How to wreck an idea for a tapestry.
I had wanted to try some texture in a fairly simple yet bold piece. Fossicked through the old photo file and came up with this b/w version of a lost colour original:
However I had worked on the lost original and still had this cropped, chopped and colour-manipulated image:
And its reversal:
I thought I’d go with the middle image above – the red-green reduction.
I wanted to use my current large loom – the steel one from Warrnambool, open frame space: width 20.5” ( say 51 cm), height 28” (say 71cm). I didn’t want to work too close to the top of the frame as I usually have a lot of tension on the warps (it becomes very tight indeed as one moves up the loom), so I thought I’d work to a height of piece of about 17” (say 43 cm). Taking into account that the floor would be a little under 3” (about 7cm) above the base bar, that would mean working two-thirds up the loom. Should still be possible.
Further, looking at the lay of the verticals and horizontals, I’d need to weave the piece on its side:
This then dictated dimensions of, width 11” (27.5 cm) and height 17” (42.5 cm).
Looking at the occasional thin colour bands of reds and yellows, I reckoned I could manage them with an epi of 8 (13 in 4 cm). I think this was my major error, and instead of my newly arrived 3×4 (12 thread) Glenora warp at 8 epi, I should have used the Ashford, which, as far as I can pick it apart, seems to be 3×2 (6 threads), and on Archie Brennan’s test (number of wraps per centimetre gives warps per inch) would have given me an epi of 11 (17.5 in 4 cm:35 in 8 cm).
The reduced flexibility at 8 epi led me to oversimplify and exaggerate. The following is the current state of play – leaf 1 completed:
The little purplish patches in the blue are blobs of open soumak. The yellowish-gold leaf outlines and central rib can be seen either as half-hitches with the knot pulled frontwards or as closed soumak on two warps, and the red or bronze leaf outlines and central rib are closed soumak across three warps, returning on the alternate warps.
The leaf side-ribbing is half-hitched, and particularly on the top-side (the bronzed side) it has burst the banks, as it were, and is too blatant and bubbly. I attribute this to a combination of too thick thread (too much in the mix) and clumsy knotting, often inconsistent in direction round the warps.
Unless persuaded otherwise I will probably close this piece off at this point with a double row of half-hitches.
Currently it’s still sitting on the loom – seen here with the cartoon mounted: