Sunday, September 23, 2007

It shouldn't be possible to be stressed over fiberarts, but I have to admit to a mild to moderate level of anxiety. Davis Community Meals is having 3 artists decorate doors to be auctioned off for a fundraiser. My friend works with them and asked if I were interested quite a while ago and I said yes, so I've known about the project for a while, but just got the actual door a few weeks ago. It's a beautiful door, not solid as I'd assumed, but paneled so that changed my design ideas. I'd been thinking of putting in glass compartments and placing my glass sculptures inside, but since there were panels that supposedly can be easily removed, I've decided to replace them with panels of plain glass sandwiching handwoven fabric and possibly do purely glass panels at the top. You'd think with the virtual fiber/yarn shop in my closet, I'd have suitable raw materials, but I decided there wasn't enough time to handspin the yarn and found a great deal on cones of wool yarn. After a great deal of plotting and sampling, I wound the warp and dyed it Friday. Saturday at work was fun sheepishly explaining my green fingernails.
The two bottom panels will be greys/browns, earthy tones evoking rock and soil. The warp for the middle panels is dyed in greens and browns and the weft for that area will have some bright flower colors as well as greens to evoke a flower meadow. The large amount of pinkish orangish yellowish warp may or may not be used for the top panels. My method of dyeing is fairly haphazard and spontaneous so the results are not exactly what I planned, but I think it will work out well. And while I had the dyes out, I dyed up some silk landscape style...maybe for a shawl or some luxurious scarves.
Meanwhile, I'm madly weaving away on my first project on my new-to-me 16 harness AVL compudobby loom. The former owner was one of the first weavers I knew in Davis. She had moved to Marin and it was completely coincidental that I happened to check the SF Bay Craigslist when she was selling this loom. The warp is naturally dyed hemp that she included with the loom. After much agonizing over what to do with it, I finally unwound it, warped the loom front to back with a straight point twill threading and borrowed my friend's mechanical dobby parts to get the loom up and running sans computer program (because I haven't been able to decide which program to buy and they're all really expensive). There were definitely a few quirks in setting up and tensioning the loom since it's a bit different than the other looms I've worked with. I'm still not getting my pattern woven perfectly, but I'm going for fast right now to get some yardage out. I haven't quite decided which loom to weave the door fabric on, but if I can weave off what is on the AVL, I may try to use it.
Close-up of the pattern, modified from a pattern on

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