Saturday, 26 October 2013

Next steps - beyond the raw beginner??

The second year of study began on what I thought would be a more relaxing note, copying a small section of a historical weaving, to try out some new techniques. But I had to make it hard work when I was enticed by a section that used tiny slits for leaf veins. My teacher thought they were accidental sagging slits due to the age of the tapestry, but I am still convinced they were intentional. They were a challenge, I can tell you and my first attempt at the bottom is barely visible.
20.5cm x 16.5cm

I still really like this piece. We were supposed to find out the exact weave density to copy - drawing on photocopies and the measurements of the tapestries found in books. I had chosen a very small section of a medieval hunting tapestry and although I wove it with as fine a warp as I could find, it is still twice as dense as the original. It really made me appreciate the enormous amount of fine work that went into the huge  medieval tapestries.

From that I moved onto an environmental tapestry which got far more complex than it needed to. I had trouble just taking a few small elements and making them into an interesting design, which would have been a better challenge for me.  Maybe it was because I was living in a caravan in the bush in Central Victoria surrounded by complex vegetation and I don't think there was much simplicity around me. Well, here it is.
Approx  40cm x 35cm
I think I got the chair a bit awkward. I was doing a trip round SW NSW in my newly created campervan by the time I was into the weaving, so it was woven under all sorts of circumstances, some of them rather divine. I did enjoy putting so many different threads into the tree trunks and the challenge to vary  the shading on the background trees which are supposed to be wattles.
I was glad when the course started to focus more on design as I felt ready for this. I think I'm into the 3rd year but I have lost track of what I wove when now. I had just been on a trip to Fordland in New Zealand. Its hard to believe I grew up in Christchurch and I hadn't been there before, but I got there at last.
One of the most amazing days was when a group of us took a helicopter up to the top of Mt  Titiroa, a sacred Maori site. It looks like it has a dusting of snow from the ground, but when up there you see it is the rock which makes a fine dusting of dolomite and quartz. I chose this place to focus on for a design challenge of making a few semi-abstract drawings from an environment.
This is one of my drawings, which is a very colourful interpretation of reality, but it really did have this feel of being on the moon.

And then, instead of weaving the whole image, I just wove a small sample.

I hope you can recognise which part I wove. It was enormous fun blending threads for all the purples and blues.

I finished my second year weaving with this one:
Approx 33 cm x 29cm
The design arose from some colour doodling which produced a blue triangle on a vivid yellow background, so I kept doodling to let it evolve into something more real. The blue triangle became a tent, which is a nomadic sort of space, and hence it became a very mobile sort of tent that could skim the surface in the imaginary landscape that took shape. I was a bit sorry I lost the original bright yellow. Its a rather private sort of image really. I enjoyed crafting the textures on the edge of the sea  and the undulations on the path, and mostly enjoyed the challenge of the shading on the tent.

Well, that enough for now.  thanks for being interested. More to come.


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