For the past 6 months or so I’ve been offering free weaving, knitting, embroidery and natural dyeing workshops in public spaces in Manhattan. Most of time we are weaving since people seem to really respond to my lovely Mirrix loom, and I love any excuse to weave so I’ve planned a lot of tapestry skill-shares. They have taken a few forms:
I weave/knit/dye in public spaces, usually on the subway or in a parks and invite people to join me, usually with a sign. These are an attempt to thwart people’s tendencies to isolate themselves, usually via digital devices, with the hopes of complicating their ideas of how public space is perceived and used. My goal is to encourage people to engage, and even learn something instead of tune out of the world around them. Admittedly, I too am often one of these people engrossed in my book on the subway. So, I’m not saying there isn’t a place for tuning out – everyone needs their personal time, and God love you if for you that time occurs on the subway. I do however think it could be good to interrupt people’s habituated actions from time to time.
These are usually the result of no one joining me to learn the respective craft of the day, and this usually happens on the subway. I’m not dissapointed about having the skill-share concept morph into a performance in this way, and am still grappling with the ideas that occur as a result. But, so far it means I feel I’m being perceived as more of a spectacle than an educator or artist, and because it’s such an unlikely place to do this sort of thing I sometimes feel a bit awkward. In my first attempts I even felt kind of pathetic, forgetting my purpose and instead imagining what people must think of this crazy girl with a textile contraption and sign inviting people to join her. But one day, several days after one of my first subway skill-shares, a woman approached me on the street Read More
This is my first attempt at making this project, as well as my first time sewing leather. But, I’ve always thought that sharing about things when you’re new at them is never a bad idea since what you’ll have to share about the process is more true to what other newbies will be experiencing and need tips on. In other words I made a lot of mistakes and therefore learned a lot too, so I think my tips can help you avoid the same issues. In theory this a very simple project, but I learned that making it look really polished is where it gets tricky. So even though it’s a simple design I thought a quick tutorial was in order so I could talk a little about troubleshooting. With any luck yours will turn out a lot nicer than mine. At the bottom of this post is a reminder roundup of all the the Do’s and Don’ts that I mention throughout the tutorial.
The gist of the design is one piece of leather wrapped around your laptop with a flap to close it, just like an envelope. Another piece of leather, the size of the back of your laptop is sewn in (and optional) for additional padding and to create a smoother inside since the back of your tapestry would be there otherwise.
What you will need:
-Fabric scissors, or preferably a rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat.
-Leather. For a 13″ Macbook Air you will need two pieces: one 14″ X 26″ and one 14″ X 9.5″. (For other, less thin computers the width will most likely have to be at least 2 inches wider than the width of your computer. The length will vary.)
-Sewing machine with needle for leather
-Thread that matches leather
-paper, enough for about the size of your tapestry insert.
-scissors for paper
Hey there, Janna here with a few updates as to where I’m at on my Mirrix blogging journey. It’s coming to an end here soon so I wanted to tie up a few lose ends (no pun intended). Since I have been using my loom for skill-shares lately (and I have been doing a lot of those) I haven’t had access to it to weave my own pieces. Right now in my practice sharing the art form is just as pertinent as practicing it, so I’m not complaining what-so-ever. I do hope that I can do another piece to share before I’m done blogging here though.
The first thing I wanted to mention goes right back to my first month blogging here when I did the series of posts about the history of tapestry in relation to painting and Jean Lurcat’s thoughts on it. I’ve recently reposted the series as one post with footnotes and citations over at the Everlea Blog. I always intended on sharing those extra tidbits with you but I didn’t think it would take so long, my apologies.
Below is the twill piece that I thought I would be inserting into the leather laptop case I’ve been dreaming up. That job has been transferred to the rust weaving instead, and last night I spent a couple of hours cutting up and photographing the twill with the rocks I was working with earlier last year. I’m not sure where I’m going with it, but I’m excited to have found something to do with the twill – it just wasn’t doing it for me as in its former form. It’s in part because I didn’t sew the slits before wetting it, so the slit edges wanted the curl in and just didn’t look clean even after being sewn. I have to say it really bugged me. So naturally I took scissors to it, haha. To avoid having to sew the edges I hand-washed and dried it three more times before cutting into it. I think that if the pieces are not handled a whole lot that they are safe from fraying too much. Below are a few arrangements that I thought were fun, and I’m really glad to be returning to my dad’s rocks. Read More
I learned to weave tapestry in 2008 in my first semester of textile art school in Canada. It was the first form of weaving introduced in the two-year intensive program, and I’ll admit it was daunting at first. We were weaving on Archie Brennan-style looms, and without shedding devices. That means in order create a shed we were picking up every second warp, one at a time. It was time consuming but totally satisfying. Looking back it was the best possible and most intimate way to be introduced to this ancient art form.
I’ve always been very entrepreneurial, and back then I was constantly trying to find ways to speed up these slow textile processes Read More
Hey, I’m back! I took a wee break from posting here since I spent the past few weeks on vacation in Canada, and while there I used much needed babysitting time to apply for art related things (shows, grants etc), which as you may know is a lot of work, but really fun too. We just arrived back to the US and, as always after a good chunk of time away, I have entered nesting mode. I spent our whole first day back re-organizing the apartment so I could feel fresh in beginning to plan some upcoming weaving and dyeing installations, as well as posting here again.
Today, as I photographed these wee silk weavings my son Sam who is almost two years old hovered nearby and watched. I said, “These are my weavings.” And he replied, “Beat, beat, beat.” Read More
Tonight I will block this twill weaving which as you can see has curled right up on itself. I think that must be due to my having too much tension on the warp while weaving. I’m really excited about this side of the weaving, so I think I’ll be doing a lot more twill weaving on my Mirrix in the future. I liked it, but I wasn’t as excited about the side that was facing me while I wove. Next time I’ll experiment with tension to avoid this much curl, too. It’s kind of a nice object as is though, huh? I like the blue-on-blue twill in the background. It’s such a nice, subtle change from plain weave.
I’m continuing on with my adventures in double shedding devices (of course using my naturally dyed yarns again). This time I’m playing around with twill – one of my all-time favorite weave structures. There are endless variations of twill! Something that occurred to me when weaving twill was that, especially if you set up your loom to have a balanced epi/pick, you will experience a vast departure from normal tapestry weaving. I found myself remembering the days of weaving on a four-harness jack loom when I had to keep a good eye on my selvages. I have found that I’m encountering this phenomena again when weaving twill on my Mirrix. I’ve been pulling in my selvedges way more than I do when I weave weft faced tapestry. Read More
Here is peek at the current state of my rusted woven sample. I like how it looks somewhat like a salvaged woven artifact. I did the rusting over a few days, between an old iron and iron plate, turning the fabric every day so as to get a repeat of the same shapes in various spots around the square of grey. There is an imprint of part of the word ‘Dover’ that probably won’t stay unless I quilt it, and maybe trapunto, too. Those are my ideas of for it, for now. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t sound as though I’m committing to doing anything, since my plans invariably change as you may have noticed if you’re following my posts.
I wove this with size D C-Lon beading thread as warp with a 12 dent spring. Here is a before/process pic of the fabric. It only measures 5″X 5″, but was surprisingly time consuming to weave since I used a lace weight yarn for the weft. I could hardly see progress each time I sat down to weave for 30 minutes. Then I wove a piece with fingering weight yarn and it was super fast, and the thickness and feel of the fabric isn’t very different between the two pieces, so I wouldn’t choose the lace weight again.
I finally got around to finishing my last tapestry. As mentioned in my last post about it, it showcases two different ends-per-inch using two shedding devices. And my favorite aspect to this piece is that it is a natural dye sampler. It measures 10″ X 15.25″
Below is the legend showing which dyes and mordants I used for each color.
Not a lot of weaving progress to report this week yet, except that two samples that I took off the loom are curing in their respective mediums. The grey is sitting wet in-between an old rusted iron and iron plate (below), and the purple logwood is being over-printed with more logwood chips. I’ll share the finished pieces next week.
For those of you who have never rusted fabric before, it is the simplest technique ever…