I am back working on 'Lace 2' again 
This last couple of weeks have been very busy as usual. I have been working on 'Lace 2' again and I can finally see the finish line. I lowered the tapestry and when I readjusted the cartoon, there it was -the finish line in sight. But there is still probably six months work left to do.

In the two weeks that I have been back working on this tapestry I have completed the section on the left corner, from halfway up the green bit and across to the pink blob in the middle. Not bad going really. It is surprising how quick the work grows if I put some substantial time into it. I will be really pleased to finish this work. It has been on the loom for far too long, but as I cannot afford to work on it full time I just have to be happy with what I can do. I would like to have it finished by this time next year.

I have also been working on the 'marketing' aspect of being an artist and that is what I find difficult. I spent two hours with a marketing expert and he has given me the confidence to go ahead and send out brochures etc. He also helped me identify my target market as I very much need to bring in some commissions to enable me to keep my studio going. I have sent a proposal for a tapestry to the chief executive of the Christchurch Airport and to the architect who is working on the new developments for the interenational terminal. Next week I have to ring them and make an appointment to go and have a chat with them about the possiblity of them commissioning a tapestry to hang at the airport. So wish me luck. I need a lot of courage to do this sort of promotional work as it is not easy for me to do this. However, I am giving it a go!!

Another thing I have been working on is the work for a small exhibition at Form Gallery. Wilson and I are exhibiting our work there in early October, so watch this space for images of new and different small works.

The exhibition at Selwyn Gallery, Darfield 
Yesterday morning, the exhibiton 'Fibre and Form' was opened at the Selwyn Gallery in Darfield. It was a nice friendly opening on a lovely sunny Saturday morning.

There was not a huge number of people attending but Wil and I were both very pleased when we each sold a work. I was thrilled when Dee came up to me to say that she had bought the wee tapestry 'Two Sparrows'. She also bought one of Wilson's lovely scarves.

A Busy Day 
It has certainly been a busy day today. Wilson and I have been setting up our exhibition 'Fibre and Form' at Selwyn Gallery in Darfield. Darfield is a little country town in the middle of the Canterbury Plains and is about a 40 minute car ride from Christchurch. We arrived out there about 1.00pm this afternoon and spent most of that time hanging our work. We are really pleased with how it is looking. Here are some photos.

It is all a bit of a jumble at this early stage. Wil has just stopped for a coffee after arranging his scarves on the plinths. You can just see his model in the background. She is a lovely black girl who had her head chopped off the other day and she definitely looks much better without her head. You will get a better view of the handwoven dress and cape in another photograph later.

Some of my work is now up on the wall. I am only showing two new works in this exhibition and they are the two black and white drawings you can see in the corner. None of my other work has ever been shown in the Selwyn district so it is good to be able to show it all again.

Here is one corner completed and looking good. The two very different styles of work look good together and the colours also worked amazingly well. We are very pleased with the overall look of the whole exhibition and I will post more photographs of the finished display. We still have to bring in a table tomorrow morning to show Wil's gothic table setting and as the opening starts at 10.00am in the morning it will be an early start to the day.

Nina's tapestry ready to be delivered to her. 
Ninas's tapestry is now completed, framed and mounted and ready to be delivered to her soon. I decided to frame this tapestry as I felt it needed the frame to set it off. It was just a little too small to hang on its own on the wall. I am really pleased with how it looks in its frame. Here is an image of it as it looks now.

The slight curve that you can see is a fault of the camera and I don't know how to fix that. If anyone can help me with this I would appreciate it. I can be e-mailed from this blog quite easily.

Also, if anyone out there would like to commission a tapestry from me please e-mail me with images that you would like me to work with. Nina sent me about six small snapshots of her and her partner, and from those I was able to isolate their faces and create two design concepts that I sent to her. She chose the more abstract one and the tapestry above is the result.

One of the beauties of tapestry is that they can be transported anywhere in the world quite easily as if they are not framed they can be rolled and are easy to handle. I only frame the smaller tapestries and I mount them in box frames so that they appear to be floating in their frame. I do not put them behind glass.

Tapestries are also easy to look after. They must not be hung in direct sunlight, but of course any art work should not be hung in direct sunlight. They can be lightly vacuumed every now and then to keep the dust off them. Tapestries are the most durable of all textiles and can last many many years if they are looked after. Some of the old tapestries in churches and old mansions were woven over 500 years ago. So they do make wonderful family heirlooms which can be passed down through the generations.

The Cutting Off 
Here is a photograph of my grandaughter Esther cutting Nina's tapestry off the loom with me looking on and supporting the work as she cuts the warp threads.

Tapestry completed  

On the last lap! here is a close up view of the work.

And here is the finished work, waiting to be cut off the loom. I am really pleased with how it looks. From a distance the faces come together very well.

Two Faces finished 
Well at last the hard part of this tapestry is now done. Both faces are complete and I think I have captured the likeness's well. Quite a lot of reverse weaving was done in these areas, and I had to be absolutely sure that the shapes in the planes of the faces were correct.

More photographs of Nina's tapestry 

Work is going well on Nina's tapestry and I have now had word from her that she is happy with the images I sent her of work in progress. She and her partner are away overseas at the moment. I think I have captured her personality quite well in this tapestry and I am now working on the second face and almost up to the eyes on this one. Once the eyes are woven the whole thing comes to life. If I get them right then the rest seems to follow.

Work progressing 

I have been working well on this portrait tapestry and here is an image of my progress to date.

A Portrait Commission 
For the last four or five weeks I have been working on a commissioned double portrait. Nina gave me a few casual snapshots of herself and her partner and from those I created a design concept for the portraits. I selected the faces from the photographs, enlarged them and simplified them on the computer then put the two together to create the design. The work is fairly abstract but catches their likenesses very well. It is best viewed from a distance because of the abstraction.

This first image shows that I have commenced work on the tapestry. It took three days to warp the loom - a lot of knots to tie to the top and bottom beams. The sett is 12ends per inch and I am using up to three strands of yarn in the weft. I needed the fine sett to be able to weave the fine detail in the faces.

Here I have completed the necks and am up to the hard bit capturing the likenesses in the faces. I need to be very accurate in building up the shapes that form the planes of the faces and I have done quite a bit of unpicking. Also the tonal values are very important. These must be right and the following photograph shows how I had to unpick a section in the left side of Nina's neck as I wasn't happy with the colour and the tonal value of it.

I am weaving in the new colour with a needle after pushing up some of the weft threads so that I did not have to take them all out. It worked okay thank goodness.

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