A couple other artists' work was in the back--or maybe the front--of my mind. Tommye Scanlin's large tapestry of larger than life feathers, recently on view in her show at Berry College, made a powerful impact on me. And I've been looking lately at the work of Lenore Tawney, that giant of fiber art, who frequently used feathers in her weavings and collages.
|Early composition idea. Frame is resting on a black table.|
Well. Turns out that it's not as easy as it looks. The small feathers just didn't want to stay put in my 8 epi warp. I ended up stitching the two small ones in place with tiny tacking stitches, but that made the fine filaments of the feathers stick together in clumps. Not great, but nothing I could do about it. I told myself it was OK and plowed ahead, in the spirit of experimentation. The last feather, the large black and yellow one, was easy to insert and I got it to stay more or less in place while I wove a rather open weave around it.
In fact I really enjoyed transitioning back and forth between traditional weft-faced weaving at the bottom and a more open web that allowed the warp to show and gave a more airy effect. Note to self: explore this further. Again, Lenore Tawney and others were here first.
|Weaving in progress. You can see I changed the position of the feathers.|
It looked rather good, so I flipped the frame over to finish the back. Since it's a small piece, only about 10" by 6", I thought I'd weave the weft tails back in and finish the warps by knotting fringe. Somewhere in that process I dislodged the yellow feather, and had to reinsert it. It looks OK, but not as good as it did the first time. I'm telling myself I like the open warps at the bottom of the feather and the way the yellow spine sticks out at the top.
It's not exactly what I expected, but I learned a lot, and I think it has a certain kind of quirky charm.
Have you done any experimental work lately? How did it go?