Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Design And Work In Progress

"Time for Tea"     The original working drawing/artwork before it has been modified for weaving.
Made from tapa cloth, hand-made paper, black ribbon, artist canvas, acrylic paint and machine embroidery detail.
(Click on image to enlarge)
This is one of the 4 pieces I exhibited recently that I thought you might want to follow the progress of as I weave it. From earlier postings you can see how I use various design techniques and ideas to form the basis of my tapestries. In this case I was playing around on the sewing machine to make comic book inspired story boxes that I hoped would translate well into weavable pieces. 

I need to have three of these completed by February next year and inspiration for sticking to my deadline might well come from sharing the progress on a semi-regular basis with those of you out there that pop in to see what I have been up to from time to time. I will be setting up the warp for this piece in the next week or so and I will keep a visual record of this particular piece to share on the blog. 

The final adjusted design ready for printing and tracing onto the working cartoon, which is then pinned up behind the warp as a guide for the weaving process.
So here it is, the final piece I will be weaving for the blog. Still retaining elements of the original fibre work at the top of this posting. Hopefully this gives you some insight into the background stuff that goes on between the day I took the drive home, the sketchbook, and the final tapestry weaving you see at the exhibition.

I love this process of where the piece comes from, and it is probably the weak link in the chain for those who do not understand the importance of having at least some form of design process as part of their creative endeavour.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Creating The Tapestries I Want To Weave And Pricing The End Result.

This is the original small oil painting which was used as the inspiration for the weaving shown below. 

It was cropped to produce a width and height that I was happy with.

The image was then adjusted to create a weavable design. This is the most exciting and experimental phase in the design process for me. It is the time where the commitment to weaving time and detail is determined. How much do I want to deviate from the original painting? Do I want to pretty much retain the colour palette or do I want to change it completely? At this stage the warp count and all proposed materials need to taken into consideration as do the limitations of the actual loom it will be woven on.

This is the end result, and as you can see the weaving detail has been ever more simplified and altered as I have woven the piece. This is where the sub-conscious decision making processes of the artist-weaver takes control. It is where the auto-pilot kicks in and intuition takes over. You just go with where it takes you almost, and it is this some-what meditative state that becomes the tapestry weavers spell or magic that attracts different viewers to connect with each different weavers style of work, some more so than others.

Because I use my own images, during the weaving process there is often a certain amount of slimming down the details as can be seen in the finished weaving above “Beyond The Wall Of Melancholy”. If the tapestry were say 4 times larger than it is, obviously more fine detail could have been achieved also. As this weaving was a non-commissioned work that I was weaving to enter into an exhibition with a deadline to meet it was more a case of...Can I finish the tapestry weaving within the designated time frame I have allowed for. 

I think possibly over the years another reason I have tended to over simplify during the design/weaving process has been because I have tried to cut down on the time factor. I have always had a problem with the end pricing and in the past thought the price I ask for my work as very high for the size and complexity of the end weaving. The reality is that the prices reflect an hourly wage that sits somewhere between the minimum wage and the cost of hiring an average trades person. 

I think this constant endeavour to fine-tune and minimize the weaving time ultimately and quite unintentionally has led to the creation of a very distinctive personal style which can be readily attributed to my weavings. As my own particular genre and style has developed I have finally become comfortable with the prices I have to ask for my work.

I believe other artisans working with knitting, weaving, felting etc. who are practicing their art through fibre are beginning to value their own specialist work abilities by pricing the time they have taken to produce it,  including their design and planning time. I also feel the appreciation of these craft based art forms are becoming more and more valued as tomorrows fine-arts and hand crafted treasures. 

Tapestry Weavings By Stephenie Collin


I hope you find Warped Art & Design both interesting and inspiring, and that it will encourage anyone working with fibre to investigate and experiment further within their chosen field.

The basic loom, which is my tool of trade, has remained technologically unchanged. This aspect appeals to me as I weave contemporary images on a machine of such simple and ancient construction.

And if the loom be silenced,
then needles, threads and fingers
have plenty more to say.

About Me

My photo
Waiuku, Auckland, New Zealand
I am an artist, weaver, gardener, mother and grandmother, home food gatherer, political sceptic, modest future eater, and much much more.