Social Market for a Mirrix


Susan posted some questions on my blog I thought I would answer in today’s post.

First, my disclaimer… I’m not good with “shoulds” and rules and boundaries. I tend to work in ways that suit what I’m trying to accomplish rather than doing what’s “right”. This is the main reason I don’t try to teach. This is also one of the reasons I recommended books at the beginning of the campaign for people who want to learn tapestry weaving. So, that being said…

Why do you start weaving in different places?

On the current weaving, I’m weaving in different places instead of straight across because I’m balancing the colors as I work. Even though I’m working from a colored cartoon, I still need to make adjustments as I move through the piece. For someone else it might be easier for them to just work straight across. I think it just depends on how you visualize things.

Does that make uneven tension?

Yes, it could. But the weft of your weaving can also be uneven if you work straight across. Getting a nice even weft is more about practice and developing a feel for what you’re doing.

Do you always use the shedding device on small areas?

I never use the shedding device on small areas. I use the shedding device when I’m working on large weavings or when the weaving that I’m working on has large areas of color.

Do you ever use anything but plain tabby weave?

Sometimes. It really depends on what I plan to do with the piece once it’s off the loom. As you’ve seen, a lot of my weavings are incorporated into collages. I really prefer my changes in texture and design to come from the different yarns and fibers I’m using.

Can you add texture changing the weave and if so can the heddles be arranged to change the pattern using the shedding device?

I haven’t tried it on the Mirrix but I don’t see why not. Hopefully Claudia or Elena will jump in if I’m totally off track on this. My best suggestion would be to just give it a try.

How would it look using your fingers to lift the warp threads and change the weft pattern to add texture or break up a large pattern of color?

It’s going to depend on what you’re using as warp and weft. Warp your loom and just try out all of the wacky things you can think to try. Some you’ll love, some you’ll hate, but I think experimentation is important in order to grow as an artist.

Can you embellish the weaving by adding some metallic thread as a highlighted area?

Yes, you can either weave the metallic thread into the weaving or embellish with it once the weaving is off the loom. I use Kreinik Metallic Threads and Cords. And WEBS (www.yarn.com) offers a limited selection of metallic yarns. They’re generally more expensive than regular yarns.

What about shading an area?

You can play with the colors that you’re weaving with in order to shade an area.

Just a reminder also, videos will be posted on Mondays instead of Sundays for the remainder of the campaign.

Social Market for a Mirrix

I’ve come to the realization I’m going to have to weave faster because I’m running out of things to say about this piece. I must just be boring your stripey socks off. Anyway, my goal at this point is to start to level the sections off so I can at least show you an area with the handspun pulled through the slits in the event I don’t finish the entire weaving by February 28th. Or maybe I’ll just consider it finished on the 28th no matter where I’m at in the process so I can cut it off the loom and finish the remaining steps of closing up some of the slits, incorporating the handspun yarn, and mounting it. I’ll see how things progress.

In case you missed the announcement, Mirrix is offering free bead patterns for download on their website. There’s a really great Valentine’s Day heart pattern available that I believe is based on one of Claudia’s zendoodles. I might give the image a shot at some point weaving with DMC #5 embroidery thread. But that’s a project for much later in the year.

The pink and black “weaving over a weaving” is still very much a work-in-process but should be finished this week. One of the ideas that crossed my mind when I was working on it yesterday was what would happen if there were multiple layers of weaving, then areas were burnt away so you could see the underlying layers. Yep, it’s just a matter of time before something goes up in flames.

As I start to look forward to how I will utilize the Mirrix Loom in my future work, I see it being a really useful tool in my mixed media / collage / assemblage projects. I’ve realized over the past few months that for me “traditional” tapestry weaving is very restrictive.

Social Market for a Mirrix

I’ve been re-working a couple of sections so there doesn’t appear to have been much progress since my last post. There’s actually much more contrast in the colors than there appears to be in the pictures. I experimented a bit with weaving the handspun yarn I’m going to use as embellishment into the weaving but decided against it. It’s much more interesting pulled through the slits. I just noticed that I need to increase the tension on the warp threads again which will straighten some of the wonky areas out a bit. I decreased it when I was working with the handspun.

With every project, no matter what medium I’m working with, there are always lessons learned. If I were starting this weaving over and still using the Tahki Cotton Classic for the weft, I think I would warp every other dent instead of every dent. Of course downside to doing that is the really small areas would be problematic.

For anyone in the New England area, the American Tapestry Alliance’s 8th American Tapestry Biennial is being shown at the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA, until May 1, 2011. In addition, two artists will be giving talks:

  • March 13, 2011 @ 2:00 pm Susan Martin Maffei “Under the Influence, or Is It Just Inspiration?”
  • April 10, 2011 @ 2:00 pm Anne Jackson “Anne Jackson: Knotted Tapestries”

Social Market for a Mirrix

The current weaving is progressing slowly. I’m trying to work from left to right and from the bottom up as much as possible. You’ll notice the large square of orange in the middle has been partially removed. Something truly heinous was going on with that particular section. Somehow I managed to get the weft threads way too tight so I have to redo that area. I’m okay with the edges of the individual sections not being perfectly straight, actually I prefer them to be crooked, but that one was far too distorted for me to be able to close the slits if I needed to. As I continue to weave, I’m finding I have to work in a bit more black than was on the original cartoon in order to break the colors up and provide balance. I’m still happy with the basic color combination though.

I’m also working on the two remaining weavings that I completed earlier in the campaign. The pink and black one you saw in the video on Sunday is sitting where I can see it every day and is waiting for me to be struck by a bolt of inspirational lightning. So far… nothing. And I’m continuing to embellish the first weaving with beads. So, hopefully I’ll be able to post both of those by the end of the month.