I don’t want to tell you how many different colors I have of wool yarn. Most of it is 6/2 Tuna and 6/1 Fårö, but I have a good collection of other wool yarns, too. If it’s wool, I include it in my tapestry weaving. I have all of it arranged according to a 5-step value scale.
If I combine the colors of wool just right, I can make the exact color I need for a tapestry detail. This is the challenge on which I thrive. There are never enough colors. Or, so it seems. The truth is, I have more than enough color options. Besides, for tapestry, the exact hue of a color is not nearly as important as the value of a color in relation to the colors around it.
The Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth, Creator of color, makes himself known. Take a look outside. Everywhere we look there is more color than we know how to express. So, in our humble attempts to make yarn butterflies in exact colors, we are showing that we are indeed made in our Creator’s image.
The best things take time. Time (years) to know what you want to learn. Time to study, time to practice, time to put into practice what you’ve studied. By the time you finish a work of art you have invested more hours than most observers will ever realize. If you have ever made anything, you know the most common question you are asked: How long did it take you to make that? Answer: A lifetime, really.
Time is the greatest gift. We always have enough time. How will we invest it?
May your lifetime reveal the good investments you’ve made.
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.
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.