Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Just call me Penelope*

Regular readers may recall I am weaving a series of small tapestries about Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The most recent piece has been gestating since last fall, and I'm happy to report that I cut the piece off the loom yesterday.

I'll show you the whole piece in a second but I want to back up a bit and share the most recent back-two-steps episode. Last weekend, I realized my failure to plan adequately was going to entail some serious un-weaving.

I had worked out the colors and values of the piece fairly coherently, but I had left the topmost portion of the design somewhat vague, thinking I'd know once I got there what to do.  I'd have nearly the whole piece completed by then, and it should be obvious, right?  So I moved ahead, using a very dark blue weft to fill in ever-greater portions of the top.

What I did not reckon on was that ONCE AGAIN, value trumps color.  Every.  Single. Time.  "Value does all the work but color gets all the credit."  I've heard it a million times.  I've even repeated it when I teach.  But I keep learning this lesson anew in my own work.  The dark value of the blue yarn, and its solid, level tone (as opposed to the heathery, tweedy grey mixes I've used to suggest the rocks and the crevice above Mary's face) make it stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.  It even sort of looks like a thumb pointing down here, which is appropriate.  Or a funnel cloud.  Not what I was going for. 

I let it sit over the weekend, not wanting to face ripping out hours of work.  I consulted my husband, my in-house value expert because he works in black-and-white photography, and he confirmed, Yes.  It needs to come out.

So, it only took 45 minutes to take it all out. As I rewove that section I blended the dark blue yarn with the greys I was using elsewhere to suggest the rocks and crevice above Mary's head, and it made for a much happier transition. 

Here's the finished piece.

Well, the weaving is finished.  You can see that there are lots of loose ends, both warps and wefts on the back, that need to be tucked in and tied off.  I'll post another photo when it's really finished and mounted.

*Penelope was Odysseus' wife in the Greek epic The Odyssey.  She was beset by mobs of obnoxious suitors while Odysseus was taking his sweet time getting home from the Trojan War.  She promised the suitors she'd choose one to marry when she finished weaving the project on her loom.  But ever the faithful wife, she un-wove every night what she had woven during the day, thereby putting off the day.  It took the suitors a long time to catch on. 

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