Wednesday, February 3, 2021

A Series Doesn't Have to be Serious!

I have always loved working in a series. If you go to my website Gallery page, you'll see that I have done a number of tapestry series. Working in a series, one thing just seems to easily lead to the next! I wrote more about working in a series here, if you are interested or curious about why I love working this way.

As a "cat mom" myself, I've been doing a little series of sketches of 'cat moms' this week. I love how the women look so in love, and the cats look, well, maybe tolerant at best. I know cats. They love us on their own terms, not on ours. But these little sketches in my sketchbook are amusing me, and giving me a few minutes of play, over my morning coffee.


I have also been trying to catch up with a bit of business work recently, along with some studio cleaning and organization. Finding a few small tapestries stuck here and there, I updated my Etsy shop. This particular tapestry was the first small tapestry I ever made! I was reminded of her when a lot of women, including me, put on our pearls on Inauguration Day to celebrate our first woman Vice President. If you see something on Etsy that feels like it was created just for you, but find the price unmanageable, please email me or contact me by leaving a message. I truly want my work to find homes.

And finally, I am still weaving this tapestry, but the end of the cartoon is now in sight. This tapestry actually is a part of a series that began with the Graffiti Tapestry. What makes them a series is more evident to me, as the weaver, than it will be to the viewer. All of the tapestries in this 'series' are woven with very small abstract bits of color, which come together to create the image. That is actually how all tapestries are woven, but in these pieces, I want those small abstract bits to be visible.

This 'series' of days just keeps going on and on for us. Yesterday was Groundhog Day in the US, but the last year has felt like every day is groundhog day (as in the movie.) I hope you are finding positive and comforting ways to cope. And I hope we will all soon find access to the vaccines that will help us move beyond this pandemic!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Shopping for Tapestry Books?

I know the season of giving is coming, but it is also the season of 'getting,' to some extent. If you don't know what to ask for, or if you choose to 'gift' yourself (as I have done,) there are three new tapestry books on the market that are worthy of your consideration. (Actually, there are a couple more new ones  that I haven't yet received - Are you listening, Santa?)

If you are a beginning tapestry weaver, or if you are wanting to learn the basics of tapestry weaving, look for Rebecca Mezoff's book,  The Art of Tapestry Weaving.  It builds techniques one on the other, like weft on weft, each clearly explained and shown in photos. As a self-taught weaver, this book would have been VERY welcome a number of years ago! It will be a classic text for those of you who are visual learners.

If you are a tapestry weaver, or are working in any art medium, and are wanting to consider how inspiration becomes a work of art, I highly recommend Tommye Scanlin's book, The Nature of Things. Tommye is inspired by Nature, as most artists are, but her journey from inspiration to art can apply to any artist's walk. The book is filled with images, not only of Tommye's beautiful tapestries, but of the photos and sketches that inspire the works. The essay-like discussions are like a personal visit with a professional artist who is very willing to share. I read this book from cover to cover, and I know I will read it again.

And finally, if you, like me, are missing going to exhibits of beautiful tapestries by many artists, Micala Sidore's book, The Art is the Cloth, is like going to a huge tapestry exhibit, that spans distance and time, with photos of over 300 tapestries from the 12th through the 21st century.  Micala was inspired to create the book as well as curating an exhibit of the same name. I had two tapestries in the exhibit (shown below) and the second small one is included in the book. (Both tapestries sold in the exhibit.) I pick this book up like 'inspirational dessert,' to treat myself when I feel the need for a treat. And who doesn't need to be treated this year?!

"Dama con Mangos"  24x36"

"Grace"  8x10"

As tapestry enthusiasts, we are very blessed by the contributions and inspirations these books can give us. Thank you so much, Rebecca, Tommye, and Micala for gifting us with your words, and your experience!

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The tactile joy of oil paints!

As a fiber artist, I guess it goes without saying that I enjoy media that feels good to use. I constantly pass my hands across my tapestries as I weave. I can’t seem to order knitting yarn online, because I need to know it’s touch before I can spend time knitting it. And, though I use watercolors and colored pencils to sketch, they do not please me in a tactile sense. 

But oil paints! Ah, the feel of squeezing out the thick paint onto the palette, then picking up a good glob (a technical term, I’m sure) of the color and schmeering it onto the taut canvas! Then smooshing it around to where I want it to be, and doing it all again. It really is difficult to explain it to you, but there is a true tactile-ness to painting in oils. It is the same with pastels, I know, but they are too messy for me to have loose in a studio filled with yarn. Or, at least, I am too messy with them; I can’t contain them.

I decided I needed to paint with oils again, a few weeks ago. I haven’t really had my oil paints out for a long time. So I cleared some yarn off my studio table and got out my paints. I did the portrait below first, as a warm-up, to remember how to use the paints. Then I did the portrait above, of my granddaughter. Neither are grand works of ART, but both were so satisfying to do!

I need to now get back to the loom, having scratched this itch. I need to clear the work table of paint supplies, to make room again for the yarn I’m using for my current tapestry. The oil paints will be packed back into the cupboard, the brushes cleaned and put away, these two paintings set aside somewhere to dry, and the palette wrapped tightly and stuck in the freezer, with the hope that I will feel the need to use the paint left on it another day in the not too distant future.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Give Thanks Anyway...

This has been a hard year. This has been a VERY hard year. This continues to be a hard year.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of all I have to be thankful for. So, this year, I am especially thankful that we have a reminder day, a day that tells us to stop and take stock of the many good things in our lives. I am fortunate that, even in the hardest of personal times, I have a pretty long list of things and people to be very, very grateful for. 

I hope that is true for you, as well.
This is a card I made and sent to friends and family, because I love the quote.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Tapestry on my mind...

I have heard of artists who ‘are given’ art works, supposedly from a muse, or somewhere beyond themselves. Generally speaking, I am not one of those lucky artists. I usually start with a tiny germ of an idea, then work it out with much effort, and sometimes even blood, sweat, and tears. However, early in my weaving life, I did once dream a totally complete tapestry, that I knew to have been created by me, but that I’d not yet created. Back then, my design skills and materials were very simple, so it took me a great deal of time (over a year) to finally get that dream tapestry out of my brain, onto paper, and then onto the loom. But when it was woven, I recognized it as the tapestry I had dreamed.

Sadly, that was a one time thing.... until yesterday morning. When I woke up yesterday, while still groggy and without even putting my glasses on, I saw a tapestry on the wall that I haven’t yet woven. There actually is one of my tapestries on the wall in the space I was looking, but I saw it as a completely new and different image, not anything like the tapestry that was there. As I now have more sophisticated design tools, and more advanced skills, I worked to create the design I’d seen throughout the day. I sketched it in Procreate on my iPad, and worked to make it fit the image I had ‘seen.’

This is what I started with. I had also started with a working title; ‘Prayer of Despair.’ It’s not a bright cheery image, or idea, but I think it reflects the times we are in with women losing loved ones to violence and disease, and women’s rights being threatened yet again. And I have things in my own life that often make me despair right now, as well. My original vision was that both hands were fists, but I decided to make one a fist, in anger and despair, and the other one open, in supplication.

At the end of the day, this is the image I had created, and it is very close to what I had imagined. At this time, I am not sure that I will weave this tapestry. Perhaps our lives will get brighter by the time my current tapestry is off the loom, and this design will no longer be relevant. And the design may evolve more over time, as well. But for now, it is at least out of my mind; a rare ‘gifted’ tapestry in the making.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

October, with some Inktober...

This month is Inktober, and I started the month participating, knowing I wouldn't want to stress myself by forcing the prompts. I made it through the first couple of weeks, but decided after that I would rather sketch in my sketch journal, with my more meaningful content. Here are a few of the sketches I've done recently. You can see the others on my Instagram account.
In addition, I finished weaving this tiny portrait tapestry. It is 4x4 inches, and is actually still on the little loom, until I need the loom for something else.
In addition, I'm weaving when I can on the large tapestry, as well. About halfway through!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Come to the High Country with me!

The road to our cabin, the red is scrub oak


These red trees are a stand of aspen that are always red!

Today's watercolor sketch in my sketchbook

I have sketched the scrub oak and aspen leaves from around our cabin every fall for the last 8 years, at least. Before that, I used to bring home pockets full of them, and hang them on the refrigerator until they dried up and fell off. Sketches are better - they last longer! 

Fall is my favorite time of year. The colorful leaves excite me far more than spring blooms do, and I have felt that way all my life.

In addition to the sketches, I have woven fall leaves a number of times over the years, and here are a few of the Autumn tapestries.

Aspen Autumn (1996, 48x34")

FALL/ don't fall! (1998,  21x34")

October  (2013,  18x18")