Creativity and making things

I haven’t written a post in a long time.  Forgive me.  I was dwelling on old things and the day to day of running Mirrix and life.  But during that time I have also been making new things.  Something I am always doing to a point.  Sometimes I am recreating old things, maybe changing them slightly or using different materials.  Sometimes I am weaving.  But sometimes I am using a variety of other techniques to quench my unquenchable need to create.  Something.  Always.  I carry a big bag wherever I go filled with “my  toys.”  And yes, sometimes there is a mini-mirrix in my bag.

I tend to overdo everything I do.  I can’t just make one of something.  I have to keep making that thing until I’ve played out every scenario.  Each time is different. Each time brings a slight change or increases my understanding of the medium and/or the materials (which includes necessarily color).

I have been making crochet hand-painted silk bags (some including beads) since a month before Christmas.  They were something I could make while doing other things and the colors of the hand-painted silk kept me endlessly intrigued and engaged.  It is hard for me to weave while doing anything else more demanding than listening to the radio.  But I can  crochet and read a book at the same time.  I can crochet and watch a movie.  I don’t have one of those cool set ups with a big screen and a comfy couch with a perfect table in front on which to place a loom.  My entertainment center sits on my desk in the  form of a Mac computer.  Sometimes I can really kick back in my  big desk chair and throw my feet on the desk until something starts to go numb.  So weaving (although I have managed it) is not such a simple, elegant thing for me when watching a movie.  Plus, I have to think when I weave whereas making a crochet bag out of silk I have already painted is pretty mindless. I also knit and, most recently, I began teaching myself embroidery.

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Yesterday, I painted kilos of silk. And it inspired me.  The silk now hangs on a dryer in the bathroom because it is too cold to hang it outside in the wind.  I keep sneaking into the bathroom to look at it.  I absorb the colors and then walk away.  Color is endlessly fascinating.

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Today I started making a basket from the silk.  I am trying to figure out how to incorporate branches or some other material for strength although the basket does seem like it might stand on its own.  I used a thread of hand-painted silk and a gold thread.

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Now to wind all those kilos of silk onto bobbins!  It’s mindless, but I kind of like it.  It has its place!

You Got a Loom as a Gift: Now What?

You must have someone who loves you very much out there, because you got a Mirrix Loom as a gift. Or maybe you you gifted one to yourself, that’s just as good! Whatever the reason, you may be wondering how to get started! Our website and this blog are both packed to the brim with information about how to warp, weave beads, weave tapestry and weave with fiber and beads together.

Here’s a quick cheat-sheet to get you to these resources quickly and easily:

loom gift

The Mirrix Learning Center

The Mirrix Beginner’s Guide

The Mirrix Blog

 

Warping:

For Bead Weaving (without the Shedding Device)

For Bead Weaving (with the Shedding Device)

For Tapestry

The Mini Mirrix

With the No Warp-Ends Kit

 

Weaving:

Tutorials

Weaving Beads:
The Bead Weaving beginner’s guide

Weaving Tapestry:
The Tapestry beginner’s guide

Weaving Beads and Fiber Together:
Combining Beads and Fiber (without the shedding device) Tutorial
Combining Beads and Fiber (with the shedding device) Tutorial

 

Social Media:

The Mirrix Facebook Page

The Mirrix Facebook Group

The Mirrix Ravelry Group

The Mirrix Weavolution Group

 

Other Resources:

Videos

Free E-Books

Weave-Alongs

Sign up for The Weekly-Weave

Ask Elena

Do you have a question about Mirrix Looms? Wondering how to choose a warp coil? Not sure what a bottom spring kit is? Puzzled by the warping bar?

We’ve got your answers… just ASK ELENA.

askelena

Email elena@mirrixlooms.com with your question in the traditional “ask someone” form and we’ll choose our favorites to put up on the blog. (But don’t worry, we’ll answer them all!)

Sample Question:

Dear Elena-

I have never warped a loom before and I am wondering what kind of instruction you have online for a beginner. 

Sincerely, Warpless in Washington

Sample Answer:

Dear Warpless in Washington-

Never fear! We have great .pdf warping instructions available online. Just choose the “type” of warping you need to do (for tapestry, for bead weaving, with the shedding device, without…) and go to that .pdf for written instructions with lots of pictures! You can see them here. 

Elena

Mirrix Updates Pre-Holidays 2012

Win a FREE Loom
Win a FREE Mini Mirrix Loom just be answering the question “Why do you want a Mirrix?”

Weave-Along 9
Join our 9th weave-along and make a stunning silk and beaded necklace! Order your kit today!

Customer Profiles
Who is a Mirrix customer? From professional bead and tapestry weavers to novice crafters, Mirrix customers are just like you!

Are you a Mirrix customer? Do you want to be profiled on this page? Email us and we’ll send you our questionnaire.

Mirrix Looms Holiday Gift Guide 2012
For the newbie, bead obsessed, fiber junkie and Mirrix fanatic!

Send a Hint
Have a Mirrix item on YOUR wish list? Email elena@mirrixlooms.com with the subject “wish list”. Tell us what Mirrix product you want this holiday season plus the name, email and relationship of someone you think might like a little gift-giving hint. We’ll send off an email on Cyber Monday telling them exactly what Mirrix product you’d like in your stocking this year! Plus, on that day, one participant will win a $25.00 Mirrix Looms gift certificate!

Starter Package with Class
The Perfect Package for a Beginner, and at a FANTASTIC price!

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the crafter in your life, you’ve found it. Get a 5″ Mini Mirrix Loom, a stunning Desert Beaded Braclet Kit and an online class to help get you started!

The class will be offered in January (6th to the 27th), February (3rd to the 24th) and March (3rd to the 24th) of 2013 and will function much-like one of our famous weave-alongs, but private. We will also archive these classes in case someone can’t participate at these times. Once a class date range is chosen, participants will get an email once a week for four weeks walking them step-by-step through the set-up, warping and weaving (of the gorgeous bracelet kit included in the loom package) processes. These emails will include pictures, videos and .pdf instructions. Instructors will be available to answer questions via email throughout the class.

This kit includes:
-One 5″ Mini Mirrix Loom
-One Desert Braclet Kit
-One private online class (by email) with Mirrix’s Claudia Chase and Elena Zuyok (a sign-up link will be sent with your package)

An Interview with Tina Kane and her work on the Burgos Tapestry Project at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Recently a customer (thank you!) pointed us to an amazing YouTube video. It is called “The Burgos Tapestry: A Study in Conservation” and chronicles the restoration of Christ Is Born as Man’s Redeemer by the Textile Restoration Team at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. According to the video, the tapestry was fourth in a series of tapestries called The Story of The Redemption of Man.  The project was started by A. Alice Blohm, Jane Hutchinson, and Nobuko Kajitani who was the Head of the Department of Textile Conservation at the Met in 1973.

Burgos Tapestry Project

It turns out that Mirrix Looms were used in the restoration process (see 4:35 and 9:33 in the video). We contacted Tina Kane, who joined the restoration in 1978, and she agreed to do an email interview.

Burgos Tapestry Project

Name/Website/Any contact information you’d like to share:

For a description of the Burgos Tapestry project please see:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf3usSyHVXs.  For my private business, see: http://textileconservator.pair.com/  

When we completed the Burgos tapestry restoration the Metropolitan Museum of Art held a three day tapestry conservation symposium which is on the Metropolitan YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoxyJBV3M30

For anyone interested in tapestry conservation this is a discussion that considers the relative values of conservation, or stabilizing, and restoration.  Also discussed are various methods of support, installation, display, dye analysis, and cleaning, among other topics.

Anything you’d like to tell us about yourself?

I retired from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2010 after completing the Burgos Tapestry project and now manage an independent conservation business in upstate New York, which I have run since 1973.  I became extremely interested in all aspects of tapestry as a result of working at the Met.  I team-taught a course on Medieval tapestry and narrative at Vassar College for a number of years, and  also published a book: The Troyes Mémoire: The Making of a Medieval Tapestry (Boydell Press, 2010) which discusses how tapestries were made in the middle ages, and how they were designed.  For more on that, see:  http://www.americantapestryalliance.org/Members/Feature/FeatureKaneT/KaneT_Memoire.html

Tell us a little about The Burgos Tapestry project:

The Burgos tapestry project was one of the first major conservation projects undertaken by the newly formed (1974)  Textile Conservation Department at the Metropolitan.  In a way, this project was seminal in that it required funding, space, equipment, materials, and a methodology of conservation. The Head of Textile Conservation, Nobuko Kajitani, used this project, among others, to elevate textile conservation to the level of a profession.  My generation of conservators learned through experience.  Now, conservators have excellent graduate programs where they receive formal training.

How did you get into tapestry restoration?

I was working towards a PhD in Comparative Literature at Berkeley in the 1960′s.  After I finished my MA I visited the Southwest and met a young Navajo (or Diné) student at St. Johns University in Santa Fe.  I had become curious about some Navajo rugs in a collection I had seen and the young man’s mother was one of the weavers of the Diné people.  He showed me how to set up a warp in the manner of his people.  It was a transformative day for me.  I had never encountered anything like that and it changed the course of my life.  I learned to weave tapestry, and also to restore, and was fortunate to join the Textile Conservation Department at the Metropolitan Museum in 1978.  The restoration of the Burgos tapestry was my main project.  As I mentioned before, I also managed a private textile conservation service while working at the Metropolitan part-time for thirty years.

How did you attach the new pieces of tapestry? 

My colleague A. Alice Blohm and I each wove 26′ of upper and lower borders for the Burgos tapestry. We attached the new borders by hand sewing them to the tapestry through a cotton support on the reverse. 

Why did you choose a Mirrix Loom to repair the borders?

We needed a small portable loom so we could work next to the tapestry at times, and also in our private studios.  The Mirrix looms were ideal for this project. They had a shed changing mechanism, and, because of the steel frame, we could maintain an even tension as we worked our way up the long warp. To see how we worked, and how we stored the newly woven border, please see the Burgos video on Metropolitan Museum YouTube (above).

Have Mirrix Looms been used to restore any other tapestries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art ?

Not to my knowledge; however, they are used as sample looms by restorers. 

Social Market for a Mirrix

Today, June 1st, marks day one of our four month Social Market for a Mirrix Project. Congratulations to Noreen Crone-Findlay and Brenda Kigozi. Each participant was given a loom in exchange for blogging (as well as posting on social media, making videos and more) about their experience with the loom.

Follow along and learn with them! You’ll see new projects, new tutorials and a great fresh perspective!

Keep up with all the blog posts on our Social Market for a Mirrix blog. You can also follow along on several social media sites and on Noreen and Brenda’s blogs.

Social Media Sites:
Twitter
Facebook Page
Facebook Group
Ravelry
Weavolution
Pinterest
YouTube

Follow their blogs:
Noreen: http://tottietalkscrafts.com/
Brenda: http://brendakbeading.blogspot.com/


Follow them on Twitter:
Noreen @NCroneFindlay
Brenda: @BKHandcrafted!

Ott-Lite Blog interview

In honor of Mother’s Day, we interviewed bead and tapestry weaver Claudia Chase and her daughter Elena Zuyok. Together they run Mirrix Tapestry & Bead Looms, Ltd., providing handcrafted looms, starter kits, patterns, books and other inspirational tools.
What inspired you to start weaving? Were you self-taught, or did someone teach you? 
Claudia: I’ve been interested in weaving since I was very young. I received my first rigid heddle loom when I was 8 years old but I didn’t really get involved in weaving until I was pregnant with my daughter (Elena) and I briefly attended a tapestry class in San Francisco. After that, I was self-taught. At the time there was no internet and very few books on tapestry so it was a rather circuitous journey.
Elena: I was brought up as the daughter of a tapestry weaver and therefore had no interest whatsoever in tapestry. I reluctantly learned the basics through osmosis but it wasn’t until I was in college when I accompanied my mom to a class she was (we were) teaching in Canada that I first really became interested in the medium.
Can you tell us about the first project you completed?Claudia: Probably something awful that I keep in a box upstairs where I keep all my awful beginning weavings and try not to look at them.
Elena: Probably something I did when I was five. It was probably terrible, but I can guarantee I used really nice yarn.
When did you start creating beaded tapestries?Claudia: About a year or so after I founded Mirrix Looms, I realized that the Mirrix Loom would also function really well as a bead loom so I forced myself to learn how to weave beads using the unique attributes of the Mirrix Loom. I say forced because at the time I only had eyes for fiber. At that time I had also become an avid spinner and dyer and it was clear to me I would neither be able to make beads or dye them.

Sunrise
Do you both weave? Are there other crafts or hobbies you both enjoy?
Claudia: I love doing just about anything that requires using fiber and beads including crochet, knitting, felting, dying, spinning, most off-loom bead techniques and needlepoint. There’s nothing I won’t try if given the opportunity.
Elena: As for hobbies, we’re both very into playing (not watching) sports. We’ve ridden horses and skied together since I was a very small child.
What made you decide to create your own loom design?
Claudia: I wanted a portable, professional quality loom that I could use anywhere and that loom did not exist, so I designed it.
Is there one project that holds special significance in your heart, either because of its beauty, or who it was for?
Claudia: A tapestry called “Progression” signified the first time I had found my own voice in tapestry.
Mirrix headquarters resides within a very special community. Could you tell us about that relationship?
Claudia: Mirrix manufacturing lives at a place called Sunshine House which employs adults with special needs and/or physical disabilities. Not only is the Mirrix Loom entirely manufactured in the U.S., it is made by some of the finest folks on the planet. There isn’t a day that goes by that we are not grateful for this amazing opportunity to work with people who deeply care about making sure every loom we manufacture is perfect.
What is it like working together as mother and daughter?Elena: Our work relationship is a reflection of our personal relationship. We’ve always been incredibly close with a deep and mutual respect for each other. We learned how well we work together on a professional level back when I was in college and ran her first campaign for State Representative.
At some point Mirrix went from being Claudia’s business to our business and that’s how it’s operated since. We both have different skill sets and strengths and weaknesses but the same work ethic and the same philosophy about running a business. It just works. We enjoy being together and working together and our relationship smoothly transitions from that of a professional partnership to that of mother and daughter.

Fire Flowers
Running your own company, writing books, creating patterns, even serving as a State Representative for six years—how do you find time for your own crafting?Claudia: Currently, one of my most important jobs at Mirrix is to design new products which has the advantage of forcing me to weave on a regular basis. Until about a year ago I was selling my work in galleries but now I find I am so busy with product development that I don’t have time to create a substantial amount of work for sale. I’m actually enjoying taking a break from doing that. When I served as a State Representative I produced a huge amount of work because, in order to keep myself calm, I had to keep my hands busy at all times. I noticed from my big leather seat in Representatives’ Hall that other folks were doing crossword puzzles, playing games on their phones and sometimes sleeping. By creating artwork I was actually able to concentrate better because it seemed to keep my ADHD tendencies in check and allowed me to sit in my seat for more than a half hour at a time. And yes, I did weave on the Mini Mirrix while there. There was a rule about not using computers in Representatives’ Hall, but nobody said anything about looms.
What does weaving tapestries bring to your life?
Claudia: Initially weaving tapestries forced me to design the Mirrix Loom because I was looking for a portable, professional loom which did not exist. Currently, weaving tapestries allows me to indulge in my passion for color. I use a lot of my own hand-dyed and/or hand-spun/hand-dyed yarn for my tapestry weaving which gives me a lot more control over the color and the texture. For me, tapestry weaving is extremely meditative, something a very hyper person like me really needs.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting out?Claudia: Someone starting off in tapestry should buy a few of the wonderful tapestry instruction books one can now find on the market. He or she really needs to understand that tapestry is not an art form one learns overnight. There are many skills one needs to master but the mastering of these skills is in and of itself extremely rewarding. Just don’t plan to give your first tapestry away as a wedding present. Also, really try to explore in-depth the materials, including warp and weft, that you will be using to create this tapestry because your tapestry is only going to be as beautiful as the material you use to make it.
Bead Weaving
If you’re not initially buying a kit for someone else’s pattern, take yourself to the biggest bead store you can find and spend many hours there staring at the beads. I found that one of the biggest challenges of bead weaving, since I couldn’t make my own beads and my own colors, was learning what shapes, sizes, colors and finishes were available in beads. I now have a really good understanding of what is available, hence I can often design a piece in my head using embedded images of beads. Keep in mind that the skills required for your basic bead weaving (a rectangle or a square) is not nearly as challenging as the techniques one must learn for tapestry. The challenge with bead weaving is creating the design and choosing the beads.
Mini Mirrix Loreli Loom Giveaway Contest! 

This mini loom is made for the beader on the go. It’s small enough to take anywhere and is great for making beaded jewelry. And now you can win your very own! To enter, please “Like” Mirrix Looms and OttLite on Facebook AND post a comment to this blog. If you’re already a Facebook Fan of OttLite and Mirrix, your work is half-done! Just leave a comment here!
Winner will be announced on Friday 5/4! THE CONTEST HAS NOW ENDED

How has your mother (or a mother you love) inspired you artistically?

As I get older, I appreciate more the childhood that shaped who I am today. Part of that was growing up in a house full of creative energy, inspiration and lots of art supplies. I joke about how I thought it was normal to have a living room full of gigantic floor looms and how, by early elementary school, I was a certified yarn snob. Although I wasn’t very interested in weaving as a kid, we were constantly creating and always allowed full artistic expression. I remember when was about five years old there was a bike parade in our town where kids would decorate their bikes with streamers and bows and ride through the town square. There were prizes for the best decorated bikes. I took my tricycle, strapped a tiny blue chair to the back and placed my giant stuffed lion in it. Then, I drew a person in market on a piece of paper and taped that to the front. I think there may have also been streamers. I won the prize for “funniest”. That incident pretty well exemplifies my artistic senses from then on. I was always inventing, creating, trying to come up with something new. For me, art was about expression. My mother fostered my love for creating by always encouraging, helping and never quelling my wild side. She was also quite the creative force, at the time very serious about her tapestry weaving, and I am sure living in such an environment helped shaped who I am today.

In honor of Mother’s Day this year, we’ve launched a little contest on Facebook. You can win a $25.00 Mirrix Loom Gift Certificate just by answering this question (Either on our Facebook Page or Facebook Group): (THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED)

How has your mother (or a mother you love) inspired you artistically? 


We will choose one winner on Mother’s Day.

Here are our entries so far: (Be prepared for some tears!)

Kathryn A Wyant Schulte My Mother Mary Margaret inspired me artistcally by being a cake-decorator. She also inspired me to be creative because at 8 I taught myself to sew and she bought my first sewing machine.It was a very good one,probably more than my dad and her could afford. I still use it and I have had it for 52 years .It is the best, better than all my new ones.


Therese Magnani My mother is a quilt artist. I tried quilting and found that while I could do it, it wasn’t my thing. My mom has taken a lot of classes and workshops over the years that combine a variety of fiber art techniques, and when I go to visit her, she always has something new to share with me. We end up making projects together and teaching each other something in the process. In doing this, she opens up new ways for me to see things. Whether it is working with color combinations, materials, or techniques, she inspires me to always look for something new to try. I aspire to be as creative and productive as she is now when I reach her age.


Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten My mom was an amazing knitting, crochet and needlepoint artist, as well as a phenomenal wildlife photographer. When I was a kid growing up, she earned her income from selling her original patterns to yarn and craft magazines, and then later as an editor for those magazines. When I was pregnant with my son, she was my inspiration for venturing out as a full time artist so that I could stay home with my son for his first years. She never discouraged my sister and I when it came to our artistic endeavors, and we are both successful profession al artists today! I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the example of my mom! Mom passed away in 2008 when my son was just five months old, but she inspired me to follow my bliss!


McKinley Murry My Mother is my best friend. She has always put me first in her life. Mom has taught me to always try new things and never stop learning. For the past 3 years we have done fiber arts. I know more and do more than most people. We have changed the way people think of challenged people. Mom has guided me, but allows me to do my own thing. I love color because Mom made color important in my life. I can express myself through my weaving. And I am judged by my skill not by my looks. Weaving gives me a voice equal to others. My voice. My work. Mom is always close by to cheer my efforts. She provides me with tons of good books to use for ideas. Buys me the best supplies. The best music to listen to. And most of all her time and energy. She always ask my opinon of her work and listens to my ideas. We help each other reach for the moon in our weaving and if we fall? We land in the stars and start again. Life is Good.


McKinley Murry I have to speak of another improtant Mother in my life. Miss Betty Clarkson. She and Mr. Jim are parents of Miss Bailley their Cocker Spaniel. She is like a mother to me. She has taught me many fiber arts. While Mom was going nuts weaving bracelets, Miss Betty and I were learning tapestry together. She always has a smile on her face and a “Can do attitude”. She is proud of my weaving and we laugh a lot together being “Goobies”. Miss Betty supports my ideas and always tries to help me as little as possible so I learn. That is a very hard thing to do for someone you love. To watch me struggle and allow me to make my own mistakes. She inspires me to be the best I can be just like my Mom does. I needed to tell you how Important Miss Betty is to my work. We share ideas and our life together. I love her and her family. Miss Betty Clarkson my BFF!


Betty Clarkson My Mother always instilled in each of her 4 daughters the love of creating. At a very young agea we did clothes for our dolls, embroiedery, pot holder weaving, and many other fiber crafts. I remember one summer creating a picnic cloth. Mom took a new white bed sheet and we decorated it with fruit. Tracing the design unto the cloth and using crayons to fill in the color. Wax paper was placed on the design area and heat set with the iron. Her encouragement of the fiber arts were contagious. I began weaving on a simple loom and graduated to a floor loom. It did not stop there. Spinning and dyeing fibers was another adventure into the wonderful world of fiber. I started using the Mirrix Looms about a year ago and now am enjoying the journey of learning how to create tapestry and bead weaving. My mother always encouraged and instilled the love of creating with fiber. She passed 3 years ago – I miss her but know she is happy that I am continuing my journey. Thank-you Mom for everything. Hugs XOXOXO


Patty Stabile My Mom let me try things and had the patience of a saint when I failed, ie: knitting. Mom can do anything and I keep trying to catch up to her standards, especially my flower arranging. She made my bridal bouquets, beautiful.


Denise Prince My mother was an expert seamstress. The most amazing part of this is that she was entirely self-taught. In my youth, when I would want to try some new artistic endeavor, she was always supportive. She taught me to sew by showing me what I was suppose to do — and then leaving the room! She was never far, in case I needed help. Whatever I tried, she was there to offer support (from the next room! lol). When I started making jewelry, she was my #1 client. When she would get a compliment on a piece I made, she would say, “My daughter made it. She only uses the good stuff.” She inspired me with her “you can do anything” attitude and constant belief that everything I did was wonderful.

Susan Kirby When I was in high school and learning to sew, my Mom would always buy me the best fabric. She would encourage me by admiring everything I made. She was one of my best clients for my jewelry not only wearing it herself, but buying it often for gifts. She always said she was proud of me.
 
Sherie McManaman My mother is a true artist, she worked in oils and pastels for a great deal of her life. She always supported me in anything I tried – from painting to sewing to knitting. She is to this day, ever patient and happy to share her talent and steer me in the right direction.
 
Cindy Moore My mother is a wonderful seamstress. She made almost all my clothes until I learned to sew myself. I always had the up-to-date fashions in school thanks to her. Because of that, I know I can have anything I want if I make it myself.


Mothers Day Contest Entry
My mom is my biggest inspiration, she is a great seamstress, avid knitter and crocheter and owns her own LYS. At a young age all five of us were crafters, even the boys. Mom always said “Don’t quit” You can do it. My eight year old brother taught me to sew oven mitts for christmas on the old treadle. Sewing was my first passion, then knitting, but now I found beading I cant stop. When we would go to bed at night and mom was knitting by the fire, in the am we would have new mitts or socks to go to school. She is precious and still teaching today. My sisters are both great painters and seamstress , I dont paint or draw.

Guest Blogger: Anthony Locane

We’re fascinated by the amazing work that our customers produce every day. From fantastic bead weavings to stunning tapestries and innovative art spanning many mediums, we want to hear from our customers about what they create. Beginning with this guest blog post by the artist Anthony Locane, we’ll periodically be featuring guest posts from our customers. Do you have a suggestion for a guest blogger who weaves on a Mirrix? Let us know by emailing elena@mirrixlooms.com
 
RELATIONALshifts: Digital Woven Art by Anthony Locane
 
 
I call my art “Digital Woven Art” because it combines two of my favorite things … weaving and digital art. More on the RELATIONALshifts aspect later.
BACKGROUND:
I fell in love with weaving back in undergraduate school when I was an art major at Buffalo State College, part of the State University of NY (SUNY) system. The Design in Fibers class covered weaving (both floor and frame tapestry) along with all other fiber arts (macrame, stitchery, quilting, etc). Since that moment, I have never lost my love or enthusiasm for weaving.
Fast forward many years and I was a graphic designer, having taught myself how to design on the computer. During those many years in the corporate design world, I always dreamed of living the life of a producing artist; but time and work always seemed to get in my way. Then in 2004, I changed my life.
I quit my full time job in marketing and decided to fulfill my dream. I knew I wanted to somehow combine my love of weaving with my digital skills. I started by painting and drawing, in Photoshop, over a digital photograph of my friend. I manipulated the photo and created many variations until I had about 20 images. After a few days of wondering what I would do next with these images, I suddenly had the thought of weaving them together into a new and different image. But how could I weave paper; unless I resorted to a method I remembered from my elementary school days of weaving paper strips against each other?
PROCESS:
Having determined that my work would best be suited for an upright tapestry loom, I decided on the Mirrix loom because of its metal construction that would hold up to the rigorous tension demands of my warps and its unique shedding system that facilitated weaving with my paper strip wefts.
Back in those days, I would print out each version (sometimes 20-30) of the digital image I created, cut each version into strips and weave selected strips from the various versions to create my new image. Needless to say it became a very expensive process as many strips lay unused. After several months of experimenting, I developed a proprietary method whereby I can actually simulate a weaving on the computer screen and experiment with selecting strips from my various versions. I save tons of paper and ink now and often only need to print out 1-3 versions of an image to create my final piece. As I weave, I often deviate from my planned image to find that my intuitions and spontaneous decisions lead me in new and more interesting directions. Today, I employ three graphic software packages in designing my pieces; each forming one step in my design process. I still start with a digital photo that I manipulate by painting and drawing over; but often I will paint on the final woven piece after it is removed from the loom; or I will go in and remove ink from the piece by bleaching and painting over with water or rubbing out areas.
After a one-man show in 2007 and my first group show earlier this year, I became interested in working in metal. My Masters Degree is in sculpture and I have always wanted to go back to my 3-dimensional roots. I since have purchased a large-format Epson printer with the capability of printing on metal sheets.
My warps are now wire … usually in the 20-30 gauge size and either aluminum or copper. My wefts are specially treated aluminum and copper sheets that accept Epson pigment-based inks that are archival; meaning they will last 75-120 years if framed or enclosed in plexiglass or glass and not subjected to direct, intense sunlight. Weaving metal wefts against wire warps allows me to manipulate the pieces into 3-dimensional forms after removal from the loom.
DESIGN INSPIRATION:
My work is all about relationships to people in my life, places, and ideas and concepts. I first began with portraits (FACEscapes) since I have always been obsessed with faces. Next came my LANDscapes and then my abstracts that I call my MEMORYscapes. Each has transformed as I progress with my art. My earlier portraits were very personal, as were my landscapes. My new work, while still very personal to me, exhibits a more universal quality. Portraits illustrate more of a greater human condition while my MEMORYscapes are leading me into areas that push my boundaries or preconceived notions of my world. I am currently working on my Beholder’s Eye series; exploring the concept of and what constitutes beauty.
I am currently part of a group exhibit, the National Juried Small Works Show, at the Windsor Whip Works Art Gallery in Windsor, NY. 56 artists (primarily painters) from across the U.S. were selected to present their best works. I am delighted to announce that I won 1st Place: Best in Show for my piece, “Beholder’s Eye: Sea Urchin.” Not only is it validation of my work, but also that weaving has a place in the fine art world. True, my work is not traditional tapestry; yet I cannot help think that with intention and imagination, anything is possible. The medium does not determine criteria in categorizing fine art. My computer and looms are merely my tools.
My work may be viewed at www.anthonyjlocane.com