Before you read the whole of this post please note that my main question – cannot one weave from the bottom up on a warp-weighted loom – has been answered in the affirmative. Debbie Herd has provided this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a5by09CyV0 which is to a clip of Kristin Saeterdal doing just that on a modern loom built for that purpose.
The accounts that I have seen of the warp-weighted loom describe the weaving being done from the top down, and depict this with illustrations from Greek friezes and pottery.
My crude drawing of this:
The obvious disadvantages are
a. the difficulty of beating upwards as compared with downwards, and
b. the limitation imposed on the length of the weave.
Question 1: has anyone noticed, on a normal frame, a real tension problem across the weave? I know that the first few warps on either side can be noticeably slacker than the central ones – but has it been an actual problem for the end product?
Question 2: Why cannot one weave from the bottom up on a warp-weighted loom – with a very slight modification?
All that has happened here is that instead of being tied to the top beam, the warps are carried over the top beam and across to a second top beam on a second set of pillars and tied to a weft beam below that second top beam – and now one can weave from the bottom up. The second pillars and top beam in the diagram are of course purely there for illustration of the principle. They are in fact redundant because the warps can simply run up and over the top beam and then come straight down to a lower weft beam on the same pillars.
Reading Maria Brekke Koppen’s ‘Norwegian Tapestry Weaving’ I find on pages 90-92 explicit instructions on tensioning the warp with weights, and with some close-up illustrations but none of a whole loom set up in this way.However it appears that such methods are in use currently at least in Scandinavia – and perhaps therefore in the US – say in Wisconsin??
Any comments or information on this, anyone?
The second part of the Dreaded Technical Triptych is an interpretation of a portion of a Picasso painting – ostensibly of the “Half-length Female Nude”. This title usually refers to the 1906 piece in a naturalistic style, whereas the given photo seems to be of a cubist abstract. Whatever. I think I have stretched the meaning of ‘interpretation’ a little far in this case. Other versions of this which they showed us at SWTafe were far more literal in the sense of being much closer approximations to the original. However:
Compare this to the original:
This was a far more joyous piece to do than the Miro – I suppose because I was wondering more about specifically tapestry techniques to suggest the original textures. I was trying to create a unified piece from an extract and I indulged in a fair bit of extemporising. Played about too with pick and pick, and tried varying slopes and curves. Though I enjoyed doing this, I fear this is not what was intended by THEM.
My little pseudo-coptic piece is now off the loom:
This is the first assignment of second year at SWTafe – a reproduction of a segment of a historical tapestry.
Now while there is a lot I like about this piece, there is also a lot that went wrong, and I will comment on this in detail later.
Assignment 1 Year 2 – copy a segment of historical tapestry in 20 cm x 20 cm.
I picked a bit of Coptic weave (Egyptian, 3rd or 4th century AD). The original full piece was itself only about 24 cm x 24 cm, and I am reproducing less than 1/4 of it. The original was at about 30 epi, and I have ‘blown up’ the image as it were and am working at about 8 epi. I got very discouraged early on – the images were distorting and the techniques were obscure.Have managed to get moving again – about 1/3 done as you see:
Things to note:
1. The extremely tight warp sett (but not in my reproduction).
2. Warp of the original was probably linen.
3. All colours are pure – no mixed threads.
4.Extensive use of ‘flying shuttle’ technique.
5. Avoidance of long slits by frequent ‘dovetailing’.
6. But, paradoxically, frequent single warp wraps – which DO result in slits….
Still have quite a way to go – and will probably comment more later.
I have made two attempts at interpreting the Mountains to the Sea theme illustrated a couple of posts back, and both have failed:
On the left the mixed threads give a rich colour mixture – which loses all focus in the middle section and just leaves a confused impression. The flat cartoon-like quality on the right also fails in the centre section, both because of wrong colours being used and bad drawing of curves.
A further problem lies in the three shells being involved in an Escher-type optical illusion, in which the yellow shell areas are very ambiguous – are they outside or inside curves? – this ambiguity works (I think) in the original coloured drawing, but fails here.
Also the colours for the recession of the mountains need correction.
I may try this again without benefit of Escher, and with only two, not three, shells.
Yes, it’s all a learning experience!