This project was challenging for me, but I’m proud of myself for finishing this piece. I used this tapestry weaving to experiment with various stitch techniques and textures, and I learned a lot along the way.
The cardboard loom itself caused the biggest challenges with retaining even tension throughout the weaving. This was a source of a lot of frustration, but I learned to adjust and adapt my weaving and even embrace my mistakes.
I made impulsive color decisions during my weaving process, but eventually I settled on seven colors to alternate between for variety. I was surprised that changing the color was sometimes enough to emphasize different stitch techniques or even to just make the plain weave sections more interesting.
I experimented with interlocking the weft and using two colors in tandem to create vertical stripes. I also experimented with adding textured elements with added rya knots and soumak stitches. The rya knots sort of fell out when I cut my warp strings to remove my piece from the loom, but I was able to use the simple knot finishing technique to salvage the fringe effect.
Even though the weaving process was frustrating for me at times, taking breaks and returning to my tapestry gave me a fresh head to try to incorporate different stitches to make it more exciting. It felt like returning to an in-progress essay. I would unweave entire sections much like deleting paragraphs as I was trying to make my weaving feel more unified and coordinated.
Since this piece was solely experimental, I have also been surprised by the interpretations I’ve received from my peers so far. One of my friends said it reminded her of a geological cross section, and that provided me with a different perspective on my work that I appreciated.
My piece has grown on me because it’s reflective of my artistic process, and I did get more comfortable as I worked through it. This final image shows how I’ve been playing with displaying my tapestry. I’m inspired by El Anatsui and how his metal cloths change with every installation, and so far I enjoy how bunching my tapestry creates fun waves.
I weaved a landscape of a flowery hill on a summer day. I discovered that there is a lot of potential in using a unique item to hold up the weaving so that it continues a certain theme or idea the artist wants to convey. Using the stick for me continued the natural aesthetic of my weaving and meshed well with the natural chaos of the weaving ends. I really enjoyed creating the piece and like the overall shape of everything, even the backside of it. However, I wish the form of the top and bottom edge were more consistent with my intentions. I tried to adjust the top side of the weaving so it was more wavy like the hill, but that shape did not translate well after I ended the warp. Overall, this was really fun and I enjoyed experimenting with textures.
I spent a lot of time on this tapestry and it was really rewarding! I chose to express myself through this work and include vibrant colors, patterns, and lots of textures. My final product is below:
It was a very iterative process, and I wanted it to be very truthful and honest. If I tried something and did not like it, I undid it and started again. That created the fun challenge of reusing medium length yarns. This piece honestly took a lot of time because of that, but I am glad because I learned a lot and produced something I am happy with. I have already begun my next tapestry!
My completed tapestry weaving resembles a water and mountain sky scene. When starting the project, I experimented with color blending which looked somewhat like water to me so continued the color scheme to create this pattern. One of my biggest challenges was when working with more than one strand of yarn at the same time for color blending, it was extremely easy to tug on the warp which distorted the vertical lines on my weaving. This concerned me in the beginning and I tried to fix it multiple times but could not. But after I removed my weaving it became less noticeable and somewhat evened itself out.
For the mountain, I tried to use rya knots to create a snow effect but when I had piled them onto one another, it became too think. To combat this, I took out those in the center and weaved it with a needle which cannot be seen since the top rya knots covered it!
For the sky, I wanted to add a pop of color but thought the yellow was too bright so I braided it with two strands of white yarn which lightened the intensity and added a unique texture when woven.
Additionally, I wanted to include clouds but wasn’t sure on what technique to use so I added them very last by sewing them with a tapestry needle.
Overall, I enjoyed trying to create a picture with the yarn but looking back, I wish I had experimented with more techniques for texture in the water and other flat areas.
Creating this tapestry was far more frustrating then I expected. I originally had a grand plan to do a beautiful floral pattern with different textures. I dropped that idea a few rows in. Then I started to just mess around. I purposefully skipped rows, experimented with rya knots, and pulling the weft into different shapes. Most of the results of this experimentation is very sutble, but I really like how it turned out.
When creating this weaving I didn’t have a plan in mind nor an intended shape that I wanted to display through the weaving, I was lost on what to create. Rather than focusing on a specific shape I decided to use this project as an exploratory one that allowed me to practice different techniques.
Some of the techniques I utilized were dovetails (single regular/irregular, group regular/irregular), interlocking, rya nots, bubbling, horizontal rows, vertical rows, wrapping, twining, diagonal slits, and soumak. Using all of these techniques I was able to explore and figure out which methods I liked and others I didnt.
I found Rya knots and wrapping tedious and somewhat annoying, only because they required alot of attention and required a good amount of effort for small outcomes. However I did enjoy dovetails and vertical rows although both were still tedious I liked the neatness of the rows and the feeling of fighting for control when looking at the dovetails.
This is my finished tapestry weaving! I wanted to make Scotty as the main focus so I started the weaving with a few rows of the background color, then began to implement the different colors for the Scotty design. I found that it was difficult to work with 3 or 4 different balls of yarn and often confusing to make sure that each row lined up correctly and balanced each color. The Scotty part came out much better than I expected, but it isn’t perfect. Making the Scotty, I used the interlocking weft techniques to have multiple colors and make the different diagonal lines. It was especially challenging in the ears because they were so small.
After the Scotty, I experimented with doing vertical lines using the purple and red color. Then, I used the rya knots to make some fringe on the outer edges then did a few rows using the Swedish knot technique. This made an interesting texture and almost looked like a chain link. I followed up with more rya knots across the entire row and finished with a plain weave of red.
To finish at the top, I used thread to sew it closed and tied knots in bunches of five. At the bottom, I tied knots in bunches of three and then tried to do the netting knots, but I found it hard to have balanced knots and they turned out a bit long.
Here is the finished tapestry weaving taken off of the loom. In general, I was trying all of the warp techniques from the glossary that I could figure out. In the beginning, I stuck to four colors, and just tried to keep it interesting by not using large blocks of one color, but patterning instead. It seemed quite stiff and technical.
However, after class last week and seeing more curved and textured examples, I started going in that direction. For me, I was just trying to compose something that was spontaneous and free. In architecture, we rarely do that – everything must be planned and the stakes are high with mistakes. So I wanted to use this project as a way to just relax and go where the yarn takes me. I ended up including more colors, and thicker yarn. The more wavy/curvy look takes your eye up and through the piece better than the base does. Given the colors and the techniques, it seems like a storm is coming on top of a calmer base.
I have noticed that the pulling of the hourglass shape of the weave is not as bad when you take it off the loom, something I was worried about before. To finish after taking it off the loom, I used a Damascus Edge on each side, and then a Bound Warp Protector for the bottom part.
For the last weft on the top, I used the scraps after I cleaned up the edges of the weave. I left tails of around 6 inches each when weaving, and I did not want to just discard them, so I tied them together and braided them to use as a weft.
Through this tapestry, I wanted to explore how humanity has affected the ocean. I wanted to make it vibrant, as we usually see images of coral reefs and through media, but interweave bits of plastic through both the jellyfish and the ocean to symbolize the effects of littering such as the Great Pacific garbage patch. The bits of green which are slowly being swallowed up by the expanse of blue and purple show the effects of rising oceans as climate change gets worse and worse.
Using soumaks to create a piling up effect and adding depth, lonzenges to create movement within the tapestry, rya knots to create jellyfish tentacles, and diagonal interlocks to create the round shapes were some successes. I also really liked how the fish net effect turned out on top. I had a difficult time figuring out how to keep my edges even during the vertical striped segment, and also had a hard time figuring out how to incorporate the ending techniques so they would look like part of the jellyfishes. I was surprised by how well the plastic worked for the jellyfish.
This is my complete tapestry weaving after taking it off of the loom.
When I first started this weaving, I focused on using learning the different techniques. I started out with creating horizontal lines, then a diagonal interlock, and vertical bars. I divided the three sections by leaving them separated by a slit. I also used rya knots to create the piling above the diagonal interlock.
One of the biggest challenges in this weaving was the brown section with the braided/wrapped warp threads. Even though the piece was done on a cardboard loom, this technique made it hard to keep the warp threads even due to how tight the weft had to be wrapped. It was also challenging to keep the weft tight, because when pushed down it would pile up and create some bunching. I learned how to better overcome this in the wrapped section on the right (which is slightly neater) by always having the thread in my left hand, and doing the weaving completely with my right hand. This helped me keep an even tension.
While it did take an especially long amount of time, this section ended up being one of my favorite parts of the tapestry. I think the negative space it added really helped to balance out the more visually heavy parts on the top and bottom.
I tried to echo the gaps by leaving some rows unfinished as I was near the top of the weaving. I was able to test out soumak knots and ghiordes knots (uncut) in this section. The red and the beads were also added for visual interest, as I thought the weaving was feeling a little too neutral and unbalanced due to the very visually heaving piling in the lower left.
Overall, I spent about 13 hours on this piece. I really like the asymmetry and how the colors came out. I am very happy that I was able to try so many techniques in one piece.