Monday, May 31, 2010

Small tapestry finishing off.

I have tried another way of finishing off, usually used for small tapestries.  It involves lots of hitching but allows you to hide the white warp threads reasonably successfully.  I did this with the historical piece and my miniatures.
We had to do miniature tapestry weaving for one of our assignments and I decided to make three small pieces to go into a doll's house.  It is based on some Art Deco designs and furniture I have seen lately.

There is a lot of hitching on and off with this technique but I like it because you don't have such an obvious, white, edge where you usually plait the warp threads. You use double half hitches and soumak, with a full pass of weaving with the thread you are using (I used stranded cotton for this piece) and also one of the seine twine used in the warping up.

When you are finished,  you pull out the seine twine and fold the work over in that space, sewing through the full pass space, through to the front.

As I said, I used stranded cotton more commonly used for embroidery.  It was comfortable to use but does slip up and down the warp rather easily.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

finishing off the case moth tapestry

I have taken the case moth off the loom and now have to either plait the warps or sew them in.  I have tried both and have to make a decision.
I am not that keen on the white edge that plaiting produces, even though it is a traditional way of finishing off.  I tried the traditional way on one side of the case moth and it took about 30 minutes, but I don't really like the whiteness, especially against the brown weaving.

Then I tried the sewing in technique and it is much more aesthetically appealing but takes AGES to do.  I think I will  unpick the plaiting and sew in that edge.  I'll have to sit in front of the television, or listen to music, for quite a while to get it done.
You may notice that you can see a tiny bit of the warp still (on the right-hand side) but apparently I can sew over that if it really bothers me.  I was actually told that I could sew over the plaited edge also but that seems to be going to take just as long as the sewing in, so I have decided to go that way.

I was asking our local picture framer for some advice about another piece of work and he told me that wood is acidic and the acid will eventually transfer to the fabric, so now I am a bit worried about the twigs I have used.  I doubt that the piece will be an historic heirloom though, so I don't think I need to stress about it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Case Moth Tapestry

Well, I've finished the weaving of my case moth tapestry. It is not a lot like the original image, I have taken liberties with the colours but have had fun with it.
I have taken a couple of pictures of the work finished but still on the loom.  (I have turned the pictures around so that you can see the correct orientation.)
The difference between using the flash and not is quite marked.  The colours are not quite right in either picture, one is much too light (the one with flash) and the other is a bit too dark.  But you can get an idea of the work.

Actually, I have my miniature tapestries on the same loom, not wanting to waste all that effort of warping up.  So I have not yet done much work finishing the tapestries off.  I hope I can do it well and not mess up all that work by sloppy finishing off.  I haven't tidied up the historical piece yet either.  I must get onto it as it is all due to be handed in soon.  I have woven it using the small tapestry finishing technique, that will be interesting to see how it works - no braiding.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Case moth information

theregatha asked me about casemoths and I have found some information.

 I remember having a casemoth in my classroom many years ago.  It was kept in a fish tank but escaped!!  We had an unusual room which had extremely high ceilings that had large wooden beams across the room.  Every day we would wait till someone spotted the casemoth high above our heads and call out "There it is!".  I have no idea what it used to eat, there were definitely no plants up there.  It stayed for several weeks and we never did discover where it went.

Anyway, back to the point.
I have found information about casemoths at the Queensland Museum site.
Some of the interesting facts I found:
Case moths spend most of their lives as caterpillars, the larval stage, which may last for up to 1 or 2 years in some species.  Once constructed, the caterpillars never leave their cases.  The head and thorax of the caterpillars are quite heavily armoured and they have 3 strong pairs of legs on the thorax with which they move around, dragging the case behind them.
This is the one at our front door, showing its thorax and legs.

Here is a clue about what it eats, but not really what the one in our classroom found to survive on.
Many species of case moth caterpillars are plant feeders; others feed on lichens; while some live within the nests of ants and are thought to be scavengers.
I think my pictures are of a Saunder's Case Moth (Metura elongata).  According to the Queensland Museum site,
Its biology is typical of those species where the adult female is wingless. 
One of the amazing parts is how it attached the twigs to its case.
The caterpillar uses its jaws to harvest a twig of a desired length, attaching it to the mouth of the case with a few strands of silk.  The caterpillar now withdraws into the case and, from the inside, cuts a small slit in the bag.  This may take almost an hour to complete because the material of the bag is incredibly tough.  The caterpillar then sticks its head and thorax out through the hole, reaches up and grabs the twig and cuts it free.  Withdrawing back into the case, the caterpillar holds the base of the twig in the hole and sews it firmly into place with silk.  From start to finish, the process takes about one and a half hours to complete.
Sometimes it seemed to take me that long to organise the twigs I wanted to attach to my tapestry!  First there was the process of choosing the exact twig I wanted, then the colours, then the hitching, then the wrapping and attaching at the other end.  It could be recalcitrant and unwrap just as I was about to attach it - very annoying.  So I have been really appreciating the case moth species as I have been working.

There is much more interesting information on the site (linked above), so go and have a look.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tapestry as an art form

I have just visited Marilyn's blog and read the statement by one of her students.  It is inspiring, describing how tapestry can be viewed as art and how much intellectual engagement there must be when weaving.
The tapestry is beautiful also.

I am finding that tapestry weaving engages me thoroughly.  It is similar to becoming engrossed in working with Photoshop and not surfacing for hours.  This can be very bad for the poor, stiff back.  We have been taught simple exercises to do but I have to surface enough to remember to do them.  It is not until I go to stand up and actually move around that I realise how long I have been sitting.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fibre Fusion group in the UK

In my post about the AQC, I mentioned work done by a group from the UK.  Birgitte, from that group, has commented and mentioned the Fibre Fusion group in the UK.  We were discussing the amazing range of activities that textile artists have access to in the UK - very jealous Australian here. (But I am glad to be very far away from the volcanic ash.)
She also mentioned  Pauline Verrinder, who mentors the group and who may be going to teach in Australia in the near future.  I will have to have a good look at this and see when she is coming to Melbourne.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shaped piece - tapestry

One of the pieces I am trying to produce for my course is a shaped piece.  I have decided to try to make a casemoth.  It will not reflect the colours all that accurately, but I have decided that I tend to be too literal and need to loosen up.  So I am going to use colours that appeal to me and play with the texture.

A casemoth was on our door the other day and I accidentally grabbed it when I was shutting the door (a startling event that captured my attention!).  Here is a picture of it on our brick wall.  It is the inspiration for my work.

The first thing is to use card to allow me to hitch on in the shape I want.  It is traditional to weave tapestry sideways, which suits the casemoth piece.

It is turning out harder than I anticipated to weave the first rows and to select the colours I want but hopefully I will get my head around it and not take too long to produce the work. It is about the size of an A4 piece of paper which is much bigger than any casemoth I have ever seen.  I am taking artistic license in a variety or ways.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Brick repeat again

In my post about brick repeat, I did not put in a repeating pattern.  We had our design class today and had it explained.  I think I got it:  here is my attempt to explain it.
The pattern is laid out in a clear repeat horizontally, that is, the sides of the blocks will match exactly (the circles).

The blocks will then be moved across by half the block size in the row below, in a brick pattern. (I have made the lines around the blocks dark so that you can see them clearly, they would not be visible in a good brick repeat system.)
The motifs that are in the top left corner  (the base of the triangle) need to meet the tip of the triangle in the bottom right corner of the block above.
The partial star in the top right corner will match, in the vertical plane, with the partial star in the bottom left corner of the row above.
So, in this design, the row below has elements that seem to protrude into the row above and are shifted half a block across.
To put it another way, the sides of the block must match on the horizontal plane and the diagonal opposite sides must match in the vertical plane.
Maybe it's too late at night for me to be trying to verbalise this!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Playing games on the internet.

I should never have looked up logic puzzles on the internet!!  As I said in a previous post, I love them, but now I can spend time on the internet playing yet another game.  One annoying thing about them is that, if you click away from the grid, you can lose the grid and have to start all over again. Very annoying.

Another couple of games that I love are Gridshock and Qrossfire.  I can spend quite a bit of time on them too.  I try to remember my OH&S for computers but the time just disappears and I find that I have sat still for a while and can get stiff.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Brick repeat

This is a very quick example of a brick repeat layout, I haven't tried to use a specifically designed repeating pattern, I just used one of the patterns I was able to make using the wonderful 'define pattern' tool.  So much fun can be had with Photoshop.  Hours gone, just playing around.
I left spaces between the blocks so you can see the layout clearly.  It works like a brick wall.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Australasian Quilt Convention

Yesterday I attended the last day of the AQC (I was going to put a link but the website was not responding by the time I got home - very efficient), not as a convention member, just as a visitor.  I managed to stay fairly clear of the stalls and am proud to announce that I did not buy any quilting materials.  However, I did buy some threads from The Thread Studio stand and a back support from the Punch with Judy stand.  I used the latter today as I worked on my miniature tapestry and think it was a successful purchase.
The quilts were amazing, so many different styles and interpretations of challenges.
I was especially interested in the Textile Tantrums exhibit, organised by Dale Rollerson of The Thread Studio.  There were some very innovative works in that exhibit.
I also saw the Twelve by Twelve exhibition.  This is a group of twelve art quilters from all over the world who have an online group.  They have a theme every two months and make an art quilt twelve inches by twelve inches.  It is the first time they have exhibited their work together.  Apparently they are going to have a book published about their work also.  There were 2 years worth of quilts on view, all beautifully done.
My current interest is art quilts but I have yet to produce much in that area.  I am concentrating on the tapestry, screen print and design subjects that I am studying.
Another group in the UK had their work on show, also inspiring and beautiful.  They were the Out of the Fold works.  Once again, some amazing techniques and beautiful pieces, also smallish.  I have found two links on the internet for two of the works that I especially liked:
Annette Morgan and Birgitte Hendricks.  There were some other names that I took note of but have not found links yet.