the best way to see it with 4 children under the age of 10!)

We went to see the USS Constitution, Old Ironsides. (By the way, getting a read-able photo of this flag was a real challenge!)

We saw some history of the mills and watch making factories in Waltham. We saw Dr. Who there, which was very exciting for some of us.

We went to a great beach, on a hot sunny day. Large amounts of sunscreen were used.

We saw lightening make music. We played in a band of our own making. We saw Despicable Me 2. We hiked in the woods with a very fast dog. We napped with cats. We watched baby birds being fed by their mama. We ate lobster, salt water taffy, and home-made ice cream, made only as scientists would make it. We saw a turtle donated to Harvard by Henry David Thoreau himself, and the glass flowers, and hissing cockroaches (on display, thankfully.) We saw lighthouses and boats, old and new.
A wonderful time was had by all, and now we are home and I must get back to work.

A vacation is a wonderful thing. Work makes us long for vacations and travel. Then vacations help us to appreciate the solitude, regularity, and every-day-ness of work. I am glad to be one of the lucky few who have both in my life!