Warming my heart and home with the Dyepots. Cold Winter days...grey skies, rain, drizzle drizzle drizzle. What better way to add some warmth and color into my days than firing up the dyepots. Dyeing for me is very similar to cooking. A pinch of this and that just as I handle spices in the kitchen. I hardly ever cook food from recipes and I don't dye that way either. Especially now that I'm dyeing only for myself. I don't have to bother with trying to create multiple batches of the same colorway. Which is not easily and frankly not much fun. Now I'm back to dyeing the way I started years and years ago. Whatever moves me and I can be extremely experimental because reproduction is not in the vocabulary anymore. Sigh... to that. My heart sings again....I can pinch of this and that all I want. As a tapestry weaver and a weaver of cloth nothing is better than being able to create your own palette. I feel it's essential, well, it is for me. But I do supplement my colors with yarns and threads from industry. And that's all good, but nothing out there really compares to hand dyed yarns. They have character, soul and that one-of-a kind feel that takes my breathe away. Well, I better get back to it.....
Small Tapestry Weaving
Small drawings, paintings, weavings and so forth. I find when I'm working at a small scale I can test out ideas rapidly. It's fluid....what is that exactly.....changing readily; shifting; not fixed, stable, or rigid.
Not rigid. I like that. Drawing and painting small can go very fast if you wish but these small tapestries they don't go so fast. Tapestry never really does. So is it still fluid? Yes, it can be. How to stay loose and fluid when weaving tapestry? Hmm, maybe weave free form without a cartoon and let the textures and colors lead the way. Have a concept but keep it simple. I'm always asking myself these sorts of questions when it comes to tapestry weaving. It is so different from painting. That damn gird that I have a love/hate relationship with. Maybe let the grid dominate....but back to the idea of working small helps open my mind...it does with painting but does it really with tapestry? I'm still thinking about that one. It is intimate, very much so when you have to get so very close to a 2 or 3 inch wide tapestry. I like that it's a small almost precious object and that the viewer has to really get close to it physically.
The weaving starts at the bottom always and you work your way up. Art is not linear...or is it? If you have to begin at this point and end at this one. Questions...always questions.
It is better to ask some questions than to know all the answers __ James Thurber
Do you have days as an artist where you just need to rest your mind a bit. You need comfort food or I should say comfort art. Sometimes you need a little bit of what comes easy and effortless. Comfort weaving like weaving a beautiful piece of tabby cloth in linen or drawing only trees, or just dyeing some stunning colors. The dyepots always give me comfort. After years and years of dyeing and having a business dyeing yarns aka Saffron Dyeworks. I got burned out but now I love it again. And it is pure comfort for me to dip the skeins into the pot. It's like eating your favorite food, so easy, so natural. It just comes easy. When it's a cold dreary day out and I need something to warm my artistic soul, I like to dye. And when I feel like I'm taking things too seriously well then it is time to do something that is pure comfort. Being too serious can kill your spontaneity. Doing something that just feels like second nature really helps me open up, relax, and clear my mind so when it's time to tackle that new tapestry or painting I feel charged and ready to go to the next level. What is your comfort art?
If you know anything about me you know I love tea. Not only for drinking but for dyeing yarns and fabrics. I also paint and draw with it. It is very versatile. Black teas just might be my favorite. I'm using these for some handwoven cloth and also in one of the landscape tapestries that is in progress now on my Fireside tapestry loom. I haven't used Linen in tapestry weaving as much as wool and silk but I'm finding I like it. So I'm going to do more sampling and small tapestries with it. I'll post my progress when I have a few small ones ready. I love stitching on Linen so maybe I'll try some stitching on the tapestry samples and see how it goes. Let my intuition guide me....
Perhaps loving something is the only starting place there is for making your life your own.... Alice Koller
Well, this little journal is almost full. Time to get a new Moleskine. There is nothing like cracking open a new journal. Oh, the possibilities. The fresh crisp pages, the new smell. I love it. But holding a journal in your hands that has been used and loved and carried around with you for months, well, that is very special. They say sometimes that most Artist can get blocked because they may have not too few but too many ideas. I haven't found this to be true for me yet but I do have to say "is this just an exercise or will it become something more"? The thing is sometimes you just don't know. Drawings in my little sketchbooks way never become more but sometimes they do. They are a great resource to come back to as well. And if I'm having a hard time getting myself going in the studio I will often just pull out a pencil or pen and draw, make marks and just let my mind go. It relaxes me and calms my mind. Of course this is always done with a hot cup of tea and great music. Then I feel ready to tackle the task at hand. I started keeping an art journal in art school many moons ago and I haven't stopped since.
Small tapestry weaving
Playing around with a very fine sett of 22 epi on this little tapestry. The warp is a button and carpet thread that is very strong. So far so good...no broken threads. These might be great for stitching accents due to the fine sett. Experimenting continues.
Neutral colors for tapestry weaving
Warm inviting neutrals. I can't seem to get enough of them lately. Greys, taupes, creams and bronzy tones are calling to me. Is Winter having an effect? Maybe? I can never seem to have enough of them stocking my yarn shelves or in my paint stash. Time to fire up the dyepots for more greys. I love dyeing yarn in the Winter months.
Well, it seems that when I made some changes to the site and did an upgrade and I lost my journal. Maybe that is a sign. A new fresh start for 2018. So pictured above are some new paintings that I'm working on. Painting on ceramic tiles and Aqua board. Some might become small tapestries as well. Still thinking about that.
Also back to my sewing machine for some stitching on these mixed media paintings. I'm keeping the palette fairly monochrome and I really like the feel so far.
Artist and maker living and working in the beautiful state of Pa.
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