Social Market for a Mirrix

So, after a couple of sessions of weaving and unweaving, I finally decided the direction I wanted to go in.

I mentioned at one point, in last Sunday’s video I believe, that I wanted to outline each section in black so the weaving would have a Mondrian look to it. Let’s just put it this way… it looked better in my head than it did on the loom. Although it might have worked on a larger piece. Anyway, I went back to the cartoon and added in some additional small areas of black to break up the color a little more and anchor sections.

The other change I made was not to use the warp interlock technique but to use the slit technique when changing colors. What this means is that instead of the weft running continuously across the width of the weaving, there will be a slit between each color. There’s a method to my madness.

During one of the archaeological digs in my studio as I was looking for tapestry needles, I came across some handspun art yarns that I had picked up years ago and never used. What I think I’m going to do is work strands of beads into the art yarns then pull them through the slits in selected areas so they cascade down the front of the weaving. The entire piece will then be mounted on a canvas board that I’ve collaged with handmade paper and painted with iridescent watercolors.

I know, I know. My thought processes and how I create seems really disconnected and random at times. But, for me it’s a process of experimenting. Sometimes the experiment works, other times, not so much. And as you’ve probably noticed over the past few months, I’m not afraid to just scrap what I’m working on and start over. And there’s always the infamous future collage elements bin that projects get consigned to if I finish them and decide I’m not happy.

Inside and Out Inspiration for Weavings

Winter has descended.  Elena is still in shock.  A week in New Hampshire will not acclimate her to two things:  cold and sunshine.  I think she will not miss the cold but might miss the sunshine just a little.

We decided it would be a perfect day to take pictures of patterns/nature from both inside and outside of the house.  Who knows, there could be a bead or tapestry pattern sitting in Elena’s iphone when we are done.

First we started with the peppers Zach grew that are hanging in the window.

Photo taken through window.

Bark . . . I love this one.
Bark . . . I love this one even more.  I see a weaving in both of these.
Branch tangles.

Social Market for a Mirrix

I was cleaning up my hard drive and computer files this week when I came across some pictures of a number of small samplers I did when I first received my Mirrix loom. I think I wandered off on a tangent at some point and never posted them. Most of them aren’t that interesting and are in a pile to be used in collages but I do like this one. I was experimenting with a Tibetan weaving technique – a technique that’s meant to be used on a different type of loom — a friend had demonstrated for me so it’s extremely irregular. But, I think that’s why I like it. It’s rough and funky and I love the colors. I also love the feel of it since I used scraps of silk yarn to weave it, both for the warp and the weft.

We’re now 3 months into the “Social Market for a Mirrix” campaign. It’s been an interesting experience and I’ve been thinking about the impact it’s had on how I work. I’ve found that it’s a bit difficult to work with people “looking over my shoulder”. I’ve also realized that “traditional” weavings are of much less interest to me than mixed media, experimental weavings. So, all good revelations.

As for the current work-in-progress, I did go back and color in the sections on the cartoon to correspond with the yarns I’m using. It took a couple of versions before I was happy with the balance.

Also, I’m collecting questions as they come in and will address all of them, as well as provide links to a number of online resources, in my final post at the end of February.

How to Give Your Mirrix a Bath

Unvarnished copper tarnishes. Eventually the copper on your Mirrix Loom will start to look like an old penny. You can either live with this, or do something about it. We at Mirrix use eco-friendly means to polish our looms, both for the environment and for our bodies. We experimented with two formulas made from pantry staples. Our first experiment consisted of baking soda and vinegar.
It didn’t work very well and made a complete mess with little white baking soda flakes all over the studio in seconds flat. So, we decided to add to this formula another formula we had read about: lemon juice and salt. The addition of these didn’t seem to improve upon our original formula. 
We started again. This time we used fine table salt and lemon juice. It was like magic, and smelled good too. 
The left bar was cleaned. Compare it to the right bar. 
See the shine in the middle! 
How do you clean the shedding device? You remove the brass pieces by unscrewing them. The two brass pieces are female with a male insert. 
Polish your shedding device and reinsert the pieces when you’re done. Good as new! You will be the envy of Mirrix owners everywhere and your hands will smell good too. Isn’t it nice to know that you’ve safely cleaned your loom with bare hands? 

Social Market for a Mirrix

Image #3 it is.
I did a little test with the Tahki Cotton Classic yarn and decided to enlarge the cartoon from 6×6 inches to 8×10 inches in order to accommodate the yarn I selected. I also waffled back and forth on whether to warp with the 8-dent coil or the 12-dent coil. I finally went with the 12-dent because of the number of small sections. You’ll notice that I’m not using the shedding device and heddles on this project. Since I’m working on numerous small areas, it’s easier for me just to work the sections with a needle.

I volunteer one day a week in the Collections Department at the International Folk Art Museum here in Santa Fe and the project that I’ve been working on the past couple of weeks is processing photos of their textile collection. As I was working last week, I found myself being drawn to the pieces that were primarily earthtones… beige, brown, brick red, orange. So, I dug through my stash and pulled out the following colors to use. I’m a little ambivalent about the turquoise at the moment but I’ll see where the weaving takes me. Because there are so many sections in this weaving, I may color in the individual areas with colored pencil so I have a more detailed pattern to follow. I have a little more prep work to do then I’ll be ready to start weaving.
I have a feeling this weaving is going to take a while so it may very well take us through to the end of the “Social Market for a Mirrix” campaign which is scheduled to end on 2/28/11.

Social Market for a Mirrix

Image #1
Image #2
Image #3

And it’s time for audience participation…

I’m warping the loom in preparation for the next project. While I’m doing that, here are 3 cartoons (each is 6 inches by 6 inches) and I’ll let you decide which design goes up on the loom next. I’m warping with the 8 dent coil and will be weaving primarily with the Tahki Cotton Classic in a variety of colors. Just leave a comment and let me know which design you prefer by midnight on Thursday, January 13th. If I don’t hear from anyone, I’ll just randomly pick one.

Since up to this point I’ve been focused more on various yarns and how they look when incorporated into a weaving and less on technique, I thought I would use this piece to demonstrate some of the various weaving techniques from “Tapestry Weaving” by Kirsten Glasbrook. This will give me a chance to work with techniques that I rarely work with and will hopefully show you how different techniques look when used together in a tapestry. And since the weaving is only 6 inches by 6 inches, I should be able to complete it fairly quickly. I’m trying to avoid larger, more complex projects that will drag on.

Social Market for a Mirrix

So, here’s where I’m at with embellishing the weaving. The yellow beads aren’t quite as glaring in person as they appear to be in this photo. (Note to self: Actually READ the user’s guide that came with the camera.) It’s still a work-in-progress. Right now I’m thinking about layering the entire weaving with embroidery on Solvron to “veil” the weaving and collage elements in order to give it more depth. I also need to shorten that piece of yarn at the top that’s curving. For some reason, that’s really annoying me.

Social Market for a Mirrix

I’m still working on the sampler demonstrating how different yarns look in a weaving. This little guy is 4 inches tall right now. Starting at the bottom, here’s what I’ve used so far… black #5 pearl cotton embroidery thread, a thin multi-colored chenille, a very thin boucle with a silver metallic thread running through it, a thin multi-colored boucle, a purple eyelash yarn, and a medium boucle.

Pearl cotton embroidery thread is always a dream to work with and it comes in 300+ colors so it’s one of my favorites. I use both DMC and Anchor. I also love the look and feel of chenille but it’s been my experience in the past that using chenille over large areas can be problematic because it sheds and you can sometimes end up with bald sections. But because I was weaving a small area, I didn’t have that problem this time. The eyelash yarn is interesting but I don’t think it will hold up well in wearable items like a tapestry cuff. And there are so many types of boucles that it really just depends on the fibers as to whether it weaves well or not. Ones with fuzzier fibers tend to be more difficult.