I had forgotten how long it takes to get something re- written and revised and go through stacks of photos to find the right ones….. It will take me a little longer to get it done…
I thought in the meantime, to tell you how it all started for me.
After the Darwin Cyclone Tracy I ended up in a small timber mill town in the Southwest of West Australia. It took several months for my friend in Darwin to organize sending my loom. She had lost everything in the Cyclone (It had blown her house off the stilts and away) and I had gifted her everything I had to leave behind. In return her DH sent my loom. It arrived in an oversized box (trust me to buy an oversized loom!) at the train station one day.
I set the loom up at home and managed the few minor repairs. I set my loom up in the kitchen. It was a large kitchen with a wood stove on the other end and plenty of space for table and chairs too. My then husband worked night shift in the mill every second week, which gave me the opportunity to do some weaving without children to worry about. It ended up being the meeting place for the other women who did not want to be alone at home or worried about the noises in the wooden houses over night. Sometimes I was too tired and just spent the time chatting and other times I let everyone else chat and got busy. I had decided to do tapestry weaving rather than weave knotted rugs (which I love to do too). I had theorethical knowledge about the tapestry weaving technique and I had learned restoration work on 17th Century tapestries in Vienna, but I had never actually woven a tapestry myself before that. Still that had given me a fair idea what a tapestry should look like. 🙂
Then, was about 1976, in the age of no computers and in a small town without a library, totally isolated and only surrounded by people who had no idea what weaving or a loom were.
I had an array of different colour tapestry wool (the needle work type tapestry wool). I painted my design on some old graph paper I found and carefully sorted the wool colours and wrote the numbers into the appropriate spaces, as I had seen it being done in the “Gobelin Manufaktur” in Vienna – little rectangles on the cartoon. I had no idea of the skill required to do this succesfully. I warped my loom with the mop cotton, and very quickly realised that it stretched … and that the colours looked quite different when woven, than they did in the little skeins.
But I persisted. I ignored the numbers and just wove colours as I felt they looked right woven and put up with the varying tension. I learned a lot about tension that way :-).
My design subject was the Darwin Cyclon, still rather strongly on my mind.
I did manage to weave it all, but it had to be framed, since the warp was so limp that it would not hold the weaving flat. Still that was adventure no1. Excuse the picture quality. It was taken with a point and shoot camera all those years ago and this is the best I can do with it. The tapestry was 46 cm (approx 18″) wide and 66 cm (26″) high without frame. It was woven from the bottom up – and no, I had not heard about weaving a sampler or a small tapestry first …
My second tapestry was woven the same way, though, I left my then husband and had to leave the loom behind for some time, but took kids (of course!)and the started tapestry off the loom (equally of course 🙂 I wove the next part over the frame of an old single bed and finally wove the end part back on the loom when I was reunited with it.
Also the third tapestry, which was my first commission and was almost entirely woven with hand spun wool.
After that I finally found out that “it wasn’t me”, but the mop cotton which did not allow my tapestries to hang properly. I had discovered Swedish Seine Twine in a weaving magazine – expensive but marvelous stuff and I am fine ever since! Still learning new things with every tapestry….
Hoping that you enjoyed this “interlude”
until next time,
keep cool or warm, depending on which half of the earth you live 🙂
PS: If you can not see a space to comment or “like” this blog, please scroll back to the title and click on “Once upon a time … a long time ago”. It will turn red and re fresh the page with the comment and “like” spaces underneath the text (sorry for having to scroll up and down again – it’s just WordPress, not me 🙂