I bought a large Glimakra tapestry loom in August. With the closing of my Casket Arts Building studio space, writing projects, a new granddaughter, and establishment of my home studio space, the loom is finally ready for fire–a bonfire image. I’ve always been intrigued by tapestries that exude light and flame, that use color contrast in light-absorbing wool to create brightness. That seems like magic. This fall I saw a lovely painting posted by a Facebook friend, Jan Norsetter. That could be a tapestry, I mused.
Later I saw the most marvelous New Yorker cover, by David Hockney.
Wow! That could be a tapestry, too. I decided to work with my own bonfire images, from a special vacation this summer, when my husband and I were tested before joining his daughter Maggie and her family for a two-cabin Wisconsin-in-the-woods vacation. I love bonfires, and each day I scrounged and arranged sticks and logs for a new fire in the metal-ring pit in the center of the yard. My work especially impressed one-year-old Arthur.
This was the scene on the other side of the fire, eating ice-cream cookie sandwiches.
I played around with my bonfire image, with varying amounts of background. In the end, I liked the more squat format of the Hockney fire, and squished mine. I’ll still work with this abstracted photo a bit for the final tapestry cartoon.
So now I’m getting close. The loom is up and warped, and I am ready to space the warp threads to begin weaving. My sample is sitting on the loom. I think the fire-in-wool magic will work.
I’ve been thinking about fire and fire metaphors. In this case, my fire image is an evocation of warmth, togetherness, and fun. But fire can also be destructive, or cleansing, or signal new beginnings. I have a second, quite different, fire tapestry in the design stage, too.
Perhaps this fire can also signal a burning of the old–the awful year of apartness, and the equally awful president and his administration. My bigger weavings are always tied in my mind to the time they were made. This one will be no different.