commission

I agreed to weave 81 square feet of tapestry. Commissions and how they work.

I agreed to weave 81 square feet of tapestry. Commissions and how they work.

The question of whether I'm nuts or not might occur to many of you, but I'd appreciate it if you'd just think of me as a little bit driven. I did indeed contract to weave a very large tapestry this year. Actually, it has been in the works for almost a year now and I'm finally getting to the actual process of weaving. 

How does the commission process work?

Artists handle commissions in different ways, but this is how I've done it thus far.

Someone contacts me and wants me to weave something for them. (Yay!!! Happy Dance!! Someone loves my work!)

Let's start the year as we intend to go on

Let's start the year as we intend to go on

I decided that I'd start the year with some of the most important things: my family and making art. Today was the day to dive back into the big commission. It had to be redesigned this fall and the new iteration is better than the original. The piece is a little smaller, but still big enough to make me wonder, how long WILL this take me to weave? It will be 9 by 9 feet woven in three panels which will hang next to each other.

I am a continual optimist, but sometimes that gets me into trouble. I tend to underestimate how long things will take me to complete and thus often cause myself a lot of stress with deadlines that can't be met. I dropped all pretense of deadlines on this piece when we decided to do a redesign. Once it is on the loom I'll time myself consistently for a month and at the end I should be able to make a fairly accurate prediction of when I can have the piece finished... if I actually factor in the other things on my calendar of course. This is clearly not a fool-proof plan.

So today is January 1st and it was a great time to pull out the yarn samples that were dyed last summer and figure out the next steps in the dye process. I lined up the gradation the client and I agreed on and realized I needed some additions. I prepped the sample skeins and then started looking at the part of the design for which I haven't dyed samples yet.

Courage

Courage

There are occasional days where I find myself curled up in a ball on the floor of my studio hoping things will be different when I finally prop myself back up emotionally enough to continue. This doesn't happen often, but yesterday was one of those days. I stepped backwards and tripped over my spinning wheel, landing in a pile of yarn and fleece (thank goodness for small mercies and the soft nature of my medium) and I lay there and cried. I wasn't hurt, just frustrated by how far behind I felt and by the mound of items on my to-do list that never get done.

I don't always know what causes these days where things feel so hard, but I'm noticing lately that many people are feeling the same way. This makes me feel like less of a loser for the struggle and it reminds me that we need to support each other when times feel tough. 

It is big. And I mean BIG!

It is big. And I mean BIG!

Shocked again. I still can't believe how big it is, this tapestry I'm about to start weaving.

There was another moment in April when I was shocked by the size of the piece. But time makes one forget and there were a lot of workshops to teach between April and today. So when I got the cartoon officially blown up last week, I had another shock.

In April I was an artist-in-residence at Hambidge in Georgia and I spent some of the time creating a full-size mock-up of this tapestry design. It was just done in cheap paper and my goal was just to see the true size of the forms and to be able to move them around at full size to see if I liked them. I also needed to check what the curves would actually look like so I could choose an appropriate sett for the piece.