Sunday, July 20, 2014

HGA Convergence, over too soon

I returned on Friday from the biannual conference of the Handweaver's Guild of America in Providence Rhode Island. It is now Sunday afternoon - and I am still in recovery. A little bit tuckered out - but a LOT inspired.  I took two classes, both in areas that I have some experience in. First was Pick up Pizzazz with Deborah Jarchow. This class was about how to use pick up sticks to create warp and weft float patterns. It was lots of fun, and I made a couple of exciting discoveries. I am looking forward to the next time I teach this class - I will have a new trick or two to share.

The next class I took was color gradation techniques for Tapestry with Rebecca Mezoff.  We only had two days to explore her many techniques for shading and gradual transitions. I wove as fast as I could, barely stopping for lunch either day. Man did my back and neck hurt! The pay off is that I have a decent size sample, illustrating some of the techniques. The class was certainly not long enough - but maybe long enough to  know that I would like to study with Rebecca again.
 Our warping challenge here is that the loom has to be clear on the bottom, top, front and back for a continuous warp. It took us awhile to figure this out. Who knew coffee cups are good for something beyond holding my coffee?

I am teaching "Foundations of Tapestry" at the upcoming Michigan League of Handweavers conference this August. Here is the official description:

Materials Fee: $20 (Covers Weft and cartoons) Number of Students: 12
Skill Level: All levels (Appropriate for new weavers)

Tapestry is a weft faced, plain weave fabric with discontinuous weft yarns that make an image. Traditionally created for drafty castle walls, ancient tapestries were traded as commodities, partly because some of the threads were made from silver or gold. Tapestry has survived as a fine art media to our current day, with exciting new work taking on contemporary themes.
In this 3-day workshop we will focus on the foundations and building blocks of tapestry techniques. Class will start with building a good warp, heading, and hem. As warp spacing is closely related to weft size and grist, I will supply the weft in a selection of hand dyed colors. Our building blocks will include basic slit technique, weft direction, warp and weft interlocking techniques, along with a discussion of choosing the right method for your design. We will also learn diagonals and diamonds, horizontal and vertical stripes, curves and hatching.
To make sure that we cover all the basic techniques, I will be supplying cartoons to work from. On the last day, time permitting, we will work on cartoon development for your next tapestry. The last topic covered will be finishing, mounting and caring for your tapestry.
Students should bring:
  •  tapestry loom, preferably with a shedding device. I like the Mirrix looms the best. Schacht and Ashford are also good choices. If someone wants to build his or her own loom, check:
    http:// brennan-ma Loom.htm
  •  12/6 cotton seine twine. Our tapestries will be ten inches wide with a sett of 8 ends per inch. I don’t know the size of your loom so I can’t specify yardage, but one 4-ounce cone or tube should be plenty. (Available at Yarn Barn, and other places I am sure.)
  •  Straight Pins for pinning cartoon to warp, laundry marker for marking warp,tapestry bobbins (optional), scissors – small, tapestry beater (kitchen fork in a pinch), plastic kitchen trash bags for heading.
  •  sketch pad and favorite drawing implements 

    I guess I should also add brick or books or coffee cups to elevate your loom while warping! 

    There are five spots left. Visit the Michigan League of Handweavers website for more information.

    I have started a new tapestry, as part of my ongoing series of small format improvisational tapestries. These little works are reflective of what is going on in my life, and works as sort of a diary.  Here is the beginning of my latest:

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