Perhaps the best surprise though was the sheer variety of approaches that is possible with what seems like a fairly straightforward idea: mark the passage of time by weaving. If you are interested in tapestry or in a daily practice of any kind, do yourself a favor and go see the show. It's up through July 29, 2017. And if you want to know how to get started on your own diary, read to the very end of this post for an exciting announcement!
|Geri Forkner's daily weavings in foreground; Kathy Spoering's calendar pieces in background. |
Photo by Jean Clark.
|Geri Forkner, daily weavings, suspended and on wall|
|detail, Geri Forkner|
|detail, Geri Forkner|
|Janet Austin, Tapestry Diaries 2015 (left) and 2016. Apologies for the askew photo.|
|detail, Janet Austin, 2010 tapestry diary|
|Janette Meetze, 2013 Tapestry Diary Triptych|
|detail, Janette Meetze, 2013 Tapestry Diary|
But for 2015 Janette adopted a more fluid approach, in which the days flow into each other, and the journey through the year is like a hike through the hills. Red squares on the sides indicate the months.
|Janette Meetze, 2015 Into the Hills|
|detail, Janette Meetze|
Photo by Jean Clark
It was especially interesting to see how several artists' approach to the project changed over the years of their practice. Tommye Scanlin has been weaving diaries since 2008. You can see the evolution of her pieces below. A weaver can choose to weave one loooooong piece, or several smaller pieces. She can choose to leave the warps unwoven when she is away from the loom, as Tommye has done in Year Two 2010 below. In another year, she chose to weave a solid "filler" color for those days.
|Tommye Scanlin, left to right: Month of May, 2008; Year One, 2009; Year Two 2010|
For the past few years, Tommye has woven a small image related to the season for each month, and has indicated the passage of each day with squares and rectangles that surround each month's image. As long as each month's image and surrounding shapes are completed by month's end, it's all good.
|Tommye Scanlin, Year Seven, 2015 (left) and Year Eight (2016)|
Kathy Spoering completed a calendar series, weaving a pictorial tapestry for each month of the year. As I understand it from her blog, this was a project requiring several years' work, and the detailed imagery and thoughtful designs attest to that.
|Kathy Spoering, January (top) and May|
Kathy's pieces were hung in a grid of three rows of four pieces each. Here's a detail of June:
|detail, Kathy Spoering, June|
Finally, Rebecca Mezoff took yet another approach to the theme of time. In a recent artists' residency at Petrified Forest National Park, she took her small Hokett loom outside each day and wove a 2" square piece in response to the landscape around her. She mounted several of these pieces together on fabric-covered stretchers.
|Rebecca Mezoff, the Petrified Forest Tapestries|
These intimate pieces invite the viewer to come in close to appreciate the details. Rebecca has also made a book available with photographs of the tapestries in the landscapes that inspired them. I may have to treat myself to this. Research, you know!
|detail, Rebecca Mezoff Petrified Forest Tapestries|
I am mid-way through the second year of my own tapestry diary practice. (Go here to read about last year's diary and my plans for this year's. My most recent post updates you on June 2017's diary.) I am still fascinated by how this daily activity of sitting to weave a bit every morning has been such a spur to creativity--and a way to practice and refine my technique. As I write this it is July 1, and while I have woven the hem of this new month's piece, I still don't know what my approach will be. But tomorrow morning, I will find out. Stay tuned.
P.S. I have just learned that I have been selected to teach "Plan Your Tapestry Diary" at next year's Convergence conference in Reno, Nevada. If you're excited by the possibilities of any kind of time-related weaving (and isn't it all time-related?), join me there.