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
I finished my Homage to Victor Vasarely Bracelet. I am writing up the instructions for a tutorial that I will make available. But alas, there’s more to do….I am on my next experiment with this pattern, using white warp threads instead of black, and a spring time color way. I am also ordering a new product for the clasp – by Miyuki, the Japanese seed bead (and Delica) manufacturer. It fits over a row of 11/0 round beads that are added to the end for just this purpose.
We, who indulge our creativity, know that we are “never-done”. One thing leads to another, and we just can’t stop making stuff. We might be “finished for now”. But that’s about the best there is, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here’s to letting our creative juices FLOW!
Peace, Beads, Warps and Wefts,
Julia L. Hecht
Poppyfield Bead Company
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
Greetings Weaving Friends! How many times have we been asked “How long did it take you to make that?” I think I will start answering with “Which version?” It has been 3 weeks and I am still working with my Homage to Victor pattern. Each version improves upon the last. I’ve changed out my warp threads and turned to matte black beads for the outlines. I went with more primary and contrasting colors, and relied less on subtle differences in finish to create the necessary contrast. I am developing an edging using the off loom beading techniques of brick and square stitch. Even as I work this one, I am planning the next version, with white warps. And still, I wonder how it might look with a warp space for every bead..so there might be another do-over after that. Meanwhile…I am thrilled with the pattern and the shifting optical illusion. Stay tuned…I hope it ends up a “finished” version at some point.
Julia L. Hecht
Owner / Designer
Poppyfield Bead Company
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
Greetings Weaving Friends!
My friend posted a picture of her grandmother on Facebook. They are Diné (Navajo) and her grandmother is a master weaver. “Margaret Dalton, 91 years old born back in 1923, of Ft. Defiance, Arizona had completed this rug back in the 1950s in time for the opening of Navajo Arts & Crafts Enterprise in 1961. The rug pictured is actually folded over 4 times in order to hang properly on the wall. It is made of natural dye and woven in the form of a geometric design. The rug measures over 150 feet by 50 feet in width.” (see the source link above).
Greetings Weaving Friends!!!
Beads are an essential part of my personal healing. Over the Christmas holiday I created a weaving ritual to work through some trans-generational trauma. As a Jewish person who has never celebrated Christmas, the holiday can be overwhelming for me, and also alienating. In addition, my own family’s history in Europe was traumatic during this holiday, as waves of violence swept small Jewish villages during Christmas.
This year, I decided rather than just “get through it” I would create my own ritual to bring beauty and light to the dark negativity that visits me at this time. So I created a bead weaving on my loom from a textile pattern celebrating the Ukrainian Lemkos people who were neighbors to my mother’s family. Here is a picture of the original cross stitch pattern and the woven bracelet (in progress) that I derived from it.
While researching this pattern, I encountered so much beauty that it exposed another dimension of my people’s history and life. I know that although their clothing was of a more modest tradition, they incorporated the beauty of the Lemkos people into their own world through the embroidered aprons they themselves made and wore. I began to meditate on positive encounters between the two populations. As I, in the US, picked Japanese Delica beads onto my needle I smiled at the peace and trade and sharing of beauty between our modern nations, not so long ago at war. The same war destroyed my ancestors’ villages in Europe and took my family who remained there.
I let forgiveness rush in. I let go of the past.
As the beauty grew on my loom, I let the light grow in my heart.
May all peoples feel their connection and wholeness as strands in the gorgeous human tapestry. May we appreciate the other and share in each other’s beauty, forever and ever.
(More on the technical aspects of the bracelet in a future post)
Peace and Beads and Weaving,
Julia L. Hecht, Owner / Designer
Poppyfield Bead Company
If you can tie your shoes, you can make this clasp!
Greetings Weaving Friends!!! As promised, I am posting the instructions for the macrame finishing of my Magical Mosaic Cuff. You can do this using a simple square knot. It really isn’t difficult. As I have mentioned before, experimenting with 20 lb hemp warp cords was fun and rewarding. Visible and bold warps are a colorful way to add another dimension to your bead weaving on the loom. The durability, lack of stretch, and array of colors makes hemp a very nice scaffold for heavy beads and the large button. (If you are looking for a source for hemp click here). Czech glass buttons are a stunning way to accent your bracelet – and functional as well. (Here’s a source for my buttons).
In pictures, here’s what you do to create the clasp….