Tuesday, February 22, 2011


A chance remark by a Ravelry friend about happiness in tapestry clicked in my artmind, and before I knew it I was sorting a basket of the yarn I spun from the fleece I washed and combed and carded and dyed, plus some interesting ribbons, for an upcoming tapestry.

The work of a moment to climb to the third floor and fumble about in the studio for a frame and a ball of parcel twine, the frame being a set of stretchers donated some time ago by friend and fellow Unified Fielder, Stefi M., and the twine is to warp the frame. With tapestry, the warp vanishes into the work so it needs to be strong and smooth, but doesn't have to be fancy. Parcel twine is fine. Why they still call it that when twine has been outlawed from the parcel biz for years is one of those mysteries of the universe.

But at this point all is anticipation. It's perhaps the most exciting and dangerous moment of an artwork, when it's all to come and you don't know exactly what will happen, just have amorphous ideas in the part of the brain that's between words and pictures, neither one nor the other, and you know what texture you feel like using and what approximate color range will work but other than that, it's another mystery of the universe.

So I thought you'd like a picture of the first beginnings of a new work.

Then, while the cleaning people were here and I had to stay out from underfoot while they had one of those hilarious conversations with HP, in the course of cleaning the living room, I figured why not now, and I stayed in the studio and warped the frame.

It was marked up in small measurements from a previous work so that bit was done. Warping is not the most exciting thing, more the laundry folding of the life of art in a way, or maybe the rubbing of the ink block part of the work,but while you warp, your mind ranges over all kinds of thoughts and images and adventures to come on the frame.

And I found a ruler to thread through to lift the back warp bits to the front, to tighten the caboodle before I put in some establishing rows that will blend with, but not be part of, the design.

That Calvin and Hobbes New Year strip, where they are looking at the year and the new snow and all the adventures waiting for them -- that joy is where I am right now with this piece! at this point the work can be done in the living room, where HP will have my company.

I have worked very little in the studio since he's been totally dependent, but he loves to see me working on color and fiber. In fact that's one of the reasons I moved more into the fiber arts -- no fumes that could be a problem for an invalid, no stuff that could get knocked over tragically in an emergency, ability to stop and start for sudden needs of his, without materially affecting the progress of the work, these all filled my requirements.

I did the fleece combing and carding on the patio in sight of him, and the spinning in the living room. Dyeing (using very benign materials, Kool Aid, to be exact) in the kitchen where he can see me through the pass-through.

So that's the context. I'll let you see it as it moves along, or drags me along after it, as the case may be.

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