I'm getting the Fireside loom ready for another tapestry. Once I have that done it's time to tackle a big project of making heddles for my new to me loom the Varpapuu Upright loom I got this fall. I've cleaned her up but now for the heddles. I could buy nylon which I thought I was going to do but for a 60 inch loom it is over $200 so I would rather spend that money or something else. I mean really... I can make them. So I made a jig and I will start soon.
Nothing glamorous about this post, just the work that has to go on in a studio before you even get to sit down and start weaving. I'll post more fun pics soon but the studio is a mess right now with moving looms around again etc.
The wonderful thing about my Fireside loom is the wheels. I can just roll it wherever I want and that is usually trying to get in front of a window for the best light for weaving. So it's like musical chairs in here with looms, around and around we go.
One other note about the Fireside loom, I'll put a link to their site but I don't know if they are still making looms or not. I've had people ask me if they are still in business because they know I have one of their tapestry looms but I really don't know. The site is still up but I tried calling and emailing them but got no response. I do know that a couple of years ago there were some health issues that stopped production but at the time I thought that was temporary but maybe not. So for all the people that have asked me about my loom and the Fireside brand I really don't know what is going on exactly with the company.
Most people are just looking for used ones which is sort of difficult but they do become available from time to time. Also if your looking for a Fireside you can also search for Crisp looms. The Ruthie was a wonderful loom that they made and I just found one used on Ravelry for a friend of mine. Crisp looms were the makers before the company was sold to the first Fireside owner then he sold it years later to the current owners.
As far as my Varpapuu vertical loom goes well, those are extremely hard to find in the US. I got my floor loom used in 1990 and those are easier to find than the vertical tapestry looms made by Varpapuu. I had been looking for one since the 1990's so about 30 years. I never thought I would find one near me but finally I did. It was a 6 hour drive one way to get it but that was fine by me. There really aren't many options today to buy new vertical tapestry looms. Maybe I'll write another post on the subject sometime but I need to get to work.
The New Year is here and I have big plans just like most people. The trick is sticking to them and seeing it through. I have lots of weaving and painting ideas for the year. Many looms need dressing and canvases are stacked up in waiting. My notebooks and sketchbooks are over flowing all over the studios up and downstairs. There is no lack of ideas here. Probably too many at times. It's hard to shut the brain off, the only way to do that is get to work. Get those hands moving and with that movement my brain starts to calm and I settle in for a long day at the easel or the looms. Nothing works at quieting my mind like the actual act of creating. Throwing on the apron and getting those hands dirty, once I dive in it all feels ok. That long to do list doesn't seem so impossible anymore. The only way thru is by doing the work. Just start....and it will all fall into place.
A new tapestry on the loom. A peak behind the leashes at the cartoon. A new series begins..... Each piece will have Asemic writing. I've used it in many paintings and drawings and some stitched works but this will be my first time weaving Asemic text. More pics coming as I get further along in the work.
I'm loving these natural colors. I tea dyed linen, silk and wool for the background areas. I'm also using a tiny touch of sparkle thread for a dash of bling; so very subtle but when the light hits it just right you get a wonderful effect. I'm weaving this work on my Ashford Tapestry Loom with leashes. I really enjoy working on this loom. It's simple but very effective. I'm using the larger version of the loom, unfortunately the smaller version of this loom is not being made any longer. If I see one for a good price used I might snatch it up because it is wonderful to work on. The circular warping is great and the adjustable angles for weaving are really nice for your body after hours of weaving. The tension works well too. Not having treadles really isn't an issue once you get into a rhythm of using the leashes. You can weave 40" wide and about 29 or 30 inches high. I'm going to be at the limit on this one for the height. The leashes might get a little tight at the end. If so...pick pick pick with my bobbin will get me there. The link above is a pic of the loom on my flickr page from a few years ago. I had a Mirrix coil spring on it but I've removed it now and I'm going to be putting leather with grooves carved in for the top and bottom warp spacers. I did this on a copper loom that I made and it works great. The warps don't move around like they do with the coil spring. I'll post some pics of that modification after I get it done. Well, that's all for now.... off to weave.
2019 has been strange so far. Things got off to a rocky start with the whole family getting sick and me taking months to really recover from it. Finally starting to feel like myself again. So a slow start to 2019....but I'm getting back on track with my daily studio practices. Here are some pics of recent experiments, sketchbook work etc.
Back to this little bag again and warping the loom for more samples. Little bags like this are often called amulet bags or medicine bags etc. I'm not sure what I'm going to call mine, but for now I'm calling it "thimble bag " because it is the perfect size for that and it helps me from losing my thimble which is a daily thing with me.
American Tapestry Alliance Show
This small tapestry has been selected for the ATA Small Tapestry International 6: Beyond the Edge. "Two Moons"©DL Rigter. I was trying to find a way to create the tapestry within their size requirements without weaving a square format. This was my solution and I'm quite pleased with it. You can read more about the upcoming show at the link above.
Here are the Venues:
May 27–July 20, 2019
Orville J. Hanchey Gallery
Northwestern State University
75 Sam Sibley Dr
Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457
Opening Reception: July 1, 2019, 5–7 pm
September 6 – October 12, 2019
Augustana Teaching Museum of Art
639 38th St
Rock Island, IL 61201
Opening Reception: September 6, 2019, 5–7 pm
DL Rigter Digital Works
The new year got off to a slow start with my whole family getting a horrible bug. Things are finally getting back to normal. I have been working on the computer painting digital works because I just didn't feel well enough to paint or weave. That is one thing that I love about digital work, no mess to clean up and I can do it even when I'm not feeling 100%. Here are a few wips some may get stitched or turn into a tapestry cartoon or not. Still thinking about them. Process... and where does it take me?
I'm thinking of printing this one on linen or cotton and adding stitch. My fingers are itching to get back to stitching. I'll probably do both, free form machine stitching and hand stitch on this one. I love this natural palette. This started with graphite drawings of texture on paper with tea dyeing added. Then I worked that image further in photoshop. Excited with where these are going. Exploring mark making and layers.
Also a quick note about the Shop. It has moved but I've made it every easy and simple to get there. I just have a new provider for it. Just click the shop link in my site and it takes you there. Want to come back to my site or journal just click the Back to Site button from the Shop. It's easy. I'm running some items on sale right now and new products are coming soon. Thanks
Mixed Media Drawings
New work is in the shop and more coming. Pictured below is "Topiary" a new small mixed media drawing. Check out the shop for more of these small unframed works. I'll be adding more over the next couple of weeks. I've got paintings on canvas, paper, birch panel and tiles plus some stitched works as well. Much work to do still but getting there slowly but surely. Happy Holidays to you and thanks for your support.
Wabi-Sabi Texture Mixed Media
A work in progress.... I shot the two creamy white textured walls on the left on a road trip up to the mountains. Sitting at a light I saw these wonderful walls that reminded me of Encaustic. They looked wax like, and very rich in texture, creamy and oh so Wabi-Sabi. I pulled out my phone and took a shot before the light changed. Back in the studio I was inspired to paint some linen and weave a little piece of tapestry then one thing and then another and I painted and stitched and collaged and I think I love it. Still working on it a bit and inspired to do more in this vein. That's it for today. Back to work I go.
Well, it's a heat wave here in Pa. so I'm painting because touching wool when it is this hot is not very appealing to me. I'm currently working on Watercolors and Mixed Media paintings,I even broke out my oils. Also getting some free form stitching done. A big push to get new work done and into the shop. I've moved the shop to this site however I'll keep the Etsy Shop just in case I need to use it in the future. Just trying to make this simpler by having everything in one place. I hope that makes it simpler,fingers crossed on that. So here are a few in progress pics of some of the work that is currently all over the studios. Stay cool.
Tapestry weaving... landscapes
I've been busy working on this landscape again. Making good progress but I have not posted in a while because I'm lost in it. When I'm not working on this tapestry I'm working on my stitching so back and forth I go between the two. I have several things going at once and all are so close to being done; I think, but then they are not. So I'm really feeling the need to finish something! This happens to be the way I work. I've tried to work on one piece and only one piece until completed and it does not work for me. So I have just decided to go with the flow and then they all come together and get done in the end. It's just the way I'm wired. Sometimes that can be a good thing because one idea here and another there and all of it work feeds off of each other. A painting here, a stitch there, a weaving sample etc. and each has it's purpose even if it doesn't become a "finished piece of art" in the end. So I plug along...and Spring is here so my painting will kick in a bit more as the little painting studio is not so cold now so the windows can open and I can breathe and feel the sun on my face and mess about in the paint.
Landscape tapestry off the loom
Well, it's off the loom. Now for the finishing. First it needs to sit and rest a little. That's always a good idea when the tapestry comes off the loom and is no longer under tension.
So I've got looms to dress and I must get back to work on my watercolor tapestry asap. And as always more paintings to go thru so I can decide which one will become a tapestry. That is always a challenge because I want to weave so many of them but I know that is never going to be a possibility. It has to be the right one, I mean face it, this is an image that I'm going to be looking at in progress on the loom for weeks or mostly months. So I must choose wisely. More pics of this tapestry will go in the Tapestry section of my site when it's all finished.
Landscape tapestry weaving
I can see the top of the cartoon and I'm inching my way along. About 2 or 3 inches to go now. This is always really exciting for me when I can see the end is near. Well, the end of the weaving is near but the finishing still has to be done. I have a stack of paintings waiting to be laid out to see which one makes the cut for the next tapestry on this loom. I have 2 more looms waiting for warps as well. I was hoping they would be ready to go by January so that deadline came and went. So much to do. Here are a few more in progress pics.
Out for some fresh air and a Winter Walk for some mind clearing and inspiration. I find that I'm often ready to tackle the task at hand and get busy in the studio after a quick walk with my camera in hand. I really need that in the Winter when I find myself camping out in the studio for days on end. Today the sun came out for a bit and the temp was not so bad. I love making these collages for inspiration I often refer back to them for color ideas when dyeing yarn etc. This will probably make it over to my inspiration walks page too but sometimes I like to put them on the journal as well.
I'm back to these small paintings when I can get a block of time away from the loom. Really pushing to finish up the current tapestry so my painting has been on hold for a bit. I'm thinking some of these small paintings might be fun to weave as well, maybe small or perhaps blown up. I'll do some scale testing and see what I like. Just looking at this pic it's already much bigger. The original is only 4 inches. It's painted on a ceramic tile. I love the texture of the tiles. These would be great woven and then shown with the original tile painting next to it. I'll post more of these soon. The more I look at this one the more I'm talking myself into weaving it.
Only about 5 or 6 inches to go.Yay! Well, in the land of tapestry weaving that is still going to take a chunk of weaving time but I can see the end is near. Only the weaving is almost done. Then all the finishing work which really takes quite a bit of time too. It's not my favorite part, that I can say with honesty. But it will have to be done. Between weaving I've been dyeing yarn and thinking a lot about the next tapestry. But before I can dive into that too much I have to get back to the Watercolor tapestry on the black pipe loom. I call that loom hopping, which I do often. Actually, I love doing that. Having several looms going at the same time keeps me from getting bored. I like it but I can only do so much without getting a little crazy. You start to feel like nothing is ever going to be finished. So I have to curb myself. So here she is at her current state...why do I always refer to them as "she" maybe one day I'll weave something that is a "he"...
Not the greatest shot with the daylight bulbs glaring but it's getting late and I can't stop weaving just because the sun goes down. If that were the case I would never get done. The glam shots will have to wait until she is done but for now you get the idea. Woven sideways as I seem to do about 95% of the time.
And a few more shots from the dyepot sessions. And for those that have been asking I'm not selling hand dyed yarns again. These are for me. I know so greedy am I.
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.
Artist and maker living and working in the beautiful state of Pa.
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