Friday, April 10, 2015

Dreaming of Green

'Dreaming of Green' is the name of my newest tapestry.  (61" x 54") (154 x 137cm)

I had been thinking a lot about the growing issue of drought in California. It used to be that  the rains came in November and finished by March. They used to be quite regular on and off over the winter; some years more and other less. As children in the 50s, my brothers and I would put on our rubber boots and go stomping in puddles, poking around with sticks looking for drowning worms or other small creatures, splashing each other and generally making a lot of dirty laundry. Besides the antics I do remember the lush green shoots that appeared after the rains in the orchards near our house as well as across the coastal hills. The green became more intense into the spring until the warmer, drier April days came and the color on the hills began to fade. By summer it was 'gold' in color (but really by most non-Californians view it was brown!).

In recent years it has been harder to find that special new green of the wild grass hillsides. My original intention was to make a tapestry about the dearth of this color but as I pulled the colors off the shelf, I choose one green yarn after another. I realised the tapestry would be about the missing color- not the missing rain. This is a case where the materials speak more loudly than my intentions. I have learned to listen.

Some of the details are made with space-dyed yarns left over from the 'Here Today' tapestry project. They give a sense of the incremental growth of the new grass. The grass part at the top was the hardest to weave since there is a very specific order determined by where the blades overlap or touch each other. All good challenges as eventually, with measured patience, you know you will finish it!

This was a big tapestry and slow to complete. I felt the length of time I worked on it related to the incrementally slow drying up of the aquifers and lakes in the area. A visit to Lake Tahoe in January was shocking because the water level is so low and without snow on the surrounding mountains guarantees that there will be no water to refill the lake this spring.

'Dreaming of Green' was juried into the National Fiber Directions 2015 Exhibit at the Wichita Center for the Arts, by Barbara Shapiro, a highly respected artist in her own right.


  1. What a beautiful piece, Alex, content and execution both!

  2. Thanks Merna. It took the better part of a year to weave but I had a lot of distractions in 2014.

  3. Pleae keep blogging! Your tapestries are inspirational!

  4. I like the picture of you and your brother playing in the puddles.interesting to realize that your mind's eye as a child captured a specific color of green. Thought provoking to think that the materials can speak louder than your intentions. And you move forward into a bit of a mystery. Your talent amazes me! Nancy. In Idaho

    1. Nancy, thanks for your kind coments. The creative process is mysterious and I do find that it's better to let your subconscious guide you rather than trying to 'outthink' the process.
      When you start with one idea it always morphs a little into something different. There is a dialogue in the art asking. That keeps it interesting.
      The good news is that I just sold this one!