Need New Ideas, Please!!

So, this is my job today. I don't know if you can tell, but back in February when I washed and put the heddles back on, I twisted some around each other in two places, and counted incorrectly in one place, so I'm recounting and straightening all the heddles. I have 1600-16 heddles, whatever that number may be. I put it off as long as I could, but you know, if I don't fix this, I can't weave in peace, and with the SSVE submissions coming in, I have my bottom on fire, so thanks!!

But can you please help me on two areas? I'll give you some details later, but here are two things I've been wondering about while I wander the streets of frosty Nelson . (Yes, it is winter now.)

1) If you've done Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, you know about the Artist's Date. Well, I'm running out of ideas, not as much because I can't think of anything to do, but because so much of what I used to do is now part of my normal week; playing with color, doing the "Finding Your Visual Language" work, taking long walks looking for visual inspirations, etc. I would like to do some things I haven't tried. Can you suggest anything? And please, nothing to do with browsing retailers - I tried the plan nursery as she suggested in "Walking in This World"; what a big, fat mistake, I was instantly in my shopping mode and came home with two bags of small plants without putting in much thought to the process!!

2) My brother and sister-in-law are in the process of building a house, and have commissioned me to do a wall hanging. They are going to create an entrance foyer so they can hang a long-ish piece. They think their house will be finished in about a year, so I have plenty of time to think and experiment and change my mind.

They know I don't do tapestry/rug style weaving, but I want the piece to be a little bit more than my regular shawl-y thing. Ideas I've had so far are to a) change the draft several times within the piece so there are several related but distinct structures which kind of make up a "picture", and b) swap/add/subtract warps so the color and possibly texture changes can occur all over in both directions. I've been looking into inlay as well as hand-manipulated techniques. What I'm not thinking of doing at this point is warp paint or Ikat; the former seems to have been done to death and it hasn't so far inspired me to want to try, and the latter, you'll have to know me personally to know that I don't think I can be bothered with the niceties of working with the technique, though I love the well-executed Indonesian stuff.

Do you have any spiffy ideas? Materials other than normal and fancy threads, twigs/wood/plant material, paper or wire I can use? Do you know of websites that have interesting pictures?

I'd like to stay true to what I do best, which I think is fabric weaving, but I'd still like to allow for some flexibility, at least at this point, so that the final piece has points of interest for at least a few years, if it's going to be hung in their foyer. And talk to me quickly, before I convince myself the project is too big for me.


  1. What about incorporating stuffed double weave pockets, or pulled warp techniques to introduce some 3 dimensional features? These could really help give a large hanging piece some "presence" without going to tapestry techniques. Another idea would be to weave several long, narrow panels from the same warp but with varying wefts or structures that could then be suspended at different angles to one another or with some overlaps from varying planes (ie different distances away from the background wall. Or....utilize differential shrinkage of materials in your warp to get some relief into the project.


  2. Oh Meg! Fall pictures make me so jealous. Denver summer begins and my drought tollerant plants are so dull looking compared to the bright leaves and the promise of long winter work sessions. The joy of the gardens begin.

    As for finding some new inspirations, views and approaches....I think you have answered your own question. Try a wee tapestry, nothing fancy or perfect. Just enough to inform your hanging project, break some fabric rules and shift the paradigm.


  3. Another source of imagination is here.
    LOVE her flower girls.


  4. Color choices are vital (you know I'n a color nut!). First, the colors have to fit in with the surrounding area. Second, the colors have to be dramatic to command interest from a distance, yet there needs to be enough subtlety to invite coming up close. By dramatic I don't necessarily mean bright or dark or anything extreme. Pale colors if well used can be very dramatic. Thread choices are also vital. Shiny? matte? A combination for dramatic flair? In short, I would suggest you do what you do best and stop calling it the shawly thing. Instead, see how you can incorporate color and thread to make a fabric with dramatic presence. and...........sample, sample, sample..........

  5. Barbara, you have some great ideas there, but I never thought of including how I hang it/them as part of the ... fun. I just imagined having a dowel at the top and possibly the bottom, like tapestry, and having hubby make these wooden "catches" to suspend the piece a few inches from the wall. What a splendid idea, though, to hang several pieces not equidistant from the wall. Fabulous!

    Why, Lynne, you're using your name now? Great! And believe it or not, it's the cooler season I like to garden. Summer in Nelson can get too hot and bright whereas now, except for the exceptionally chilly days, it's wonderful; less bugs, and lots of birds around, too. I'll check that web site today. I like the idea of a small tapestry, maybe on a frame loom, just to study; never would have done that on my own because, well, tapestry is so time and energy consuming right there on the loom. I'm used to taking the time to plan and prep, but once the weaving starts, I'm used to finishing in a day or two, and tapestry feels like punishment. But clearly not in this case, not if it's just a sampling/study. Thanks!!

    Peg, ha ha, you'd be the one to pick up on my hesitation about getting stuck right into colors. But I think that's key. My sister-in-law loves vibrant colors in her house, which will be a great big challenge for me. And I don't think they can tell me their colors until the house is actually finished, knowing how many times I change my paint colors when I plan. But I like the thought of including textures to enhance the color contrast, as I was thinking of values only so far. Thank you.

    Thank you, everyone. Lots to think about. I'm going to print out the comments to stick on my project notebook. (You bet I have one!)

  6. Have you considered rep weave (ripsmatta). Look at www.rosalieneilson.com (I think thats it) and see the way she hangs her pieces. Be a devil, try something new.

  7. I'm gritting my teeth, Dianne, and trying not to reject repp automatically; I did it for my first Cross Country sample exchange, and swore never again. Of course I had a sticky warp and tendinitis then, so things might be different this time.

    Ditto with different shrinkage thing; I like flat cloth, but I'm trying to keep an open mind...

    See me smile? OK, I'll stop grinding my teeth now.


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