It Began With a Photo…

Woven shibori 3 panel screen/room divider.
Woven shibori 3 panel screen/room divider.

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.

16/2 Bockens cotton warp.
16/2 Bockens cotton warp.

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.

Four sections of warp, each one 16+ yards in length, ready to beam.
Four sections of warp, each one 16+ yards in length, ready to beam.

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.

Friends and family willing to help beam a long warp onto a plain beam.
Friends and family willing to help beam a long warp onto a plain beam.

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!

Warp threaded and sleyed.
Warp threaded and sleyed.

Threading went fairly quickly, with only two threads crossed that needed to be fixed before weaving could begin.

Weaving in progress on the first panel.
Weaving in progress on the first panel.
First panel cut off, ready for next steps in the process.
First panel cut off, ready for next steps in the process.

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.

The first panel in the sink for a final rinse.
The first panel in the sink for a final rinse.

After Panel #1 was air-dried and pressed, it was 16.25″ wide, Char could proceed while I quickly wove Panels #2 and #3.

Finished!
Finished!

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 screen at the gallery.
The screen at the gallery.
Detail of Panel 1.
Detail of Panel 1.
Detail of Panel 2.
Detail of Panel 2.

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!).

Three woven shiboi scarves.
Three woven shiboi scarves.

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.

Poster for the Art Gypsies Trunk Show at Nicolet College Art Gallery.
Poster for the Art Gypsies Trunk Show at Nicolet College Art Gallery.

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!

2 thoughts on “It Began With a Photo…”

  1. Beautiful! Interesting to follow your process and nice (as a Swede) to see you have Swedish Glimåkra looms in your studio (and Swedish yarn). I am also a lucky owner of a Glimåkra loom, one little loom of unknown origin and two old homemade ones.

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