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How to Make a Frame Loom for Weaving in Four Easy Steps

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Tapestry Weaving | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

mirrix looms make a frame loomAt Mirrix Looms, we believe in the power of quality weaving tools and supplies. For tapestry weaving, this includes warp, weft and of course, a loom. That said, not everyone knows they’re going to fall in love with weaving (spoiler: you will) and some of you want to give it a try before investing in a Mirrix.

Here are instructions on how to make your own frame loom with just a few inexpensive materials. Make a loom, play on it and then decide if you’re ready to move onto a loom with good tension, a shedding device, multiple warp coils, fold-out legs and more!

What you need:

-Four stretcher bars (Available in any art supply store. Try these from Dick Blick.)
-Short nails (make sure they are shorter than the depth of your stretcher bars)
-A hammer
-A ruler
-A permanent ink pen or marker


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8 Reasons to Choose a Mirrix Loom for Tapestry

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Tapestry Weaving | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

tapestryIf you’ve ever tried to weave tapestry on a loom not intended for weaving tapestry, you understand how frustrating it is to not have the kind of tension necessary to weave a tapestry that will not look like something you imagine might have emerged from weaving day at summer camp.  Tapestry is a demanding medium full of must have requirements.  If you give her what she wants, she is as lovely as can be.  But if you deny her the simple requirement of a dedicated and worthy tapestry loom, she can be quite the adversary.  Forget even selvedges unless you are some kind of magician.  Forget evenly spaced warps.  And if you have an inferior shedding mechanism or none at all, forget your sanity.  It’s bound to march off to the wistful world or potholder looms while slashing the warps on your inadequate loom with a sharp and deadly scissor.

Good tapestry looms are necessary for weaving tapestry.  Period.  Four harness jack looms don’t work.  Rigid heddle looms don’t work.  Flimsy portable wooden tapestry looms don’t work.  Little home-made frames work for about two rows and then you might as well just stop because it goes downhill after that and you won’t be hanging that thing on anyone’s wall.

So what are the exacting requirement of a good or even great portable tapestry loom? (The same requirements apply mostly to a floor loom but since you won’t be hauling a floor loom around the house or to your next workshop which is necessary to be called a portable loom, we will leave them off this list.  Okay, here comes the list.)  We are talking portable looms here.


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Welcome to Mirrix’s Third Ambassador: Natalie Novak

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Ambassador Program, Tapestry Weaving, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Mirrix Looms Ambassador program hopes to unite Mirrix Looms (both the company and the products) with talented bead and tapestry weavers from around the world. By connecting these gifted artists, quality weaving equipment and the networks of both, the hope is to simultaneously increase awareness of each ambassador and of Mirrix products.

Each ambassador will have a unique role, but you can expect instructional blog posts, project ebooks, inspiration and more from these amazing artists.

Today, we are very excited to introduce our third Mirrix Looms Ambassador, Natalie Novak. 

You can learn more about Natalie and see her work here.

majorarcanaHow long have you been weaving and what first attracted you to tapestry weaving?

Not long at all! I only started weaving in early 2012. I had spent the previous fall and winter checking out every weaving book I could find at the library, at first I mostly focused on Southwestern textiles, (Navajo, Zapotec, Rio Grande), but my curiousity quickly spiraled out to include anything weaving related. At a certain point it was obvious to me that my interest was going beyond casual observer and I could hear the loom calling my name.

What formal weaving/tapestry training do you have?

I’m really lucky to live near The Damascus Fiber Arts School, which is amazing! I learned Navajo style weaving from Audrey Moore and tapestry from Terry Olson. They’re incredible teachers and weavers and they’ve created a great community there. It’s funny in a way because I attended the Oregon College of Art and Craft 10-15 years ago and they have a really great fibers department, but I was there for painting and drawing so the only fiber class I ever took was Surface Design with Lisa O’brien. I remember there being an entire room full of floor looms and I’d always walk through really quickly or avoid it entirely because I was afraid I’d break them somehow. They looked so complicated and intense!

What kinds of looms do you currently weave on?

I have a Navajo style loom made by Duncan Fiber Enterprises and a variety of frame looms: copper pipe ala Archie Brennan, Glimakra and some gorgeous wooden frames that my husband made; it helps that he’s a furniture maker.

How do your tapestries and paintings relate to one another? In other words, what makes you decide to weave something in tapestry versus painting it?

Right now I’m weaving everything. I’m obsessed! Initially I was working only with geometric shapes and color relationships in my woven work because it felt so different from painting, it seemed so structured. But there’s definitely a shift taking place and my approach and subject matter in tapestry are getting closer to how I think about painting, which has always been very narrative for me. When I think about making work now, I think about painting mostly in conjunction with other woven works. When I ask myself why something should be woven I can always come up with an answer that adds to the meaning of the piece.

What are your three favorite tapestries?

This question is way too hard! I guess the first pictorial works that really blew me away were some of Mark Adams’ designs; I remember thinking, “Wait, that’s tapestry?” I couldn’t believe these psychedelic, technicolor artworks were made with the same techniques as the medieval/renaissance tapestries I was more familiar with. My favorites are the three pieces in “The Garden Suite” which hangs at the San Francisco Airport and “Queen of Heaven.” Can I count this as one?

Mark Adams Garden Suite...Golden Gate Pond

Mark Adams Garden Suite…Golden Gate Pond

I also really love Gunta Stolzl’s Bauhaus work; it’s so modern and timeless. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I guess “Slit Tapestry Red/Green” is at the top of my list.

Gunta Stolzl Slit Tapestry Red Green

Gunta Stolzl Slit Tapestry Red Green

I recently took a workshop from Joan Baxter and so I have to include one of her beautiful pieces. She really understands color and has a way of creating the illusion of transparency in her tapestry, which isn’t easy to do. I’m impressed by just about everything she’s made, but “Waterforest” is my favorite.

Joan Baxter Waterforest

Joan Baxter Waterforest

What are your favorite and/or “go to” tapestry techniques?


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Hand-Painted Silk Day Coming

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Color, Products | Tagged | Leave a comment

2015-06-07 15.10.13

I am away from my studio/office for a while.  A much needed break to both have a bit of a vacation as well as to get the kind of work done Elena and I have a hard time accomplishing on FaceTime (ie., making a whole new slew of ebooks and, of course, doing our tapestry/bead cuff weave-along).  We also have the great fortune of having good friends who live in Hawaii (Elena is in Seattle) so it was only a hop, skip and a jump to get to them.  My first time; Elena’s second.  Heavenly friends and paradise.  Who could ask for more.

But the point of this post is to talk about hand-painted silk.  I am analyzing the colors of Hawaii, of course, because they are amazing.  And when I do return to NH (I am now in Seattle) I will paint many, many kilos of silk.

That picture of my hand painted silk yarn you see above . . . well, it was taken in the sand at a beach in Hawaii.  Oh my gosh, the colors are exactly replicated in that photo.  I always thought that taking photos in direct sunlight would wash out the image.  But in this case it just made it so real.  Want to see some more?


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The Graduate

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Stories | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with weaving. 

One of the charms of running a small business is that customers feel like family. With that in mind, sometimes we like to share some personal tidbits with all of you here on the blog.

For the past three years I have been working at Mirrix full time and going to school part-time to get my Masters degree in Communication at the University of Washington. Looking back, it wasn’t always easy. Going to a four-hour class after working all day can be incredibly taxing, and weekends and nights were always full of homework and reading. It was fun, too; I’m one of those people who could be in school all my life and be pretty happy about it, but it was exhausting trying to keep all the of the balls in the air without one hitting my face. Fortunately the program I was in was very supportive of students who were working. I am so happy to have taken this journey and to have met so many incredible people along the way.

Anyway, yesterday I finally graduated! My husband asked, “Do I have to call you Master, now?” And the answer is yes, he does. But you don’t have to unless you want to.

Here are a few pictures from the big day:


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Welcome to Mirrix’s Second Ambassador: Maryanne Moodie

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Ambassador Program, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Mirrix Looms Ambassador program hopes to unite Mirrix Looms (both the company and the products) with talented bead and tapestry weavers from around the world. By connecting these gifted artists, quality weaving equipment and the networks of both, the hope is to simultaneously increase awareness of each ambassador and of Mirrix products.

Each ambassador will have a unique role, but you can expect instructional blog posts, project ebooks, inspiration and more from these amazing artists.

Today, we are very excited to introduce our second Mirrix Looms Ambassador, Maryanne Moodie. You can learn more about Maryanne and see her work here.

Following is our interview with her:

Photo by Julia Stotz

Photo by Julia Stotz


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Silk Ideas

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Contests | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

We have chosen the recipients of free hand-painted silk for our mini contest (click here to learn more about this). We were going to only choose two, but had such a hard time deciding that we chose three. Felicitous, Kaleigh and Pinar are our winners. Thank you to everyone who entered!

We can’t wait to see what these three lovely ladies create!

silk

Here are their ideas:

Felicitas:

“With the hand painted silk yarn, I would weave a tapestry using found materials. With the silk yarn being the primary yarn in the project, it will be interwoven with objects such as small pieces of mica, agate slices, bits of fused glass and whimsical items such as pieces of vinyl records and their labels, thin strips of cardboard packaging from beer cartons and cereal boxes, t-shirt strips and dried stalks/leaves from my garden. I know this sounds like one hot mess, but my goal would be a finished tapestry that would be a textural landscape woven with hand dyed silk and incorporated with found materials.”

Pinar:

“I had the pleasure of hosting Sara Lamb for our weaver’s guild back in October. She taught me how to weave knotted pile. If I had the silk, I’d like to use my 12″ little guy Mirrix to weave a small knotted pile panel to incorporate into a woven purse or perhaps a wall hanging. It will either be a spiral galaxy / astronomy design or a traditional Turkish kilim motif (since that’s where I was born).”

Kaleigh:

“I have been contemplating what to start for my next project and I am very interested in working with geometric designs. Everything I have worked on for the past 4 years has been very fluid and curved, so I want to give a try at something new! I have come across some aerial maps of the eastern Iowa countryside where I call home right now. I would use the maps as a guide to create a geometric design and use the silk to blend and define different areas of the final cartoon. In two months, my husband and I will be moving to Utah, so it would be great to weave something that can remind us of where we grew up and met.”

Save With a Loom Weave-Along Package!

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Bead/Fiber Combination, Weave-Along 17 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

tapestry/bead cuff craftsy braceletInterested in learning to combine beads and fiber on a Mirrix Loom? We have the perfect way to get started!

Next week, our 17th weave-along will begin. A weave-along is a free online class where participants receive weekly emails with instructions (written, pictures and video) for each step of the weave-along project. For this weave-along, we will revisit our fabulous (and famous) Tapestry/Bead Cuff Bracelet Project. In it you will learn the basics of weaving on a Mirrix, how to combine beads and fiber, a few tapestry techniques and how to finish this gorgeous bracelet. You can learn more about the weave-along and sign-up here.

If you haven’t yet purchased a Mirrix yet, we have a special loom package available just for this weave-along that includes everything you need to get started (besides basics like a good pair of scissors). You’ll save $20 on the package and get a free 10-dent coil that is perfect for this project. It’s a great deal and the perfect way to get started making beautiful, handmade bead and fiber creations!

Check out the Weave-Along 17 Loom and Kit Package here.

We look forward to weaving-along with you!

 

What Can You Create With Hand-Painted Silk? (Part 2)

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Contests, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Earlier this year we had a little contest where we asked customers to come up with ideas for Mirrix-woven pieces incorporating our hand-painted silk. We then chose two people to whom we gave free silk to go forward with their ideas. We were blown away by the incredible pieces our winners Julie and Debbie made and we’ve decided to run the same contest again.

Here are the pieces from last time (click here to learn a little more about each one):

Fish Tapestry by Julie Lipscomb Atkinson

Fish Tapestry by Julie Lipscomb Atkinson

Travel Pouch by Debbie Thompson

Travel Pouch by Debbie Thompson

Here are the details: On June 10th we will choose two Mirrix customers to give free hand-painted silk (6 skeins) t0. In exchange, we ask those customers to share with us what they make with the silk so we can share their work with the rest of you!

We are looking for fun, creative projects. You may use any other materials in your project (whatever you want!) and techniques other than weaving, as long the majority of the project is woven.

silk

Email me (elena@mirrixlooms.com) with a few sentences describing what you’d like to make with the silk. Also note which size loom you’ll be using and give your full name and mailing address.

On Wednesday June 10th, 2015 we will choose two people to send the silk to, based on your plans to use the silk. We will then send those people silk.

Sometime in the next two months, we will feature the projects that each customer makes with their silk on our blog!

The Fine Print (that you should really read):

By entering, you agree to make a project using the silk you are given before July 18th, 2015. You also agree to send us (high quality) pictures and information about the project. You agree to let us use those photographs on our blog, website and social media sites. We will, of course, attribute your work to you.