Chrissie gets the blues

For a week that was supposed to be me in a sunny garden dyeing and weaving samples, it has been an incredibly frustrating time.

I managed to dye some lovely blues but when I began blending them I was generally stuck within a scale of “god I can’t use that’, to ‘I suppse I can use that if I have to’. Not good.

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It didn’t help that I’ve been having trouble ‘seeing’ the finished tapestry. I couldn’t see it on a wall – I couldn’t see where it would hang. I thought if I drew the cartoon it would help, but I simply could not motivate myself to do so.

I looked through the notebook for Gracie and when I saw the samples I wove for her they were lush and rich and I could dive right into them, especially compared to my flaccid blues. Why, when colour is so important to me, was I planning to weave something using colours I didn’t even like? But how could I weave something so focused on a night sky without using blues? How could I do a moonlit face a couple of feet high without blues? I tried some golds and greens, but she would just look sick!

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I started to think about abandoning the project, but remembering I could have so easily abandoned Gracie had I not been forced to continue, I told myself to acknowledge there was a problem, identify it and sorted it.

I was going to give myself the weekend off and come to it afresh. But as I settled down in the evening I started to flick through one of my notebooks and the various sketches and doodles that have filled it over the last few weeks. I stumbled on a drawing based on a family photograph and in a couple of minutes I had a completely new design before me – a single tapestry of a girl in the foreground, with a black background (poss with some nice blues, but a highlight now, not the be all and end all!) with silvery/white dots for stars and the falling figure in the background. She’s holding a stem as a sign of potential, regeneration and hope.

I guess the alarm bells are in the previous post when I said I felt I disconnected from the image, as if it was a good thing. This one I can see and I went to bed last night with the image in my head – not only seeing it, but weaving it and re weaving it – I can see it on the loom, I can see it on the wall, I can see the colours and I can change them in my head. I guess too the original design didn’t represent much of a difference weaving-wise to the last tapestry; there was nothing in it to challenge me and move me forward.

I think it’s funny the design for Gracie started as one thing and then changed completely, just like this one. Perhaps that will always be the case – good to know! But also good to know that perseverance wins out yet again.

I have to start the blending from scratch but I am excited about the project now – it is not just something I feel I have to get out of my system, I really do want to weave this image for its own sake.

So I hope you can bear with my flitting about, but I suppose it is all part of the process. It was a help during the week knowing I would have to report something!

I should just mention I’ve been using Twitter a lot more, so if you are interested you can find me @ChrissieFreeth. The British Tapestry Group has also started tweeting and you can follow them too @britishtapestry.

Til next week. Lets hope I’m still liking this idea! xxx

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