People like me who didn’t heed the warnings and used to light up at every opportunity (I was even known to do a set of tai-chih with a cigarette dangling from my lips) – well, some of us got zapped in the end. COPD. Me, I tend to lose six to eight weeks every 18 months or two years – first a slight cough, then treat it at home, and then when that doesn’t work it’s often too late for my GP to do anything. “This time,” she said, “we’ll do it with bells and sirens.” So the ambulance it was. Ten nights with the drips in… and then the long period coming down off the steroids (the ones that don’t let you sleep and turn you manic – the first time I had them I went out and bought six phones – but that’s another story.) Impossible to concentrate or do anything constructive.
So EVERYTHING goes on hold. No tapestry assignments, media posts, anything. And of course I still had an assignment to finish – so it’s been a rush to catch up so I can take the assignment down to tapestry ‘summer camp’ at Warrnambool in another week. The weaving was finished an hour ago, and now there is the tidying the back, sewing slits, and the dreaded braiding. Anyway, here it is, still on the loom:
In the old days, some observant Jews would have a wall hanging on the eastern wall of a room (the wall that was turned towards Jerusalem.) These were called a mizrach – the word means ‘east’. There were several types of mizrach. The one I have made is called a shiviti, from the first word of its text. In some houses they were purely a traditional decoration (which still had some mystical power), and in others they were used as objects of meditation.
The weaving was very interesting to do – because of the lettering and also the long curves. My tapestry teacher at SWTafe said that lettering is usually woven on the side – and a second reason for the side weave was those curves… The actual design is a bit obvious or banal (God’s name against a bckground of flame and lightning) and the colour scheme is not particularly successful (looks better on screen than in real life). I did base the lettering on a General Public License font that is royalty free. I learnt that next time the lettering must be measured out on the cartoon and marked on the warps with greater accuracy than I achieved in this effort.
Next post will hopefully have something about the ‘summer camp’ – signing off till then!
My “shiviti” piece which I posted the cartoon of in my last entry is at last underway – though it’s going to be submitted as a ‘small’ tapestry, it’s the biggest I’ve done so far – 18 x 24 inches, say 59 x 46 cm, 12/12 warp at 9 epi, unmixed yarn – knitting wools both natural and viscose:
So far, so good – apart from one broken warp and probaly too much white! Anyway, it’s going to keep me quite busy over the summer break.
I seem to have got caught up in various local busynesses and family catastrophes lately and ignored the blog. So – moving backwards – my current assignment is the last of the Drawing Techniques group, though being demented, I am doing it before the previous one, which is full-figure drawing. The final is to produce three designs of tapestries to be used as gifts for visiting diplomats(!), on several Ozzie themes.
1 – Here is my take on the savannah:
This was derived in steps by enhancing a photo and then pixellating part of it:
2 The second design is The Reef – done straight as a drawing:
3 and finally – a floral theme – based on a drawing I have posted previously – the Kuranda Railway Station’s plants on steroids – but this time without the steam engine!
These pieces still have a lot of work to do – they are to be presented framed, in a portfolio, with artist’s statements and a development trail of notes and preliminary sketches and drawings. Phew!
MEDITATION ON BAMBOO
The last tapestry I completed was for the so-called ‘Environmental tapestry’. assignment. Here again I used a drawing I had done in the north – this was about A5 size:
and translated into a tapestry of about 46 x 30 cm:
FINAL ASSIGNMENT – A SMALL TAPESTRY
The last assignment for this year is completely open. I am planning my largest piece to date. It will be about 44 x 59 cm. Currently the loom is warped up, I have set leashes (also for the first time), and the floor and waste are in and the cartoon is marked up. This piece will let me work on letters for the first time too. The design is fairly bland – it is a meditative wall hanging called a ‘shiviti’ – with the lettering in Hebrew:
I am still considering the colour scheme – the legend says that the letters are written in ‘black fire’ – but I don’t know about that.
Enough for now!