Wednesday, 31 August 2011

"30/30" 2nd Layer with windows

Second layer is warped at 10epi in a 10/1 bronze linen. Its an extracted section of the twill of the main cloth but woven as overshot. Ground yarn is the warp linen and the pattern is a 10/4 linen in steel grey. The set will result in weft faced as I chose the set to suit the requirements of the windows, not the cloth. So I have woven this as overshot with double tabby ABxBAx to make more of the bronze colour come through.

The second layer is on the loom and have finished the first of the 'windows' in this piece.
This is the transparent window behind which will be the bottle. It has a wooden frame piece top and bottom. Each side is 100 picks of pattern, woven seperately and beaten with a comb, so had to be careful with the weft packing to be sure each side was at the same level.

This is it with both sides finished, the top frame picece in place and the first few full picks woven

The unwoven warp is gathered to allow the bottle underneath to be visible.

The close up shows it more clearly. This has worked out really well and the whole thing is perfectly stable and doesn't change when the tension is released as its a a 10/1 linen with zero elasticity.

Now have to weave another 25cm before the next window. I may tapestry weave in this or just use it to show through the backcloth

Saturday, 27 August 2011

"30/30" Message in a Bottle

One of the items to be found in the cairn of petrowood is a bottle, in which messages are left. I liked that! I imagined it would be a broken bottle by now so I have made a fabric bottle from linen bandaged around a miniature wine bottle, hardened, dyed, sliced in half and adorned with an 'aged' wine bottle label. It will be positioned underneath the 'window' created by the frame described in yesterdays blog.
Unfortunately, I needed a full size label so a large bottle of Bordeaux had to be sacrificed last night all in the name of art...............................

I suppose for authenticity it's more likely to have been a beer bottle that was left behind, but it was me that had to empty the bottle, and I prefer wine :-))

Friday, 26 August 2011

"30/30" Finished Backcloth

"30/30" - 32" x 44"

Well, not actually finished as still have the fringe to do, but sufficient to hang and photograph. This is just what I am calling the backcloth. I have yet to start the second layer, a narrower, vertically hanging piece that will go over the yellow/red vertical line.

I have managed to get the rolls to stay in the cloth whilst hanging for the dunes, though I think I may remove the upper one as it diminishes the impact of the set of tyre tracks below it. I have some lovely petrified wood, one piece of which I have incorporated into the top fringe to hang it. I am very pleased with it as all the patterns, sand, drifting & tracks, stand out really well from each other, and the raised cloth textures (not visible in the photo) draws you in to want to touch it.

The second layer will have several elements of 'transparency' to reveal the backcloth so that this 2nd layer reveals parts of the layer below. One key feature though will be the central warp yarn. This will be the same fancy metallic/wool yarn I used for the horizontal meridian line. The effect being to have the two meridians crossing; 30 lattitude and 30 longitude.

The loom woven pattern will be the tyre tracks, with the space in the middle having sections of unwoven warp; I will use 2 shuttles to preserve the central space. After seeing the expo, it has given me an idea as for what to do with this central space. I have worked out how, still on the loom, to weave-in a frame to the central section ( I can even do this in wood if I make sure its positioned so it does not have to go over the breast beam) whilst still being able to weave the pattern up the sides using the dobby to select the shafts. This will leave me with a 'framed window' with just warp threads inside it, like a miniature tapestry frame, surrounded by the loom-woven pattern. I can then use tapestry weaving to infill the frame - I want to put 2 frames in this section; I may tapestry weave one of them and the other with the warp threads bunched to allow the bottle below to be seen and also because the bunching will give the impression of the longitude lines converging at the poles.

This is a nice juxtaposition of what can best be achieved on the loom with the tapestry weaving.

Right, got to work ut how best to warp this up!!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Expo at Grand Brassac - Joan Eytle Kendall

Spent a lovely afternoon yesterday at a small exhibition of tapestry weaving; two weavers, one from our commune and the other in the adjacent commune, would you believe! We went on Monday and met Wally and yesterday we went again and met Joan. I really came away with my belief re-inforced that ones creativity is limited only by our imagination...which is great because I have the same attitude, though I am sure mine is influenced somewhat by the fact that I am at the stage where I have far more creativity than I do skill!
Her work is the type where, you could return to look every day for a month and still want more; I am sure she won't mind me reproducing a few of her pieces here.
Despite my mantra that the loom is only a start point for me, recently I have questioned some of my own ideas, particularly those for my 3-dimensional and mixed-media work because they are too unconventional....... but today has definitely reversed that trend. Looking back through my sketchbook and notes has just reinforces that; I can see that I have truncated threads prematurely in my designs just when they have started to lead somewhere different just because they are not 'conventional' or are techniques I have not seen before.
Maybe now is the right time to start looking at the work of others in these field. So dare I look up the links to the artists Joan gave me?
Look her up at and also on her Facebook linked from her website.

The one just above is Night Over Egypt, which I didn't see at the expo but is particularly interesting as my current piece "30/30" is a night scene in the egyption desert and one of my sketchbook designs associated with it, is a night scene I gave the title "Cairo Sunset" which has side-notes saying the sky/sun would need to be tapestry woven due to the lack of shafts on my loom....spooky! ....maybe I will do that one next as a companion pice to 30/30.

Onwards and upwards!!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Working Title "30/30"

I have finished the design sufficiently to start the main back-cloth - I say back-cloth because this is going to be in layers. I have worked out what I think is a twill (so ignorant!) on an ascending undulating pattern. This gives me the squares and diamonds I want for the crytals of the sand, and the overall pattern incorporates the shapes of drifting and a set of tyre tracks.
I have a striking 'hot' orange with a dark blue which reproduce the 'desert sunset' colours beautifully; the test piece shows this and there are some great half-tones in the pattern.

Once off the loom it will be 'sculpted' into an undulating shape to further replicate the dunes - a small amount of powdered PVA is added to the wash and its then steamed onto a former.
The second and third layers are sky/dunes
and one of three design ideas I have to incorporate the confluence and cairn of petrowood.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

An Interesting Direction

I love the focus that a fixed "theme" provides when designing and am still waiting expectantly for the theme of the 2012 Fils et Metier Expo in Varaignes, France. So, I thought I would take an earlier theme, from the 2010 Expo which was simply "30", and see where it lead me compared to those who exhibited in 2010.
My first thought was, why couldn't it have been "20" as the title 20/20 vision came to mind, so how about 30/30? 30 degrees North, 30 degrees East? Where is that? Well actually it's in the desert in Egypt! So not much material to design around wrong can you be? Totally! Because I discovered there is a 15 year old project called The Degree Confluence Project whose aim is to visit and photograph every degree intercesection of latitude and longitude in the world that is either on or in sight of land. Amazingly nearly all have been visited and photographed, including 30N 30E. Coincidentally, there was also a 4WD club in Egypt called the 30-30 Club whose aim was to get to this pont by vehicle and their tradition was to add a piece of petrified forest wood to a pile they created, and often to leave a message in a it's not just desert, as you can see.

Here is the picture they took.

30N 30E, 54km SW of Izbat Kafr Dāwūd (al-Buhayra), Matrūh, Egypt

I already have an outline design. The main cloth pattern will need to evoke the shapes in the sand caused by the wind and maybe the sand particles themselves; fortunately, the regularity of sand c
rystal shapes make them fairly easy to replicate.
The tyre tracks are also a feature I want to get into the main cloth. The cairn of petrowood? The messages?I want to "add" that in some way; maybe a 2 layer weave, maybe as a sculpted layer onto the cloth.......

I will have to change the colours though...need something more vivid so a desert sunset is probbaly more is a pic. of sunset in the North Sahara... I love the orange!

Sunset in the Northern Sahara Desert

I am also looking now at using "Sand and Desert" as a theme or maybe the Degree Confluence concept, for a series of wall hangings and sculptures. I did look at the intersection 20/20 (20N 20E) and it's in the desert in Chad and has not been visited by the project - unsurprising considering the decades of religeous and civil war in the region. Maybe I will choose another....wherever you live, you are never more than 80km from a degree confluence...unfortunately, my adjacent intercections are a drainage ditch beside a road and an empty field- how uninspiring is that!

Dance on a Volcano (Ocarina)

The second in the Mayan Music set is subtitled "OCARINA". The sound patterns I have used here evoke a more harsh, trill sound like the wind pipes used by the Matans, hence the title Ocarina

Los Endos (Drums) Mounted and On my wall

Well here it is, mounted on its stretcher and on the wall. Can't decide whether to put in the modern part of the house or the old barn section.

I have decided the two pieces will go under the same heading of "Mayan Music" - this one is subtitled "DRUMS"

Friday, 5 August 2011

Los Endos

This is the second in the 3 piece set I have conceived and the first i will weave until I resolve how to do Ripples. It's warped and ready to go - here are the screen shots of the PCW design; it's an overshot so there will be a fine tabby in the actual woven piece.

I have always had this 'drum-sound' and 'lost civilisation' image for this piece. So I did some fascinating research into the ancient Mayan culture, for whom textiles was and still is a major part of their culture. Four key images recur in their textiles. Two of these were able to be designed into the piece using the threading I developed for the main image.

This one is the "earthlord", a key pagan image in Mayan textiles

And this one is "The Vulture"

The main pattern, which comes from the threading, is part of the theme in these pieces of 'waves' - in this case I want to give the feeling of intense sound waves. Mayans had, like most cultures, an important role for music and their music was based around purcussion, like drums and small wind instruments, like the Ocarina. This piece is DEFINITELY drums to me!! Big, wide sound waves!

It is on 8 shafts in overshot, likethe other two pieces (though Ripples will probably be done on more shafts)

B****R! Ripples requires more shafts

Right, it's official - I am saving up for a 32 shaft Megado!
After many hours of experimentation, "Ripples of a Blue Girls Tears" needs more shafts; at least 12 and ideally 16. I have tried to modify it within the confines of 8 shafts but it's impossible. I can reproduce the image perfectly as designed, but I need the extra shafts to enable a stable ground weave in the tabby of the overshot. I could ignore that it's not a stable structure, as its going to be stretched over a frame, but that is cheating! I now have two projects 'on hold' due to shaft restrictions: The African Queen can also only be done exactly as I want it if I have 16 shafts.
I have another large project in overshot which needs a few more hours work and that WILL work on 8 shafts. ....its called Los Endos in the Project Pages.

Gail is underway

Gail is practicing to get used to her new loom.; a 32" 8 shaft table loom.
She can start her own blog now!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Whoo...hooo! Got my loom back!

I am happy to announce I can have my loom back when I get back to France tomorrow as I have found an 8 shaft Ashford table loom at a a demon price for Gail.
I have been looking for one of these as it can be easily adapted to use the mechanical dobby system I have spare from the Octado...more work in the garage to distract me from weaving lol