Monday, March 24, 2008

The Marriage of Sir Gawaine

The Marriage of Sir Gawaine, 2008
4" x 4"
Cotton, wool/rayon, silk.

For the American Tapestry Alliance Small Format show "Woven Gems"
(TECO Plaza Art Gallery, 702 No. Franklin St., Tampa, Florida June 1 to July 31, 2008)

No detail photos, it's only 4" x 4" after all! But here's the cartoon (I worked it up on the computer and printed it).

I used cotton crochet thread for the warp. I understand it's not really a good warp for tapestry, since it frays (I did notice it going fuzzy), but I didn't have any linen or wool thin enough for 20 epi, and since it was such a small tapestry, with little loom waste at the top, I thought I'd risk it. Besides, I've been making a conscious effort to make as much as possible of my art out of salvaged, scrap and secondhand materials, and as little purchased new as possible.

The warp was purchased secondhand at a thrift store. The silk thread in the hand and face was left over silk thread from a project, dyed in a madder exhaust bath (basically, the leftover dye in a dyebath after whatever was being dyed in it is done to the colour desired). The brown silk for the hair was weaving scraps from a silk weaving studio. The cotton weft is leftover bits from my embroidery thread scrap bin, and the black wool/rayon is secondhand, but I don't remember where I got it anymore. Only the red silk in the holly berries, the green in the holly leaves and the white of his eye was bought new by me.

I'm still having problems with the edges drawing in, though despite the fact that I can SEE the difference, my ruler assures me it really is only 1/8 of an inch from top to bottom. I measured several times!

I really like this tapestry. Enough that I'm tempted to weave it again larger. But I'd have been much happier if I hadn't already been having trouble with my wrists, which only got worse under in the short amount of time I had left to finish it after meeting deadlines on other work. I need to find a better way to do this. With such a high warp sett, I've been weaving with small tapestry needles (for the non-weavers/embroiderers-tapestry needles are blunt, often thicker needles, meant for canvas embroidery work and not for weaving tapestries despite the name).

I've been eyeing some thin scrap wooden dowels I have lying around, wondering if I could carve them into miniature tapestry bobbins.....