Friday, February 14, 2014

Nonce Words.Nonce season. And last but not least-Nonce Art!

“The time has come to talk of many things…of cabbages and sealing wax”
"A nonce word is one coined 'for the nonce'--made up for one occasion and not likely to be encountered again. Milling around"to move around in churning confusion" with no pattern in particular.

Winter is always odd for me an almost  un real period-Things done, but not repeatable or even wanting to be repeated. A period of waiting for the reality and often much milling around. Many things get done.Many goals are accomplished, but not the ones that make one feel like one  has accomplished something or are-at least  moving towards a p20120407194214!Jabberwockyarticular  goal.Things feel/are so disjointed My next pieces- actually two pieces of both of my Grandmothers. AND, no, it’s not seasonal light disorder thingy, because I am a true pluviophile.
Pluviophile;(n) a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during  rain and rain storms.
The images I want to weave are just out of reach. Milling around –waiting, elusive, a pile of images, nightmares, dreams, drawings and things, floating looking for an anchor point in the design. At this point it all seems to be in a language not my own and It’s all jabberwocky speak…It seems.DSCN1403

Dad’s piece almost finished.Will be done by tomorrow so I can take it on my travels.
AND- I leave next week to
teach in Sedona, AZ. AND, I will get to spend a couple of days with my friend Diane Kennedy just looking at stuff, visiting and perhaps a bit of weaving. I will definitely make it over to Santa Fe for a day or so. I am returning by train. The snow should be beautiful in the Mountains. I am so ready for a break and so tired of waiting for the other shoe to fall. It’s all so tax season. Spencer works from 8AM to 9PM+ during peak times. He did remember I was alive to day. I found a huge bouquet of flowers on my door step. Doesn't get better then that on Valentines Day. The smell is incredible and best of all doesn’t smell like construction smells.
Two amazing Things-Hellebore's and Pansies- that don’t realize that they were just covered with 18-24 inches of snow and ice.
img013Fortunately and Sometimes unfortunately, everything(time included)else is moving on. The house is almost insulated-what can be done from the inside. We  decided after the freaking cold Nov. and Dec that it would probably be a good idea.  Of course, not  counting on aDSCN1398 snow and ice storm that made it virtually impossible to work outside.Anything that can be insulated from inside was finished yesterday. The outside blow-in  of insulation has been started and stopped-2/3rds- because of heavy snow fall, ice and now really heavy rains-almost here. MORE! Added photohours  because the snow and ice pulled off the eaves troughs.  Of course, that’s what happens when a house is built with square nails and no screws in the 1880’s. I have learned more aboutphoto construction then I ever wish to know-especially antique vs. new construction. These pictures were taken before the next 8 inches fell.
It’s definitely time for a break- The first one happens next week. I will be teaching in
Sedona, AZ. After the workshop I’ll be around the area and will then visit with friends in Santa Fe and other places. My itinerary and schedule will be rather freeform and very loose.
My lecture “The life and times of me myself and I”-will be after the Verde Valley Weavers meeting on February 20, 2014.  At St. Andrews Episcopal church, located at 100 Arroyo Pinion Dr. in Sedona, AZ.  Meeting starts at 10:00 AM and should be over by 11:00.  With warping looms after  lunch, then come back to the church to warp our looms the next three days will be  My Tapestry workshop More!  starting at 9:30 AM.  If you need instructions or would like to join the class to either of these places, please call 928-639-2781.
Another break I will be taking will be teaching in Cincinnati and the class has  been opened up for registration of non-guild members.Around the last of March I will be teaching my More! workshop in Cincinnati. It’s one of my favourite classes to teach because it builds on what the student knows technically and how to use those skills and add to those skills  to create complexity and detail to their designs. That class has now been opened up to people outside the guild to register. There are only a couple of spaces left. I will also be giving a presentation called “The life and times of Me, Myself and I.” It includes a portion on my design process.
Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati Membership program lecture 10:00AM.“ME, Myself, and I (and my design process)
Workshop-MORE! April 3-5, 2014 More is about taking beginning tapestry techniques, or not so beginning to the next level and discipline the technique achieve the effects you want in your design.Class covers bobbin blending, hachures, hatching, soumack, combining all of the techniques together as needed, a little design and many  other techniques and techniques that the participants would like to focus on. If your interested in taking the workshop contact-Cheryl Muckenfuss; e-mail or myself.
One more thing- before
I get to
the tapestry techie stuff!
I love Tapestry history. One of things that rarely IMG_0852happens is for someone to write on historical technique or tools or there usage.IMG_0853
This is a very interesting article on the history of bobbins and how they are used. The Cover was borrowed from an outline of one of my tapestry. The article is well illustrated with many historical examples and less historical pictures of my using bobbins on my tapestry And He…I was extremely pleased to be able to supply a bit of information on contemporary usage  of bobbins. It’s a fascinating article and the research that MS. Nutz  has done to produce the article make it well worth reading. IF your interested in reading the article and having trouble finding it let me know and we can work. Something out.  
There will eventually be a url to the article, but it’s beyond my capabilities. So Pat graciously agreed to help me figure it out tomorrow.)
Handling slits. Decisions that can really be tough in Tapestry.
Consideration What am I willing to tolerate? toothingHow do I want to handle a slit-toothed, stair-stepped or smooth?The handling or weaving is the easy part, but design wise there are a lot of choices one needs to make-especially when weaving small format small scale work.On a large format tapestry viewers stand far enough away from the tapestry that your brain will perseverate and basically see what it thinks it should see. In the case of slits the toothing that runs between the two joinmultiple joins-samplerneed sides of the slit will be seen as a smooth line simply blending one tooth into another because your brain is insistent on seeing what it wishes to see in redundant repetitious things. Trouble is with small format’'/small scale work people just stand to close to examine the work. This may or may not be a thing that is related to optical blending- The reason a chene will blend into one colour instead of many. This is one of those things that drives me bonkers.  Traditionally when you wanted to get rid of long slits the design was turned sideways so that dragon toothed joinmajor slits would not happen, but most would fall between or along the fell line or verge. Well-maybe in a perfect world, but it never seems to happen with my designs major slits run both directions in almost all of my tapestries. So, it usually breaks down to which direction to I prefereagle-pulled slits-feathers to work the design and how can I manipulate it to my advantage- Note the dark toothed line used as an outline in the dragons head. Or the pulled slits to create shadows and textures in the eagles.
IIMG_0921_edited-1Possible traditional reason for sewing slits on the other hand the top bar shows another reason you might not want to stitch, but perhaps as likely just a weaves choice. Not the toothing on the top bolt and the unsewn edge on the bottom bolt. Note single line of sewn wrap on eagles bill and the toothed joins where the yellow and red come together on the neck.
There are a lot of things you can do with slits. They can be overlapped. Silvia Hayden's works has greateaggles, face with cross over sttiching examples of that or they can be pulled. I dislike sewing slits because they always seem to eventually show or work their way to the surface even though I have some very good ways to sew slits.
right side of truck
So Why is this on my mind? I always have a critique of my finished weaving and things that I might have, could have, or should have done better. Basically, about  deciding if I like what I did or will I change my approach on the next piece.
On my Dad’s piece I had 3 major areas of slits or not having slits and lots of areas where I need to determine how to to treat the edge of a slit as a structural design element. DSCN1404
So the determining factors in the direction that I wove this tapestry were  the trestle itself and the feather quills.-Which direction would any stair stepping be less noticeable. And, of Course the uprights on the truck cab-but less so.

Should I weave this way-DSCN1403DSCN1403or this way?

Things to be aware of when weaving long slits-
1. first and foremost for me is the toothing and stair-stepping.  IT determines whether I sew,which joins I use and the detail of the techniques used around the slit.-Laced edge pulled edge, overlapped edge, fine line between slits(sewn with a contrasting colour for fine line or left open to create a shadow, toothed joins or which joins to use.
2. Long slits can distort and stretch the warp with over use. The buckle is caused by the stretching and when it stretches one can get more passes in a given area that won’t shrink back as the stretching lessens over time.  This use can make the slit longer then the area around it. So it buckles the tapestry in the area between two slits.
3.Occasionally the slit edges will roll along the edge of the slit. When ever possible make the edge of the slit on a valley thread.
Not always possible.  And/or change the direction the weft is traveling every .5 inches or less depending on the warp sett. It’s just a pigtail loop to the the other side, pigtail and take off weaving in the opposite direction.
4. The turns even when weaving way above the normal fell line should be exactly half of the distance between the two warps.So that they won’t distort the line of the slit . 
5. Measure the width constantly and correct as soon as possible- if a problem is starting.. In long slitted areas. It’s very easy to begin to use too big of a bubble or not a enough bubble. Watch that the fell line doesn’t curve up or down. Both indications of too little or two much weft. Remember the old seam gauges with the sliding metal mark thingy. Works wonderful to measure areas and the movable edge doesn’t slide so you don’t have to constantly try and remember how wide or  something was suppose  to be. In very long slits that are sewn as you weave Stabilize the slits by basimg015ting.
7 Needles can be left hanging while weaving and picked up as needed by tying a small knot around the needles eye.
8. Watch the colour you sew the slit with. in time there is always a small amount of movement of the weft up and down the warps. Choice neutrals and usually not white. Sew when ever possible like to like. Never pierce a warp thinking it will stabilize the slit.

Well, you have finally
reached the end of me and chene_edited-1another one
of my blogs. Chene and I are off to read a book.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

No Regrets-left. My last years list of resolutions is completed and things ended and new things begun. The future is here and everything else is the past.Last years epiphany has now become reality.

Epiphany-Comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization.

New resolutions-To set new goals or mile markers towards finishing goals. Create a New updated list of goals personal and professional; establish stepping stones or goals for achieving what I want. Let t go of thoseDSCN1210 things I no longer need or want with out reservation.
I do have real  resolutions. Mine are to let the past stay in the past because it's over and done with and keep on DSCN1010moving. Get rid of  the Detritus in my life and just be me-a tapestry weaver.  Find more weaving time by saying no.  Become the storyteller I want to be and do it. Do more teaching in my studio. And, last, But not least a whole lot more journaling and writing at least 30 minutes a day. (Reflected images at the coast!)
Supposedly this can become a habit in just 22 days. Not sure how seriously I am taking this, but it’s worth a try- Anyway, I am reading a book called

Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don't, and How to Make Any Change Stick by Jeremy Dean. Discovered on a site that Tommye Scanlon recommended on face book Brain Pickings that’s a  great read in itself.

Thanks Tommye!


DSCN1106In December Cathie Beckman came to weave with me for  several(4) days. It was a great time. One on one teaching is wonderful.DSCN1103 both of us learned to watch the negative and positive spaces as the dining room chair morphed into Georgia’s Chair.
The bottom sampler is one
I wDSCN1223over while Cathie was weaving on her piece to show several different techniques that we partially covered among other things. This Spring I will travel to teach a workshop in Cincinnati and visit again with Cathie.



Spencer and I spent Christmas at the coast at Yachats. Doing those things we loveDSCN1170 to do. Chene’s favourite perch to watch the trail along DSCN1139the rocks. Chene and I wandered for hours along the rocks and a trail that has been in existence for 15,000 years give or take.DSCN1113 Spent time at the Purple Pelican looking for rug samples and pop up book at my favourite book store in Bandon.

It gave me a chance to think and journal and take pictures that I hope to use in tapestries someday.

AND, Finally to the weaving part.

 DSCN1218I am happy with the progress I am making on this piece. It will eventually be 12 inches by 12 inches. This is basically a memorial piece about my Dad’s life. He died a year ago December 6th. Any way, If I am lucky it should be finished in two weeks. Tax season is up on us and I weave longer hours when Spencer is doing taxes.

Another Thank You andDSCN1212 explanation!
DSCN1230Rebecca Mezoff sent me one of her Grandmother’s Marian Mezoff for my collection of bobbins. They are way  large to work with on any of the looms I work on, but I really like the shape of the barrel. It’s concave rather then curving out. I have been thinking about doing a smaller riff on the bobbin. What I like is the way my fore finger naturally rest in the concave area. I think it’s a moreDSCN1240 natural and better ergonomically for arthritic fingers. Notice that the fore finger rides naturally to the side and not on top of the bobbin. Anyway,  what I meant to say is -Thank you Rebecca for the gift of your Grandmother’s bobbin. (you can see more of Rebecca’s blog post about her Grandmother at I am going to talk to my bobbin maker and see if we can come up with a scaled down version to try.
Beatriz Nutz has written an article  that is being published even as I write on bobbins and such things ”Weaving Pictures. 15th Century Tapestry Production at Lengburg Castle.Archeological Textile Review; issue # 55. I am excitedly anticipating what she has to say about an historic find of bobbins. Haven’t seen the article, but I understand it has pictures of me using bobbins.
Materials in this new piece.
I have been switching back and forth and combining sewing thread and embroidery floss.
     I have discovered that
I can easily use 6 threads in my weft bundle at 20-22 epi  and not have any trouble covering. The main thing I need to watch for is that embroidery floss has aDSCN1249 slightly more matte feeling in the weaving. After the debacle with the the silk embroidery floss I learned that using shiny things in tapestry is difficult effect because of the small length  weftDSCN1246 that can be seen at any given time before plunging behind the next warp. I have been experimenting with changing and floating the silky threads over 2 warps. Haven’t decided if I like the effect. Have also been experimenting using floating soumack on the surface over two warps. This is a bad photo of both the long jump soumack and the silk/rayon going over two warps and under two warps
   It’s like the difference between old  mercerized sewing thread and more modern sewing threads. The cut off for old style seems to be in the 70’s between the old processes and the new processes of fiber and technique used in producing dressmakers threads. This is purely anecdotal information based on my weaving.  The older threads-prior to the 70’s- are slightly shinier and silkier then the matte like effect and coarseness of the modern DSCN1237dressmaker threads. In the modern threads one needs to be aware of the loft in the spinning of the thread. A fuzzy dressmakers thread even on the same spool can have areas without loft that can completely change the value of the thread as the light inter-reflects in the loft—making it appear lighter or darker when woven depending on the amount of fuzz or lack of fuzz. 
One of the things  have noticed when using embroidery floss is cost. I had to make a trip Joanne Fabrics when I ran out of the greys I was using. I am still suffering from sticker shock. A skein now cost 40-45 cents- a very large jump from the 3-5DSCN1238 cents I paid up until  I was in Academy in the early 60’s-I know I am really dating myself.
I rarely buy embroidery floss new. I have discovered by hanging out at estate sales I can buy it for almost nothing still in the boxes and skeins that it came in originally. Right is a picture of my last score this weekend at an estate sale over 300 skeins of rayon and cotton embroidery floss for around 20.00. I could have waited a couple of hours and possibly gotten it at 50% off put was to afraid someone else would purchase it.
PS grey is probably the hardest colour to find at estate and garage sales. 

DSCN1278Another 2-3techniques I have been using a lot  in this piece is actually a combining of two techniques lacing up the slide of a slit. Note note dark blue vertical line between cab and trailer and silver greys around the mud flaps)
img011Lacing up a slit
Cavendoli knotting---I know that some will say this isn’t cavendoli knots, but this is what is described in Victorian needlework book form the 19th century, but the name is unimportant. Normally this knot goes img012up one warp and creates a twisting ridge that can be moved to the back and stitched to keep in place or be fine enough to stay between two warp threads.
First lacing up a slip. It has a tendency to be toothy depending on how fine of a lacing thread one uses.
start with a larks head

DSCN1254wrap around warp every pass or two. The size of the vertical lace line can be varied by the amount of threads in the wrap. Usually as a slide tooth, which can vary  by the amounts of passes between the wrap or lacing thread.
Cavendoli knots on one warpDSCN1264

If you look closely you can see the ridge on the left side of the knots going up this warp. I have straightened because itimg012 has a tendency spiral. This can be pulled to the back and stitched in place. It makes a nice solid line up one warp that will not slide up and down as a regular wrap around the warp thread does. Compare to diagram of the process above. note ridge on left of in diagram. My camera sucks for taking close ups! Think it’s time to gift myself with a close up lens.
Combined Cavendoli and lacing
To begin it is larks headed under the first pass and the cavendoli is done on DSCN1269the first warp on the edge of the next pass. Again the line of knots can be sized by the amount of wefts in the knotting bundle. The knot can be made small enough that the line or ridge can be made to fit within the distance of half of the space between two warps and then stitched in place just as you would stitch in the ditch to close a slit. IT creates a very fine line up the edge of a slit.
I am back to working on my silver. I am revisiting some partially finished pieces, because my goals have changed for the box I was trying to build. I am DSCN1226going do a filigree box instead. So what you see are the pieces from the box, the start of a necklace and bracelet made of Malachite and Brazilian opal, and a small broken silver and amber spider that I am repairing. I have finally had the time to actually build a small cDSCN1251orner place to work on silver and arrange it into a usable space.
I have spent part of the money  I inherited from my Dad for some tools I wanted and needed and a proper jewelers work space.
Last things to do are fix my chair and buy another fire extinguisher. This is a place I don’t have to put things away and out of sight before a piece is finished. Before you ask-no I haven’t taken up the piano. The piano stool; holds my repousse’ dish. Makes the process easier because it turns and will stand between ones legs.
Enuff-I am seriously into my weaving time.
tell next time!DSCN1124