I am starting to see a fig. This tapestry is a short story about fresh figs and a cup of coffee. My full attention is on weaving while I’m at the loom. I’m always looking for the moment that a recognizable image forms in the woven wool and linen cloth. Attention flows from desire. And when I am weaving, there is no other place I’d rather be.
When our affections are set on the Lord Jesus, there is no other place we’d rather be than sitting in prayerful conversation with him. And, I imagine he is delighted when he sees his own image formed in us.
Pictorial tapestry on the floor loom requires a good working knowledge of basic tapestry techniques. Doing small tapestries on a tapestry frame loom, line by line, is one thing I do to hone these basic skills. I have finally reached the happy realizaton that I am no longer frustrated by meet and separate.
Meet and separate is a simple concept. It’s not hard to understand. Two butterflies come toward each other (meet) in one shed, and they move away from each other (separate) in the next shed. If you are working with only two butterflies — piece of cake! But when you need to add one more butterfly in a row you can find yourself in a pickle!
Resources that help me understand basic tapestry techniques, including meet and separate:
The Art of Tapestry Weaving, by Rebecca Mezoff
Tapestry Design Basics and Beyond, by Tommye McClure Scanlin
Tapestry Weaving, by Kirsten Glasbrook.
Workshops by Joanne Hall for weaving tapestry on a frame loom.
Meet and Separate strategies:
Add two butterflies at a time. Remove two butterflies at a time. (Easier said than done.)
Add one butterfly near where you are ending another butterfly.
Add a “two-headed” butterfly, with the two heads going in opposite directions.
If you must add or remove a single butterfly, expect to reset one or more other butterflies. (To reset a butterfly, cut it off and tuck in the tail, and then reverse its direction.)
Think ahead. You may find that the next row will need one more (or one less) butterfly, and the problem will resolve itself.
Every row is a game of strategy. Where is the best place to add in a new color butterfly? How can I add or remove a butterfly and cause the least disruption? It’s an intriguing puzzle. The frustrating part has become the fascinating part.
I like to come prepared when we travel. Prepared to weave, that is. Our recent camping trip to Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim is no exception. Relaxing after a full morning of hiking? That’s tapestry time. Rainy day? No problem. Time to pull out my small tapestry frame and do some tapestry weaving.
To view the incomparable expanse of the Grand Canyon leaves me in awe. It’s as if the glory of our Creator is on full display. Oh, the colors, textures, and breathtaking drama!
Our hearts turn to recognize God’s authority when we view the wonders of his creation. And, in the awe of it all, we pause to consider the vastness of his personal love, such that the Grand Weaver grants us the pleasure of creating something small with colored bits of yarn. Oh, the wonder of it all!
I started this warp as a place to test some tapestry techniques. I have studied, practiced, and evaluated my own results from techniques used by various tapestry artists. What I have learned is that I prefer the techniques that I am already familiar with, that I learned from my friend Joanne Hall. I am ready to dive in one more time on this warp to refine my own approach to pictorial tapestry weaving.
This little hand-built loom has been sitting idle long enough. It’s time to start again. Starting takes courage. The cartoon is almost ready. Soon, this little loom will be back in action as my favorite place to be immersed in color and yarn.
It’s as if every row ends with a cliffhanger, and I want to see what will happen next. I know the end of the story, but I’m still eager to see how it plays out. This is how I experience tapestry weaving. I linger here as long as I can. When I do walk away from the loom, I’m already anticipating the next time I get to do this.
I use a cartoon of reduced size as a color reference for making butterflies. A black-and-white version shows me value contrasts. I twist strands of yarn together to find a specific hue and value. Each new butterfly becomes integral to the cliffhanger story. At the loom, my thoughts are fully engaged in the details of this story.
When I pray, my thoughts are fully engaged in the details of life. Prayer answers our heavenly Father’s invitation to come and be alone with him. He listens as we talk to him about our life’s cliffhangers. Prayer is so much more than making requests. It’s about consulting with our Father to gain his heavenly point of view for the tapestry he is creating. When we see the strands come together just so, we know our life’s story is in the Grand Weaver’s hands.