It all began with a photo in an old Edward Worst weaving book, a photo of a wood screen with woven panels. I’d been exploring woven shibori for a couple years and when I saw that photo I pictured it with woven shibori panel inserts. I talked with Char, my wood-working daughter-in-law, and she was up for it. This was months before we actually began working on it, but the idea was simmering in both our minds over the summer and fall. Occasional conversations took place about what wood, size, height, fix the panels permanently (no!) or be removable for cleaning (yes!), or eventually to be replaced.
And, the Art Gypsies, a group of artists who do an annual show, had been asked by the curator at the Nicolet College Art Gallery if we were interested in doing an exhibit of our collective work. Yes, we were! The screen idea seemed like a perfect fit.
Life being what it is, there were many delays in getting started, not the least of which was the summer and fall Northwoods Art Tours, and a lot of orders for socks! The deadline was January 2, 2015, it was very early January and we’d barely gotten started when I was hit with a tooth infection, the flu, and one evening, found out what it’s like to have an eagle’s talons gripping your hand (even through welder’s gloves, they can puncture your hand).
Finally we could each begin, I in my weaving studio, Char Zindel, Heirloom Custom Wood Design (on Facebook), in her woodshop. Please click on the link to see Char’s photos of the frame construction.
After we worked out dimensions of the wood and the woven panels, allowing for draw-in while weaving and shrinkage during finishing, warp calculations were made and the warp was wound.
For narrower warps I usually make warps in two halves, allowing for the Texsolv cords coming down from the coupers. This time, however, because of the fineness of the threads (16/2 cotton, 30 epi, 18.4″ wide) I wound the warp in four sections, so extra hands winding on would be helpful.
I’d called Louise to help and she brought her husband George. Between them and Char and Sarah, I was just barely needed, my job being to cut the choke ties. It went fairly well!
Threading went fairly quickly, with only two threads crossed that needed to be fixed before weaving could begin.
Before Char could determine final width of cross pieces, the first panel needed to be woven, off the loom, gathered/tied/dyed/opened/washed/dry/pressed, so we knew how wide the final panels were.
After Panel #1 was air-dried and pressed, it was 16.25″ wide, Char could proceed while I quickly wove Panels #2 and #3.
The other two panels were woven, dyed, and finished. On a Wednesday morning, Char brought the wood frame up to the kitchen where I was nervously cutting into handwoven fabric so I could sew the hems. No photos of the dyeing, and sewing, it was just too busy! We were able to take a couple photos in the weaving studio before it was wrapped in blankets and taped for the ride over to the gallery.
The work on the screen, for both of us, was approximately 10 days or so, days and several nights for me. Althought during the last 24 hours, we were both saying we would NEVER do another one, on the drive home after getting it to the gallery, we were already talking about the next two or three.
Artistree Gallery, which I’ve just returned to, said they would like on there, and I want one in my studio for the Summer and Fall 2015 Northwoods Art Tours (see 2015 Calendar page above for the dates!).
I also took three woven shibori scarves for the exhibit, woven on the previous warp but with the same advancing twill threading, and the same tie-up.
This exhibit at Nicolet College Art Gallery, Co., “G”, Rhinelander, WI, runs through Saturday, March 7, 2015. Please check the Nicolet College Art Gallery website page for hours.
Now, I’m back at work on more scarves and other items for Artistree Gallery, the June 13th Art Gypsy show/sale, and the art tours. Life is good!