Archives for August 2013

Tapestry Workshop with Sarah Swett

I recently had the great pleasure of a four day tapestry workshop with Sarah Swett and 14 other wonderful weavers in Garden Valley, Idaho. Titled “The Value of Value” it was everything and more of what I hoped for. Sarah is a gem and a hoot for sure. She managed to get and keep us all on track while allowing for our individual approaches.

As promised, we learned how to warp our tensionable frame looms for a 4 selvedge tapestry. Our first assignment was to work thru a range of values with yarn colors of our choice. Our digital cameras, smart phones, or iPads with black and white image capability were a great aid in checking our values as we worked. I’m happy with my colors and value changes. I wish I had included more of the red at the bottom. It is 2” x 3”.

Our next tapestry assignment was to try to show a 3 dimensional form using one or two point perspective and value changes in 3″ x 3″. I started with sketches and some notes. It was hard to track all of the variations of yarn colors and values so I made a number line for value at the bottom from 10 (darkest) to 1 (lightest) with notes about yarns.It also helped to make and tape little swatches of the yarns.

I could have kept it simple but that would have been unlike me! While out for my regular morning walk, an idea for adding vegetation in the foreground came to me. Here it is on the loom in progress. The cartoon, barely visible, is sewn to the tapestry on the backside.

Here it is finished on the loom (left) and after I did a little extraneous needlework (right) to increase the contrast between the roof and sky. One thing I learned is to include the contrast as I weave.

Below is the final version compared to the black and white image of it. Now I can see the similar value of the greens in front and the brown front of the house, as well as the lightness of the window and the mid-ground grass. I still love it and I have more information for my next tapestry.

The assignment that I didn’t have time for included an attempt to demonstrate curved forms (ribbon or balls) using value. I also want to play with some lettering. Sarah brought some of her tapestries to show us. Amazing work and Sara is a great instructor.

I had a great time in Garden Valley and Crouch, Idaho. The facilities, new school and new public library, were as great as the people. Georgianna Goetsch was the organizer and did a terrific job. We ate our breakfasts and lunches at the school. Many thanks to the cook. I’m hoping there are more fiber events in the area in the future. I would return there in a heartbeat!