CHT Art Camp 2014

It was Art Camp again and so it was get ready and head out early Friday morning for Brownwood, Texas. We meet at the Texas 4H center there which is perfect for our gathering. Now there is no direct route there from the Houston area and sometime I am actually going to sit down with a map and really plot out what looks the best way across, but alas that wasn’t this time and so muddled across with three GPSs to help guide us. Rather interesting how each one gives a different direction even when it looks like you chose the same one. I know there is a lesson in there if I would only ruminate on it.

My First painting

My First painting

My second piece of paper

My second piece of paper

But we arrived and soon the place was buzzing with 30+ ladies all excited about fiber. I was taking the paper basket weaving workshop and our group actually started work on Friday after supper. (Did I mention we eat really well while there and gain a few pounds each year?) We had big sheets of watercolor paper that we were to paint both sides. Now I didn’t understand it all at first and it really is a project that after you do the first ones you get it and want to start all over but that is for another time. It was paint paper night and so I did.

Backsides with glitter.

Backsides with glitter.

After painting one side, it was turn the pages over when dry and paint the other side. Now I hadn’t added a lot of color and what silver I had added was thin so they dried pretty fast and I was back to painting and trying to improve on the look. So in the end my fronts and backs weren’t as different as they should have been but they did come out different as the backs were darker (which is what I had wanted for the fronts) though still not as dark as my head envisioned it and I did add glitter to the backs though most of it was lost over time as well. Again I should have had thicker wet areas for it to adhere to.

The bottom woven together.

The bottom woven together.

At this point, it was off to bed to await what was to happen on the morrow. Saturday morning it was time to strip the paper into thin strips with a pasta cutter.  It was at that time that one realized that whatever you envisioned with your paper would change when viewed in those thin strips. After that, it was pick a pattern for your basket. This is where I missed the boat somewhat as the patterns were color and weave and I didn’t really have two distinct sides to either paper for color and weave but with the blue and red one I did have long strips that I could still work with so off we went.

Finished basket

Finished basket

Hard at work.

Hard at work.

Spending a day weaving, by the end, I had a basket whether you could see it as a color and weave pattern or not. The red corners from a bit of distance show the pinwheel the best. The blue and lavender are not very distinct.

Then it was an evening of learning about Rebecca’s fiber trip to Japan and weaving on my Zoom Loom. To bed. Early morning. Breakfast and back at it to learn how to make a bias basket. Now for weavers of cloth where you only work in two dimensions, the bias basket took a bit to wrap your head about and make work. But once I caught on to what I was suppose to do whether one thought they were going to just tear everything up it was rather fun to weave.

The bottom woven for bias basket

The bottom woven for bias basket

Pulling the corners up and weaving in the sides.

Pulling the corners up and weaving in the sides.

I did lay out my strips so that the two sides of my paper were in different directions and then I also made sure that the different ends were lined up together as well. So the horizontal strips in the picture are one side with the light end to the left and darker end to the right. The vertical strips also kept the two ends separate. So we wove and tightened and wove and tightened and wove and tightened. And then learned to weave in the ends from the corners into the next corner strands. Having kept my sides and ends together made it so that I ended up with diamonds of each color at the bottom as the sides came up. And I know none of this makes sense but maybe it will help me remember how it went.

Finished bias basket

Finished bias basket

Then on one goes till you get up as high as is feasible to make a top and make sure it is all even and then you weave in the ends so that what it looks like around the top reminds one of being a kid again and weaving together chewing gum wrappers. I might add that in this picture you may notice the bandaid. Yes, the day before I was very me and managed to cut my finger with scissors when trimming off the ends. These were even scissors that could be classified as children’s with blunt nose on them. Just incredibly glad I wasn’t using my pointy ones at the time. Who knows what damage I would have done to myself then.

My weird odd contraption

My weird odd contraption

As there was still time when I finished the bias basket and I still had some strips, I started on a smaller basket. Alas as I was running out of strips to come up the sides, I didn’t want to just cut the tall spokes off so decided in a fit of madness to try and weave them in together. It was crazy and Brenda even got in on it to try and see what we could create. It is a crazy odd contraption that has been called many things since its inception. In this picture we still hadn’t come up with a way to weave in all the spokes sticking out. I did get them to connect but just a wrap not a weave.  I am still debating to go ahead and cut the top off as it is totally unpractical and weird but who knows maybe it will sit somewhere forever looking out of place.

So all in all a fun weekend that I learned a new technique. The best part is that I have an idea for a project that learning how to do the bias basket will help with so it won’t be just a fun weekend that I won’t use anything I learned again. I doubt I continue with paper weaving but then I did have a friend last night say she had a pasta cutter she never uses….

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