Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry

Doin' the craft school thing

Doin' the craft school thing

If you missed the oft-repeated news, I'm at Penland. I apologize for mentioning it so often, but geez if Penland isn't just the greatest place. I've been here three days now and already feel everything loosening up. Maybe that is the morning yoga, but my step is lighter and my headspace is clearer.

I am here to teach a tapestry class called The Thrill of Color. It addresses color use through color theory and woven techniques to blend color. It is such a wonderful thing to have two full weeks to work with a group of students. This length of time allows some real learning and experimentation to happen.

Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry is ready!

My newest adventure in online teaching is ready. I tell you that with a great sense of relief and just a little bit of angst. You see, I love making courses and I had about four million more ideas for this one. But at some point, it is enough.

Here is the brief outline of what the course contains. You can find out more on THIS page of my website. I will be shooting trailer videos in the next few weeks as well as making my website easier to navigate. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact me! I recommend taking the entire course either in the version that I teach or the self-directed one. But if you are only interested in one or two of the sections, you can take them separately.

  • Color Theory Basics and Weft Yarn Choices: A basic introduction to color theory and a discussion of weft yarns available for tapestry.
  • Irregular Hatching: I covered this in my Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry course. I go into more depth in this course including using hatching for shading and form creation.
  • Hachure: This traditional tapestry technique was used a great deal in historic European tapestries and is still used by many people today. This class also offers tips on how to make straight lines and shallow curves smoother and how to start to minimize steps in your work.
  • Transparency Effects: This class talks about using regular hatching and weft bundling to create the illusion of transparency. Weft bundling is also an important concept for all color use in tapestry.
  • Pick and Pick: This fun technique was taught in Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry. In this class we take it farther and look at using pick and pick in shapes and for blending colors vertically.
  • Vertical Gradation: This class will show you how to make smooth color shifts up your warp. We will also talk more about using value and hue in color grading and grading with stripes and demi-duite. This is a great companion class to Transparency Effects as we continue the conversation about value and weft bundling.
You can take the course in three different ways.

(1) The complete course. This includes all six parts as well as extra bonuses and a section at the end for feedback on design and practice projects. You can ask as many questions about the course material as you'd like and I'll just keep answering! This way of taking the course is also the least expensive for the most learning. The button on the Pathwright site looks like this:

(2) Self-directed. If you are the kind of person who knows they won't need to ask me questions about the material or get feedback on your progress, this is probably the course for you. It contains all the material of the complete course without teaching from me. The button on the Pathwright site looks like this:

(3) Each of the six parts separately. If you aren't interested in certain topics, you can take any of the six parts alone. They are numbered 1-6 in the Pathwright program and the first module's button looks like this:

If you click the registration link below, it will take you to the Pathwright course site. From the catalog you can browse each of the classes and see a complete list of the videos and materials included in each module.

There are FAQs about my courses on my website HERE.
There are reviews from past and present students HERE.
And the comprehensive information sheet about this course, Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry, is HERE.

I enjoyed making this course a great deal. I am glad it is completed so I can get back to the studio. However I am sure I will soon be watching for the wonderful things those of you who join me on this tapestry exploration will create. You haven't let me down yet! (see some past student's work HERE)

The course is open for registration. It doesn't have start dates and you can take as long as you want to finish it and ask questions. What could be better? Maybe the fact that you can weave in your pajamas and none of us will even know.

Have at it!
(I'm off for a bit of spinning if you don't mind... Spinzilla started at midnight!)

One tip to help navigate the registration site. Look to the left and there is a menu. If you're looking for the Color Gradation Techniques class options, click that text and it will filter out all my other courses.

Click here to register!

Here is the trailer for the course:
As always, if you receive this blog post via email, you won't see the video here. Please visit this post on my blog HERE to see it.

Randomly on a Sunday...

I spent the evening drinking tea while sitting in my front yard slumped low in a lawn chair so the car would block the street light. Why? Supermoon eclipse. It was lovely.

If you live on the front range of Colorado, you can hardly have missed the fact that this year is the 100th anniversary of Rocky Mountain National Park. Last weekend I went against the very strict rule I have not to visit RMNP on a weekend between May and October... I was right. It was packed. But we did find a trail with few users and saw a nice herd of elk to boost. The Hokett loom came along for a little weaving fun.
Weaving in the "shadow" of Long's Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park
I received this lovely yarn from Weaving Southwest in Arroyo Seco, NM this week. I wanted to try their new tapestry singles. I was shocked at how beautiful it is. Some of you are going to jump right on this yarn. They make it in beautiful gradations, all hand-dyed. I can't wait to try this out. I really can't imagine switching the yarn I use at this point, but I do like playing with other options... just playing the field a little (plug your ears Harrisville).

I bought it because I've been working on these Tapestry Yarn Cards for the new online class (Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry which will be open for registration October 5th). Nothing like spending a day hooking yarn onto cards! A big thanks to my friend Ute for helping me.
Just to be clear, the cards don't come with the class. They can be ordered.
And I'm wrapping up the last few videos for Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry. I think it is going to be great if I do say so myself.
Teal gradation from the back--part of the Vertical Gradation module
The class goes up October 5th, fortuitously (for me) the day that Spinzilla starts. I had the good fortune of joining Team Shuttles. (They're hoping this newbie will pick up speed and make some yardage I'm sure.) I am sure this is only a small portion of the fiber we will spin that week. My only real goal is to become a better spinner, though I'd like to pass the mile mark.
Spinzilla's Team Shuttles
And lastly, I am afraid fall is here...
... and there is little time left for this.
It is always hard for me to see the end of hiking season. And by "hiking" I really mean backpacking. I'm just not a winter camper. Nope, it is day hikes and snowshoes from here until the snow melts most likely... though I'll keep my fingers crossed for a really warm spot in October which might allow me one more fling in the mountains. 

Though maybe, just maybe I could become a winter camper... I just need some new gear, right? And perhaps a snow course. And an avalanche beacon. I think I just talked myself out of it.

The teacher... tapestry mostly

I love weaving tapestry. I hope that much is obvious.

I also love teaching. I have been a teacher in one form or another for most of my life. My younger sister and I played "school" when we were kids*, my undergraduate degree was in music with a focus on piano pedagogy**, and my graduate degree and 17-year career was in occupational therapy. That is in-the-trenches kind of teaching in every sort of situation you can think of.*** There has been plenty of continuing education since then in teaching practices, but the actual work and feedback from students is the best instruction.

I love the two sorts of teaching I do now. The online courses are wonderful. I have the luxury of focusing on one student at a time without interruption. I love watching someone progress over months. Initial stumbles and frustration slowly move into a little confidence and finally to work they are proud of.

I will also admit that I love developing curriculum. I've learned a lot from my students and have a lot more to learn. Nothing I do is static. It changes and becomes better all the time. When a module isn't clear to someone, I make extra videos and handouts until they understand it... and eventually the whole thing is updated.

I also love teaching workshops. The chaos of twelve or sixteen people all interested in different results, all with different questions, and the challenge of moving all of them through a body of material I am prepared to teach in a few days is exhilarating... and exhausting. But I won't stop teaching workshops because I learn so much there. (I am particularly excited about the workshop line-up for next year and I can't wait to tell you all about it! But it'll be a few more months.)

Sometimes the stress of teaching online while developing new courses is pretty high. Right now I'm working as hard as I've ever worked to finish an online version of Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry. I have taught this class in workshops for years and somehow I thought I could just basically teach a three-day workshop in front of my video camera and be done. Ha! Nothing could be farther from the truth. I should have known better. It took me over a year to make Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry (my beginning techniques course) and that is about how long I've been working on this course.

I'm the kind of person who likes to tackle big projects. This is dangerous when creating something out of my head because I tend to make things rather large. Those of you who have taken all of Warp and Weft online understand that I am like this. I can't just leave some particular explanation out. I have to weave it into a video or draw a diagram or somehow include it because someone is going to need that information.

This isn't always the best way to teach. There are people who like things shorter. Neat packages. In and out in a few tight videos.

So in converting the Color Gradation Techniques class to an online version, I have done both things. It will be offered in one large course. That is for those of you who are like me. Who want to dive into something big, revel in the commitment, and find yourself somewhere entirely different after you've put in the work of the entire class. You all are my soulmates and this one is for you.

For those of you who want the neater packages, I will also offer the class in another way. There are six modules and each one will be offered as a separate class. This has added a lot of time to my completion of the course as I'm now working on making each of those modules stand alone.

So know that I'm working as hard as I can. Some of you have been waiting oh-so-patiently for many months now. It will be ready in (she takes a deep breath) ... September. I promise. I will announce the opening date in my newsletter on 9/3/15. (Sign up HERE if you don't already get it!)

PS. Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry, my beginning tapestry techniques course starts again September 14th. You can find more information and a registration link HERE. Don't worry, you can take it in three separate parts and there are no due dates. You can take five years to work through the material if you want to!
* I might have even let her be the teacher sometimes, you'd have to ask her.
** I wrote a preschool piano method as an honors thesis for goodness sake. It seemed ground-breaking at the time. People didn't teach three-year-olds to play the piano. It was 1994 and the computer graphics program I had to use was limited to basic shapes and text. You can image what it looked like. (Nevertheless, magna cum laude!!!)
*** New SCI (spinal cord injury) in the ICU? Been there. Rancho Level IV head injury in a 35-year-old on a locked unit with fifty friends and family members all individually wanting to know when she can get back to her job as a lawyer? Been there. Non-verbal autistic kid whose parents don't want "special" classrooms for their daughter but want her to function exactly like her classmates in the regular first-grade (and second and third and sixth-grade) classroom? Been there. The stories go on forever... or at least seventeen years.
Teaching Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry in a live workshop in Michigan.

The thing about teaching tapestry

I was in Golden, Colorado last week teaching a Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry class at The Recycled Lamb. The thing about teaching a four day class in a great yarn store is that there are too many opportunities to buy more knitting yarn. I have been banned from that practice until my stash gets smaller (mostly self-imposed), but they had wonderful undyed knitting yarn. And I looked at it and looked at it and thought, heck. I could buy this white yarn and make whatever colors I want. Color Gradation in knitting!

But the class was about color gradation in tapestry. The students did a fantastic job. They came from Alaska and Nevada and Washington and Golden. They were funny and committed and just enough crazy to make the whole week fun.
I'm showing them how to fix a float on a great example of shaped pick and pick.
I like to bring a few challenging examples to each class and see if anyone bites. I love this meander pattern and Dora did an amazing job doing it in a pink gradation.
Another exercise we continue to work on is creating transparency with color blending. Kathy did a great job with this one. I was convinced these colors were going to be wrong when she started. I even told her so. Good thing she didn't listen to me.
There were hachures...

And there were exceptionally attractive rhomboids...
And there were many discussions along the lines of, "why on earth you would want to weave from the back?"
It was a fun week.

The first tapestry class in my new studio

I had my first class in my own studio May 4, 5, and 7. I had a set of fantastic students and I think we all had a marvelous time. At least I know I did and they all were lying if they didn't. They were a shy bunch and didn't much want their photos taken, but here are some shots of yarn, the studio, and the work being done.

The class was Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry and the class description is on my website HERE.

Here is one student's preparation for a color gradation using singles yarn, three to a bundle.

Here are a few examples of the hatching and hachure practice we were doing in the class.

This is a detail of a jump-over technique we were learning. It is a sort of regular hatching. This is the back side of the tapestry.

Here is a detail of some shading we were practicing with pick and pick and above that in the blue is a vertical gradation using singles yarn. (Much of this class is woven using the 2-ply Harrisville Highland but we practice getting smooth color gradations with a singles yarn by Harrisville.)

Another example of pick and pick and a vertical gradation. Under the pick and pick in black and grey is a great example of a hachure exercise. We use this as a way to experiment with creating areas of shading using only two colors. When done in more similar tones, the effect can be quite subtle. I do recommend students start with contrasting colors so they can see the technique they are working on!

And Sunday afternoon there was even a surprise black bottom pie which Emily made for the class. You can't argue with that.
And here are a few beautiful photos from one of the talented students, Susan Fuquay. She said I could share them with you. If you love yarn, you might like these.
photo: Susan Fuquay
photo: Susan Fuquay
photo: Susan Fuquay
photo: Susan Fuquay

Color Gradation Tapestry Class in Santa Fe!

In case you missed the announcement, I am teaching Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry May 4, 5, and 7 in my studio in Santa Fe and I still have a two open slots. The new studio is shaping up and I am excited to actually teach students in a place where I have all my supplies, books, and equipment accessible. So come and join us for a really fun class.

Here is the post with more information about the class. CLICK HERE.
We'll learn to turn a mess like this

Into something like this!
...but perhaps not in 3 days.

Santa Fe Creative Tourism post about the class is HERE.