Monday, February 22, 2010

Stepping up the curb on City Life

Things are going well with the new tapestry. I've been plugging away at the first few inches (sounds like a long time for such a small amount of weaving, doesn't it?). I've got the street laid in and the curb started.

I am moving up to the vertical part of the curb and heading to the top of the step. With school, trips here and there and just general living it takes some time to lay in the foundation. I am also going slow to make sure my edges are good. I am determined to beat that drawing in problem. I found that the Victorian wool I am using is less forgiving than the Paternayan wool is. That means I need to be more careful when setting the edges with the Victorian wool. It pulled in a bit more. However, now that I noticed that I can make adjustments.

In an effort to keep the entire 48" even as I work on the piece I am also doing a row of twining between the colors (I think I will only be able to do it on the long straight pieces like the street and curb) to respace the warp. It should keep me from pulling in there too. As with every piece I am learning new techniques and strategies.

I love my weekly study group but I found that I can get ideas from many different sources. This week I went into the city to see a tapestry show in Chelsea. the following week I took a felting workshop and found that there was a very interesting crossover there. One of the artists who developed a piece for the tapestry show was a very well known artist named Kara Walker. Her favorite medium is actually silhouettes but she was asked to create a design for the medium of tapestry. Here is what she created:

If you look closely you will see that the black figure is felted. Now this might not have made too much of an impression on me except that it made me think of the workshop I was to take the next weekend. I don't know if I will try it for myself but I can see doing this in future piece. I think I will just stick with minimal surface embellishments right now. At this point I am only thinking of things like a ponytail or braids protruding from the surface for a couple of the figures. Perhaps I will try the felting on a smaller piece. I don't like to admit it but sampling has its purpose (mores the pity since I hate to do it).

Anyway, influences and ideas float around us every day if we look for them. So I plan to keep my eyes open to see what I can find. I am off to Philly this week and have plans in place for the new Picasso exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of art in a few weeks. I am sure I will pick up an idea or two from that. I'll let you know soon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Interesting People

Donald at the Slash ShowI was in the city the other day with a couple of fiber friends to see the Slash show at the Museum of Arts and Design. While we were getting organized to go in I noticed a woman fiddling with some wool so I asked her if she was knitting or Crocheting. She said she was knitting. We struck up a conversation about textiles and as we were taking a man walked up in the most outrageous outfits I've seen in quite some time. He ended up being her husband so she introduced us. I was so taken by his outfit that I had to ask him if I could take a picture. Of course he agreed (who wouldn't when they take that much time to choose their outfit) and posed as if he was used to the request. As you can see he was quite the Beau Brummel in his chenille blazer and pieced shirt. We had quite a wonderful conversation about fibers, fashion and piecework. New York City, you never know what you will see.

The show itself was all about using paper as the media of choice. There were paintings, collages, sculpture and videos all relating to paper. The video was quite amusing. It was a stop action piece relating modernist architecture to Gothic buildings. The artist started with a modern building and turned it into a Gothic masterpiece by "covering" the walls with paper cutouts of crenelation, stained glass windows and towers. As the pieces went into place you heard the sound of heavy objects moving into place as if the paper was, in fact, stone, brick and steel. The juxtaposition of paper and sound gave the piece an ironic edge that was priceless.

We were also lucky to see work by artists like Judy Pfaff and Kara Walker. There were paper topographical maps, cut outs on the windows and walls that made great use of both positive and negative space and some fascinating sculpture like the nude male figure with its magazine cut out body parts. All in all a very fun show.

Later in the day we stopped at the MoMA bookstore (we were too late for the show) an browsed for quite some time. Again I had to take my camera out to capture another wonderful fashion statement, this time a great hat. I don't know about you but I would definitely wear this hat.