Planning a four-selvedge tapestry

Having just completed my Savannah tapestry, I’m gearing up for the next effort.

I was intrigued a little while ago to come across Rebecca Mezoff’s detailed post on 4-selvedge weaving. The idea of no fringes and no turned-over hem is appealing.  Some years back my late sister found and gave me an old Spears No 4 loom – this was an English production of a stripped down rigid-heddle loom. I had modified it into an upright square tapestry loom – and now I added some height (to accomodate the upper supplementary warps) and put in some hooks so that the “jig” is part of the loom (though separate in Mezoff’s adaptation of Sarah Swett’s method.) This what it looks like:C14795D6-18B4-48C7-8450-794E445E2E3A

The idea is that the main warp is wound between the ‘top bar for main warp’ and ‘bottom bar for main warp’.

Two supplementary warps are wound, one interlocks the top of the main warp to the top tensioning bar, and the other, the bottom of the main warp to the very bottom bar.  The main warp bars are then removed one by one as tension is applied – and weaving can begin.

It seems finicky, but the extra time involved in setting up the supplementary warps is offset by the time it takes to weave and sew hems.

If one insists on the four selvedges, one is, of course, committed to the dimensions set by the placement of the removable bars, though one could compromise and finish short with a fringe or woven hem.

Savannah is very much about both the shapes and the colours of the northern outback.  I was also very much taken by the amazing colours in the Echidna Chasm at the north end of the Bungle Bungles. This is the image from there that will form the basis of the next one:

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Planned size is about A3. I ‘ll be warping a Glenora 12/12 warp at 9 epi.

Now – interpretation. What is a ‘weaverly’ thing to do? Lots of lovely knobbly stuff in there  – do I add texture with pile techniques – or is that getting cheap thrills when I haven’t fully explored all that plain tabby can do? How geometric am I going to get? All is in the lap of the gods…

Usually I get through a piece this size in about three weeks, but I have the feeling that this is going to be a greater challenge for a longer time.

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At last, then, something…

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Savannah –  25 cm h x 35 cm w

the scrub looks so open in the Kimberley, till you walk two hundred metres on that red pindan and realise you’ve lost sight of your starting point. So, either a compass, or the sun, the season and the time. And always, fire and smoke somewhere.

Note – used only old bobbin remnants and those cutoffs you can get at the Tapestry Workshop.

Had some pull in, and found one could add in one (or two) warps at the edge – hardly the most elegant solution.

 

Norm at JCU-Lifersu

Unlike down south, where it’s all much more regulated, there is a pleasing imperturbable casualness about life-drawing up here. There is no official model’s association or union, and hence no rigorous insistence on changing rooms, fixed breaks, specified payments, etc. In Melbourne we stick to a fairly rigid programme of five at 2 minutes, two at 10 minutes, then a break of 10, followed by three at 20 with intervening 10 minute breaks. Up here they start with five or six at 1 minute, and then a series of varying lengths, could be 10, 20, 35, with indeterminate breaks. Seems to work and no-one complains.

The models all seem to be amateurs – among others we’ve had a student, a handyman, a university lecturer and a bus-driver. And today’s Norm, the bus driver, also appears some weeks on the other side of the operating table as a participant drawer in his own right – and pretty good too!

So, quickies:

and longer:

a couple of blow-ups:

and a final devil:

Tricolour Lou at JCU

Having done a head in three colours in the portraiture class (charcoal and white chalk on brown paper), I thought I’d try it in figure drawing.

The theory behind this is that in drawing on white, you can’t go whiter, so you are starting with the highlights and are working from light to dark. This is also what one does in watercolour (but not in the ‘thick’, non-transparent media – oils and acrylics).

However, starting with brown, one is in mid tone, and can go lighter with white and darker with black.

So here is Lou, last Sunday at the JCU Lifers’ All-day, on an opened out brown carry-bag from the bookshop:

And here she is in simple line:

Botanicals on Black

Having tried white on black in the portraiture class, I thought I’d see how it might transfer to other subjects. The native flower that caught my eye has large bunches of very, very, white-yellow stamens. These would be very difficult to see against a white ground. But on black…

This first one was done with watercolour using a very small brush:

The problem with this is that even with the small brush, the stamens are too thick, and it is hard to convey the fact that there are very many of them. So these next two, done in coloured pencil, are to my mind more successful:

Portraiture at the Cairns Art Gallery with Craig Hoy – 1st three sessions

A simple start – an imagined head, in graphite. For those who remember, uncannily like Clement Attlee!

And who said both sides of the face should be equal?

Three-quarter head often more interesting than full frontal:

So – three-quarter head, in masses rather than in line, with use of negative space to bring head forward, and done in water-soluble graphite, water applied.

But if line is preferred rather than mass, sometimes a continuous line drawing can work (and sometimes not):

Does one really need to show the face in full? Perhaps less is more:

Less

Still less

And yet less still

A group effort – five people in turn worked on this drawing of me. Therefore the first person set the scale of the whole and made the decision on line or mass. It’s done in soluble graphite and I did the final wash over.

This next series is aiming (not particularly successfully) at some chiaroscuro and sfumato effects. The ideal was not to put a clean line down but to rely on mass. The first two are in uncompressed charcoal:

Now, on brown paper and using two colours – charcoal and white chalk:

And the even more startling white on black!

But line is so seductive, black on white

Or white on black (with graphite overlay to give a silvery sheen):

Still two more sessions to go in this course.