Saturday, November 27, 2010

Creating Dimensions in Looming!

There are many ways to create dimension, to a 2D looming pattern. One way is to add an outline, as I did here, for the basic design of my Lotus SLN. This gives depth without adding much more, but for me, it is adding an additional layer that I wanted to add.

It is accomplished much like you would complete 'bead embroidery', stringing three or four beads, taking a stitch then going back through the last two or three beads added. When I make my stitch, I am careful to only pick up either the warp or run my thread through a set of loomed beads. This way, I won't have any threads showing on the underside of my looming when finished, nor will I have to back my design.

To create the next level of dimension, I thread a 6mm Permanent Silver Metallic bead onto the thread, securing this bead in between the level I am adding and the base below. You can notice a few of these large beads, placed in between my petals. Some areas, I chose to add two instead of just one.

If you are familiar with 'Paper Tole', the art of cutting out the same design and reassembling the picture using silicone glue to make the picture look 3D. I call my method of creating dimension on this SLN, 'Bead Tole'.

Looking from different vantage points, you can see the dimensions come to life. I am even including some 'cupped' petals which will also create a realistic feel, as in the petal on the lower right side.

From the front view, you don't notice the levels of dimension, but after adding more, you will be able to notice this picture from any angle.

There is many more parts to chart/graph and hand weave, which will finally bring me to my total picture. I have attached all that I have completed, to this point, and will be graphing out other portions to hand weave. The green leaves, in the lower part of the Lotus, will be some of the last parts added, as they stand further forefront.

Social Market for a Mirrix

Here’s where I’m at right now with the Southwestern landscape. There hasn’t been a lot of progress since Wednesday’s blog post due to the holiday but I’m looking forward to having some dedicated time in the studio over the next few days to get some weaving done.

I cropped and rotated one of the photos to give you an idea of what it will eventually look like when it’s finished.

Im still working out what Im going to use for the sky. One of the things I love about living in the Southwest is the sunsets but replicating those colors is always a challenge. Nothing that Ive tried so far is quite right.

And I may do the next version in 3/2 Pearl Cotton instead of my original plan. The Pearl Cotton has such a beautiful sheen to it and there are so many colors to choose from that you can create incredibly nuanced details in weavings.

There have been so many new ideas that I want to try coming up lately that Ive started keeping a journal on my work table to make notes of ideas and color combinations. There just arent enough hours in a day.

For those of you interested in seeing some truly beautiful tapestry work, take a look at the Artist Pages on the American Tapestry Alliances website.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Social Market for a Mirrix

Okay, heres where Im at right now. As you can see, the rock faces that make up what will be the left side of the tapestry are done and Im working my way up what will eventually be the bottom of the tapestry. Im not sure Im completely happy with the way the rocks currently look but Im reserving final judgment until the piece is completed and off the loom.

Once this piece is finished, Im planning to do another version using the same yarns but with the cartoon oriented correctly. I think it will be interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two pieces based on the direction of the weaving.

Im heading to the Needles Eye this weekend to see if I can find some yarn for the sky that will make me happy. Something variegated with blues and sunset colors.

On another note, Im loving the recycled silk yarn from India. Such lush vibrant colors. Right now Im picturing it combined with black yarn in a large wall hanging. Maybe with some gold or bronze metallic fibers. And beads. Lots and lots of beads.

If you have a few minutes, check out Weaving Todays blog post Of Memory and Hope and the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco, a nonprofit organization working to promote the history and production of traditional Peruvian textiles.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Social Market for a Mirrix Video #4

Lotus SLN

The Mirrix is perfect for an SLN!

My next looming is something I have shared earlier, but needed to take some time off to complete a few commissions and other projects. I'll be looming full force on this SLN, (split loomed necklace), from now on. To start, I am sharing a picture of where I am to date.

In the picture above, you notice the loomed base of my SLN, being the large part of my pattern, A Lotus. Also attached are a few of the petals, I am hand weaving. The entire Lotus will be completed with 3D petals and leaves. Here are few that I haven't attached yet.

After I complete the bulk of the 'petal additions', then I will complete the lower end of the looming, all the while I will be scribbling and graphing out some interesting designs for the upper looming. The warp weights attached are giving me 'creative license' to make some neat designs! The Mirrix is also perfect for utilizing the warp weight method!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Social Market for a Mirrix

I started a small tapestry this morning. In order to create my cartoon, I pulled up the photo I wanted to use in Adobe Photoshop (Im using Creative Suite 4), re-sized it to 7 ½ inches high by 10 inches wide, set the Mode to Grayscale, applied the Photocopy filter, then printed a black and white version, as well as a color version. This is basically the same process I use when Im creating transparencies to create solarplates for printmaking. Theres really more detail than I need in the cartoon for this version of the tapestry but it will be useful later.

The black and white version is placed behind my warp threads to provide the pattern for me to follow as Im weaving and the color version hangs on the wall in front of me as a color reference. Picture red rock cliffs, a valley, blue sky with the beginnings of a sunset.

As you can see, I have the cartoon rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Since Im using a variegated yarn for the rock faces, working in this direction gives the rocks a more natural look. Once again, Im using the Feza Fiona in earth tones for the rock faces.

While I was mucking about in Photoshop earlier I created a number of cartoons for future tapestries including a couple of abstracts that Im really excited about. The color variations are gradual and very subtle so theyre probably going to be a test of my patience. And I need to find just the right fibers to work with.

One thing Ive decided after working on the 16 Mirrix is that Im going to upgrade to the largest Mirrix loom in 2011. Im really starting to feel the need to begin working large.

Dont forget to stop by WeaveZine to hear Syne's interview with Claudia. I have a very eclectic (okay, okay, Im more than a bit eccentric) background so Im always fascinated by how people got started doing what they do.

Also, check out the blog the gift half understood. Shes doing some really interesting sculptural work with weaving "influenced by monolithic standing stones, burial rituals, stone surfaces, and offerings".

Friday, November 19, 2010

Claudia Chase Interview on Syne Mitchell's WeaveZine Podcast

Mirrix President/founder/soul Claudia Anne Chase was interviewed last winter by WeaveZine editor Syne Mitchell. Listen to the podcast and learn more about Claudia and Mirrix.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sharing 'A Glorious Day', completed!

I named this Cell Phone Bag 'A Glorious Day' because the inspiration photograph was taken by Jean Upton, while she was on a walk/bike ride. The most appealing part of this photograph is the solid black background. I have been sharing stages of completion, but now I am glad to share completed pictures!

Below is a close up picture of the '3D Butterfly Wing', added as a focal to this panel.

The opposite side is loomed using the same color palette, of 44 different Delica Beads, but different Delicas were used as the predominate colors. My choice to keep the color theme going, had to do with how the fringe and strap are finished, reflecting both sides, of the cell phone bag.

Creating a spiral rope section, seems to be a good answer, keeping the strap strong. In this case, I used 10/0 hex cut, matte finish glass Japaneses beads. It spiraled up faster and offered that chunkier feel I wanted to acquire. The bead tubes carry out the same colors, as in both panels. Gems and Stones were also selected to match. I prefer to include sterling silver in between every bead, stone, gem or spiral, when I string up a strap.

As with many bags, cell phone or otherwise, they are more heavily used. Therefore, I always bead an epaulet, for each side. This way, I secure the four sides of the epaulet and attach the closed jump ring to the center. This gives a more security to the attached strap. I use jewelry wire to string my straps, ending with a lobster claw clasp. This can be removed, from the bag, for use as a wallet, or can be easily swapped out with an alternate handle. Notice that I also include three jump rings for the lobster claw clasp to hook on to, so there is additional strength.

A close up of the fringe shows how I used sterling silver caps. This, along with the opaque bicone Crystals, created the weight I was looking to acquire, making the fringe lay perfetly.

Looming a cell phone bag seemed to be something no one wanted to consider trying, thinking of all the warps needing to be managed. What I love about the loomed bag, is how they are supple yet sturdy and have no need to be fabric lined!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Social Market for a Mirrix

Well, the weaving is off the loom and the warp threads are tied off. Now I can start thinking about the additional fibers that will be integrated into the piece, as well as the beads. It definitely needs more texture and color and I think it’s going to be one of those pieces that has to be totally over-the-top in order to work. I’m still not a fan of the Ozark Handspun so I probably won’t be working with it again.

But, enough of this silly experimentation and down to serious business. I just received the Call for Entries for Small Expressions 2011 from the Handweavers Guild of America. Three pieces (less than 15 in any direction) can be entered and the deadline is March 7, 2011 so that gives me plenty of time. Unfortunately, this also reminded me that the deadline for the American Tapestry Alliances show Small Tapestry International 2: Passages is November 30, 2010. Oh well, theres always next year. I need a better system for tracking deadlines.

Anyway, the next piece that Ill be working on will be a more traditional tapestry for entry into the HGA show. Ill have the first cartoon done, the colors selected, and the loom warped and ready to start for Saturdays post.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Social Market for a Mirrix

And now for Plan B. As I mentioned in the previous post, I wasn’t all that warm and fuzzy about the way the new weaving was turning out. So, I pulled out what I had done and started fresh with a new direction. This is much more what I had envisioned so I’m feeling better about the piece now.

Here’s what the beginning of the first weaving looked like before I dismantled it. Yep, that’s it… pink and lumpy.

I thought I would show you a picture of the warped loom with shedding device and heddles attached. The loom is warped with black C-Lon Fine Weight Bead Cord.

And here’s the new yarn I’m starting with. This is Maya cotton bulky yarn by Tahki Yarns in black.

And here’s where I’m at with the new piece.

The pinkish / grayish areas are sections of the Ozark Handspun from the previous piece that I’m using to randomly fill in areas. Once the piece is finished and off the loom, I will be turning it 90 degrees and embellishing with beads and maybe some found objects. I want the texture to be running vertically instead of horizontally because I think it gives the weaving more of a feeling of movement.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Social Market for a Mirrix

Well, after several false starts, the pieces seem to be holding together. But, it’s not quite what I had originally envisioned.

I started by weaving a ½ border at the bottom with #5 pearl cotton embroidery thread in order to give it some stability. The piece is 10 inches wide and right now is feeling a little too “bunchy”. I’m not sure I’m all that wild about the Ozark Handspun yarn either. So, here’s where I’m at right now…

The first picture below shows the Ozark Handspun yarn. As you can see, it’s a very rough, unfinished fiber. The second and third pictures show the additional fibers I had planned to pull from.

Before I invest any more time going in a direction I don’t think I’m going to be happy with, I may pull out what I’ve done, start with selections from the random yarns, then fill in smaller sections with the Ozark Handspun because I really do like those “feathery” sections.

I’m still going for a fiber collage and I did say this was going to be experimental so please bear with me while I sort things out. I think once I get going in the right direction, the piece will come together fairly quickly.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Social Market for a Mirrix

The first small (5 inch x 7 inch) tapestry is finished. This first picture shows the completed piece before I cut it off the loom. As you can see, there was more than enough space to warp for a second weaving if I had planned ahead.

This second picture is a close-up of the piece while it was still on the loom. You can get a better idea of the colors and texture in this photo. It still feels like a southwestern landscape to me. I'm going to live with it for a couple of weeks before I make a decision on embellishing it with beads.

This is before I tied off the warp threads. For some reason, in this photo the weaving looks really uneven but my ruler says it isn't.

And a close up to show the color and texture variation.

One of the things that I really like about the loom is that it's very well-constructed, and at 6 lbs., doesn't shift around while I'm weaving.

So, lessons learned and things I would do differently:
  • Using the shedding device would definitely have made weaving this piece much easier and faster especially because of the fibers I selected.
  • In order to incorporate the beads I want to use into the weaving, I'm going to have to experiment a bit more to come up with a solution that I'm happy with. I spent a lot of time unweaving sections to remove beads because I didn't like the way they looked.
I'll be posting video #2 tomorrow showing the start of the next piece. Also, I'm getting the projects set up on Weavolution so you'll be able to follow along there if you're so inclined. I'll post a link to the projects when they're ready. There's also a Mirrix Looms group on Weavolution.

I'll leave you with some eye candy... Maximo Laura, a Peruvian tapestry weaver. I want to be him when I grow up.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Adorable Mini Mirrix!

I just received the 'Mini Mirrix'. It is so cute! The looming table is appx. 2" wide, so that will relate to about 36 beads wide. This also extends to a 7" looming length, unless you want to turn your looming as you continue to loom. I'll bet you could also add extensions, if you don't want to turn your work, but that will have to be looked into.

It also comes with a warp bar, which is necessary to hold the warps. I opted for 'two' warps bars, in hopes to save thread and not have the warps running behind my looming, while I loom. I'll have to give more thoughts on this, after I work, with the loom.

It would be a perfect size for cuffs, credit card cases, glass cases, or even a small change purse. I plan on working up some 'earring' patterns! Yes, I did say, "earrings on the loom"! I promise to share!

Adding Character Using Beads for Lift!

A few more stages, including the addition of a '3D' wing to recreate a more realistic feel of the butterfly, have been completed.

After hand weaving a wing, using the same colors and sizing larger then the one in the beaded panel, I stitched the one edge, of the butterfly wing securely. To complete this lift and secure the opposite side, but not sew down, I attached the other side of the wing by including a 6mm Permanent Metallic Silver bead.

This will give the wing the 'lift' I wanted to keep, and allow it to stay secure enough that it won't be 'flapping' around, while wearing the bag. This is a technique I do often, in my 3D building, adding beads underneath!

I have also completed a 'beaded spiral' and beaded some bead tubes, to finish the strap. The beads in the spiral are 8mm cut glass, matte finish. I love how they give the texture, in this spiral. I also used them in the center of two bead tubes! These, along with stones and gems I purchased and showed earlier, I will string the entire strap and secure.

The bottom of the bag is also closed, at this point, and I'll be fringing it with a short fringe, to include all the colors of the bag.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Social Market for a Mirrix

Here’s where I’m at right now with this small tapestry. The piece is currently 4.5 inches wide and 5.5 inches long. I’m thinking 7 inches long will be about right. So, another 1.5 inches to go. Once it’s off the loom, I’ll decide whether to embellish it with beads or not. It feels a little bit like a landscape to me.

I’ve started thinking about the next project and pulling supplies out of my storage bins. I have some great Frabjous Fibers Sari Ribbon that I haven’t worked with before which could be interesting. The colors are jewel tones and are absolutely gorgeous. Maybe embellish the piece with embroidery and beads once it’s off the loom. Or maybe monoprint the final piece before it’s beaded. I think it would have to be a fairly large piece in order to do the Sari Ribbon justice though.

I’m also thinking about doing a monotone piece using yarns of different textures for variation. Maybe all in white or shades of white. I never work in white so that could be a challenge.

I also came across some Ozark Handspun in pinks and greys during my scavenger hunt which could be interesting to use in a freeform piece. Sort of a “fiber collage” type of weaving.

And then there’s the fabric that I monoprinted during my printmaking days that could be torn into strips and woven.