Tag Archives: sarah swett

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.

Well, look what came in the mail


Sarah Swett’s book is handsewn

Sarah Swett has written and produced this small book about weaving a bag on a box. You can buy it here. I love her drawings and you can see more of them on her blog, A Field Guide to Needlework. Clever name, right? I’ve actually tried weaving on a box before, not very successfully, but after reading this small book, I’m thinking maybe another try is in order. It seems there are remedies for the problems I had with this type of weaving.

Inside the envelope Was a postcard with a picture of the very first weaving I saw of Sarah’s. I remember being astounded at the range of color she achieved with natural dyes, the detail, vitality, and energy in the piece. I still think that.

Energetic postcard

Energetic postcard

In my effort to become more observant, I have been taking a lot of pictures. I’ve driven by this sculpture a million times and decided to take a picture this time. I especially wanted to get at least part of the pink window with the red sculpture, which is in front of the studio of Rebecca Low, the sculptor.


Rebecca Low’s studio

Taken using the remote shutter

Taken using the remote shutter

While shopping in Target the other day, I picked up a Bluetooth Remote Shutter. All you have to do is put the battery in, turn it on and pair your phone with it, turn on the camera, and push a button. Voila! A picture is taken. There’s not one on the Target website, but the one I got is very similar to this one at Amazon, except no wrist strap. Lower price too.

Below you can see my project for,the week–putting the table loom together. I really wish the directions were better, or that there was at least a list of parts with pictures. This really will probably take the week. Why did I decide to do this?!!


Ashford table loom in pieces


What a summer we could have



Okay, right off the bat here, I’m just going to say that I was one of the last people in the world to get an iPhone. I was happier many years ago with a Windows based phone, but my previous phone was a Blackberry. The syncing really drove me nuts with the Blackberry. So, I’ve got this iPhone, I can take a picture, send it to my Photostream, and voila! there it is on my computer. Now I’m not going into any of the privacy concerns that this makes me think about, and I am pretty careful about what I post, names, etc, ‘cause this stuff never goes away. All of that verbiage gets me to the photo on the right. I took it, sent it to PS, walked to my computer and posted it. About the photo–Do you see all those empty spaces just waiting to get a warp coat? The last bout I wound on the warp beam just tells me that I have the attention span of a gnat! There are mistakes. I’m only putting on 30 yards, which means I have to count ten revolutions of the wheel. And I have to do that 12 times because each section is 2 inches and I’m warping 6 epi. But even with that simple count to 10, my mind goes walk-about. Which brings me to the next part…

Workshops. There are so many good workshops this summer, and I have been tempted mightily. But I finally decided that the money for a workshop could better be spent getting a “real” dye place set up, one that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to take home to my mother. The following are some of the workshops I have considered:

Sarah Swett

THE VALUE OF VALUE How do images come alive on a warp? What gives things the appearance of volume? How can a collection of woolen shapes exude energy, movement and mood? In this workshop we will look at yarn, light and color as we try to answer these questions and more. The class begins with a series of exercises in blending and value progression, exploring how these can be manipulated to model form. We then apply these principles, each person designing and beginning to weave a cartoon based tapestry. Students will work with pencils, paper and wool as they train mind, eyes and hands to develop and weave flat objects that come alive on a weft faced surface.
Plus as a bonus we will learn to incorporate a “4-selvedge” warping technique, for those that would like an additional challenge.

By the way, if you haven’t seen it, take a look at this news bit with Swett’s tapestries and an interview. Absolutely amazing work!

Mary Zicafoose at Tapestry Weavers South

You can read about it on Tapestry Share. The descriptions below came from Mary’s website. Mary is an excellent teacher, and this was so tempting. I took an ikat workshop with her in Nebraska.  If you’re interested, read here, although it seems I wrote more about the trip than actual workshop. And just as an aside–I think I need the last one on this list, The Zen of Weaving….

The Language of Art: COLOR

This one-day intensive dip into color will saturate your palette and provide courage at the loom and dye pot. In referring to the work of colorist, Josef Albers, students create a color workbook of 24 personal studies. After cutting and pasting through the rules, you will brave into bending theory, pigment and hue, striving to speak with a new frequency in your work.

Class Size: 40
Level: All
Equipment & Supplies: Separate attachments
Lab Fee: $25 (workshop folder and a 240 pack of color-vu silk screen papers)

The Language of Art: DESIGN

This one-day class will focus on the sequential steps required to develop your unique visual ideas into dynamic tapestry and rug designs. We will spend the day looking at images, drawing, and developing hunches into plans for a series. This is an ideal “time-out” to collect your thoughts, expand your design tools, talk about your work, and transform ideas into workable blueprints.

Class Size: 40
Level: All
Equipment & Supplies: Separate attachments
Lab Fee: $5

The Zen of Weaving: Getting Inspired, Staying on Track & Reflections on the Making of Fabric

This one-day workshop abounds with handouts and resources to nourish and nurture the busy artist, spinner and weaver. This unique fiber class provides stimulating exercises to aesthetically recharge and ample food for thought about unraveling the threads of life. Focus is on creative purpose, goal setting, stress management and staying in the flow of production and inspiration. There will be time for specific Q & A, and portfolio consultation.

Class Size: Unlimited
Level: All
Equipment: Slide projector, screen, CD player, flip chart

Indigo with Botanical Colors

Description below is from the email I received. Again, so tempting. While you’re there, read about Pigments of Provence with John Marshall and Kathy Hattori.

We will work with a number of different indigo preparations and specialty indigo powders procured from small cooperatives and organic producers. You will learn how to create, maintain and revive your own indigo vat using both the organic fermentation and the chemical lye-hydrox vat method. You’ll explore dipping and color strategies and techniques such as resists, overdyes, underdyes and surface effects and gain confidence and ease with working in your own studio by practicing vat observations, troubleshooting and problem solving with a skilled mentor.

We will experiment with the following indigo varieties:
* Organic indigo powder
* Bangladeshi fair trade indigo
* Salvadorean fair trade indigo
* Instant indigo
* Saxon Blue converted indigo
* Plus a few surprises if the weather and crops cooperate

Each student receives a notebook of indigo recipes and techniques, a set of pH indicator strips, plus yarn, paper and fabrics for dipping including ribbons, silk, velvet, and handwovens. Students are encouraged to bring their own fibers to dip; guidelines will be sent with registration.

Each student will tend their own personal vat that they will build, balance and maintain.