Thursday, July 30, 2009

Water Lily Collaboration (cont.)

Still on the loom, our vision is fulfilled, our rug nearly completed.

Four of us took turns at the loom Thursday morning laying in the final twenty few inches of our Monet inspired fabric pallet. During the course of our weaving, another dozen or so folks visiting or working at the museum dropped by to look over our shoulders and see what we were up to, hear our story.

By now, the physical act of weaving is beginning to run on auto pilot and we can spend our quiet time between visitors pleasantly sharing life experiences and diverse interests ranging from archeological digs, mineral, fossil and book collections to fabric clearance sales and the benefits of pinching back mint and basil plants to promote foliage growth.

I've been pondering lately that our original charter from Elliott to "do live weaving demonstrations at the museum" is evolving into something more like demonstrating that the museum is a good place to weave lives together. It really is all about people's lives, past and present.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Water Lily Collaboration

Something magical happened this morning. Five of our museum weavers did something approaching a Mr. Spock Vulcan Mind Meld and worked as one toward a common vision. As we pondered our freshly laid out, Monet inspired, pallet of rag strips, we silently concluded that significant modifications would be needed in our "planned" technical approach. We did this pretty much on the fly, without significant discussion and without fault or flinch. We "painted" in our warp rags one (brush stroke) at a time instead of sewing together long color sequences that could have be woven more quickly, but with less control. We studied our work in progress, a suggestion, eye contact, a nod, a small red highlight would be good here, a deep blue pool there. Everyone contributed, no one dominated, everyone supported. It was a incredibly fascinating and stimulating experience. Our work-in-progress rug is already a work of art.

Lorraine mixing our paints, Tom applying the brush strokes.
This rug seriously challenges traditional weaving terminology.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Art Camp Kids

Seriously focused and/or just having fun.
Either way, a good time was had by all.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Are we having fun or what!?!

We welcomed two new smiling faces yesterday, bring our growing group of museum weavers-in-training to nine (myself included). Regena is on staff at the museum and has been looking over our shoulders ever since we set up the loom in January. We told her to be careful around us, we might be contagious - and then, there she was tying off fringe knots like a confident pro. She must have been watching more closely than we thought.

Jacque had mentioned she was interested in what we were doing months ago. I kept her on my contact list.... and, there she was yesterday morning, all smiles and ready to get started. Besides being one of the Master Gardeners helping to enhance the museum grounds, Jacque is a serious artist and brings a refreshing artistic vision and inspiring color sense to the group. Where I saw inadequately planned rag/color distribution in our first rug, she saw an intricate landscape with a distant horizon and wispy clouds. Wow. Thanks Jacque, I needed that!

Jacque and Melissa came up with the design vision for our next rug. I started by suggesting we repeat the same technical approach as used for our Red, White & Blue (#5) Rug but go back into our box of donated rags for resource materials. They surveyed our wealth of light blues, greens and immediately saw Monet's pallet for Water Lilies. How cool is that! I can see a collision between the soft shapes of water lilies and the harder geometric pattern that will evolve from my suggested approach, so my design challenge is to think through how we can make the pattern lines arc and flow more gracefully across our 'canvas'. Very exciting!

Museum Quality Rug # 5, finished and on the floor. This one could easily be a wall rug.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It worked, it really worked!

Rug #5 created quite a stir last night when I unrolled it during the Ice Cream Social at the museum. Even had a picture on page 2 of the local paper this morning. It was quite a confidence booster to actually see a complex design evolve as envisioned. Especially considering there were four of us tearing and assembling rags and three of us weaving - truly an amazing team effort.

We'll cut #5 off the loom and start tying off the fringes and preparing the loom for rug #6 this Thursday (7/16) morning from 9 am to noon.

There are seven Museum weavers in training now, but there's plenty of fun to go around. Drop by if you can and I'll show you the ropes (so to speak).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Museum Quality Rug #5

This is very exciting!
When I posted pictures of Rug #4, I said it had a lot of potential.
For sure!

We'll be finishing Rug #5 on Saturday morning at the County Museum starting about 10 am during our third Rag Rug Weaving Workshop. It's fun and it's free. We should be able to finish our rug and have it on display before the Ice Cream Social on Saturday evening. Call the Museum (642 2015) for details. Hope to see you there.

Tech Notes
Warp: Maysville 8/2 Cotton Warp at 8 epi, 29" in reed.
Weft: Cotton fabric strips, three solid colors, 2.5" X 21", end slit and looped end to end, R-W-B... (experimentation revealed that three 21" strips 'almost' exactly matched 2x the weaving width and hence the pattern repeat drift.)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shadows from the Archives

The winter sun feels pretty good today, quite refreshing.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dori's Jelly Roll Rug

HB & Me hoped we could do something special with some of Dori's old doggy towels.
I rolled a couple of the most colorful ones, sliced them with an electric carving knife and made these interesting little jelly rolls.
The jelly rolls wove up nicely into a pretty special bath mat.

Tech Specs
Warp: 8/4 cotton, 8 epi
Weft: terry cloth towels, 2" wide strips, 1.7 ppi
Ends finished w/ 2" web of 2x warp thread, machine sewn, folded, sewn again, folded and hand stitched.
Finished Size 27"x36"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Museum Quality" Rugs

A week ago Thursday at the museum, I showed a group of Parks & Recreation program kids how to weave a rag rug. We all had fun tearing up old bed sheets into strips and looping them together to make the rag weft. Then they took turns pushing and pulling the shuttle through the shed as I wove about 18 inches of Museum Rug #4. After the kids left, there were piles of torn rags more or less ready to weave so Fred & I finished the rug and cut Rugs #3 & 4 off the loom and called it a very good day. (I was having so much fun I completely forgot that I had a camera in my pocket - oh well.)

Last Thursday, Tom, Fred joined my and we were able to tie off the fringes of the two new rugs and get the loom tied up and ready for Rug 5. We'll probably start Rug #5 this coming Thursday around 9 am (see a routine emerging here?) should be able to finish it during our next Rag Rug Workshop on July 11 (10 to noon). Call the museum (642 2015) to sigh up - it's free and fun.

Tom, being a retired surgeon, ties a pretty neat knotted fringe.

Fred is pretty meticulous about his knots also.

Museum Quality Rug # 3 is a "Hit & Miss" design with a blue belly that could have used a few more hits.

Museum Quality Rug #4, our first experiment with a "planned" design, has considerable potential. This design uses two floral fabrics (one darker than the other) cut into 2" strips and equal to the length of the finished woven piece (28"). The strips are slit near each end and looped together in an alternating sequence to make the weft.

In future efforts I will try to get the contrasting areas to pool a little more and mix a little less. If I could only decide if I need to make the strips shorter or longer....

The old 'museum quality' loom is tied, tensioned and ready to go. Join me on Thursday morning (July 9th ~9~12) and we'll see what Rug #5 is going to look like.