Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not my favourite loom

I have managed, after having to call my sister to bring her bigger car, to get my loom home.  I will be able to work on it at weekends and maybe some evenings rather than just the times I can access the tapestry classroom.  I am hoping to be able to finish it by early November. (Going away for three weeks won't help with that.)
However, the loom is not a great design.  I have been using it on a table but the weaving was getting a bit too high and I was having to lift my arms too high, even though I was standing.  Now that it is at home, I was trying to find a comfortable way to sit at it but it is just too low.
I tried using one of those fitness balls that someone gave me.  It is going a bit flat which was useful as I could sit lower on it.
My back started to object (having to lift the dog around the place after her operation has not helped in that area either), so I tried sitting on a cushion on the floor.  Not much better.
I'll have to think again, try different solutions.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blocking a tapestry

Last year we had to design our own tapestry and hand it in as the final piece in our first year class.  I posted about it at the time but it wasn't obvious that it had a major problem, it was more a trapezoid than a rectangle.  I didn't know what to do about it, so just handed it in as it was.
You can see the top sides pulling in.

This year, in another class, not tapestry, we learnt how to block embroidery and tapestry (and knitting, I think, although there were no examples tried).  So I got out the work from last year to experiment on.
I had to measure it carefully and decide the dimensions I wanted it to be.  The vertical dimension was easy as there was very little difference across the whole piece.  But the horizontal measurements were 2 cm different at the top and bottom, 27cm and 25cm.  I decided to split the difference and try to make it 26cm wide.
I measured out the space and then pinned the tapestry to the size I wanted.
Pins can be used to keep slits from widening.

Then I steamed it with the industrial steam irons we have on campus.  It was amazing to see the bubbly bits shrink and the tight bits stretch.

It has to be let dry for 24 hours, so I won't see it for a day or so as it has been put away to dry. Here's hoping it stays in proportion when I take out the pins.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The irises are out

It must be spring - the daffodils and the irises are out.  I tried taking some pictures today in case I ever get inspired to design something floral, but only one picture turned out ok.  Even this one doesn't do justice to the colour, the actual flowers were darker.
We have finally had some rain, enough to say that the drought it over - or should we be hedging our bets and saying it is probably over?  Areas of Victoria have been, and still are, and some will be, under flood but the general feeling is of optimism that the drought is over and we could have a good harvest.  It all reminds me of the 'drought and flooding rains' of Dorothea MacKellars' poem, My Country.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Finished - sort of

I have hitched off my home tapestry today. Yeah!  But I can see some problems with it and will leave it on the loom until I have a chance to take it to class and talk to Cresside about how (or whether) to fix them up.
I am pleased to have finished it to this stage.
The piece is 30cm wide by 41cm high (once I take it off the loom and rotate it).   I hope it maintains its shape and proportions when I loosen the tension.
I must say, I can't see a close resemblance between the piece and the original photo (which I cropped for the cartoon) but that could be because I am still too close to the weaving process.  I'll wait and see how I feel about that later.  But, as I have already said, the photos have been the inspiration and I am not trying to duplicate them.

I have room left on the warp to do a not very wide piece but that will entail leaving the work on the loom until I have finished the new one, so I am not sure I will do that.  A lack of time and patience will affect that decision.  I also have no design in mind.
However, I am feeling rather tired today, dog issues in the middle of the night, dash off to all night veterinary hospital, so I will let the idea of a smaller tapestry bubble around in the subconscious before I make a decision.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Visual Diary

As part of our course, we have been encouraged to keep a Visual Diary.  I have not been much good at that in the past but have found my subject specific visual diaries, that have to be handed in, very useful.  I just don't do one by myself.
Then I found out about the Fibre Arts Artist's Notebook Project.  I have decided to try it, it has a deadline of March and no strong restrictions, apart from being small - I can do my own thing in it.  I am hoping it allows me to develop my own thing!
Follow the link and see if you are interested in joining in too.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Best Laid Plans

I had plans to do a lot of weaving over the weekend but have caught one of the bugs going around and didn't feel up to it, so I had a rest and did very little.
I had plans to go to RMIT this week and do quite a bit on my tapestry there also but our dog has a mystery injury (probably a cruciate ligament) and we are spending time investigating that.
Oh well, I will just have to try to catch up later.  I am not graduating this year, so the pressure to have my work done in time for the graduation shows is not there.  I just hate missing deadlines though, so will do my best to get it done.

I just noticed that my previous post had two pictures that were supposed to be before and after but when I look at them I see that they have different parts done, they appear to both be after but do not have the same work done in them.  Very mysterious.

I did manage a bit of work on one tapestry today, working at a friend's place.  We had the radio on all morning, waiting to hear if we would have a government or if we would have to have another election - squeezed in around the state election we can now focus on!  Very exciting and an historic day.

Almost there.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Soldiering on

The two tapestries are slowly progressing.  The one I am doing at home has an end in sight - not sure how much longer it will take but I can see the top.  I expect it will be quite a while yet but I am feeling encouraged.

The work at RMIT is progressing more slowly, at least it appears that way.  It is much bigger, so perhaps the progress is not so obvious.
I have started taking before and after photos, to prove to myself that I have actually made some progress - it often doesn't seem very obvious.
after - several hours

Anyway, I am enjoying the decision making that goes into the colours, what texture to use, what different yarns I could possibly use, etc.  I am getting rather tired doing the one at Brunswick as I am currently opting to stand and do it.  The loom is on a table rather than the floor, where I would have to crouch down low (or sit very low, actually).  It is getting to the point where it will be too high soon, so I will have to begin sitting on the low stool.  I suppose that is a good thing, that it is growing.