Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Finally weaving The Big One!

 Some of you may be aware that since last May I have been working on the design for a large piece that has morphed gradually from a millefleurs themed piece featuring the native plants of my corner of the southwest to . . . something different.  Many thanks for your interest, encouragement and feedback along the way!  

I'm happy to report that I am finally weaving this piece.  It has become a fairly abstract piece that evokes the golden grasses, the intense blue sky, and the sheer amount of open space out here--not a native wildflower in sight!  But I hope it also conveys my sense of exhilaration, the wind blowing, and the swooping arcs of our big sky landscape.  

Here's a progress pic:

(c) Molly Elkind, SkyGrass (working title) in progress.  
I am weaving from the side so this photo shows the orientation of the piece as it will hang.

For those who will ask, the piece will be 27" high and 45" wide.  It's sett at 8 epi and features a white linen warp that shows off nicely in those open triangles.  You really do a get a feel for the whole piece from this narrow slice--it will have more slender grasses, more "sky shards" in various blues, and lots more open warp triangles. 

I hope you can see from the photo that there are lots of cutbacks (preferred term for lazy lines).  I knew I had to break up the vast expanse of white and wanted to provide another visual design element.  What is surprising me is that weaving this piece is all about angles--the angles of the cutbacks, the angles of the triangles of course, and the odd angles of the irregular shard shapes. There are few decisions about color and many many decisions about which warp to turn on.  

After almost three years of weaving exclusively on small looms, it's been fun to weave at my floor loom again.  While I did have a panic at the beginning--"Oh my, what was I thinking when I put in all this white?"--I'm now settling into a quieter weaving experience of perfecting my angles and shapes as I look forward to the chance to play with color when the next shard comes up on the cartoon.  I remind myself I have wanted to make a piece with a large white background ever since I fell in love with this piece by Thomas Cronenberg:

Thomas Cronenberg, Daheim (Home).
They are hard to see here, but the white and yellow are beautifully broken up by cutbacks. 

I hope you are enjoying whatever you're working on these days.  May the work of our hands keep us grounded and sane. 

(c) Molly Elkind, SkyGrass tapestry in progress

(c) Molly Elkind, SkyGrass tapestry in progress

(c) Molly Elkind, SkyGrass tapestry in progress


Unknown said...

I love your thought process and the fact that you took your time coming up with exactly what you wanted to weave. I'm learning I need to slow down my process and not be in a hurry. The white background with the cutbacks is wonderful. I also like the way you took some of your triangle pieces and let the warp show through. It give a another dimension to the piece. I'm looking forward to see the finished piece. Thank you for the photos.

Toni said...

What a wonderful concept. Please keep us up to date on your progress.! Funny how an idea shifts and morphs into something entirely different.

kathy loomis said...

This looks beautiful! Can't wait to see the whole thing.

For us non-weavers --
1. why do they call it a cutback? how do you do it?

2. is this a very time-consuming process? how long will it take to finish the piece, if you can estimate?

Molly Elkind said...

Thank you for reading and taking the time to respond so thoughtfully!

Molly Elkind said...

Indeed! I’m still surprised by all the changes this went through. I did generate lots of ideas I want to circle back to as well, do that’s good. And fear not, you’ll be seeing more of this!

Molly Elkind said...

Hi, Kathy, “cutback” refers to the action of the line of weaving, where it goes in one horizontal line for awhile, then does a u-turn and returns in the opposite direction, and it does this in a regular way to create a subtle diagonal shadow in the surface, to break up large areas of the same color. Cutbacks used to be known as “lazy lines” but that term is no longer used.
Tapestry weaving is extremely slow anyway and I expect the weaving and finishing to take at least 100-200 hours. I’ve spent way more on the design for this one. But who’s counting?