Gracie Finds a Home and Abbie Takes Shape

I have been tardy posting, but in truth I didn’t know where to start – it seems the funds have been raised to keep Maides Coign at East Riddlesden. That the money has been raised largely through the donations of the volunteers at the hall is incredibly humbling. There is no doubt that East Riddlesden is the right place for her, and she has already been hung in the space where she was woven, something pretty unique I should imagine. I’ve not seen her yet but as soon as I do I’ll take a picture and share. She’s been lying on the floor for a few weeks so I suspect she’ll take time to settle.

I really didn’t think it would happen, but now it has I am finding great comfort in the thought that something of mine will be looked after forever and that there will be something of me left long after I am gone to show I was once here. I am also feeling incredibly indebted to those who have contributed, and this has left me with a huge sense of obligation to knuckle down and make a go of things, to take myself and my weaving, and my ambitions, seriously. I guess the purchase of the tapestry is making me feel like I can see a future for myself.

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To this end I’ve been working hard on the preparation for next tapestry. If you remember I initially had in mind a triptych but unable to make it work I abandoned it to focus on an image of a single figure and got quite excited by it, but it didn’t last. I was still making do, it wasn’t worthy of the idea behind it, I suppose it was trite. My friend Kate suggested returning to the original triptych and pulling the hair across all three panels. It fixed everything in a stroke – they were separate but joined, it gave a focus from left to right, and it meant I could return to a more familiar and comfortable palette.

It was a salient lesson 1) always have friends who are cleverer than you 2) don’t write blog posts until you are ready 3) trust your initial instincts and instead of abandoning an idea, play with it, mould it and knead it until you get it to work.

At the start of the project I got a notebook and initially thought that the idea was so well formed I would only fill the first few pages – oh how I laugh now. I am already having trouble shutting it, but it is proving an invaluable resource.

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Once I was happy with the design everything else fell into place. I’ve spent several days focusing on the blending and I have as of today pretty much locked them down. The sky will be varied greeny-blues from dark to light with dark gold stars. The hair of the main figure will be in browns and her skin a golden grey. The colours are rich and lush and have that ‘dive in’ factor I was after. As with Maides Coign, soumak will feature prominently in both the hair and the stars.

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I’m having a few days off and will come back to it with a fresh eye just to make sure I am happy with it all. As long as I don’t change my mind yet again, there really should be nothing left but to get the cartoon drawn up and the loom warped, but it will have to wait until I’ve had a break. Until then ta ta x

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