I used the mullein, dock, & sunflowers, obtaining a very muted but beautiful palette. As luck would have it, the dock provided the exact shades that were missing from my opuntia palette, which are the two skeins already wound into balls. Most of the colors for opuntia will be from my natural dyed wools-- pomegranate, ponderosa pine, chaparral sage, peach, marigold-madder. As I weave, I will remember where & when each of those dyestuffs were gathered: the pomegranate & sage from our property here in Tucson; the ponderosa pine during a stop outside Show Low during our Marble Canyon trip; the peach leaves & tender branches from our NM neighbor's orchard; the marigold-madder from a post dye workshop mini dye session when I was assisting Janie Hoffman.
Opuntia has been started, & it is already glowing. It is being woven on its side; when it is finished & displayed, the pollen head area will be in the lower right hand corner. I have spent the last couple of days not really weaving, but mostly weaving & reweaving the first pollen head because I wasn't getting the effect I was seeking & I wasn't feeling very well. Today, as I have started feeling better, I have also figured out how to weave the pollen heads. I wanted a raised texture, but didn't want to use a technique that would take eons to weave. So what I have come up with is to intersperse single picks of basket weave within passes of regular weave, using a double strand weft of two different, but similar colors. Now, with two pollen heads woven, I like the effect I see, & I have also decided that the pollen heads that are deeper within the flower will be woven as the rest of the tapestry, with a 1 strand weft to help them appear deeper than the textured heads.
Over the last few weeks, some wonderful things have been happening, like little unexpected gifts out of the blue...
I've been visited in my studio by two good weaver friends-- DY Begay, a Navajo weaver who lives in nearby Mesa, & Olga Neuts, another tapestry weaver here in Tucson. What wonderful visits we had! It is like a good cool drink of water that quenches your thirst when you are able to spend time visiting & talking with other weavers who share your passion!
While a friend & I were attending the Bisbee Fiber Festival, I was approached by members of their guild to come teach a beginning tapestry class next year. Of course, I said yes... what a great opportunity! One of my favorite things I did as a nurse was teaching my patients. Since I retired to pursue my weaving I always hoped that some day I would be able to teach others again. It has come much sooner that I dreamt it would!
I have solved a dilemma that had been pestering me since the last time we had cool weather. I like to weave barefoot, & when it's cold, my feet get cold. I just cannot weave with shoes on & socks slide around on the treadles. So what's a poor, barefoot weaver girl going to do? Get some toe socks! And not just any toe socks, yoga toe socks with tread! They are very sticky, & yes, they obviously pick up dog hair, but my feet will be warm when I am weaving this winter-- heaven! Feets don't fail me now....
And, like an extra dollop of hot fudge on the sundae (forget the cherry-- give me more chocolate!), I just found out this week that the Countdown to Peace Project is planning on using my peace dove on the postcard announcing their first exhibit. They now have a website & some of the artists' work has already been posted. My piece was assigned the date of 3-30-03, kind of cool! They are still accepting submissions, so if you are reading this & you are an artist, think about creating a 4" x 4" work to send!