Weaving Tallit

Some projects just have their own timetable. Apparently, this is one of them.

April 2017 – Loom set up since October 2016.

I wanted to weave more painted warp tallit, so I ordered linen yarn for the warp. That was in May of 2014.

Finally got started at the beginning of Oct. last year (2016). Wound the warp, dyed it and got it on the loom in about 2 weeks. My goal was to have at least one woven by the Seattle Weavers’ Guild sale at the end of the month. With barely a week before the sale, I realized it wasn’t going to happen, and if I tried, it would be rushed, and I wouldn’t enjoy the process. Totally not the right energy to be putting into a piece of sacred cloth.

Life happened, so it wasn’t until the beginning of April that I started weaving – Yay! Finished weaving in the header and discovered that the tension on the warp was uneven. Not good, especially with a linen warp since linen has virtually no stretch. Discovered that at the end of the warp, there wasn’t any packing on the warp beam. So, un-wove everything, un-lashed the warp, re-rolled the last yard or so, re-tied on, and got it back to the same point it was when I started that evening. More ‘Life Happening’, and so it sat again.

June 2017 – Loom set up after adjusting the warp tension in April. Ready to start again.

Last night, I started weaving! So, to keep this project moving along, I’m going to post progress pictures of the day’s weaving as I go along. I’ll post them on my Facebook page, and then do a weekly summary on this blog. Hope you enjoy watching the progress. So here we go!To secure the end of the weaving, I do a type of hemstitching. It essentially creates a row of twining at the beginning so it won’t unravel. Using a long tail of the weft, you go over one warp thread and then diagonally under the next one locking the weft yarn in place.First 10 inches of weaving done. Warp is a 20/2 linen sett at 24 epi. Piece is 27” wide, so there are 648 warp ends. The main weft is a 20/2 silk yarn. The blue and purple are 8/2 Tencel. Note: before doing the hemstitching, wove in more header to the beginning of the dyed part of the warp (no photo).

Close up of the weaving.

Peeking and slowly crawling out of the ‘spiritual closet’.

Having spent most of my life hiding from myself and/or the world, posting on this blog is a big step for me. I’ve been searching most of my adult life for meaning, connection and trying to figure out what my purpose is during this lifetime.

In my 20’s I began meditating, and was a disciple of Sri Chinmoy for a short while. That was followed reading by a lot of books on a variety of mostly New Age subjects. Then about 10 years ago, I started studying Wicca as well as going back to my Jewish roots and discovering that there were more similarities than differences between the two. During this time I became involved with the Women’s Torah Project and was looking for a deeper connection with the Divine Feminine. My reading now included anything I could find on Shekhinah.

In the Fall of 2015, I stumbled upon the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Training Program. It is described as ‘Earth Based, Embodied, Feminist, Judaism. I sat and read every page on the website. When I got to the bottom of the page describing the 13 priestess paths I was blown away. One of the Paths is The Weaver.

Oreget: The Weaver
    The Weaver weaves in the Temple to honor the Divine feminine. What she weaves are batim or “houses”—tapestries, garments, or maybe worlds. Like the Fates, the oreget weaves space, time, and soul together. She embodies the connectedness of all things. It is she who integrates and connects the many threads of the world. We see her in the women who spun the goats’ hair for the Tabernacle. Her gifts are the weaving of legends, interpretations, rituals and traditions, as well as weaving, sewing, writing, and all the creative arts. She watches over all activities that bring disparate elements together.

My first thought was “I’m not crazy!” I was awed, humbled, thrilled, amazed, excited, blown away. My path was real, not some crazy thing I was dreaming up. They were describing me. Some of the ideas could have been taken from my artist statement. And literally, I am a weaver.
     Artist’s Statement – March 12, 2013: “Spirituality and connections. These are the focus of my current work in mixed media and fiber art. The underlying philosophy of my world view is that all things are connected in some way. Finding those connections by juxtaposing objects or ideas fascinates me and through this searching, I look for ways to understand our place in the cosmos. My goal is to create art with a spiritual focus or for a spiritual use, with the hope that this work will foster the viewer or user’s sense of connection to that which is greater than our individual selves. Art that celebrates the threads of spirit that connect us all.”

I promptly signed up for their newsletter, and in a few months, they announced they were taking applications for two new cohorts, one on the East Coast, and one on the West Coast. I finally got my application in, and was accepted. I went to the first week of training in January 2017 still not entirely sure about this, it sounded so cool, but what in the world would I do with this? By the middle of the first full day, heading to the dining hall I knew, “I’m home”.

Central altar at the end of the week for Shabbat.

Inward Journey, Search for Self – Solo Show

Newer pieces in the show.

There is still time to see the show, it runs through March 27th, 2017
@ University Friends Meeting & Friends Center
4001 9th Ave NE, Seattle, Washington 98105
The Friends Center is open M-F from 9am – 1pm. The show is in the social hall which is locked. You will need to knock on the office door.
Their worship services are on Sunday morning. http://ufmseattle.org/
And for those who can’t make it to the show, here are a few pictures of the newer pieces.

Path of Liberation, hand-dyed fabric and beads. Background is 24″ x 24″.                                              The dyed fabric is a vintage linen napkin!

Healing the Mother: jigsaw puzzle, pins, threads. 14″ x 18″

Goddess / Tree: tablet woven band on silk and linen background. 23″ Diameter.                           Need to figure out a better name. Think I may title it ‘Ima Adamah – Mother Earth’.

 

Mother Tree – Asherah, Handwoven fabric with needle felting and needle weaving, net, mounted on padded wire frame. 43″ x 30″ x 7″ This piece has move to the Fiber Fusion show at Schack Art Center in Everett, WA. Fiber Fusion opens March 9th and runs through April 15th.

 

 

 

Show, Classes, a busy February

February will be a busy month!

Reception: My Solo Show – Inward Journey, Search for Self                                   February 5th, 2017 1-3pm @ University Friends Meeting & Friends Center
4001 9th Ave NE, Seattle, Washington 98105                               https://www.facebook.com/events/735555793260230/                                                 The show will be up until the end of March. The Friends Center is open M-F from 9am – 1pm. The show is in the social hall which is locked. You will need to knock on the office door. Their worship services are on Sunday morning. http://ufmseattle.org/

Weaving Classes @ Swedish Club
1920 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, Washington 98109                                                                 Classes run for 4 weeks Beginning February 7, 2016                                               Beginning Weaving on a 4-harness loom, 2-4 pm                      https://www.facebook.com/events/1796858190579484/                                            Basic Tapestry and Two-Harness or Rigid Heddle Weaving        https://www.facebook.com/events/612421362291663/                                                   To contact the Swedish club call: (206) 283-1090                        http://swedishclubnw.org/

My booth at last year’s conference.

Next retail event: Women of Wisdom Conference Market Place                      Saturday – Monday, February 18 – 20, 2017                                                               Market hours are 8:30am -7pm Saturday and Sunday and 8:30am – 1pm Monday      Held at North Seattle College in the Campus Center
9600 College Way N., Seattle, WA 98103
SW corner of the campus – enter at 95th St.               
http://www.womenofwisdom.org/wow-market-place.html

Winding a Warp – Towel exchange

Towels_warpHello again. It’s been a busy almost 2 years since I last posted here. In the meantime, I started an e-newsletter and have been posting on my Facebook page, so my writing efforts have been appearing in those venues. Part of the reason it’s been so long is I ran into the proverbial writers block in my art story. Time to start on a different theme.

This coming September I will start teaching weaving at the Swedish Club in Seattle. I have been thinking about doing a series of posts on fiber processes so I decided to start with a few on weaving. These posts can be an introduction and a resource for my students.

The other kick in the rear I got is recently my husband’s cousin told me she has plans to start a sewing blog. We challenged each other to post something before our next family gathering in mid September. So here we go.

A couple of years ago I participated in a handwoven towel exchange project through the Seattle Weavers’ Guild. Having had the idea of writing a series of ‘how to’ posts, I’ve occasionally been taking process pictures of the projects I’m working on. The series of photos from this project includes most of the steps for setting up a loom.

I started with these 2 cones of 8/2 matte cotton yarn.

I started with these 2 cones of 8/2 matte cotton yarn.

So what is a towel exchange? Each participant wove a number of towels and brought the finished towels to a meeting. We drew numbers and took turns picking out other weaver’s towels. We all went home with the same number of towels, just they were ones woven by someone else.

Setting up a loom – Step #1 – Winding the warp

The warp are the lengthwise yarns that are under tension on the loom. After you decide the size of the finished cloth, you calculate the number of warp threads (or ends) and the length you’ll need. This project needed a total of 480 ends, each 12 yards long for a total of 5,760 yards. Which for this yarn was about 1.7 pounds.

Towels_warping_board

Warping Board

In the photo above and the video below, you see the threads being wound on a warping board. The pegs are 1 yard apart making it easy to get the length you need. Towels_warp_cross

At the top are two extra pegs that allow you to form a figure ‘8’ called a ‘cross’. A yarn is tied through the spaces to maintain the ‘cross’ which helps to keep the threads in order while putting them on the loom.

Towels_partial_blue_cone

The blue warp threads have all been measured and cut but none of the white warp has been wound yet. Used over half of the cone.

After you finish winding a section of the warp, in this case 2″ worth, you need to chain the warp bundle. It’s done the same way you make a chain in crochet, just using your hands. Start at the end away from the cross and continue until you have “chained” the warp to the tie for the cross. This will keep the warp threads from getting totally tangled up.

Towels_warp_chains

The warp is chained and now ready to be put onto the loom. Note how much yarn is left on the cones.

So if you are inspired to learn how to weave, my beginning weaving class starts Tues. Sept. 13th and meets from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The registration form is available HERE.

Next post will be about threading the loom.

 

November – December Shows and Events

I have two more shows and a speaking engagement coming up this fall. Looking forward to seeing people and sharing my new work. More to come about that soon, meanwhile:

This weekend (Nov. 22-23rd) is Oddmall in Everett, WA.

Two weeks later is the 4th annual Hanukkah Art and Gift Sale at Kadima on Dec. 7th.

The following week, on Dec. 13th, I will be the speaker at the Contemporary Quilt Arts Association’s December meeting. My program is “Threads of Spirit, Cloth of Meaning”. They always welcome guests, and there is no admission fee for meetings.

Scroll down for information about all of these events.

OddMall Poster Show Hours:
Saturday, November 22,2014 – 11am – 7pm
Sunday, November 23,2014 – 11am-6pm

Holiday Inn – Downtown Everett
3105 Pine Street
Everett, Washington 98201‎

Sharing a booth with Kevin Cain, should be a fun and interesting time!

KadimaArtSale14WebSpeaker at the Contemporary Quilt Art Association December Meeting
Program: “Threads of Spirit, Cloth of Meaning”
Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 – 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Bertona Hall on the Seattle Pacific University campus
107 West Bertona St., Seattle WA
For a map and directions visit http://www.contemporaryquiltart.com/ComeJoinUs.htm

Happy Jewish New Year

Happy Jewish New Year everyone.

Detail of Path to Avodat ha'Lev, the Work of the Heart.

Detail of Path to Avodat ha’Lev, the Work of the Heart.

My wish for the new moon, new month and new year: May it bring Peace, Prosperity, and Loving Relationships based in pure heart desire and intention for the highest good of all. And may we each find our way to the work of our hearts.
Shana Tova (a good year) Blessings to all.

Mind the Spirals

Tiny Tales posterI was very pleased to be invited to participate in this show, the second creative challenge sponsored by Seattle Handmade. “Tiny Tales and Small Stories” is at Stunningly Strange Gallery, 407 Main Street, Edmonds, WA. You can go see this great little show for about one more week, until Sept. 17, 2014.

The challenge was to create a piece of artwork that was no more than 6” in any direction and it had to be accompanied by an original story of 200 words or less. My first couple of ideas weren’t going anywhere, I couldn’t find the materials I wanted, they wanted to be bigger than 6”, no story to go with them, hmm… now what? I had been ruminating on my swirly thinking, and the beginning of this story came to me. Ah… here was an idea, and a visual in my head to go with it! So here it is:

Mind-the-Spirals_P11_webMind-the-Spirals-Detail44_webMind the Spirals
Her mind swirled leaping from one thing to the next. Landing in one spot and staying only a short while before the next place called her on. At times she felt like a squirrel randomly leaping from branch to branch, her thoughts leaving a trail of mental bread crumbs.

She traveled the multi-verse, looking for connections between the random pieces she Mind-the-Spirals-Detail25_webfound, and then it came to her. She was a Time Lord, like the good Doctor. Who?

Materials: Painted plywood base, acrylic paint, copper wire, jigsaw puzzle pieces, thread, scale model figures at 1:100 scale. Notes: The scale figures were white, I liked the paint job I was able to do and they are between 5/8″ and 3/4″ tall. The base is 6″ x 6″, and overall it’s about 5″ tall.Mind-the-Spirals_P31_web

“Pulling Spirit into Daily Life”

It was the third and last quarter of the certificate program, and time to start on our final piece that would be in our class show. After the harsh critique of my last piece, I wanted to ‘redeem myself’ and make a better one. Rather than starting with a new concept, I decided to continue working with the same subject. The second result was way more successful in expressing the ideas I had. During my meditations prior to the first piece (along with the words “pulling the threads of spirit into our daily lives”) I saw the juxtaposition of two different types of textiles connected with threads or yarn. The felt would represent the spirit world that is often only sensed with an intuitive feeling. The woven piece, with it’s gridded pattern, would illustrate the regulated structures of daily life and the human penchant for categorizing and labeling everything. Adding the connecting threads would open the possibility to begin merging the two worlds.
Pulling Spirit detail 2smOne of my goals for the certificate program was to find a focus for my work. While working on this piece I realized that I had found it. A lot of artists focus on a specific technique and/or subject matter. For me it’s the concept and ideas behind the piece not the technique that is my focus. And overall, it is the Spiritual aspect that has become the primary focus for my work.
This piece is the second in what will eventually be a triptych. The third piece will be “The Spiritual Life”. Looking back, these pieces were representative of my own journey. I needed to make “…Awakening to Spirit” first, as it reflected my past. When I made “Pulling Spirit…” it showed where I was on my path at that time. I started to prep the fleece for the base of the third piece, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten on it. The compelling need to work on it again hasn’t happened yet. I’m still pulling those threads of Spirit into my daily life. When it’s time, I’ll make that third piece.

“Daily Life Awakening to Spirit”

It was the beginning of March 2010 and the end of the second quarter of the certificate program. The major focus for the quarter was “Conceptual Strategies in Fiber Art” and looking at the creative process in general, and our own process in particular. Towards the end of the quarter, we were to reflect on an old piece, and use it as a springboard for a new piece, our final piece for the quarter. Since I couldn’t decide which piece to reflect on, I looked at two pieces, “Shamanic Connections” and “Finding the Patterns in the Puzzle of Life”. Working from those pieces and another idea that I got during meditation, I started on my piece “Pulling the Threads of Spirit into our Daily Lives”. I finished the piece the night before class, mounted it the next morning, wrote the reflection on it in the afternoon, and headed to class that evening.

For those of you reading this that have taken art classes, and have turned in work for critiques, you know what a challenging experience they can sometimes be. I had one of “those” critiques that night. In class we were asked to say whatever we wanted to about the work. I felt unprepared, and unsure of what to say. I started rambling on about unimportant details, because I couldn’t bring myself to talk about my personal angst issues which was what I had been thinking and writing about in my original reflection.

This is part of what I wrote:    “The experience of doing this piece was both fun and challenging. The fun part was doing the work. When focusing on the tasks at hand, I would lose track of time and get absorbed in the processes. The challenging part was mostly on a personal and emotional level. This program has been helping me deal with all the issues that stopped me making art 20 + years ago. Working on this piece brought up the issues I have with the fundamental value of doing this type of work. The questions of; is it worth doing, is it a waste of time/money, etc. are staring me in the face. Making this piece, or any finished work, brings these issues to the surface where I have to deal with them. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone.”

Back to the critique that night, the one positive comment I remember is someone liked the fact that I used a rectangle instead of a square which had been part of my original design. The one that really got to me was the instructors question and comment: “Is that blue blobby thing supposed to represent spirit?” to which I said yes, and he replied “It’s not really working for me”. Right… now what.Daily Life Awakening to Spirt

So that night after class I stayed up very late, and thought a lot more about the piece. So once I had gotten done “wallowing in my emotional stuff”, I was able to look at and think about the work itself. I liked the piece and it felt right when I was done, but there was something bugging me about it as well and I was unsure what it was. The piece didn’t say what I had intended, so in that sense it didn’t work.

Visually, the woven part looked “plopped” down, and didn’t relate to the background. The felt background is very subtle and indistinct. Was it too plain? There wasn’t enough connection between the hand-spun yarn in the woven part and the felt background. The woven portion dominated the piece visually while being smaller than the background. It felt uncomfortable, tentative and unresolved. It was very unbalanced.

Then I asked myself what did this piece have to say, and this is what I came up with along with a new name for it:

“Daily Life Awakening to Spirit”
Dominating the piece is the woven portion representing daily life. It floats above the surface, removed and separate from the spirit world. The felt background resembles how spirit is viewed from this perspective. It is very hazy and indistinct. It’s unknown, you can only see things in that world if you look closely at it. The hand-spun yarn becomes spirit beginning to weave itself into our daily life but only in places, a bit at a time. The piece feels disjointed and unbalanced because this can be a very disconcerting state. You know that something is not right, that things are changing, shifting, but what and how is not known. It requires an enormous amount of trust to reside in this place and even more to continue on the journey to discover and embrace Spirit.

The following were my final thoughts about this piece and the experience of making it:
“Working on something this nebulous and intuitive requires an enormous amount of trust. I know that I’m not entirely in control of the process, and the work (or any given piece) can seem to take on “a life of it’s own”. This piece seems to have it’s own message and said what it needed to say. I need to pay better attention. So, hopefully I’m back on a productive path, doing something worthwhile.

The next quarter I did a second piece, the one I had intended to make, “Pulling Spirit into Daily Life”, which will be the next post in my Art Story.