Project: The Spinning World!

I started thinking about this project in December. I want to submit it to a juried exhibition with a due date in a few months. I worked up a lot of different ideas before settling on this three dimensional piece. What was I thinking? The project started to take on a life of it’s own and a large life at that!

Working out ideas

Working out ideas

 

After filling up half my sketch book with roughs, I settled on this idea – our globe with its beautiful surface in strips, twisted but still radiant – an environmental statement but also a fun take on the spinning world.

Initial watercolour sketch

Initial watercolour sketch

Sketch in strips

Sketch in strips

 

 

 

 

I worked up some rough sketches in watercolour, cut them in strips and decided that I would leave spaces between.

Now I had to get serious. How was I going to turn these into a globe? I decided that a spinning wheel was the perfect armature both for the physical requirements and for the metaphorical aspect. I’m still tracking one down, hoping the one I have a lead on will work out.

 

How would I make the strips twist? I decided to weave each strip in tapestry with two pieces of wire in the warp near each edge. I decided on stainless steel wire, 19 gauge, I think. I’d never woven with wire before, so I worked up a sample. I couldn’t produce a long warp with wire in it, but a warp of about 2 yards worked.

I had a lot of yarn that would work, but I was missing some colours. I found the Briggs & Little yarn stocked by the Baddeck Co-op would work well. But I was still missing a significant blue so I ordered it from Brassard Bros in Quebec.

I hunted down some armature alternatives in case the spinning wheel I was after didn’t turn up. Now knowing the particular size, 18″ in diameter, I could begin. I painted a full-size cartoon of the two parts in watercolour on brown kraft paper. I layered the clouds over top with white acrylic.

Full size cartoon, part 1

Full size cartoon, part 1

Cartoon, part 2

Cartoon, part 2

 

I’ve made some adjustments to the clouds since I took these photos. Despite painting on the brown Kraft paper, these full-size cartoons turned out quite well. I cut them in strips, each 2″ wide and 28″ long, 22 strips in total, with a half inch cut out between each strip.

 

 

 

 

Ya, the clouds definitely needed some adjustment. Nevertheless, I was surprised by how many cloud vortexes there were in NASA images of the world!

 

 

 

 

How was I going to weave up the strips? I could use my big loom, but it would be awkward with the wire. I could use my table top loom – in fact that’s what I had used for my sample – but it was awkward. I put out a request to borrow a tapestry loom and a kind weaver offered me theirs. Of course it came in two very large burlap bags all in pieces. It came with instructions, in German! Thank goodness there were pictures.

Tapestry loom on loan

Tapestry loom on loan

Assembly instructions in German!

Assembly instructions in German!

It took me a whole afternoon to assemble this tapestry loom which turned out to be really quite simple once I figured out it could go together in two different ways and some parts were for one way and not the other . . .

 

 

 

 

Still, I couldn’t have done it without the pictures . . . !

 

 

Downstairs studio as project begins

Downstairs studio as project begins

 

The main floor of the studio is devoted to this project for the next six weeks!

 

 

 

Poem laid out on cartoon, part 1

Poem laid out on cartoon, part 1

Poem lines on tracing paper laid out on cartoon, Part 2

Poem lines on tracing paper laid out on cartoon, Part 2

 

After the initial sketches, a poem came to me. It was quite long, but I whittled it down to 22 lines. Perfect! Now, how would the poem fit into this piece?

Here are the full-size cartoons with the poem strips laid out in rough on top. The poem is supposed to appear on the back of each strip. That said, how the poetry component is integrated is still in development.

Although this is not at all how the piece will look, I kinda like the way the words overlay the images.

 

 

First strip being woven

First strip being woven

 

 

Here’s the first strip in progress on the tapestry loom.

Looks like I can weave one strip a day . . . 21 to go!

 

 

 

 

First strip finished, 28" long

First strip finished, 28″ long

Strip #1 close up

Strip #1 close up

 

First strip finished. It’s not perfectly even, but it’s more straight than it appears – the wire is bending it.

 

With some luck and lots of persistence, I hope to have the strips all done by the end of March. The piece is a kind of love poem to the Earth, and that spurs me on to keep working on it.

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About foreshadowandlight

I am a weaver and artist working out of Meadowbrook Weaving and Art Studio in Cape Breton. I also work part of the year from Toronto, Ontario CONTACT: jane.alderdice@hotmail.com
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10 Responses to Project: The Spinning World!

  1. This is so amazing Jane……your passion for this project shines thro. I love that you have given us so many photographs and an insight into your process. It is so important that people get how much work and effort goes into these art projects. Keep going, you’ll do it, i have total faith in you!

  2. Thanks for your response! You are right – when an art work is finished and appears it seems to have come about almost magically. As artists we know that is not how it happens. Thanks for your support! Off to the studio . . .

  3. Well, this is a really enjoyable view of an artist, the design efforts, the mechanical elements, and I can’t wait to see the finished product…as well, I want to pass this blog on to the tapestry loom lender and the wheel provider as I think they will feel very proud of their contributions! Thanks!!

    • Thanks for your response! I am so grateful for the loan of the tapestry loom and for the spinning wheel – I will thank each of the loom lender and the wheel donator myself eventually, but in the meantime, please do pass this along to them, with my thanks!

  4. Claire says:

    This is so exciting! Read the whole post on my morning commute :). Couldn’t stop!! Can’t wait for the next update. Love & hugs

  5. Judy says:

    Wow, this is amazing! glad I could help. Anxious to see the end.

  6. ruthhurd says:

    Incredibly complicated. Without your description, I’d never have figured out the process. Can’t wait to see the final. I’m so impressed by the time and effort, sheer persistence and amazing creativity you demonstrate. You go girl!!!

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