by Annie MacHale
For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in patterns and colors. Some of my earliest memories are about noticing patterns on peoples’ clothing and taking “snapshots” in my mind of ones that I liked. Members of my family have learned that when I am looking at something in a certain way, I’m absorbing its color or pattern.
My theory is that all of my observations have lodged somewhere in my mind and come forth, in no particular order, in my weaving design work. For many years, I have used a spontaneous method for designing bands. I don’t start with a pattern on paper, but just sit with a pile of yarns at hand and create the pattern as I warp the loom. Guitar straps are my main woven product and I assure customers that no two are ever exactly alike.This is important to me—not to keep copying a design, but to make each a unique creation, a work of art in its own right. Every time I warp my loom, I’m creating a new color experiment. I’ve used anywhere from 1 to 22 colors in a single band, with 3 to 6 being most common.While my color combinations are instinctive, I wanted to be able to explain to other weavers what I had proven to be true from my thousands of experiments on the inkle loom. Lacking formal art training, I launched into a delightful self-study course in color. In doing so, I learned the terminology for, and the explanations of, why things work the way they do. Still, I think of it as part science and part magic. To create a pleasing band design, you don’t have to study color theory, but it does pay off to observe the beauty around you and use it as inspiration. Choosing the right colors for a band is most important. The pattern allows the colors to interact, dictating the position and proportion of color. It’s no secret that I like designs that pop.My signature designs tend to include combinations of saturated colors, value contrasts, and gradations. The best designs have enough contrast that the pattern is attractive from a distance, and enough subtle aspects that they are also interesting from close up.
Like dots of paint on canvas used in pointillist paintings, small amounts of color next to each other in a warp will visually blend at a distance. I like to place one single thread-width stripe of a color next to another so that they blend visually. They create a different color altogether and offer the viewer a subtle surprise. As Laura Bryant says in her video A Fiber Artist’s Guide to Color, “You don’t get WOW from doing the expected!”
Find more color tips in Annie’s book
In Celebration of Plain Weave
for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ASpinnerWeaver
Where to find Annie:
by Kennita Tully
I began weaving tapestry in the 70s but eventually gave it up to pursue a knitwear design career in the late 80s. So many wonderful happenings have occured in the tapestry world since then! It’s encouraging to see
, yarns, and looms coming out… like the tapestry weave-alongs, new tapestry books Arras!
Roots tapestry by Kennita
In progress weaving on the Arras Tapestry Loom
Tapestry is the fiber medium I connect with. Nature inspires me, and, more specifically, the interconnectedness of life. Reciprocity is an important aspect of my work. Trees, plants, and fungi are some of the subjects I draw from. Tapestry gives me the means to visually express these connections.Enter Arras. When I heard Schacht was working on a new vertical tapestry loom, I could hardly wait. I had several other looms at that point, but none except the simple frame looms were made of wood. One of my favorite things about the Arras is the wood and the way that new wood aroma lingers for days. I wish I could have bottled it!
A lot of my work involves the soumak technique (the fine lines in the photo above), which requires me to be able to get my hands in between the front and back warp. The depth of the Arras gives me plenty of room. The size is nice, too. It’s large enough to do a substantial piece, yet small enough to complete a weaving in a reasonable amount of time.
In progress weaving on the Arras Tapestry Loom
But that’s just scratching the surface. The tensioning mechanism is elegant and the ability to raise and lower the weaving is something I know will be very useful. The design of the Arras is well thought out, from the way the warp coil system and warping bar look to the beautiful (and complex) shedding mechanism. If you are a tapestry weaver, you’re sure to love this loom!Portability isn’t as important for me, but the loom could easily fit into the back seat of my car if I needed it to.
, I’m sure I could take it apart if I had to and put it back together again! And now that I’ve assembled it on my own