Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Looking for More Interest

As in, I want my current piece to be more interesting; as in, I find it boring the way it's progressing.

If you look at the second pic from the last post, the small piece I did in 2013, and the red bag I made from the same warp, you see that I make a lot of these fluid wedgy things when using tapestry techniques. It reminds me of the fog/mist often depicted in Heian-era picture scrolls, e.g. The Tale of Gengi; if you see a "big" picture, not details, of a palace and garden where there are a lot of characters doing lots of things, often the view is from above through thin clouds. Once I knew why this technique was in vogue but I can't remember now. Mist/fog and proper clouds are traditional Japanese motifs often seen in textiles and ceramics. (They look like flames when vertical, but they always show up horizontally on the loom so I think of them as mists.)

I've been gazing at Pat's tapestry book to get some ideas. Of course there are gazillion techniques but for now I can't be bothered reading and learning so I'm just gazing at shapes without clear lines. And I found some wonderful examples of tapestries that are similar to abstract paintings or collage. I wish I could show all three; if you happen to come in close proximity to "The Tapestry Handbook - An Illustrated Manual of Traditional Technique" by Carol K. Russel, they are:

An untitled abstract by Tricia Goldberg and Bonni Boren, 1987, (bottom of page 110). This could almost be a complicated, manipulated ink blots or finger painting in blues oranges, and browns. Very dynamic. (The colors on her website are much bluer than in the book. I wonder which is true.)

"Lyrical Landscape", by Trudi Eldridge, 1989, (bottom of page 57,) is in hot colors, the mood is an abstract, more childlike version of Gaugin's Tahiti. I see a volcano at night, with large horizontal areas of blacks and blue, with yellow and orange bursting.

And "1941-Baggage", by Silvia Ptak, 1987, (page 165) shows the original collage along with the tapestry. This looks more like an interior. Two of the collage pieces are photos but others are ripped pieces of colors, in pale pinks, grays and browns.

I want to make the current piece salable if possible, so I don't intend to get too adventurous, (sticking my fat fingers through alternate 2/60 cotton is too delicate an operation for practice,) but I think I'm going to try new shapes.

I was thinking back to the time I did the first small piece back in Japan. I struggled because I couldn't get the wefts to meet up conveniently and some areas always had more or thicker wefts so I had to do weave extra rows, but in retrospect I enjoyed it. It was nice to play without having to come up with a "finished" product. I know I don't do enough of these fun things, except in excessive sampling. The current piece is beaten not with a tapestry comb but with the reed and the wefts are roughly similar in sizes so the fell has been straight so far. To my jaw-dropping, butt-falling-off-loom-bench surprise.

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Umm... Pictures.
Obviously these are just a tiny, tiny bit of the best bits whereas the rest is wilderness. Although the temperatures are still low at times, the direction and the length of sunlight is definitely changing, and weeds and seed know this. Long-term forecast yesterday told us "real" spring is going to be slow in coming, but I'm more than OK with that. Except bugs and pollen are definitely out when I weed now. Today we have severe rain and wind warning again, but it's not so bad.

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