Creating Dimensions in Looming!

There are many ways to create dimension, to a 2D looming pattern. One way is to add an outline, as I did here, for the basic design of my Lotus SLN. This gives depth without adding much more, but for me, it is adding an additional layer that I wanted to add.

It is accomplished much like you would complete ‘bead embroidery’, stringing three or four beads, taking a stitch then going back through the last two or three beads added. When I make my stitch, I am careful to only pick up either the warp or run my thread through a set of loomed beads. This way, I won’t have any threads showing on the underside of my looming when finished, nor will I have to back my design.

To create the next level of dimension, I thread a 6mm Permanent Silver Metallic bead onto the thread, securing this bead in between the level I am adding and the base below. You can notice a few of these large beads, placed in between my petals. Some areas, I chose to add two instead of just one.

If you are familiar with ‘Paper Tole’, the art of cutting out the same design and reassembling the picture using silicone glue to make the picture look 3D. I call my method of creating dimension on this SLN, ‘Bead Tole’.

Looking from different vantage points, you can see the dimensions come to life. I am even including some ‘cupped’ petals which will also create a realistic feel, as in the petal on the lower right side.

From the front view, you don’t notice the levels of dimension, but after adding more, you will be able to notice this picture from any angle.

There is many more parts to chart/graph and hand weave, which will finally bring me to my total picture. I have attached all that I have completed, to this point, and will be graphing out other portions to hand weave. The green leaves, in the lower part of the Lotus, will be some of the last parts added, as they stand further forefront.

Social Market for a Mirrix

Here’s where I’m at right now with the Southwestern landscape. There hasn’t been a lot of progress since Wednesday’s blog post due to the holiday but I’m looking forward to having some dedicated time in the studio over the next few days to get some weaving done.

I cropped and rotated one of the photos to give you an idea of what it will eventually look like when it’s finished.

Im still working out what Im going to use for the sky. One of the things I love about living in the Southwest is the sunsets but replicating those colors is always a challenge. Nothing that Ive tried so far is quite right.

And I may do the next version in 3/2 Pearl Cotton instead of my original plan. The Pearl Cotton has such a beautiful sheen to it and there are so many colors to choose from that you can create incredibly nuanced details in weavings.

There have been so many new ideas that I want to try coming up lately that Ive started keeping a journal on my work table to make notes of ideas and color combinations. There just arent enough hours in a day.

For those of you interested in seeing some truly beautiful tapestry work, take a look at the Artist Pages on the American Tapestry Alliances website.

Social Market for a Mirrix

Okay, heres where Im at right now. As you can see, the rock faces that make up what will be the left side of the tapestry are done and Im working my way up what will eventually be the bottom of the tapestry. Im not sure Im completely happy with the way the rocks currently look but Im reserving final judgment until the piece is completed and off the loom.



Once this piece is finished, Im planning to do another version using the same yarns but with the cartoon oriented correctly. I think it will be interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two pieces based on the direction of the weaving.

Im heading to the Needles Eye this weekend to see if I can find some yarn for the sky that will make me happy. Something variegated with blues and sunset colors.

On another note, Im loving the recycled silk yarn from India. Such lush vibrant colors. Right now Im picturing it combined with black yarn in a large wall hanging. Maybe with some gold or bronze metallic fibers. And beads. Lots and lots of beads.

If you have a few minutes, check out Weaving Todays blog post Of Memory and Hope and the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco, a nonprofit organization working to promote the history and production of traditional Peruvian textiles.

Warping for Bead Weaving on the Mirrix

I had a three hour session today with a lovely woman who was new to bead weaving on a loom and was purchasing her first Mirrix.  It was so much fun to watch her go from the: “I don’t quite get what this is about stage” to the “Ah ha, I totally get this shedding device.”

But she wasn’t the only one who learned something.

We were both having a hard time putting on the second set of heddles. This was a function of the color of the warp and the lousy light today due to overcast yuck out there (I am most often blessed with deep, brilliant, fabulous light and hence am very spoiled).  But it was also a function of:  that second set of heddles is harder to put on than the first.

So I came up with a new idea that worked.  In our PDF instructions we tell you to use the thin metal rod that ends up inside the spring to pick up one warp in each dent.  You then put your first set of heddles around these warps.  This helps you see the second set of warps in relationship to the first set of warps.  What I discovered is:  if you use another rod (this could be anything from a piece of cardboard to a chop stick) to pick up the second set of warps, making sure to bring those warps to the right of the first set, this makes putting on the heddles easy. You don’t have to pause to look for the warp because all the warps are clearly marked by the second rod.  They are also already placed on the correct side of the warps with heddles.  Failure rate goes down to zero.

Don’t have pictures though.  I will take pictures the next time I warp a loom for bead weaving.  Right now I am trying to get though a zillion tapestry/bead cuffs for my upcoming debut on Beads, Baubles and Jewels.

Have a great Thanksgiving!!!

Weavezine Podcast with Claudia

We recorded this podcast with Syne Mitchell last spring.  I am thrilled to announce that it is now on the Weavezine website:  http://www.weavezine.com/audio/54-claudia-chase-mirrix-looms

This episode our guest is Claudia Chase, the founder and owner of Mirrix Looms.  We talk about tapestry and bead weaving, and her journey with Mirrix.  We also discuss politics, what it’s like to hear color, and other fascinating topics.  After the interview, Claudia features in a special holiday-themed out take.”

Please listen to it.  I think you will find it entertaining.
Happy Thanksgiving . . . I love this holiday!

Lotus SLN

The Mirrix is perfect for an SLN!

My next looming is something I have shared earlier, but needed to take some time off to complete a few commissions and other projects. I’ll be looming full force on this SLN, (split loomed necklace), from now on. To start, I am sharing a picture of where I am to date.

In the picture above, you notice the loomed base of my SLN, being the large part of my pattern, A Lotus. Also attached are a few of the petals, I am hand weaving. The entire Lotus will be completed with 3D petals and leaves. Here are few that I haven’t attached yet.

After I complete the bulk of the ‘petal additions’, then I will complete the lower end of the looming, all the while I will be scribbling and graphing out some interesting designs for the upper looming. The warp weights attached are giving me ‘creative license’ to make some neat designs! The Mirrix is also perfect for utilizing the warp weight method!

Social Market for a Mirrix

I started a small tapestry this morning. In order to create my cartoon, I pulled up the photo I wanted to use in Adobe Photoshop (Im using Creative Suite 4), re-sized it to 7 ½ inches high by 10 inches wide, set the Mode to Grayscale, applied the Photocopy filter, then printed a black and white version, as well as a color version. This is basically the same process I use when Im creating transparencies to create solarplates for printmaking. Theres really more detail than I need in the cartoon for this version of the tapestry but it will be useful later.

The black and white version is placed behind my warp threads to provide the pattern for me to follow as Im weaving and the color version hangs on the wall in front of me as a color reference. Picture red rock cliffs, a valley, blue sky with the beginnings of a sunset.

As you can see, I have the cartoon rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Since Im using a variegated yarn for the rock faces, working in this direction gives the rocks a more natural look. Once again, Im using the Feza Fiona in earth tones for the rock faces.

While I was mucking about in Photoshop earlier I created a number of cartoons for future tapestries including a couple of abstracts that Im really excited about. The color variations are gradual and very subtle so theyre probably going to be a test of my patience. And I need to find just the right fibers to work with.

One thing Ive decided after working on the 16 Mirrix is that Im going to upgrade to the largest Mirrix loom in 2011. Im really starting to feel the need to begin working large.

Dont forget to stop by WeaveZine to hear Syne’s interview with Claudia. I have a very eclectic (okay, okay, Im more than a bit eccentric) background so Im always fascinated by how people got started doing what they do.

Also, check out the blog the gift half understood. Shes doing some really interesting sculptural work with weaving “influenced by monolithic standing stones, burial rituals, stone surfaces, and offerings”.