Monday, 4 November 2013

Back to Nature

When it came to weaving a 'large' tapestry I decided to go safe, with a spot of nature. I had been itching to do something with the water lily images I had photographed on the dam where I was living in Central Victoria. I had captured the light on the leaves and water at special moments and I created the design from a couple of different views. The dimensions were determined by the possibility that I would be weaving it while travelling in my fairly modestly sized camper van - I couldn't have the loom too tall. I was travelling north from Victoria and had no idea where I would end up. As it turned out, I designed it in a friends house in Lismore, and did the wool dyeing and weaving at 3 different temporary residences.

93cm x 42cm
This isn't exactly large by traditional tapestry standards but it was huge for me and done on 12/18 warp with hand dyed wools. I struggled with the olive greens, trying out new recipes all the way through because I hadn't yet discovered that a touch of red would have given them the depth I needed.
I haven't mounted it yet, but when I do it will also need framing as the upper line is a bit wonky - due to my hand made loom getting variable tension adjustment along the top as I stuffed all sorts of bits of wood into the warps to tighten them.
Here are a couple of close-ups:
I look forward to having it on the wall - all that weaving and I am still fond of the image.
By the time this was completed I was ensconced in Lismore in Northern NSW, surrounded by rainforest, and the water lilies are now violet/blue or yellow.  I know there is a weaving waiting to honour them, but first I needed to explore all the new imagery of the dry rainforest where I
was living at the time. Lots of drawings helped this, but not for long outdoors as mossies are always lurking around the forest and it doesn't pay to stand still for too long.
I put together bits of different views in a fairly dense design, which made it a challenge to weave at times as I kept running out of weft space to express all the details. I really enjoyed bringing out some of the hidden colours in this environment - we are often not conscious of  all the colours that are creating the richness before our eyes.
This is my first shaped tapestry so there was much to learn in new techniques of shaping. I like the potential of shaping.
38 cm x 34 cm
Click on the image to enlarge it and see the texture.
Here are a couple of enlarged details. As you may be able to see I have woven it sideways to give smooth lines to the tree trunks. This may be an odd thing to do if you are not a weaver, but often it actually suits the design if the subject matter is changing as you move across horizontally.
At the end of 2013, with all my formal weaving assignments behind me, I was ready for the annual Australia and NZ small format show, generously organised by Ymmyarns, who also supply dyed tapestry weaving wools. The subject matter for this was 'From Mountains to the Sea'. This is a small affair, with a size limit of 20cm by 20cm, so a good excuse to try out some finer texture - for non-weavers this means a finer and denser upright warp and thinner wool mixes for weaving, so the potential for more detail, but a limit on the number of different coloured strands can be packed into one pieces of warp being used at any one time. Here's what I came up with:
I realised as I was weaving I was creating M shapes for Mountains and an S shape leading out to the Sea - so it was a lesson in our letter formations as well.
I haven't been able to get to the exhibition which has been travelling to various places in Victoria,
 so I look forward to seeing all the other entries in CD soon.
That just about completes my study journey and future blogs will happen as I have things to share.

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