Friday, July 22, 2016

An "assemblage" of thoughts

I am just now getting around to weaving up the Ikat yarn I dyed in Mary Zicafoose's workshop a few weeks ago.  The Ikat is the red part in the center. At the workshop we learned how to block off a sample piece, and I wanted to try inserting an Ikat block in the middle of a piece. 

I have learned quite a few things!

One thing I learned; I am weaving this on a rigid heddle loom. Students of mine may have heard me say that I do not recommend weaving tapestry on a rigid heddle loom. I mostly said that because that is what many of my teachers have said. And now I know. They were right.

It is a matter of tension, especially with an unforgiving linen warp. If the threads in the top of a shed are tight, the ones below are super loose. And vice versa. I actually popped the heddle out of its frame trying to tighten the tension. It bit me, and left a  blister.  Point in favor of the Flip rigid heddle loom - the  heddle popped right back in, and is none the worse for it. This weaving is a struggle. I am making it work - but I won't put myself through this particular exercise again. The loom is simply not designed to weave tapestry.

However, this doesn't mean you can't weave substantial, rug like fabric on a rigid heddle loom. Check this out:

I call this "Stuffed Shirt". I developed this as a sample for a workshop at Interlochen during the Fiber Arts Weekend, October 14-16. The weft is a combination of Men's dress shirts and ties from the local thrift store - and yes - that is a leather belt at the top. I used a cotton warp. specifically 5/2 perle cotton, because I wanted some shine to it. This warp is somewhat stretchy. Just enough to allow the loom to hold the right tension for this project. The key is to use a warp with some give, and to space it widely - I used 4 doubled ends per inch. The fabric is quite thick - it could function as a rug - but the buttons would not be fun to walk on. At the same time that I worked on this I took a class on Assemblage. It was a ton of fun glueing a variety of objects to a canvas. It also changed my perspective on "rag" weaving. I see how this could develop into an idea of woven assemblage. 
mark your calendar for the Interlochen weekend and come play with me, and several other instructors.