I finished the scarf that I was working on for my friend! I'm really happy with the way that it turned out.
The picture really doesn't do the colors justice.
I can't wait to get another project on the loom, but my loom broke while I was weaving and I'm hesitant to put another project on until I have my dad look at it. One of the cranks on the back screws into the back beam and I don't know if the screw is stripped or what happened, but it cam out of the back beam and I can't get it to screw back in. I can put it in the hole, but it won't stay in. While I was weaving this, I had to really be careful when winding forward because too much tension would cause the screw to fall out again. I didn't notice it causing problems to my tension overall, but I don't want to have any sort of problems develop, so it is probably safer to wait.
I also decided that I want to look in to getting a floor loom, even though I don't really have any place to put it at the moment. But, I have some projects in mind that I really need need a wider width and more harnesses for, so if I could get an 8 harness loom, I would be super happy. I'd be happy with 4 harnesses too, however. I'm going to start looking into grants and other opportunities to purchase one.
On another note, today is the last day of 2015 and I couldn't be happier about it. This year has been really hard, just one unfortunate event after another, and it will not be missed. I'm hoping that 2016 will be a lot better. I want to start applying to shows again and really start to produce some solid work, since that has been nonexistent this past year. And I am still crossing my fingers with regards to that job I applied for a week before Christmas. I'm going to call and check on the status of my application early next week. I figured I would wait until after the holidays.
So, I'm still asking for good vibes to be sent my way.
Happy New Year!
I started weaving a scarf for a friend today.
It's been far too long since I've woven anything and I had forgotten how much I actually enjoy doing it. I had also forgotten how physical it is. My body is killing me!
This is the first thing that I have woven on my table loom and because of the way my house is set up and the furniture that I own, I'm having to stand to weave. It's killing my hips, solely because I haven't done it in a while. The actual piece is turning out okay, but I still think I am going to have to redo it. The colors are beautiful, but I think it is just going to be too short. I had an issue where some of my choke ties fell off, so I lost a couple inches of my warp because of the resulting knots. Needless to say I threw away the yarn I was using for those ties. I just think that it was old and when I died the warp, the age of the yarn and the soda ash did not agree.
Weaving on a table loom is so weird to me. I feel like it takes me twice as long to weave an inch as it would on a floor loom. I don't know, maybe I'm just crazy. So, the plan is to go ahead and take the old warp off of the loom and prepare my dyes so I can wind another warp tomorrow and dye it. I skeptical that I will get it completed before Christmas, but anything is possible.
I also need every one to send me good vibes. I applied for a weaving position the other day and I REALLY want the job. I don't want to talk about it too much because I am afraid that I will jinx it, but I feel like I am super qualified for the job and it would be a fantastic experience.
I finally finished my self-portrait for 2014 and it took me almost all of 2015 to do it!
I am relatively happy with the way that it turned out, although the process of producing it turned out to be more of a pain than I thought it would be. I started out with this idea in my head of making a portrait with small pieces removed from it to convey this feeling of uncertainty. Then, I wanted to reattach some of the pieces rather crudely with hand stitching to make it seem like I was attempting to hold my life together.
Needless to say, that piece did not turn out anything like I had planned and I was more than happy to consign it to the trash bin.
So I went through this process of re-evaluating how I was going to go about generating the portrait that I wanted. It's a process that took nearly the whole year. I was so undecided because I really did not want to stray from the original vision in my head. I did countless samples on paper. Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to focus on arrow shapes being cut from the portrait to underscore that sense of direction as indicated in the title. But, I really wanted to maintain the prominence of the portrait image itself so instead of cutting across the entire surface, I only wanted to cut away part of it and fill in any other space with painted/printed arrow.
You can see the result above. Even though the title also conveys a sense of uncertainty, all the arrows point up. I didn't want that upwards direction necessarily to convey positivity, so I staggered the columns of arrows across the surface. Some reach higher than others. It brings to my mind a bar graph or a scale of fluctuations in volume. The taller columns obviously encourage that sense of positivity, the lower columns representing a reduction in that positive sensibility.
Aside from not achieving my goals in my first attempt, the most difficult thing for me to do was to not be biased. This portrait is a reflection of the events of 2014, and completing it so late in what was a terrible year, it was difficult for me at times to separate myself from my current emotions and let the events of an entire year ago dictate my aesthetic decisions.
The background reads: "2014 was a year of change: of endings a long time coming and unexpected new beginnings. I'm not entirely sure I like the direction my life is heading." It is immensely true. I graduate from the MFA program at ECU in May. I took a job in Goldsboro in August. I moved to Goldsboro in October, leaving all my friends and connections behind and essentially, having to start all over again. Just like I did when I moved to Greenville in 2007.
It was one big life change after another and I questioned every decision I made from the moment I made it. Looking back on it now, after another whole year has passed, I definitely cannot say that I made good decisions and I find myself regretting some of them. But what is done is done and, even though I struggle, I will have to find it in myself to (eventually) move on.
Hopefully that sense of regret will come across in my portrait for 2015, which I plan on beginning here in the next couple of weeks.
I have been working quite diligently on my portrait this past week. It is almost completely finished, there is just one more decision that I need to make before I mount it on a it's wooden block.
First, I dyed the fabric and printed the portrait. The actual image did not come out as dark as I wanted, so I did come back into it with watercolors in some places.
From the beginning, I have always intended to cut shapes out of the portrait, and the more I thought about what the portrait was representing, the more I wanted to cut out arrow like shapes. But finding arrow forms that worked well for my purposes has been difficult. I wanted them to be able to convey a message about direction, but also be small enough that the portrait itself was discernible amongst the shapes. I came up with this arrangement about a month ago that combined my original idea with painted arrow shapes, hoping that it would be a good compromise between my original vision and the difficulties I've been having in executing that vision.
I used the sample that I made as a template to cut out the arrows. It saved me an immense amount of time because I didn't have to remeasure everything, even though I originally planned on drawing things out anyway. It also makes me glad because, since the stencil was on card stock, if my knife slipped, it messed up the stencil and not the actual piece itself. If I had messed up and cut something that I wasn't supposed to, I think I would have found it hard to start over on this piece for a third time.
This is the piece before I went back in and painted on the additional arrows. I was actually kind of pleased. Having the columns of arrows staggered really helped to preserve more of the face. Although, this photograph made me notice that having the portrait mounted on a white background may be too overwhelming.
Here you can see the arrows that I came back in and painted on. They are super subtle, especially int he darker parts of the portrait at the bottom. I also began to experiment with photographing the portrait on a brown background, which I definitely thinks helps with preserving the integrity of the portrait. The cut outs don't overwhelm the image with the brown back ground. The background in this picture appears a little too dark. In real life, it is considerably lighter: more similar to the medium tones of the image. It works really well for what I want, so it might be what I go with,
The question then becomes what I used to make the portrait's background brown. The sample that I did to test whether I liked it or not was just watercolor on computer paper. Do I keep that? Do I try watercolor on laminated or watercolor paper? Do I dye some organza? And then, once I figure that out, I need to figure out how the two pieces are going to be attached. If I would have thought of this at conception, I would have just stitched the two together and called it a day. But, depending on what I use for the background of course, do I just use spray adhesive to attach it to the wood, and attach the portrait with nails over top? Or do I just paint the wood the color brown I want I?
What are your thoughts?
I've gotten a little bit of work done over the past week, but not as much as I would have liked. It's been a crazy week, and I don't anticipate the craziness letting up until school is out in 2 weeks.
In terms of my portrait, I did manage to get the paper dyed and the portrait printed. Now, I just have some pieces that I need to cut out and that piece should be done. Then, I can finally move on to the next piece.
In terms of the coverlet, I started on drafting out the pattern for the smaller of the 2 blocks. Each pattern repeat measures 3" wide by 8.25" long. I've noticed that essentially, the pattern is a series of hexagons repeated across the length and width that become drawn out as the number of times each pattern pick is treadle changes (8x, 6x, 4x, 2x, etc).
Also, I emailed my weaving professor from college about backwards drafting the pattern, because I do not recall ever doing it in class. She said that we did do this, but all I recall is her mentioning that he professor made her do it. That's the extent of it. She also said that it is a complicated process, which I assumed, and she is going to try and find her handouts for me on the topic.
All in all, I feel accomplished for the week.