Puja Ceremony at Khumba Ice Fall

 The next project I have a working title of "KHUMBA PUJA". It is a large piece (1.3m x 1.1m) made up of 16 seperate panels, to be mounted; possible suspended in layers or on a contoured frame. It's already on the loom and I have done 3 panels.
Some time ago I was watching a Puja ceremony at Everest base camp and the backdrop of the Khumba glacier and the coloured flags in the wind stuck in my head. Gail is a 5-element acupuncturist, the flags represent the 5-elements, (earth, fire wood, metal, wind) and my first love is trekking in the mountains so it immediately struck a chord. I will use some tapestry weaving techniques, on the loom, to get the textures I want for the ice, rock and snow. It will comprise panels, which I am thinking I will place foreground, mid and background with the coloured flags on wires....not sure about that yet.

The panels will be woven entirely in wool and I have loads of carded, unspun alpaca and some merino in various shades of 'snow' and natural wool shades that will be woven in, with a 4ply as the weft. The warp is natural jute. I will vary the weave structure across the panels, but the basis will be a broken twill and a basket weave as they will give the structure and versatitlity I want; allowing me to easily vary the amount of warp showing across all the blocks and the degree to which the loose fibres are either trapped or free above the warp/weft. The unspun fibre weaves beautifully into these too giving a varied loft depending on the tie-up......but there is also the wedding this month :-))

I have finished most of the panels and started mounting them; this is far from finished but I wanted to get this stage documented

This has been a real challenge....as each piece on the loom is just one piece in the jigsaw, it has been difficult to focus on the detail within each piece AND keep the continuity to the adjacent pieces in my head at the same time. Its 1.3m wide and, in the flesh, the glacier/ice fall really stands out from the mountain.

The panels: woven individually on the loom, each is 20cm wide and woven on 4 shafts on an asymetric twill threading. I have chosen a fringed edge as I want each panel to remain seperate in appearance when mounted. The treadling is varied to produce diffferent textures throughout the piece but its predominantly a twill/basket weave. The yarn is wool (DK) and I have woven in carded, unspun wool fibres to produce the "picture" and textures I need. All the colours are from the natural colour of the breed, and the white is a beautiful ultra-fine alpaca. By varying the treadling, the fibres are woven in tight or very loose to produce the varying textures and fluffiness.There are 16 panels and they are mounted on a wire mesh which has been moulded to produce the contoured backdrop. Each panel has been sewn onto the mesh.

The Mounting
The panels are mounted on a wire mesh which has been shaped to provide a countour appearance as each panel is sewn

All the panels are now complete. They have been mounted on the contoured wire-mesh substrate and I have now mounted that in the wooden frame. You can just make out the Puja flagpole protruding from the lower wooden frame - it just remains to make the silkflags and attach all them on their lines.

The lighting on this has to be precise to make the most of the light/shadow for the contours and textures on the cloth and I also want their to be movement in the flags. So I have designed its own lighting to provide light and air movement; the flags and lines will be extremely fine so they move in the air currents.

Finished with the Prayer Flags

Finished this piece now; have made and atached the prayer flags. Difficult to photograph but the close up gives a better idea of the effect.

It has found its permenant home now on the old stone wall in the lounge area of the kitchen where there are picture spots to light it properly.