There are as many ways to design for tapestry as there are tapestry weavers. Everyone has to find their own way. But over the last couple years I have employed one particular technique that I find shakes my brain loose and helps me conquer the fear that comes up when designing large pieces.
I start small. I don't have any fear at all about making something that is only a few inches square. The warp goes on quickly and whatever comes out of it, I'll have gotten in some practice and learned something about color and design.
I have started calling this practice a tapestry diary, though it isn't a tapestry diary in the more often used form of weavers like Tommye Scanlin and Jan Austin. It is a diary in the sense that I am recording thoughts and impressions as well as things I've seen and when I look back at the pieces, I remember both the inspiration and the weaving of it.
This video talks more about the process.
I've written quite a few blog posts about this process in the last couple years. Here are some links in case you want to dive deeper.
August's Tapestry Camp Inspiration from one of last summer's weaving retreats
High mountain weaving at tapestry camp Inspiration from the other Colorado weaving retreat last summer.
The Petrified Forest Tapestries book I self-published a small book with all the tapestries from this artist residency. You can purchase it, but you can also just go to the Blurb site and look at all the photos.
My Hokett kit Just in case you want to travel with your small loom, this is what I bring along. Make sure you have the tools you need (or a pocket knife to whittle some!) when you head out.
Time Warp My Petrified Forest tapestries were in a show in Georgia. Check out all the work in this show.
The weaving I did at Hambidge Some of the small pieces I completed during this artist residency in 2017.
Flowers, tapestry design, and spring water This post has two of my favorite Hambidge weavings in it with a little more detail about their creation.
A review of the A-I-R tapestries This is the post that has all the tapestries from the Petrified Forest Residency in it. There are other posts about this time listed in this post (in case you're looking for a good long rabbit hole to fall into).
Have you tried using a consistent practice of casual weaving to inspire yourself?
Does doing more casual projects help you focus on or approach more complicated things?
Do you keep any sort of woven diary?
Tell us in the comments!
I still have openings in my in-person workshop on this subject in Colorado, June 23-27, 2018. It is such a fun retreat, but you don't have to believe me. Check out the information and words of past students HERE and HERE.