A weave-along is a FREE online course. Claudia Chase and Elena Zuyok of Mirrix Looms will lead participants through a project woven on a loom. Every Sunday participants will get an email going over what participants worked on week before and giving instructions and tips for the week ahead. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and engage with other members of the weave-along via email and social media sites including the Mirrix Facebook Page, Mirrix Facebook Group and Mirrix Ravelry Page. This is a community event!
Weave-Along 14, which will begin in September, is for people who have woven at least some tapestry before. (If you need a little experience, check out Rebecca Mezoff’s online tapestry class before the weave-along begins.)
In this weave-along, participants will learn a technique of weaving with two shedding devices. This technique allows you to make a more textured tapestry. You’ll be able to weave, let’s say, 14 dents per inch and, at the same time, 7 dent per inch.
The piece will not have a pattern, but will be a tapestry done with silk and Waverly wool. You will be able to buy supplies from our website, but can also use your own!
As part of the weave-along, we will give a discount on
purchasing a second shedding device.
More information to come next week! Let us know if you’re interested in the comments, by email or via social media!
This year, “Loomy” (a 22″ Zach Loom) began a journey across the territories of Himalaya with Art Across Frontiers. Loomy has been meeting artists and weavers everywhere he goes and is helping to spread creative knowledge across and within these cultures. Check out some of the beautiful images from Loomy’s journey so far and the beautiful rugs these artisans have made.
Interested in learning more? Contact Art Across Frontiers and consider helping to fund this amazing journey.
The fun continues! I am using two shedding devices to create a textured weaving as I mentioned in a previous post when I started this adventure (click here to read the previous post). I had seared into my brain how I thought this would work and how it would look, but I am surprised that my vision is so close to reality. I don’t know about you, but I fail as much as I succeed. I guess that’s the result of taking risks. I am a devoted risk taker.
To recap: I warped the loom with two shedding devices at 14 ends per inch. The top shedding device raises two neighboring threads at a time. The bottom shedding device raises every other thread (i.e., the “normal” way to weave tapestry). I have been using two strands of a fairly thin tapestry yarn (please don’t ask what . . . I found a bunch of this beautiful stuff I purchased a thousand years ago in a basket . . . I know it’s not American) as well as Brown Sheep Waverly Yarn (the same yarn we include in our two tapestry kits: woven purse kit; smart phone kit to weave the double warps. And I’ve been using our hand-painted silk for the tabby weave (single warp threads). You will also note some of that wonderfuld the real gold thread near the top. The result is a combination of a lot of texture and a lot of possible detail. It reminds me of doing regular needle point and petit point on the same canvas. I have always loved that effect.
Some detailed photos of progress since my first post on this project:
View of the Loom with two shedding devices:
I have been anxious to try two shedding devices in a different way: attaching warp threads 1, 5, 9 etc. to one shed; attaching warp threads 2, 6, 10 etc. to the second shed; attaching warp threads 3, 7, 11 to the third shed; attaching warp threads 4, 8, 12 etc. to the final shed. Yes, this is a little confusing to do, but well worth the effort. That being said, I was in too much of a hurry to see what this would look like. I decided to hand pick the warp threads before taking time to set up a second loom with two shedding devices. I whipped out my Lani Loom without the shedding device (I also wanted to be able to play with her in my lap which cannot happen when a Mirrix Loom has two shedding devices attached because you really need to extend them fully and that goes beyond any size lap I know of!) and grabbed some of those cool (and new to our website) curved bamboo needles: I love these needles because that little curve on the end allows you to pick the shed easily. Plus the wood just feels good in your hand and the eyes are really large. They are really well made and worth adding to your accessory stash.
I put on a warp of 12 ends per inch. I tried my luck at a twill (under one, over three moving that pattern over so you are progressively going under one and over three put moving that pattern over one.) The visual below explains it a lot better. In tapestry, you do not see the warp threads but you see the texture of the pattern. It will be a lot easier to weave this using the shedding devices because I know at least for me I tend to get a bit confused trying to figure out how to move the pattern over correctly. I made a lot of mistakes. But hey, you can’t tell.
Let me show you some pictures of the Lani Loom project. The bottom right is the twill. The shiny stuff is tabby with silk. Tabby is when you go over one and under one, etc. It’s what is considered “normal” for tapestry. The gold wool pattern is twill and the rest of the wool patterns are under two, over two. I could do this forever.
My next goal is to design a weaving using the second shedding device. For now I am just playing. I am having a lot of fun with color (my addiction) and, of course, with all these amazing textures.
I just wanted to know that some people don’t consider anything other than weft-faced tabby weaving (the warp doesn’t show, and it actually doesn’t in my examples, but there are “tapestry” weavers who weave in tabby and do let some of their warp show). But I think that’s a bit silly. Have you ever seen Helena Hernmarck’s work? Check out her website: http://www.hernmarck.com/.
Do you want to weave with two shedding devices? You can purchase a second one for your Mirrix here.
Nostalgia brought on by our recent attendance at Convergence (the Hand Weaver Guild of America’s every two year event) lead me to do some research to rediscover my tapestry past. Searching for “Tapestry Tool Box” I found a letter from Marti Fleischer who was the editor for The American Tapestry Alliance newsletter from 1994 to 2002. I met Marti through mail and maybe even phone conversations, and soon I was writing a column for the ATA newsletter (back in the days when it was mailed to all its members). In her good-bye letter as editor she mentions that column: “In 1994 we began running The Tapestry Toolbox written by Claudia Anne Chase. The article, which continued several years, lent insight into questions about looms and all related tapestry paraphernalia.” I apparently also became a member of the ATA Board. Thank goodness for the internet to kick start my past! The ATA began in 1993.
I first met Marti in an elevator the day I arrived at my hotel to attend that first Convergence (it was the first Convergence for ATA as well!). I was wearing a long silk dress and my long dark hair hung way past my waist. Because there was no room in the elevator, I stood on my suitcase. Marti walked into the elevator and I recognized her right away (don’t ask me how; maybe I had seen a photograph of her). I said hello and told her who I was. She looked up at this six foot tall woman (remember all 5 feet 2 inches of me was standing on a suitcase) and she said: “Oh my gosh, I thought you were Cher!”
Those three years of articles are buried somewhere in my attic. I have no idea what they were about!
I will never forget that first Convergence. I traveled there by car with three other weavers (I was the only tapestry weaver). I was living in Wisconsin and Convergence was in Minneapolis. The year was 1994.
My greatest memory of the event was attending the the tapestry exhibit and the Small expressions exhibit. The only huge tapestries I had ever seen before included images of unicorns and castles. This exhibit was mind blowing. Most of them were huge. And every single grabbed my full attention. I had to tear myself away. For examples of tapestry please check out the ATA artist page: http://americantapestryalliance.org/artist-pages/ Plan on going back again and again. But there is nothing like seeing these pieces in person so if there is ever an American Tapestry exhibit near you GO. Once you get there, they will have to force you to leave.
Should you join the ATA? Of course you should. From their humble beginnings they have grown into a strong and important organization tying together this rare species, tapestry weavers. Please visit their website: http://americantapestryalliance.org And while you are at it, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Tapestry-Alliance/121689989043
I don’t have Elena’s fancy lenses here, but decided to take a quick photo with my iPad of the double shedding device weaving. At first, although I was enjoying it, I wasn’t lost in it yet. Then I got lost in it and realized that I will most likely weaving a lot of tapestries with this double shedding device method. The next one will be twill. I might have to whip a new loom out of a box because all my looms are full to do that. But for now I am content to work on this piece. I love the texture!
To recap: I am using two shedding devices. The top one is connected to double warp threads; the bottom shedding device is connected to every other warp thread. The sett is 14 ends per inch. Therefore, the top shedding device addresses a 7 epi warp while the bottom addresses a 14 epi warp. I am not used to weaving a such a fine sett, but am getting used to it. I am using worsted weight yarn for the double warps and my hand-painted silk for the single warps.
I promise to try to finish this piece in a timely fashion and publish photos as I go along!
This week I made a video for you all, showing how to finish tapestry ends the way I was taught in textile art school. I know self deprecation is annoying, so I’ll just squeeze in one wee thing and say that I did this without a tripod, so the angles are not the best. You should have seen me propping the camera up on towels and slinging it around my neck, all while trying to get all the filming done before Sam woke up from his nap, haha.
So, here it is. I hope this is helpful to some of you. Oh, and the music in the sped up part is my partner Danny.
Last week was a wonderful whirlwind of meeting people, selling looms and soaking in the merriment that is HGA’s Convergence.
For me, the best part was meeting people. From famous tapestry weaver’s like Janet Austin, people we’ve been in touch with for years but have never met like fabulous weaver/teachers Rebecca Mezoff and Janette Meetze, some of the great people from the American Tapestry Alliance (seriously, what an amazing group), some of our retailers and even customers we’ve talked with many times but never had faces to put to names. I also got to spend a lot of time with my wonderful mother (you may know her as Claudia) and my second-mom Miss Joni Parker-Roach of NOA Gallery, which was pretty awesome.
Meeting the fabulous Rebecca Mezoff, and teaching Claudia & Rebecca what “photo bombing” is.
We got to see a fascinating, eclectic small format tapestry show put on by the American Tapestry Alliance and another show in the same building by TWINE (Tapestry Weavers in New England). Being brought up in the world of tapestry this probably makes sense, but I enjoy seeing tapestries at galleries and museums more than any other art form. You can sit there for 30 minutes and stare at one tapestry and be totally fascinated.
At the show we got to introduce our new Spencer Power Treadle, which was a huge hit. I had a great time showing people how it works.
Here’s our booth, with the new treadle all set up (left).
In the picture you can see the security we needed there for crowd control!
In honor of Mirrix’s 18th birthday (which we were celebrating), we had a drawing to win a Mini-Mirrix. It was a huge draw to our booth, as was the birthday chocolate we were giving away. Above is a photo of the drawing. We had John Marshall, known for his antique and original kimonos and metallic threads -he’s the guy we buy the gold from- (who had the booth across the aisle) choose the winner from almost 300 names. The winner was named Ginny and was from NH! She had actually taken Rebecca’s tapestry class at the show, so it was a great fit! Congratulations again, Ginny!
Thank you to everyone who made this show such a success. The people at HGA were dedicated, helpful and even managed to give us hugs and smile on always-crazy moving-out day. The teachers and weavers were amazing. The people there were amazing. It was a great show! Until next time!
Marcel Marois is a tapestry weaver whose work I’ve admired for years. I just love the fact that they begin as watercolor paintings, and every time I think about his work I try to work out in my head how he blends his colors. With my amateur knowledge I’ve determined there must be a lot of color blending on the bobbin. What do you think? Isn’t this fantastic? Do you have any insight into his technique?
On my end, this week I’ve been making natural dye print samples for a workshop I’m giving which begins this Tuesday. I’ve always wanted to create a watercolor effect with dyes on fabric and I’m close to achieving what has been in my imagination all these years. I can see myself weaving a tapestry based on these prints too. Below are logwood and brazilwood stenciled onto charmeuse. For more photos and technical detail go here to see my blog post about it.
Janna Maria Vallee
Marcel Marois photos via http://www.paperblog.fr