Having discarded my two ‘cloth of gold’ small tapestries (see previous post) I decided I needed to do two more for the forthcoming exhibition. Deciding what to do was the first problem. I am actually not short of ideas, I have plenty buzzing round my head, so many in fact that I jotted them down in a long list – two pages of a reporter’s notebook – so that I don’t forget them. However, I only have rough sketches of one or two, most are not drawn up at all and the vast majority of them are far too detailed and complex for me to hope to produce them in time for the exhibition, so they do not fall into my ‘simple but effective’ self-brief.

I found one idea on my list that might just do. It had been inspired by the yoke pattern on an old woollen jumper that I have had for over 30 years, hardly worn because it had felted a bit in the wash, but not thrown away because I like it. It is one of those designs that speaks to your subconscious without your conscious mind knowing what it is saying, if you know what I mean! Anyway I thought it would be fun to try to interpret it as a tapestry and I thought it would be fairly easy, I didn’t even need to draw a cartoon. So I warped up my nail frame loom with a cotton warp sett of 8 epi at a width of 14 inches and wove freehand. Here is the result, it is woven with the same carpet wool that I had in stock and have used for previous tapestries, with a few extra colours bought in small quantity sample bundles:

Tapestry 'Aftermath'

I think of the wibbly-wobbly verticals as burnt out trees and to me it looks like a scene of some sort of Armageddon, hence the title ‘Aftermath’. As you can see the tapestry has become a bit wider in the middle. I put this down to the fact that the navy blue used for the ‘trees’ was slightly thicker than the other wools and with the constant back and forth over such a narrow distance for each ‘tree’ it pushed the alignment out – most probably due to my inexperience.

‘Aftermath’ used only a small amount of the warp, being only 9 inches high, and there was room to do another weaving above it so I put in a 4 inch piece of cardboard as a spacer before starting on the next one – but first I also had to design it. Nothing on my list seemed to lend itself to my needs so I scribbled and doodled and slept a bit until I came up with something that I thought would fit the bill.

This, my last piece for the exhibition, fulfilled my criteria beautifully; it was fairly simple to weave once you take into account the technicalities of weaving circles (well semi-circles in this case) and I think the result is quite effective. It measure approx 14 x 10 inches and is called ‘Red Shift’ (more an interpretation of the words than the science). Here it is:

Tapestry 'Red Shift'


And here the detail of the middle section, note how the alternate lines of the two reds create a third red when seen from a distance:

Red Shift detail

‘Aftermath’ was completed in February this year and ‘Red Shift’ in March, so here we are up-to-date, these are all that I will weave for the exhibition. It just remains to prepare them for hanging.


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