A new tapestry diary... and is a practice like this for you?

I think any practice that gets you in the habit of creating is a good one. Only you can answer the question if doing a daily tapestry diary is the thing for you, but it is one way to get yourself going to your loom every day of the year. (Or make your own rules! Maybe you weave one bit every Sunday morning or once a month.)

I think the question to ask yourself is do you have a practice of creating regularly right now? If you do, then another thing to do might not be the answer for you. But if you have difficulty making time to create on a regular basis, then making some rules for yourself around it might be helpful. A tapestry diary is one way to do that.

In November I started a new diary. It started as a holiday project using sock yarn. I wanted to experiment with ways different yarns show up in a weft-faced textile and I enjoyed the first few days so much that I decided I was going to start another diary (I did one in November of 2016 for a month). The rules thus far have been pretty loose. I don't have time to weave one small piece every day, but I do pick up the small looms frequently and add thoughts to the string I am creating. 

Rebecca Mezoff, Tapestry Diary, 2017-18

When I wove my large tapestry, Lifelines in 2016, I was thinking about the way events in our lives are strung together. Remember those timelines that you made in elementary school? Or the ones you find in the front covers of history books? I feel like my life is made up of a series of little beads strung along a wire. The imagery in Lifelines came from that and I was thinking about it again when I started this new diary. I'm weaving a continuous line through all (or most) of the pieces and they will perhaps eventually be displayed this way.

Rebecca Mezoff, Lifelines, 24 x 72 inches, tapestry

I have started a notebook just for the project where I jot down ideas, things I've seen, and events that are at the top of my mind. I sketch a design and am keeping the dimensions of the pieces in the 2-4 inch range. Most are 2 x 2 inches. Ideas that need more height or width might go to 2 x 4 inches. I am attaching little tags to them right now with numbers and dates on them as well as a few notes about what yarn I used and a title if there is one.

At the moment I'm weaving these on Hokett looms. I think these have all been on a 6-dent Hokett loom warped for 12 epi with 20/6 cotton seine twine and various wefts. I might use other looms in the future. A long warp on a Mirrix with extenders would be effective time-wise though the Hokett looms only take a few minutes to warp and are portable for deep couch sitting time.

The little pieces below were what started this thing. I was fascinated by the colors and dye jobs of the sock yarns I was using for the holiday weave-along and started weaving these little things to test them out. The two on the left have some pick and pick in them.


The piece below combined Weaver's Bazaar yarn with some gray sock yarn by Dedri Quillin for a piece I called Gray Skies. I wove it sometime in early December when the weather was cloudy and I was struggling with some gray emotions.

Rebecca Mezoff, Gray Skies, 3 x 2 inches

I wove this piece on the day I went in for a routine mammogram (yes, I am old enough especially considering all the cancer in my family). It is called "Save the ta-tas." Those little black lines are supposed to be boobs. They were intended to be a little more bodacious, but the sock yarn was so squishy that they turned out to be little bips.

Rebecca Mezoff, Save the ta-tas, 2 x 2 inches, sock yarn and Weaver's Bazaar, 12 epi

This piece was woven as I was trying to deal with some difficult interpersonal dynamics. Communication breakdowns often start like this.

Rebecca Mezoff, Look, 2 x 4 inches, tapestry diary

And this one was about the wash of hopeless-feeling anger. I ended up liking it a lot and in the end if didn't feel so angry to me. Maybe that had to do with the pinkish nature of these Weaver's Bazaar reds. Or maybe the act of weaving it helped disperse the anger in general.

Rebecca Mezoff, Anger, 2 x 4 inches, tapestry diary

The next couple photos are woven with handspun. I took a spinning class about braids from Maggie Casey in December and this was one of the braids she gave us a piece of. The staple was very long (meaning the fleece on the sheep was long--about 7 inches) and the repeat of the dyeing was shorter than the length of the staple. The result when spun is that the colors blend a lot as you pull the fibers out of the fiber supply. The colors were so fascinating to spin and weave that I didn't use any tapestry techniques at all other than that blue line. Maggie said the fleece here was Lincoln (I know someone will ask) and sadly SHE DIDN'T HAVE ANY MORE!!!! 

I wove them over the New Year's weekend and was totally in love. Watching the colors shift was a wonderful way to bring in 2018.

Rebecca Mezoff, To a New Year!, 2 x 2 inches, tapestry

This is what the painted roving looked like for those last few pieces.

We'll see how many of these diary pieces get woven this year. I haven't made a rule for myself other than to keep making them when I can. It is a good down-time activity for me and also a way for me to mark events in a tangible way. I have a tapestry starting on the big loom this month, so it will be more challenging to keep up an extra weaving project.

Are you interested in this kind of practice? Many people weave tapestry diaries and I have linked below to some of them.

I have written about tapestry diaries in the past HERE (in 2014 about an ATA educational article) and HERE (2017 article about the Time Warp diary show). I also wove a tapestry diary at an artist residency in 2016 (post HERE). Tommye Scanlin has woven many tapestry diaries and they are all fascinating. You can see an overview photo on her website HERE. Read her blog for updates throughout the year.