Sunday, July 10, 2011

All in a Day's Work (And it wasn't Much)

It's a little pathetic the length to which I'll go to avoid "messy" materials such as glue, paint, charcoal or pastels, but there you have it; I didn't want to deal with the cleaning up this weekend.  I thought of lots of different ways to work with my many direction-less ideas, I only did the clean and easy stuff.
The shape of the mountains/trees in the Canoe/Picnic photo above can be repeated to create textile-y designs, suggestive of shibori techniques.  Using the sky half of the shadow yields crisp/clear shapes, whereas repeating the reflections in the water creates a slightly fuzzier, warmer images. (And if I were to shibori-dye something, I predict my cloth will look more like the second image, unless I am able to sew or clamp or whatever the resist very tightly.)
But it is the hues, values and the proportion that I adore most about this photo, and I played around first with a couple of color scheme-related programs I found online, (check under Tools).
The first one I found was called "ColorSchemer Studio", and the 15-day trial pack was easy to download, but I don't really understand the program and I saved this file but could not bring it back up even though the files existed, so I had to reload this photo several times.

I haven't read the instructions/descriptions, but I could pick out up to 10 spots, (see the circles?) and the program would show me the colors in the boxes at top left, but A) I don't think the colors in the boxes are an exact match, B) the boxes cannot be moved so you can't have anything important in that area, and C) there was nothing to indicate anything about proportions. 

The second soft I found was Photocopa. It pick out its own areas, but as you can see in the top right area that the photo contains not only a variety of values for orange and browns but of indigo as well, and this program was a little more useful for me.  Though without reading much about them, I'm not sure if/how I will make the most of these applications.

Having had ho-hum results from these, I started to use the filter function in my photo editor to create different expressions of an elongated version of the photo. 
There's more here, and I hope to do several more of these in the next couple of days.  The purpose of these treatments was to understand what kind of mood I'm after, so I can determine what shape the final piece will take, what material to use, and what was important in selecting the weave structure. 

I also had a slightly sneaker intention, too.  I liked the 3-colored quick blind contour drawing I did of the Grand Canyon photo, and I wondered if I could reduce it into black outlines and superimpose it on these images above.   The outline part was surprisingly easy.
But I'm not sure what I would have accomplished if I stretched this and lay it on top of the canoe colors.  I think a better way is to use different media and color in copies of this page.

EDIT: I forgot to show you the funniest stuff of the day.
The Monsoon Clouds pic, converted into B/W then "filtered" with a "cut out" option, i.e. electronic collaging.  What a cheat!
Here I exaggerated the contrast so I can see more details of the shapes of the clouds before turning the photo into a B/W, then using the same "cut out" gadget.  And I do like these.


  1. Do you think the colors I'm attracted to are too similar to last year? Be honest now!

  2. Why would that be a problem? from someone who is using pretty similar colour to last year: black!

  3. I love what you're doing here, Meg, with Photoshop and image orientation. I especially like that you're manipulating the big picture design of these images -- shapes, values, etc. Good work!

    p.s. my word verification for this comment was "squishi"!

  4. Sampling, I was also thinking of your SSVE scarves, the achromatic, very Melbourne-y look, and I thought, "Yes, returning to what you do best, it's lovely!!" Not that you don't do colors well, and Kaz may frown, but I think we all have an affinity to certain characteristics, and even in just one blog photo, I can feel the letting out of the breath and eliminating certain aspects from one's consideration, (because we know they work,) and concentrating on something else. And someone else will also love it, too; I love your achromatic work.

    Connie, "squishi"!! Last night as I played around with some more photo filtering, I think I finally understood why/how the process is important. I didn't see the point of most of the treated photos, I don't like many of them, and a whole lot of them looked more or less the same to me, but trying to create many versions of the same photo allowed me to find out which variations I liked and gave me two or three directions I might want to investigate. In which case making a whole lot of variations, most of which will be zapped from the hard drive at one point, DOES serve a purpose, doesn't it.

    Imagine that!

  5. Meg -

    I have a very off-topic comment. I see in your archives that you own a Louet Klik loom. I'm considering buying either one of these or their W-30, but am trying to get some feedback from owners. It would be wonderful if you could take a few minutes to answer some questions...

    How much warp length can you put on it?
    Can you tension that warp highly?
    How easy/difficult (by which I think I really mean quick/slow) is the mechanism to raise & lower the heddles? Are they sturdily-built enough to be good and long-lasting?
    What is your favorite thing about this loom? Your least favorite?


  6. Hello, Peg. No worries. Mine is the 40cm/16 inch one, 16 shafts, and the loom is permanently fixed on its own legs/stand. And two warping beams.

    Routinely I put on a 8-meter warp, but one could put slightly longer.

    I pull it pretty tightly for my cottons, so I'd say yes, but then I've never woven linen.

    The looms are EXTREMELY sturdy, great hard wood, etc. However, if I sit, it is hard to see shafts beyond say 6 or 7, even though I've finally color-coded them, and if I sit, I can't lift the ones far away easily. So either, I stand up to weave, or sit and weave very slowly.

    Before I had my monster 16-shaft, this is the only loom I had which had more than 4 shafts. It is a great sample loom, as the proximity to the cloth is especially helpful for someone very near-sided, and it is easy to change lifting or even threading.

    The distance from Shaft 1 to the beast beam is VERY short, just like any other sample looms, so I find it impractical to weave "proper" pieces, except small ones in emergencies. The breast beam doesn't take much cloth, either, and if you have short arms, the advancing is somewhat tricky.

    It's not a table loom; it is a sample loom. If you keep that in mind, it's a fantastic loom to have.

    Oh, something about the reeds. I could not use the "standard" reeds available in New Zealand for some reason; the top and bottom of the reed were too fat to fit into the groove.

    I bought it from a woman who used to have a weaving store in Minneapolis. She was extremely helpful and fast, as was Louet, but I know she was moving east in 2000/01.

    Does this help?

  7. Greetings from Japan Meg -

    Netsurfed and found your comments about Louet Klik - I've been playing around with my rigid heddle loom for some time and am thinking it's about time I moved on to a table loom (eventually want to get a *big* loom, but that can wait).

    I've done plain weave and some patterns that are possible with my rigid heddle, and am obsessed with an idea of getting a Louet Klik, but seeing your comment ("sample loom"), am getting a bit confused. Would you rather recommend a beginner to get, say an Ashford table loom, than a Louet Klik? I want to learn to weave with 4 and more shafts, and Klik is so attractive that I can add sets of shafts later on.

    (apologies for leaving a comment on a 2 year old diary!)

  8. Rina, I got the Klik for exactly the same reason, but I now have an unsmall problem. I'm very short. If you look at the way the shafts are lined up and the mechanism of lifting the Klik shafts, you will see that they like flat. My Klik sits on its own stand; if I sit down to weave, I can only see as far as say Shaft 6 or 7, and I can't even reach 13 or 14 easily; if I stand up, the loom is a bit low. So lifting around 8, 9 and 10 becomes tricky.

    Plus, it being a sample loom, the distance between where you'd beat the new weft and the very front of the loom is EXTREMELY short; you can hardly see what you've woven.

    If you eventually want to move on to foot looms, I say, go for it right away. If not, I'd look for table looms, (most of them have a very short distance at the front,) where the levers are at the front, facing you. At least this way you can see all shaft mechanisms equally, reducing the chance of lifting the wrong shafts.

    Having said that, Klik is a nice, sturdy loom. The wood is hard and true. Ashford table looms, (and I've been using two of mom's) is less reliable and for me most crucially, I can't weave under very high tension.

    If you know another weaver or an ex-weaver, borrow any looms with 4 or more shafts and learn the pros and cons of that particular loom first. if you're near Tokyo, visiting Tokyo Art Center in Higashi Ginza may be a good idea as they have classes as well as looms, I believe.

    If you want a Louet table loom, though I have no personal experience with it, I would look into a Jane, though that goes up to 8 only. Or a foot loom. For years I've played around with the idea of getting a Leclerc Voyageur, but again I don't think I'll be too happy with how much I'll see what I've woven at the front, so I haven't gotten it. If you do find a great table loom that allows weaving, not just sampling, do let us know!!

    1. Hello Meg -

      I realized that you are from Japan soon after I left you a message - I have not gone through everything, but your blog articles grab my heart. I'd like to come back every now and then to take a look.

      I now live in Hokkaido and have not been able to find a place like Tokyo Art Center here. I attend weaving workshops a few times every month, and have told my teacher that I eventually want to move on to more shafts, but she's a "Saori-ori" master. Upon hearing my saying so, she looked me in the eye and said "beginners always says so, and they always come back to plain weave in the end". I have not figured out whether or not she's quietly declining to teach me weaving with four shafts or more (she is quite old, and has given away most of her weaving supplies in her studio).

      I was thinking of ordering Klik before it started snowing here, but I guess I'll search once more for any chances of actually getting a feel of any type of table looms. Thanks much for the input - helps a great deal!


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