Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Doing Blackwork

Today's date: 20/5/20.
Where does the time go? Oh yes, we are in lockdown, even though it is easing. I think it is easing for younger people more, us oldies still have to be careful and not take risks.

Anyway, I have enrolled for a correspondence blackwork intermediate course through the Embroiderers Guild, Victoria. It hasn't got me in as much as my tapestry weaving did but I am hopeful.

The lockdown laws are eased a little but that hasn't made any obvious changes to my life yet, just the chance for a couple of non-emergency (thank goodness) appointments.

So ... the blackwork.
We are currently on the module in which you design your own motifs. I have quite enjoyed that even though it is a bit more precise than I am used to doing. It reminds me of the doodling but you do it on graph paper. And then you have to translate that to the fabric. This is where you discover if your design wasn't quite accurate!

I did the first of my own design motifs today (and yesterday - as I said, it is slow!). It was cool but sunny so I sat in the glasshouse to take advantage of the lovely weather.  And it is very peaceful there.


It has a bit of a space module feel to it, to me. But that's ok, I am quite fond of science fiction.

I thought I would put in some links to past posts about doodling and blackwork. As I often say, this blog is a visual diary for me - searchable. I came across some great links (for me) and was reminded of things that I have done in the past that are relevant. Eg, here.
(I am putting this in for me - so I can find it again.)

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Where to next?

Today's date is sort of interesting: 10/5/20. All multiples of 5 but that is about all. If I were in the USA, it might be more interesting, 5/10/20 - each number doubled. But we don't do our dates like that so I will just have to put up with multiples of 5.

Anyway ... lockdown may lift a little bit tomorrow. Not sure what it will look like but don't see that a lot of the things I do will come back soon. My exercise class requires a train trip, which I am not all that keen to do yet. And the space may limit the number of participants, which will probably impact the financial viability of offering the class.
I am pretty sure my textile groups will not resume in the short term, for similar reasons, so much of what I go to will still be unavailable. Some other things may come back, some may not. We will have to wait and see.

I have completed my first lesson in Blackwork, have finished my sampler. We had a Zoom meeting this morning and then I had a private phone conversation with the tutor. So much new learning - apart from the actual sewing.

I have done some things ok and others are not quite right but it doesn't matter on a sampler, it is for learning - what a relief to be told that!

I also enjoyed playing around with a design on some graph paper. That was interesting, having to be constrained by the geometric shapes. I may even lash out and do the actual sewing of the design!!


Now I just have to get the motivation to get onto lesson 2, which sounds a lot more complicated. But I will give it a go this week. There is nothing in my diary for the next 10 days! I 'should' be able to find the time to do the exercises - just need to find the motivation.

I have also looked at the final teacher/inspirational person on the TextileArtist.org community stitch challenge group and was very interested - even a bit inspired. Not enough to start anything yet but getting there.
It was Christine Chester and her challenge reminded me of doodling and I could also see some applications to the blackwork designing part. So I will have to have another really good look.


Monday, May 4, 2020

May the 4th

May the 4th be with you!
And ... 4x5=20
 How could I not post today?

So, what has been happening? Not much! Still in lockdown and winter is closing in.
We usually have nice weather in May, and it is forecast for the next few days, so I will try to get out and about.

I see that the Premier's Active April has been extended into May, to keep us interested in moving, getting exercise, etc.
So far, it has been fairly easy to go for a walk every day but as winter approaches it may become harder.

I have been doing an online course with Tara Axford. It requires lots of photo taking, some printing on paper, including gel plate printing and then cutting it up to make collages based on our photos.

I have been a bit slow to get going, partly due to the tapestry. I really miss the regular weaving, the contemplative, absorbing aspect of that. But I have been trying to get more involved in the online course.

I have LOTS of photos of the surrounding areas. As we are encouraged not to use our cars, to go anywhere much, I have been focussing on local parks.






It has been a challenge to pick an image to work on for the collage. But I am please that I have started, even if they are not the world's best collages. It is just for my own interest, my own development.

Actually, I was struggling with it a bit but then happened to see some art quilts on Pinterest and realised that they are quite similar to some of my ideas. So I will try to be less realistic and let the photos just inform my work rather than be the strong basis. That's the plan, anyway.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Almost there

I have hitched off the actual weaving, now I just have to do the finishing off which will involve a couple more hours of weaving (hitching off with sewing thread, then another lot of hitching off for the back, using wool. That gets turned over and not seen.

So I hope to get that done tomorrow. Then I can loosen the warp a little and let it 'relax' overnight before taking it off the loom and tidying it up - which will take another few hours. So - almost there.

There will also be some fixing of mistakes to be done. I 'think' they will be easy enough to fix - I hope so! I am intending to keep the tapestry, so it is only I who will see the mistakes.
Once again, I worked till it was almost dark, so the image has had the exposure  changed. It is not quite that light.

I have enjoyed working on it, especially in this strange time of being socially distant. It has taken hours every day. I was thinking that it has been very calming. Once the design is decided the actual weaving is more of a contemplative thing - you do have to work on the colours and making sure you are keeping to the design but you are not making big creative decisions, that gets done, mainly, before-hand. So I will miss it.

But I have enrolled for a Blackwork embroidery course and am currently up to doing the sampler, learning the various stitches that might be useful once I get to actually making a piece. So, at the moment, that is also rather contemplative - focussing on doing the stitching correctly but not having to be creative. Hopefully that will take the place of the tapestry - and I will get caught up with the course!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Trying to keep interested in things

I'm not sure why, but it has been hard to be doing things today. It started off grey but the sun came out later. I did go for a walk, turned out to be quite a long one as we found a new little path along the Yarra. I was exhausted by the time we got back.

I have been assiduously taking photos on my walks, have quite a big collection. Must do something with them!!
We are supposed to be looking at them and seeing what is interesting us, what makes us stop and take the photo. So I will try to do that soon.

Here are today's selections: a bit of variety, no strong cohesion in them but some relate quite closely to others I have taken. I suppose it isn't that surprising, I keep walking in the local neighbourhood, especially in the parks along the Yarra and the creek.






You may also notice that we are encouraged to make our images square. Fortunately, the iPhone has that option so I don't have to do any cropping later.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Making progress - slowly

I thought I had better post as my blog has been mentioned in a post about the Vision 2020 Textile challenge organised by Brenda Gael Smith.
All the images are now online. Sadly, the exhibitions they were going to be shown at in the near future are cancelled. There are some scheduled for later in the year, in the USA and Australia, so perhaps they will get to be seen 'in the flesh'.
I hope so.

Anyway, I am not going to post about that work - I am still working steadily on my small tapestry. Actually, for me it is a large tapestry but I am in contact with my tapestry teachers on a group that is relatively active at the moment, partly due to social interactions being so necessary.
Anyway, she showed us a series she is working on and she called them small tapestries - the same size as mine!! A3 approximately.

Cresside will be much faster than I as a weaver, however, she has done several in her series. I will be content when I finish this one! So far I have taken about 30 hours and I am about 2/3 of the way through.
I have been slowed down a little by the fact that I got the tree limbs mixed up, had to change my cartoon on the run and am making the colours up as I go. But I am relatively happy with the progress.

I can see something that I would change if it weren't soo far back and would require unpicking most of the tapestry. I will just have to live with it.

So, here is my progress image. (Oops, just saw another thing wrong, going to ignore that too, see if I can fix it when it is finished.)

Monday, April 6, 2020

Small progress.

I think I got in an hour of tapestry work today. Some of it was winding up bobbins with the colours I wanted. That takes time!
I have worked out a new (for me) way of keeping track of my colours. I do the selection as usual, wind it onto the bobbin and then record it in the visual diary, as usual. Now I am sticking a small piece of masking tape with the corresponding number onto the bobbin, it is making redoing the yarn so much easier.



I did start by marking the numbers on the cartoon but, as I am making it up as I go, that hasn't lasted long.

However, it is working for me at the moment.
I got a little weaving in but left it till the afternoon and then went for a walk. The end of daylight saving has meant that I have had to stop a fraction earlier. Hence me being on the computer!

On the walk I saw some interesting fungi. Maybe they will become a design in the not-too-distant- future. Or maybe I will just have some interesting photos.