Category Archives: Materials

Bringing work home

Path to the Sun in box

Wall Gallery in Dallas has closed, so I picked up my work a couple of weeks ago. The one above, was sinking and no longer very attractive. It was returned to the framer by the gallery owner, and I was to call with instructions about the piece.

When I mentioned to the framer that the piece was sinking, he said that he would fix that. Instead, I decided to have it completely removed. If it sank that much in just two years, what was going to happen in two years after fixing it?

The piece below is still in its acrylic sandwich, but I think I’ve figured out how to remove it. I never liked the way this one looked in this frame. So now, I’m going to have some big pieces of acrylic. Anyone know how to cut it? Might be fun to do something with it.

And speaking of cutting … I would like to learn about cutting sheet metal. There are a few ideas floating around in my head. I need to take a class, if I could find one.


View of the acrylic “sandwich”

Gallery walls

It’s all about the tape

Rolls of ikat tape

Rolls of ikat tape

I wish I could describe what ikat tape is…Maiwa says it’s poly, but I’m not clear on what that is. All I know is that I can only find one source for it, it’s expensive, and because that source is Canadian, there are other expenses added to the cost. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way. I ordered one roll, but by the time all the other stuff was added to it, that roll was damned expensive. And by the way, the postman knocked on my door to have me sign papers, since the package “came for across the sea.” Now, if I order, I order multiple rolls, as many as the current budget will allow. I’m lucky that a friend gifted me with some tape she was no longer going to use. Thank you, Wendy.

Because the tape is thin, it really does go a long way. You can also easily split the tape for smaller sections. Since a local weaver is doing a first ikat project, I decided to look into buying tape again. Still the same ol’ source and no other that I could find.

This also made me drag out my ikat books, or at least try to find them–still missing one. In the books, they show that you can use different materials for tying, including kitchen plastic wrap for long sections. I think trying those other materials will involve a lot more practice for me, although in thinking about it, maybe that doesn’t need to be so tight because you wrap string around the whole section, making really tight ties at the beginning and end of the section. What do you think? would too much dye seep in? In the picture below, I tied an itty bitty piece of a section and decided it faster for the moment to continue in my usual way. You can see it third from the bottom, right side towards the center.

Ikat section 1 do-over

Ikat section 1 do-over

Years ago, I posted a video from You Tube showing a woman tying ikat. The video is silent except for the sound of the squeaking ties. I found it fascinating, but I still wonder what kind of material she’s using.

And speaking of alternative materials, I received a Uline catalog (do they ever stop sending those things?) with some possible wrapping materials. Will have to think about that.

In my search I did find some interesting sites to explore:

Strands of Silk you can see sections tied with string and other with just tape. Also a cartoon to guide with the design.

Andrea Schewe’s worktable blog Southeast Asia pictures and description of ikat tying and weavings

Backstrap Weaving Many interesting pictures of designs tied and untied, finished weavings, and an experiment by the author. I really liked the pictures here. There’s also a video.

And then there’s the exchange rate for Canadian/United States dollars

Canadian/United States exchange rate 6/28/2016

Canadian/United States exchange rate 6/28/2016

Trying something new

Lottery tickets

Lottery tickets

Well, it’s obvious that my word of the year, abundance, did not carry over into the lottery. I seldom buy lottery tickets, but I had to buy gas, and there was all the talk about the Power Ball, so, okay, I succumbed. Don’t judge me.

I have been interested in the four-selvedge technique of weaving a tapestry for quite some time, but when I read the directions, nothing clicked. Maybe my brain just wasn’t ready or whatever, but finally I have read some directions that make sense to me. Of course, the fact that there are lots of pictures available helps. Sarah Swett has a great tutorial on this technique on her blog. Check it out and read her other entries. She is not only a great tapestry weaver and artist, but she also writes quite and interesting blog. There are also some other posts here and there about four-selvedge tapestry.  Two are on the Archie Brennan and Susan Martin Maffei website here and here. Here are some links to posts on Tommye Scanlin’s Tapestry Share blog.

Maybe someday I’ll some pictures of my own efforts, but I think I need to make a jig for measuring the warp. Or find something that I can use in that way. Hmmm….

Have you ever done this? What are you working on? I’d love to hear.

Working small


Silk yarns

Becoming obsessed with projects seems to be my modus operandi; I’ve worked for years to just accept it and produce whatever it might be. As we all know, those projects are either successful, moderately successful, or just downright ugly. Right now, my obsession is working small, especially as Shop Small Saturday is coming up. As ridiculous as it may sound, an “aha” moment hit me. I can work small with the same kinds of designs that I already like. Working small does not always mean a whole new set of designs, although it could. I like color, so I’m going to use color–lots of it! Plus, new techniques (to me) and ideas can be tried out. A kind of sampling, if you will.

Part of this experimentation is with embroidery floss. Think of all the colors possible there. They’re almost infinite by using a few strands of one color with strands of another (or two) color. At 14 epi, they work pretty well. I also have silks around that I have begged asked for from my silk-weaving friends. These are bobbin ends and amounts that are really not useful to them. Plus, I made a trip to the local needlepoint shop, The French Knot. Boy, this is not your mother’s (or grandmother’s) needlepoint shop! The interior is full of very organized kinds of small skeins of yarn, from cotton, silks, alpaca, and more.  I concentrated on the silks, and even those were available in variety, but the shiny stuff got my attention. They’re all gorgeous! And, I don’t even want to think about how much these yarns might be per pound! A record of each yarn is being kept, with an opinion as to its performance: appearance, weave-ability, and whatever else comes to mind. Once I know what works best for me, I can perhaps dye my own small skeins in Mason jars. We’ll see. Or this current obsession may pass and be supplanted by a new one.

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A week of new (to me) and old artists

Spider-a little late for Halloween

Spider-a little late for Halloween

The free subscription to the Wall Street Journal is winding down to its final days. Although I will miss it, I probably won’t renew. When I first started reading this newspaper, I was surprised by how much art is covered. A few artists from the last few weeks include a furniture maker (Kevin Stamper) who dyes his wood, a fiber/glass artist (Ayala Serfaty) who uses her hand-dyed wool roving to to create furniture inspired by coral reefs and lights from tubes of glass. Then there’s this exhibition in Milan:

A Beautiful Confluence: Anni and Josef Albers and the Latin American Worldpresents the art of two of the greatest artists of the twentieth century in tandem with the pre-Columbian objects they collected passionately from the time they moved to America in 1933 until Josef’s death in 1976.

Since I love all things pre-Columbian and admire the work of both Anni and Josef Albers, this would appear to be a great place to visit. We’ve got time; it doesn’t end until February of next year! You can see more images here.

I don’t know where I read about or saw the work of Dianne Shullenberger, but here fabric collage work is amazing–and I don’t usually even go for this type of art.

And since I don’t want to violate any copyright laws, I have made a Pinterest board of the artists’ images here.



Sequence of events

Ikat tied and laid out in order

Ikat tied and laid out in order

The last batch of yarn is ready to be rinsed and untied. It takes me about an hour and a half to untie a section. I use my seam ripper to slit the tape under the knot, then unwrap the ikat tape. This needs to get finished or I need to find a neater way of doing things. The towel is there because I usually do this while the yarn is still damp, hoping to not have so much compression of the yarn. Not sure it works.

Ikat leavings

Ikat leavings



Yarns in dyepot



Balled up and ready to go

Balled up and ready to go. And, no, these yarns are not different colors.

Today’s task–start weaving, adjust the warp width multiple times until I find the “perfect” width, then weave another header and start weaving. And then there’s the bit about a visit to the dentist and a chipped tooth.

The same


As far as I’m concerned the word boring and all its derivatives should only be used in very rare occasions.  After all, we do have the ability to do something else more entertaining–except when the job has to be done. That’s where ikat-tying is for me right now. It’s got to get done. I nearly always cut my cartoons up because they’re easier to handle, although I could probably roll them up, advancing the next section as one is finished, but I don’t. Of course, when the cartoon is cut up, lots of labeling has to be done. I number each section, write top and bottom so I will have orientation, and mark the center line, so that there is continuity from section to section to the whole. The only consolation is that I’m listening to a book that keeps my attention, although I can’t say it’s great literature. When my back tells me it’s time for a break, I move on to other things, although I do try to finish one section per day, at least. Door

So, moving on to other things…for a couple of days that involved using a new-to-me app called Art View. This is an app that lets you insert art into a room setting. I am using the free version, which has three rooms to choose from. If you want to pay, you are allowed to upload more art and have more room choices. I’m not convinced that’s a good deal. You can also take a picture of a room with the paid version. Once you upload your art, you can choose a room and place the art in the room. You can resize the art and move it across the wall to a location you like. Kind of fun.

Purple-Haze Try it out. Tell mo what you think. And hurrah! Only two sections of ikat to go!

Tools and stuff

Weavers use lots of tools. I remember a male visitor to my studio looking around, saying “You get to use lots of good stuff.” Yes, we do. Lots!

Cartoon, but not at the correct angle for the project. Soon! Does this make you dizzy to look at it? It does me.

Cartoon, but not at the correct angle for the project. Soon! Does this make you dizzy to look at it? It does me.

One of the things tapestry and ikat weavers use is a cartoon. I usually take a small drawing to FedEx to get it enlarged to the size I need, and that’s where a problem sometimes happens. The employees don’t always know how to do that, plus they don’t want to listen to what has succeeded in the past. I spent over an hour on Saturday trying to get an enlargement and still did not go home with it. Later in the afternoon, I girded my loins (what does that really mean anyway?) and went to a different store. There the guy actually did what I told him about and I got a perfect cartoon. Plus, he gave it to me! As in free! I was afraid I would have to draw the whole thing myself, which then leads to the next design tool: large graph paper. Acquiring this meant a trip to my local art store, Asel Art. At first we couldn’t find a roll of this paper, and then when we did, it was much shorter length than what I have bought in the past. But that’s okay because this stuff is expensive!

Leaving my local art store. I thought the signs were interesting.

Leaving my local art store. I thought the signs were interesting.

So now I have my enlargement and a way to make my own enlargement. It’s time to get to work, especially after two weeks of doing nothing in the studio or the rest of the house and yard. The list is a mile long, but studio time is plugged in. Yippee!



Color-lots and lots of color


This morning I walked to my loom and noticed how great all the brightly colored weft butterflies looked. Well, the picture just doesn’t capture that deliciousness. This is an experiment while I get the rest of the yarns dyed for the next project. I also changed the sett, which means that I have now re-sleyed the reed about a jillion times. 6 epi for now. So, what do you think this will be? 60 inches wide, and I’m thinking 5-8 inches high. Lots of bright colors.

Surprise! More organized than I realized

Notebook-2jpg notebook-3

Whilst not sleeping the other night, I got out of bed to look for a cartoon of a previously woven piece. To my surprise, I found my notebook of finished pieces, and even more surprising, I found many notes with yarn samples, diagrams, dye formulas, what worked, what didn’t. I have a memory of starting this notebook, but not of getting it so up-to-date. It is by no means a complete record. Many pieces are missing, and there are no dates.

Left Bottom Fish-enlargement-cartoon

Gardening plans have been scuttled because of rain, and even though a brand new 60-inch warp is tied on, there is no weaving because yarns haven’t been dyed. What to do? Work on taxes? Postcards? I’m making a new cartoon for the next weaving. It’s not a very large cartoon, so I enlarged the design in Photoshop, then selected sections and printed. I ended up with five printouts that will be taped together.