Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When the weather outside is snowy……..

Saturday the Philadelphia/South Jersey are got its second largest snowstorm in recorded history.  The official reading at the Philadelphia Airport was 23 inches, but at our house some of the drifting brought the total to about 3 feet.

It has been several years since we have experienced a large snowfall.  We’ve been snowbirds, hiding away in Florida and escaping the wrath of winter.  I was awed by the beauty of the snow-covered trees and bushes, the icicles hanging from the roof and the patterns the snow makes as it covers everything in sight.  Needless to say, I grabbed my camera to capture some of these wondrous sights. 

So why did we leave 80 degree temperatures to come back to the cold weather?  Well, it is a tradition we started a few years ago as we began to spend more time away from family and friends.  I guess you could say that we came Home for the Holidays which include my granddaughter Lindsey's birthday, Hanukkah celebrations , the engagement of my daughter, Melissa to Josh, and spending New Years Eve with good friends.  All good things!!!

So what does one do when you are snowbound?  Well……..I spent the day framing my Polychrome Mountain tapestry.  My hubby was kind enough to make the frames after his snow blowing duties.  (See, I even gave him some projects to keep him from getting bored.  Although, he did inform me that would soon be time Sunday Football on TV.  I guess he has earned the rest.)

I covered the frames with a layer of flannel fabric over which I put a layer of cotton fabric.  I secured each layer by stapling it into the frame.  I positioned the completed tapestry to the top frame with push pins and then stitched around the edges and into the covering with cotton thread to secure it to the top frame.  I then attached the top frame with the tapestry to the bottom frame by screwing them together from the back.  The instructions for doing this can be found on the Archie Brennan/Susan Martin Maffei website.

finished tapestry

Polychrome Mountain

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


At long last I have finished my Polychrome Mountain tapestry.  I started it last November.  I woven it from a picture I took at Denali National Park in Alaska several years ago. It measures 12 1/4” H x 14” W  and is woven at 6 ends to the inch with 5 strands of Appleton tapestry yarn. 


Why, you ask, did it take me so long to complete this work?  Well….I am the world’s worst procrastinator.  I can pass the loom many times a day and yet for some reason won’t sit down and weave even a few passes.  It’s not that I don’t like weaving, because when I get immersed in it, I just love it.  So in order to cure myself of this affliction, I have decided to set goals for myself.  Starting in January I will keep a tapestry journal (such as Tommye Scanlin has been doing) and give myself some structured deadlines.   I will make these monthly goals, maybe weaving one small project a month. The loom is already warped for this ongoing tapestry diary.  I am considering having a theme for the entire year’s weaving.

I also have a loom warped for the small format exhibition sponsored by the America Tapestry Alliance in conjunction with the Handweavers Guild of America’s Convergence in New Mexico in 2010.  The theme of this exhibit is “Enchanted Pathways”.

The cartoon is already marked on the warp, but I wouldn’t let myself start weaving until I completed the mountain.  There is a deadline of March 15, 2010 for submission of the project.  Since I will be sending the participation fee in by January 15, 2010 and because several of my tapestry group members are also entering the exhibit, I will feel the pressure to get this completed and in the mail on time.

So now I will begin the finishing process.  I will trim all of the ends in the back, make some fishing touches on the front and secure the warp threads.  I will then cover a wooden frame ( made by my husband) with flannel and then another fabric over it.  The final step will be to sew the tapestry to the covered frame.  And Voila….the tapestry will be completed.IMG_1269


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Book Arts 101

Thursday night I became a book artist for one evening though a three hour immersion in the Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. The program began with a screening of a 25- minute video about the Jaffe Center for Book Arts and the amazing collection of artists' books that is the core of JCBA. This was followed by an in-depth viewing of some of the artists’ books in the collection.  The art books are made from paper, fabric, glass, wood, lead and other materials.  They are of all shapes and sizes and from traditional book format to 3-D creations. The smallest one was a complete leather bound book about 1 1/2 inches square. Here is a small sampling of some of the books in this unique library.

Afterwards, we moved on to the JCBA Letterpress Studio, where each participant printed a sheet of paper from handset wood type. These sheets became the covers  for a book, a brief history of the book arts,IMG_1260 that we bound by hand in the Single Signature Pamphlet stitch.


The Jaffe Center offers various bookmaking workshops during the year which I plan to take advantage full of.

Be sure to surf the JCBA Collections interactive page to view some of the amazing handcrafted one of a kind or limited edition books housed in this fabulous library.  After clicking on search by title or artist and making a selection of a book, you can then view individual pages from that book.  Enjoy!!!

And on the WEAVING FRONT………………..I am nearing the completion of my polychrome mountain tapestry.  Look for another post soon.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Apple Festival

Saturday the South Jersey Guild of Spinners and Handweavers held their Show and Sale at Kirby’s Mill in Medford, NJ.  The annual event features about 100 crafters and vendors.  The food vendors were selling apple cider, apple pies, apple donuts, apple ice cream in addition to the usual hotdogs, cheese steaks and sodas.  What an array of enticing aromas.

Several of our members, including me, arrived there at 7:30 am to begin the set up.  We hung the displays featuring the weaving and spinning talents of our members.  Some of the items were for sale while others were for display purposes only.

Our booth generated lots of interest.  April Lippet-Faczak and Nancy Turner’s spinning demonstrations attracted a lot of attention.  Trisha Goodstein brought a rigid heddle loom which was available to anyone who wanted to try weaving.  This was a favorite of the children who stopped by to watch and participate.  Rae Turner was busy felting a doll face,  I was demonstrating tapestry and Janis Hawes provided a card weaving demonstration.

 We had a great day despite some periods of rain.  The sun did came out later in the afternoon.  In addition to bringing spinning and weaving to the public eye, another benefit of the show was the opportunity to spend time with our fellow guild members.








Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Almost There

Where did the summer go? Time is just flying by. I know that tapestry is a slow medium, but putting that together with everything that comes up in life and a slow weaver…….well what can I say. It has been almost a year since I started the Polychrome Tapestry. I am now in the home stretch. I am anxious to finish it and get onto the next project which will be a small piece for the ATA small format exhibition- Enchanted Pathways.


I am not a consistent weaver. By that I mean that I weave for a while and then set everything aside for a period of time. The weekly tapestry group helps keep me motivated, but many times all that I accomplish is what I weave in the 3 hour weekly session. I am presently thinking that I will start a daily tapestry project, such as the one that Tommye Scanlon has been doing, so that I can train myself to weave just a bit each day.  Maybe that commitment will help unblock me. It seems that I get blocked when I am facing a new decision or new challenge in the course of the tapestry. Changing or blending colors, shapes, etc. Excuses, excuses. Anyway, I think that it would be a fun thing to do. I just hope that it doesn’t end up as the many attempts at journal writing have.  Or better yet….writing my blog.  I always have good intentions but…………….

Speaking of blogging….thanks to Jennifer Peavey for sharing info for getting text and pictures published  in a timely manner on her latest blog.  It usually takes me forever to accomplish this task.  Maybe now I’ll be able to blog more frequently.

Our weaving group continues to meet on Tuesdays, even in the summer.  Mary who is a prolific weaver, has just completed her latest tapestry taken from a picture she took in Philadelphia - a parking lot. She has documented the weaving of this tapestry on her blog.   She did a fantastic job.


Mary’s Tapestry


Naomi’s Tapestry 


Toby’s Tapestry


Joanne’s Tapestry


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finding Home

The Finding Home mural project is part of the Porch Light Initiative, a collaboration between the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health that illuminates important struggles and offers hope for recovery.
Josh Sarantitis and Kathryn Pannepacker, with the assistance of Alvin Tull, invite you to help create a fabric mural through the art of weaving. The completed mural will travel to multiple installation sites around Philadelphia, reflecting the transience of individuals who experience homelessness and encouraging open dialogue about obstacles faced on the journey to find home

Today several of my fellow tapestry weavers and I participated in this project.  We met at a homeless shelter in Philadelphia and worked with artists and homeless people weave fabric to be later painted, embellished, preserved and used in creating an outdoor mural in Philadelphia. 

The following album depicts the steps in the process.  First the large wooden looms were warped with a durable nylon string.  Large rolls of pellon were cut into strips to be used as weft.  People were encouraged to write personal messages or words of hope, home peace, etc.  One of the participants had written his “story” to be incorporated in the weavings.  Once the weaving was completed it was taken off of the loom and the loom was rewarped for yet another weaving. The completed woven fabric will act as a canvas for further decoration.  I have included a sample of what the final product will look like. The weavings will somehow be applied to the wall.  Philadelphia has many murals that decorate the outside walls of building around the city. 

I will be following the creation of this mural and will post about in the future.  I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in this project and to work alongside of talented artists and the less fortunate in the City of Philadelphia.

























Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tapestry Exhibit

Today I attended the opening reception of a wonderful Tapestry Exhibit featuring the works of the Wednesday Group, students of Archie Brennan and Susan Martin Maffei  The show is titled Tapestry: Ancient Art for Modern Times.  The works are being exhibited at the Medford Leas Retirement Community Art Gallery in Medford, NJ.  during June and July. 

Archie and Susan were there and each presented a half hour slide presentation and lecture about their works and the things that influence their tapestries.  Several of the Wednesday Group members attended as well.  I was fortunate to be able to chat with these talented artists as well as with Archie and Susan.

Here is a photo album of the tapestries that are included in the show.


What’s new……………

Well, It has been quite some time since I have updated my blog.  My computer had acquired an adware virus which was causing it to run very slowly and it had to go in for repair.  In the meantime our computer tech updated and increased the memory capacity.  So I was without a computer for a couple of weeks.  Fortunately our library has many computers available for use.  So although somewhat inconvenient, I did manage to keep up with email, blogs, etc a few times during that time span.  One thing I did notice though is how much more time I had when I wasn’t constantly surfing the “net”.  But, I also realized how I have come to depend on the computer for researching and checking things out.  I can’t believe how many times I said “I’ll just check it out on the PC.”  So although a great convenience, I’ve  discovered how much time I waste sitting at the computer when I could be doing other things such as weaving.  Now if only I can limit my time at the computer………………

My tapestry is really coming along  and I am quite pleased with it.  Last Tuesday I met with my Tapestry Group and worked on my smaller loom that I use for sampling.  Yes…..I do sample from time to time.  I am now testing combinations of colors for the next section of the tapestry.  I am also sampling a technique that I learned from  Joan Baxter at the 2008 ATA Retreat in Tampa, FL.  I will be using a series of triangles in the dark area to on the left of the mountain.  SCAN0002[1]



Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tapestry on Tuesdays

On Tuesday I was finally able to attend the meeting of my tapestry group.  It was great to see everyone and to catch up on their projects.  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera so I will have to post some pictures at  a later date.

The tapestry group is an study group of the South Jersey Guild of Spinners and Handweavers.  The instructors are Betsy Snope and Rita Landau who study with Archie Brennan and Susan Mafei and are members of the Wednesday Group.  We meet every Tuesday from 10am to 1pm throughout the year either in Betsy’s home or Rita’s home.  We bring our own tapestry looms and work on our individual projects until 1pm.  After that we retire to the kitchen where we eat our self prepared lunches and enjoy a cup of tea.  A lovely ending to a productive day.  Of course throughout the morning we share tapestry ideas and other discussions.

Since this the first time I have been back to the group since my return from Florida, I was surprised to learn that one of my Blog followers, Weavin Demon, is Mary Roth-Davies from my group. 

I was also happy to get positive feedback on what I had done so far on my Polychrome Mountain tapestry.  In addition, I got some helpful advice on how to proceed.  I really appreciate my support group and missed the interaction when I was in Florida for the winter.  I am really IMG_0378_0935 motivated now to get on with this tapestry. 


Friday, May 1, 2009

The Thursday Pineland Weavers

Thursday I was finally able to return to my weaving group which meets at the home of Doris and Howard Boyd in Tabernacle, NJ. Howard and Doris are a unique couple who are in their mid-nineties. Howard is a leading authority and the author of several books on the Pine Barrens of NJ. Doris holds our Pineland Weavers class in the basement studio of her house. Weavers have been gathering there every Thursday for over 25 years to work on individual projects under the guidance of Doris. There was an article about Doris written by Karen Donde in Handwoven Magazine. It appeared in the MA07 issue and was titled “Our Weaving Divas.” And although Doris is no longer able to teach, the group still meets every Thursday throughout the year to share weaving ideas and much more.

We arrive there in the morning about 10am and work on our projects until 12 noon when a few of us go up to the kitchen to put up the tea kettle and set the table for lunch. We each bring our own lunch, but share a dessert usually made by one of our members. As we sit around the table we “solve” all of our problems. Discussions can be advice on recipes, politics, stories about family, even a few raunchy jokes found on the internet. Of couse we discuss weaving also. One of the highlights of lunch hour is Show and Tell when we share our completed projects with our friends. After lunch we return to the studio and continue to work until 3:00pm. Thursday is a delightful day and we each cherish the time when we can come together and share ideas.

The group has a core of 10 women, but can vary in size from week to week. We meet in Doris’ basement studio which has many looms and shelves full of colorful yarn. The pictures above will give some idea of how the Pineland Weavers spend their Thursdays.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Procrastinating again

The past few weeks have been a blur of activity…. packing to leave Florida, driving home (a 2 day trip), unpacking, cleaning and cooking for the Passover Seder and more cleaning.  And a wonderful sleepover with my Lgrandchildren plus a fun  day with them at the Please Touch Museum, an interactive children’s museum  in Philadelphia. Just when I thought I could get to unpack my last box which holds my tapestry yarns and supplies, I got hit by a nasty cold.  Feeling sorry for myself, I chose to do nothing but read and watch TV.  The past few days have been cold and rainy which added to my lethargic state. 

Today is Thursday, the day that my weekly Weaving Group meets.  But I chose not to go because I didn’t want to spread these nasty cold germs around.  The sun is shining, the temperature will reach 65.  I already feel more energetic.  Perhaps I will take a nice walk to see all of the lovely spring flowers, get some inspiration, come home and go to my studio and tackle the last box and be on my way…….. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Making Progress

Well, I have been able to make some progress in the last few days.  I am very pleased with the effects I am getting.  The tapestry is being woven at 6 epi.  I am using 5 strands Appleton crewel wool yarn which is allowing me to mix and blend colors.  Making Progress 001

I will be taking a break from tapestry for a while to pack up and head for home in Cherry Hill, NJ.  We have had an enjoyable winter in Florida, but I am anxious to get back and resume my “other life” which includes my children and grandchildren as well as weekly meetings with my Tapestry and Weaving groups.  I will write more about these activities in later posts. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Becoming Unblocked

It has been quite some time since I last posted.  I had begun work on the Polychrome Mountain tapestry with such enthusiasm and was merrily weaving away when I discovered that I needed to unweave a section.  After doing that I was in a quandary as to how to progress with the weaving to get the effect that I wanted.  So day after day and week after week went by without even touching any yarn.  Two weeks ago I had brunch with my friend and tapestry teacher, Rita Landau, who talked me through the problem spot and now I am back at the loom and happily weaving again.  Thanks Rita.

Before unweaving section on right………….


After unweaving………….


And finally weaving again

2009 03 23 001

Monday, January 12, 2009

My "New iPad"

I am the lucky owner of a new IPad. Actually this is my first iPad. There are so many things that I can do with this device. I am still at the very beginners stage. But there is nothing like jumping into the fire full speed ahead. So today I took some pictures at my weekly tapestry group meeting. I was amazed at the quality of the photos. Then I decided to get the blogger app. I am soooo into apps!! That being accomplished the next step is to publish these photos on my blog. Which incidentally has sadly been neglected for almost 2 1/2 years. So here is a glimpse of today's progress.

Betsy at work on her tapestry of shrimp on a platter.

Deena's beautiful flower. I love the colors!!!!

Mary's abstract of the ark of a tree.

My work in progress on a tapestry of my granddaughters.

So now that I have successfully managed to get these pictures on this blog page let's see if I can publish it. Wish me luck!!!!!