dyeing, weaving, and peace

So, what did I really do first thing after we returned from our mountain trip? Even before blogging about it? Of course, what any sane weaver would do, I did a little bit of dyeing because I couldn't let my fresh dyestuffs ruin! Even though it was a small dye run, nonetheless, it was the first for the new studio. And I could further rationalize dyeing instead of cleaning up & putting away things from the trip because I pulled out several bags of sunflower heads that had been in my freezer, so it created more space in there for actual food. (We won't mention the fact that other frozen dyestuffs are currently still occupying 9o% of the bottom shelf space, & we also won't mention that there are only two shelves in my freezer.)

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.

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!


Debbie Herd said...

Hi Lyn, your new studio and tapestry look fantastic. How wide is your tapestry on the loom? I have a very large rug loom but mine has 4 shafts so I can weave twills ect. I have never woven tapestry on it as because of the weaving width I could not reach the treadles.But at the moment I am seriously thinking about it as I am having a forced rest from tapestry for a while as I have rsi from weaving. The reed in my loom is 50 inches but sometime I may be able to get extra treadles set up for 2 of the shafts. Great to see once again what you are doing. Debbie

Michelle said...

Hi Lyn,

Great idea using the basket weave for the pollen heads, I really like how it looks. I've meant to ask you where you get your yarn. You may have mentioned it before, but I can't remember now. It has great texture. I took a class from D.Y. when I was attending ASU way back in the early 90s. She gave a workshop in Prescott. I think I am going to have to sign up with Desert Tapestry Weavers...I sometimes really miss home. (AZ) Thanks Lyn!!

lyn said...

Hi Debbie & Michelle!

This current tapestry is 30 inches wide. I am primarily using my natural dyed for this piece because the colors I have seem to be perfect for it. I do my dyeing with single spun wool that I buy from Burnham's Trading Post-- I have been dyeing on unbleached white & light grey. Their website is not very good for viewing their yarns, but they have some wonderful (& cheap!) wool: natural, synthetic, & Navajo dyed. Michelle, email me if you want their contact info-- desertsonghart@msn.com

Along with Burnham's wool, I use wool from Norsk Fjord Fiber & will be using a little of that in this tapestry. There is a link for that website on my blog.

How nice to learn that you know DY, Michelle! She is such a wonderful person & weaver... I feel lucky that I was both able to take a workshop with her & count her among my weaver friends!

tapestry13 said...

Hi Lyn,
Beautiful shot of the dyeing and the beginning of the next tapestry! And, I love the toe sock idea...

Your mountain journal was very inspirational. Thank you for sharing that.


K Spoering said...

Lyn, thanks for the post on my blog. Congratulations on your Peace tapestry being used for the postcard invitation! It will be perfect for it! Be sure to request that they send you any 'extras' instead of getting rid of them in any other way. You can use them when you send out promotional stuff. I admit that I envy your new studio. It looks so light and spacious - and working in my home studio right now is somewhat bothersome. Many interruptions! Keep blogging - Kathy S