Thoughts on Teaching Tapestry

As some of you know I have been working on a class through CraftArtsEdu for quite some time now. The first part, taking all the photos while weaving the piece, was a lot of fun (of course I did that with Elena, so how could it not be fun!).  Now I am on my own doing the voice over. Yes, I will get to done before all of your kits are layered with dust.  I just found out that two days of voice overs sound like I am talking inside a ball of fuzz.  I fought with my microphone and adjustments for hours only to finally get the bright idea that maybe it wasn’t on my end.  Sure enough, I think hurricane Sandy wreck havoc on the servers that are hosting this class.  So two day’s of voice overs were lost. Yuck.  They are really hard to do.  But all is not lost because in the meanwhile I had the lovely opportunity to teach a private workshop to a lovely woman named Amy.  And of the things I realized while I was teaching her is that I need to incorporate that kind of teaching style in to the voice overs.  Now granted, I am still warping the loom in the voice overs and there is no way to give that too much exciting color.  So I was glad I taught Amy before I got into the weaving part of the class.  Now I am so excited to get back to it if only those servers would behave.  Things do seem to always happen for a reason.

Back to Amy.  I love one-on-one teaching.  I can sit next to the student and watch and comment the entire time.  It eliminates frustration because I am right there to trouble shoot or make a joke  I kind of knew right away that Amy was going to be a quick study.  I always ask people what other crafts, hobbies, etc. they’ve done in the past.  Amy was a quilter using a huge quilting sewing machine and was also interested in carpentry (I found out later that she and her husband did all the finish work in their new home) and that she works as a computer programmer.  When you put all three together and can imagine the frustration levels possible in each, I knew that Amy would find warping the loom easy.  I didn’t know how she would take to the actual weaving.

Warping flew by.  I think there was one mistake and I think I made it!  Easily fixed and a good trouble shooting lesson.  One of the heddles was not completely looped on.  Amy was the personification of calm.

I didn’t know how much time I had with her.  I knew she was going home with a loom with part of a weaving on it, but in a relatively short amount of time I had to give her enough knowledge that she could go home (with a book as well) and have fun weaving.  She used the Small tapestry purse kit and will be making a purse, but not the one in the kit.  At first I thought I might incorporate the sample from the CraftArtsEdu class but then I realized we would never get past just a tiny handful of techniques.  I finally decided that we would just go for the advanced techniques first and if she could survive them, she could use the book to figure out the more basic techniques.  She was all for it.  Amy just wanted to play!

I taught Amy the concept of weaving in opposite directions as well as weaving with eccentric wefts.  With these two skills you can basically build any shape and do some really serious shading.  Amy learned how to add and remove colors and how to keep a bunch of them traveling in the correct direction and in the correct relationship with one another.

Two hours of weaving produced a piece an inch to an inch and half long in spots and five inches wide.  Doesn’t seem like a lot, but there was a lot of learning packed into that little piece.  Note how perfect the selvedges are!  I imagine Amy will continue in these same vein for the next fourteen inches and have a stunning piece when she is done.  Her husband (who bought this lesson and loom for her birthday) expects her to make “pictures” almost immediately and I expect she very well could!

That’s nine wefts in a space five inches wide.  That’s a lot to keep track of.

Proud owner of New Mirrix Loom with beginning tapestry.

2012 Holiday Gift Guide

A Mirrix Loom, accessory kit or package is the perfect gift for any crafter. Get someone you love started weaving beads and tapestry, or supplement their addiction with beautiful extras.

Here is our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide:

For the Newbie

Bead Loom, Kit and Class Package

loom, class, kit starter package

Perfect for the beginner: a Mini Mirrix Loom, a beaded bracelet kit and an online class. It’s a fantastic deal, too!
What crafter wouldn’t want this in her (or his!) stocking?

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Tapestry/Bead Cuff Loom Starter Package

tapestry/bead cuff loom starter kit

Know someone who has been coveting a tapestry/bead cuff bracelet? They can make their own with this beginner’s tapestry kit. Choose a loom and learn to weave!

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For The Bead Obsessed

Precious Metal Bracelet Kit

precious metals kit

This stunning beaded bracelet kit comes with precious metal beads and a beautiful mother-of-pearl clasp. It’s classy and it’s beautiful. Indulge the beader in your life!

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Navajo Bead and Crystal Bracelet Kit

navajo beaded bracelet kit

This stunning beaded bracelet is perfect for any level beader. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but crystals and beads are a close second.

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For The Fiber Junkie

Tapestry Kit in a Basket

tapestry kit in a basket

A gorgeous Fair Trade Bulga Basket, Navajo wool warp and 39 different colors of tapestry yarn? Perfect for any weaver in your life!

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For The Mirrix Fanatic

Loom Stand

stand

Do you know a Mirrix fanatic? You can spot one fairly easily. She (he) has three looms. Or eight. She ( he) stores one in her (his) car, three in the studio and can be found sitting on beaches, at campsites or on a boat with a Mirrix in front of her (him). She’s (he’s) already got the loom, now help her (him) accessorize with a gorgeous Mirrix loom stand.

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Add-on Treadle

treadle

The Mirrix lover in your life wants to weave faster and easier. Help out by purchasing the beautiful and functional Mirrix treadle. It can be used with or without the loom stand.

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. 

New Online Tapestry Course

Our tapestry course at Craftsy was a huge success (and if you haven’t seen it yet, now is the time to since it’s selling from $14.95.  Six hours of instruction for $14.95 is really inexpensive.  Check it out here:  http://www.craftsy.com/class/Bead-and-Tapestry-Cuffs/78.

 

If you want to read about someone else’s experience with this class, please check out this fabulous blog:

http://www.mirrixlooms.com/socialmarketforacraftsycourse.html.

But right now we are working on another online class, this one for craftartedu.org.  This one is straight tapestry.  It’s done in a different format.  Lots of photos and voice overs and possible some videos thrown in here and there.  It’s designed such that it can be endless updated and changed, which I love.  But right now I have to survive the voice overs, which are taken a huge amount of time.  We plan on having this launched on Nov. 15th.  The kits that go with the class are available now on our website:  ooms.com/store/craftartedutapestrykit.html.  Here is a picture of the kit wool/mohair yarn, a 100 gram tube of Navajo wool warp, twill binding tape and velcro for finishing.  

Here is a picture of the sampler you will weave for this class:  

You will learn a bunch of techniques in this class including: slit tapestry; weft interlock; warp interlock; weaving in opposite directions; geometrical shapes; hatching; shading; making organic shapes; dotting.  You will be armed with all the techniques you need to go on to the next stage:  designing and creating a tapestry.

Kits in a basket and Crystal bead bracelet

Ah, this is the kit in a basket.  Filled with 39 skeins of tapestry yarn and including a 100 gram tube of Navajo warp . . . you could play all month with this gorgeous stuff.  Included, of course, is this beautiful Bolga basket that you can refill when your beautiful yarns run out.  I am showing you two different ones to remind you that every basket is unique so you won’t be able to pick an exact design.  Literally, of the dozens and dozens of baskets we purchased, not one is alike.

This is a picture of the Navajo warp which is included in the kit in a basket.

And now for the third bracelet:  Beads and crystals:

To find these go to the kit section of our store: http://www.mirrixlooms.com/kits.html

Happy shopping!

New Kits!

I have been dutifully designing and making new kits for a new season.  I want to share three of the bead weaving kits (one more to go which I will share later on in the week, I hope!).  On Wednesday I will share the new tapestry kit:  kit in a  basket.  It is full of color and inspiration plus a gorgeous basket.

The first bracelet kit is a very simple piece with not so very simple beads.  Using a combination of my all time favorite size 11/0 Delica beads including:  24 karat gold, rhodium (no longer available anywhere but I bought a half of a kilo before they stopped being made), copper and gold iris.  We call this kit Precious Metals.  It requires a no warps kit so you don’t have to sew in any of those ends or hide them in some other way.  Included is a very pretty mother-of-pearl button to make the closure.  Sneak preview:

The second of the three beaded bracelets borrows from Navajo tradition.  This one is made exclusively from size 8/0 beads.  Fun to weave and fun to give away or wear.  I have had a couple of people come into my studio and try to leave with it.  This one includes the 8/0 Japanese seed beads, a dyed mother-of-pearl button and a silk wrapped O-ring.  Hey, who doesn’t like borrowing ideas from the hardware store.  The nifty O-ring holds the button really well because it is stretchy.  But black O-rings are not so adorable.  I got this great idea while on a plane recently (what else can you do on a plane after you’ve played backgammon on your ipad, checked your email obsessively (yes I fall for buying internet access when I fly) and discovering that without noise reducing earphones you can’t hear one word of that movie you so diligently downloaded before departure).  I had brought along some O-rings and some silk but it wasn’t until I was hit with deadly boredom that I realized how I could marry the two.  Now you get to use the results in this lovely bracelet.  Here is the cute little covered O-ring:

And here is the bracelet in all her glory. Note how we’ve covered the knotted ends with ultra-suede. Makes for a nice finishing plus you don’t have to deal with all those pesky warp ends:

 

 

Stayed tuned for Wednesday when I reveal the crystal and bead bracelet and the tapestry kit in a basket!

They say time flies

When you’re having fun. And the Social market for a Mirrix has been just that…if you scrap the fear! It feels like yesterday when I was one of the chosen ones! I have to admit, at first I thought I’d chewed off more than I could handle. But it’s been great!! It’s helped me enjoy weaving even more…as if that were possible!

It forced me to weave regularly! Yes, that is a good thing :) I sometimes become lax when I’ve been working on something for a while. Having to blog regularly meant I had to have done something!

Lastly, I’ve (somewhat) conquered my fear of doing videos for YouTube. I really do hope the ones I did we’re useful and helpful.

The one thing that I refuse to let beat me is beadweaving with the shedding device. Yes, that old chestnut. I WILL try until I get it. Lets hope that’s sooner rather than later though! I become more frustrated each time I fail. I don’t want to end up a mess lying in my own puddle of tears! Ok that is quite an exaggeration.

The good thing about the Mirrix is its’ multi-purposeness. In future I hope I can do some (basic) tapestry weaving. For now I have plenty of projects I need to get on with. As a last show, I took the first half of the belt off the loom. The warps on the end are almost done sorting. The others will be needed to join this to the other section. I’m still debating whether to edge it or not. I hope to wear it on a week from the coming Saturday! Must. Weave. Fast! :)

It has been a worthwhile and fulfilling journey. Hopefully I can continue in the same vein. Thank you for reading, commenting and watching. And for providing motivation when I lost it sometimes. It doesn’t end here – you cn check on me at http://brendakbeading.blogspot.com

Happy reading, beading, weaving and ciao all!

Embroidering Leno Lace

I am passionate about lace and lace making.
I love to tat, crochet and knit lace.
And, recently, I have been experimenting with weaving lace.
Well… weaving leno lace and then embroidering it…..

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

This was my first attempt, and to be honest,  it’s wonky and woobley and ‘real weavers’ would consider it to be a messy failure.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

But, I really learned a lot while I was working on it- and am intrigued and intend to keep working with this technique.
By the way, this was woven on my 16 inch Mirrix loom, with loom extenders attached.
When I was warping up for my second embroidered Leno lace scarf, I made  a video about the things I figured out while  warping with loom extenders:

I got so overwhelmed with all the work for the Soumak Weave Along that I didn’t have time to do much more with the embroidered leno lace.
I needed my 16 inch loom for a tapestry, so I wove off the blue scarf to get it off the loom, and will be doing the embroidery with the scarf being off loom.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I am pleased with the progress I have made with the embroidery, and look forward to doing more of this technique.
I love scarves and wear them year round.
Leno lace scarves are light enough to be comfortable even in the summer, especially in the evening.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I haven’t had a chance to wash and block this one yet, so it’s not as nice as it will be.
I am planning on working a twisted cord with beads on it for the fringes.
Leno lace is so wonderful and has so much design potential that I intend to continue experimenting with it!
Happy Weaving!
:o) Noreen

Wrapping Things Up

…Or should I say warping things up?  ;)

 

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been four weeks since my little adventure with Mirrix first began. Time really does fly by. You know how when, if you’re lucky, you meet someone for the first time and really hit it off? You quickly become fast friends, cherish the time spent and can’t wait to see them again. Well that’s how it is with my Mirrix loom. I probably shouldn’t admit wanting to get up out of bed in the middle of the night -I do have insomnia- and start weaving, should I? 

                                                       Two bracelets down, one to go 

As I have mentioned, I was initially reluctant to accept the offer to blog for the Social Market for a Craftsy Course because of my lack of weaving skills. Having already purchased the class, I knew what I would be facing. Initially the lessons seemed to blend into each other and the many little warping and weaving details seemed overwhelming. And with so many weavers far more experienced than myself, what could I possibly have to offer? And when would I even find the time? Besides the actual weaving, there’s the writing part and we all know how difficult that can be.

                                                      Notice my homemade heddles?  

Well I can safely say that all my fears and reluctance melted away upon receiving my package from Mirrix. The loom itself is so UN-intimidating and user friendly, and the fibers just seemed to talk to me as I knew they would. I dove in head first and haven’t look back since. My family has grown quite accustomed to Mom sitting at her loom ignoring everyone around her. (Needless to say, they’re not as fond of Mirrix as I am.) 

 

Each Craftsy lesson is so carefully laid out and slowly builds upon the knowledge learned in the previous one. Claudia is a superb teacher with a wonderful dry sense of humor. (Have you noticed?) And the finished projects, are they ever stunning. (Random note: in my day job I have occasion to spend time with some rather famous knitters. Last week, I was complimented by both Debbie Bliss -herself- and separately, Louisa Harding, on the Bead and Tapestry Cuff bracelet that I was wearing. When I took it off and told them I had made it, they were even more impressed. Fashion mavens both and definitely arbiters of good taste when it comes to fiber. Maybe they should be taking the Craftsy class, eh?)
As I have now completed all twelve sections of the class and woven every project, my blogging job is done. Claudia and Elena have kindly invited me to stay on to blog about some future projects so it is not goodbye as yet. I wish to thank all of you for bothering to read this at all and for all the warmth and encouragement you’ve shown. Truly, it would not have been nearly as enjoyable without all of your wonderful support.

 

Until we talk again soon, happy weaving!
xxx, Karen