Color Study I - The Story of Anne's Family History Woven Into My FIrst Rag Tapestry
This summer in Lake City, I stayed with a friend who was conducting a grand estate sale in anticipation of moving. Her sale items included a wonderful assortment of upholstery and drapery fabric, kids' jeans and shirts, tablecloths and more. Of course, I just couldn't let these treasures go to the thrift store. Instead, I brought them home, cut/tore them into "yarn" strips, and took them to a rug weaving workshop.
First day in class, I had a difficult time getting into the nitty gritty of drawing diagrams/patterns on paper for weaving. Second day, the instructor gave up on me and said, "I can see that you have some ideas....Just go on and weave!" So I did, incorporating her "new" techniques and adding a few innovations of my own.
"Color Study I" was the result. Not bad for a first experiment. The ensuing "Color Study II" was definitely more technically proficient!
The best part of this weaving was arranging and combining the textures and colors of the fabrics from Anne's everyday family life, and imagining the different contexts in which the fabrics were originally enjoyed.
I was also remembering my fourteen years of hospice work and how a talented seamstress created rag bunny rabbits for families of deceased patients. I do not doubt that there was comfort in seeing bits of granny's old bathrobe or dad's old fishing shirt lovingly sewn into a huggable bunny. Although we grownups don't generally talk about hugging bunnies, I know for a fact that having a bunny to hold in a tearful moment can be very sweet.
My thoughts (and maybe a few tears for a special patient) kept my LeClerc four-harness floor loom - with its customized heavy beater bar for rugs - really humming! In fact, before I realized the passage of time involved, I had woven over seven feet of tapestry!!
Now that I am "Granny", the eldest living member of my family of origin, I think about any legacy I will be leaving for my children and grandchildren. I hope that any special things I've made for them will be appreciated and maybe handed down with some good laughs about my many foibles. They don't need to remember that this first rag tapestry won a blue ribbon at the Ouray County Fair. And I won't be telling any younger ones that it came as the result of a "Throwdown" challenge with an artist friend, which won a certain person a bottle of Tequila!
So - rags, rags and more rags! And a story with every one! I have recently received commissions - for a new home - a housewarming gift, for a wedding -with best wishes written on streamers woven into the tapestry, for a very heavy mud rug which at least seems to be the favorite of the family dog, and for a graduation - T-shirts from high school made into a dorm room rug for college.
So far - no requests for an anniversary, or a new baby's room...but the ideas are tucked away in my head - just waiting! For me, weaving something meaningful with beautiful colors and textures keeps my shuttles flying.
I welcome special orders, especially ones that incorporate items that mark the important passages in one's life - birth and death, and everything in between - graduations, athletic, scholarly or professional achievements, vacation, hobby, new dogs/cats, retirement, and maybe even a Harley or a Lamborghini. Join me in celebrating the people and events we treasure!
PS - My husband just donated fourteen old fishing shirts to the Cause. Seems excessive, but time will tell!