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.


  1. I definitely agree that it's interesting to let people in on your process. What I find, though is that my own is so interior, that even if I show the work in progress, the process is a bit invisible! but yes, it's a revelation to people who don't make art to see just how much concentrated focus and thinking and visualizing and joy goes into it, quite apart from producing a finished artwork.

    That said, I think your working drawings/paintings/mixed media pieces are terrific works, complete in themselves and I hope they are to be exhibited, too? not just as prep. for tapestries, but as works in themselves.

  2. I'm glad you wrote about this because obviously in sharing this particular design process it was not like me going to a standardized workshop or behaving as academic institutions would have you go through a specific step by step guide, where the process is pre-defined and planned to minute detail to achieve a final design.

    I have a lot of chaos and mess of ideas that bump me around and subconsciously make me have to think about what ideas I will use and what ideas I won't use. I also have an over-heating car to to take for country drives and cups of coffee to drink at the local cafe', and mail to collect from the post box etc,etc, as I go about my creative-non creative day. Some how this background stuff pops up in my mind as I am drawing or sewing or painting or whatever. Somehow this invisible interior stuff comes out in the work. It is just a matter of being more conscious and disciplined in making use of all this extraneous chaos called life and joy and dare I say it doubt and grief.

    What I write on the blog is the polished end version of events. Similar to putting a C.V. together you are going condense and show your best face of what you have done.

    I had an idea, in this case a comic strip. I fluffed around on the sewing machine, and voila!! out popped these cute little works on tapa. Very finished pieces in their own right. HOWEVER the intent was always at the back of my mind that they had to somehow end up as designs for weaving a series of tapestries.

    From experience I have found that if I focus to keep my play specific to that end tapestry weaving result, that the end designs I weave are always much stronger than if I had just say copied a few images out of someone's comic strips and modified them straight away through photoshop or whatever to make the type of images I wanted.

    Although I am not classically trained through art school I totally understand that playing around with the process is as important as the end result.

    As you know I just had that show, and yes the tapa works were also up on the wall for sale and sold within a day or so .
    As I do in all my exhibitions I always put in other work that I call ticklers as they are usually much lower priced compared to the larger tapestry works. They are usually not weavings, 4-12 of them in a series and because of their price, I have always sold them all. These pieces are purpose made to cover all my gallery hire costs. Somehow it has always worked for me.

    Like yourself, I don't like to share the actual weaving process in the making because they are usually being made for specific competitive exhibitions. Also I like them to be a surprise for viewers on the day of the opening. On top of this is the dilemma that galleries themselves do not like the idea of showing works that have already been seen.

    By the time I get the work started on the loom I actually do have to stick pretty much to the exact image I have made for the cartoon that is placed up behind the warp. I am a bit anxious about sharing this weaving as it is being made for the above reasons, but it will probably be good to let viewers know more about the intricacies of my weaving style and keep my allocated time frame in check.



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

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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.