Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I was lucky enough to meet two of the most talented tapestry artists last weekend.  Susan Martin-Maffei and Archie Brennan came to Medford Leas NJ to give a talk about their work.  These are dedicated artists who weave every day for 8 – 10 hours.  To say I was impressed is a complete understatement.  All I could say as they showed us their work was WOW.  I know that they have decades of practice between them but I thought to myself, “I would have to live to 150 to be as good as they are.  What a treat it was.  I came home and just had to sit down and weave, I was so inspired.

I have been able to really get some work done on my own tapestry over the last month.  Ah, summer as an academic, is there anything better?  I have passed the midway mark and although I had to lay in another line of twining to try to halt the drawing in, I think it is going well.  Tell me what you think.

Imported Photos 00114 

My traveling loom is free of the hot dog stand and being prepped for something that makes my stomach twist, people.  I am most concerned about the faces, I want them to look realistic but I only have an inch or two for the entire face.  That means only 9 warps for two eyes and a nose.  Not too much to work with.  However, I have been able to master everything else, I think I can do this too.  It make take a lot of putting in and taking out but eventually I will probably work it out.  Here are some of the images I am working with.

I am not one who likes to spend time sampling but I can see the benefit of it here.  I will be able to practice on the small loom and work out the process, then when it comes to the real tapestry I will be much more confident.   At least that is the plan..

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Time Marches on

As I continue to enjoy the extra time from school to work on my tapestries I start to see the cars emerge a bit quicker.  This week I redid the car on the right.  I thought the top looked too broken up, it just didn’t work.  The gray area in the middle was supposed to be a sunroof but it just didn’t scan well.  So I took Betsey’s advice and simplified. 

6_1 tapestry I know the concept of K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) but I find it hard to stay simple.  I like to mix it up.  However sometimes mixing it up just makes it look like a big mess.   I think that is what is happening with the central area, the one I have been worrying about pretty much from the beginning.  I was trying for subtle changes in coloring as it moved away from the viewer but it was not subtle enough, I don’t think. Perhaps when it is completely surrounded by other shapes and colors it will come into focus but I doubt it.  However, as with all things it is a learning experience.  What I am seeing is how one shape can dominate the entire canvas.  Perhaps if it wasn’t so dark it would not overpower the rest of the shapes but right now it does.  I will need to ask Betsey and Rita what to do to bring it into balance.  Perhaps they will have some ideas.

In the meantime, since it is quite difficult to take a 7’ X 4’ pipe loom back and forth to the study group, I am working on another project on my smaller loom  I have a vision for a city scene with people in it.  For now I am working on sampling parts of it.  I am presently finishing one of the vending stands, as you can see - a hot dog stand. 

Hot Dog Stand 6_3

I am working it in embroidery floss both for its saturated colors and for its sheen.  I like how the colors mix and how they stand out from the background.  The final tapestry will include this object, people, and buildings.  When I complete this object (it is almost done now) I plan to tackle the scary stuff, the people.  I will keep you updated.