Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My studio

This is my studio during the weaving of one of the squares.

Last one

This is my final tapestry in the 16 series. It's been a long road, but a fascinating journey. I have woven only two other tapestries in this time and am looking forward to new projects which will hopefully be one-offs - though there is always the lure of 'projects'.
It has been interesting combining the material strips with the traditional wool weft. I wouldn't do this in all my work, however much I like the amazing colours and intensity you can get with tightly-crushed material.
I want to thank one of my tutors, Sara Lindsay, for introducing me to weaving with material. Do check Sara's work - particularly her work with gingham and her very particular placement of the fabric. It was at her workshop that I saw the possibility of the effect and gradation of colours that can be found in woven materials and knew I would want to try it again in future tapestries.
Once I have these tapestries finished and mounted, I will be able to photograph them again together as a 'moth' and in different sequences to reveal their abstraction.
Then, to get them out and into the public domain - that will be my 2011 project.


And here, fnally, is 'moth'. The final square in the top row with a lot of hatching around the wing tip.

Subtle colours and moth search

I love the colours in this one - it is the only square of my golden-sun-moth jigsaw where I have used this combination. I have included a close-up detail of the material which I hope will show up well enough to display the subtleties of the shades.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment has been advertising in the Hamilton Spectator for people to help find the Golden Sun Moth colonies around Dunkeld. The only one I know of so far is the colony in the grasslands of the Dunkeld Arboretum - even though I haven't yet personally seen a moth. In fact it's a bit unreal to spend nearly 18 months on this weaving project and to have never eyeballed one of them.
Maybe this January I'll have to stake out the grasslands during their mating ritual. The females should be easily distinguished with their golden wings spread wide. The males will perhaps lead me there as they should be flickering around the tops of the grasses, heads down. Anyway, the DSE is also asking if farmers will allow them onto their land to see if they can find the moth.
The problems the arboretum committee had - when they were told they couldn't mow the entire arboretum, in case the moths had spread their wings so to speak and colonised other parts - may deter them. We'll see.


The pupa. Of course we don't actually see the pupa in this tapestry - that honour goes to the first one published on this blog. This is an exercise in lettering - and I am not happy with my 'a'. Of course it was woven first, being at the bottom but I'm leaving it as it's not wrong, just squashed. Otherwise this tapestry was fun and quick to weave.

Golden wings

The moth's wings - this is a female of the species - which means it has the distinctive golden hind wing that attracts the male as she sits on the ground, glowing, waiting for her moth in shining 'amour' (had to put quotation marks in case people think it's a spelling mistake). For this tapestry, I wove in some metallic thread, which you can see in the detail - for extra glow!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sun, but does it shine?

Not sure what happened here. I tried to get the two images side-by-side, but they didn't work out. Not to worry. I had real fun weaving this panel because I started blending the material strips in the background. This was done for no other reason than I was trying to follow the shading of my original painting. It's not accurate, but it follows the light and shade patterns and was a welcome relief after keeping most of my other backgrounds fairly straight. Whether it works is debatable. I want the attention on the moth design, not the background, so in this instance I may have failed. The word 'sun' should have been literally glowing, but it's not. I think the photographs are a bit dull - in reality, it's a nice piece of work, even though the areas of woollen weft lack the dominance they should have.

Winging it

Yes, I was winging it. These are the pics that should have come out on one or two of my previous blogs. Here we have a mix of the then Victorian Tapestry Workshop yarns, a lovely paisley printed material that emanates colour but (sadly) without the design - I do love paisley. Plus there is more bulky soumak - I used six strands of two-ply as I wanted the ridges for more texture.

The Silken Cocoon

Finally this image appears. This is the larvae stage of the Golden Sun Moth. It lives underground in a 'silken' cocoon and it feed on the roots of the Wallaby Grass. Here I've used soumak stitching for the roots. The material used for the ground is a silk rayon which I used in a dress I made for myself in the 1970s . . . what goes around!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

And some more

Five more pics of my work - at last you can see that I have been producing!

More pics

Having just been successful in uploading one more picture, I'll try some more.

On the home stretch

I have now finished 15 of my 16 tapestries in this series. Whew! It's been a big year and a half, with lots of other things on the go as well. Five of these latest tapestries have been cut from the loom, but not yet 'finished'. At the moment I am contemplating a different method of mounting them.

Putting them on ready-made canvasses that I have painted with the tapestry design, doesn't feel satisfactory. I like the look of a properly mounted work and attaching them by velcro gives them an amateur finish in my opinion.

I am planning to mount each one on a black background and frame them separately. It will mean they can be hung together as originally envisaged - or hung in any order or shape for abstract viewing, so I won't necessarily have lost anything.

I now plan to have a go at adding photographs. It may or may not work. I haven't dealt with my ultra-sophisticated security system which bans uploading of my own photos onto a site of my choice.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Halfway there

Well, thanks to Trend Micro Internet Security Pro, this page is not considered safe enough to upload any more pictures. I am going to have to reconsider this blog now. I was about to announce that I am halfway there, having completed my eighth tapestry in this series of sixteen.
I will continue weaving, but I will not be able to show anyone the results of my work unless I can somehow persuade TMISP to accept my pictures.
Maybe when I press Save Now, all this will disappear too.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


This is really weird. I wrote this post two days ago, but when I added the pictures they were far too big and there seemed to be no way to replace them with the same pics but smaller, so eventually I am re-doing the whole entry. The post immediately before, 'And another one', should be read AFTER this, but that's computers.
I seem to be charging ahead. From my last effort (way back in 2009), I have woven three more tapestries (though none of them are finished-off or mounted yet) and I'm nearly finished my fourth (NB this is 'And another one'). Maybe it's the weather . . .
I am really enjoying mixing strips of material with thread in these tapestries. The texture is amazing and it always surprises me what the material looks like when it's scrunched up through being woven and beaten down. I weave the thread across it every few passes, which helps secure the material - and keeps the colours on track. I am weaving the same materials here as I did in my second tapestry, but the accompanying colours give it a slightly different hue.

In my 'den' tapestry (No 2 in the sequence) I didn't have the colour material I wanted, so, impatient to start, I decided to mix threads all the way through - the only contrasting texture is the moth's mohair 'feeler'.

I have been remiss and not spent much time searching out these little moths in the patch of grassland at the Dunkeld Arboretum, as I'd planned, so I still haven't seen one of these tiny creatures, even though December-January is their flying-mating time.

A noteworthy happening: I have just been shortlisted for the inaugural Kate Derum Award by the Victorian Tapestry Workshop. Wow! I am so excited. The award is for tapestry weavers who graduated in the three years 2006-2009. I go down for the formal opening - and announcement of the winner - on February 10.

Three of my works from the Lifeblood Series - Grampians, Nigretta and Sandford - will be exhibited, together with work from the other finalists at the VTW through February.

No exhibition at Off the Rails Gallery this month (it was closed for New Year) or February, when a Draw Club takes over the station.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

And another one

This one - tapestry No 15 was on the loom yesterday and I have managed to finish it in time to add yet another completed work. I'm nearly at the halfway mark now and that's a relief. One of the problems with a long-term tapestry is that you get other ideas and enthusiasms that you want to follow, but can't until you've finished the one you're working on.

Actually I have finished another unrelated tapestry - and a piece for a tapestry competition while I've been working on these, but it's not easy. I want to keep focused on this one.