“Keep an Eye Out for…” By Sandra Rude

 Keep an Eye Out for…My Work at the Open Studios Kick-Off Party!

Nature is my usual subject for wall-hangings woven on my jacquard loom.

Images such as ‘Blue Bayou’ below are a lot of fun to weave. I begin with a digital image, usually a photo taken by me or someone in my family, or by friends and acquaintances. That way I feel a personal connection with the image. In Photoshop, I manipulate the image until I’m sure it will look perfect interpreted as a weaving. Then, still in Photoshop, I convert the image into a data file of the type the jacquard loom (which has an electronic interface) eats for lunch. The final data file contains only black pixels and white pixels; hues and values are ignored in the translation process. As the computer sends information about the data to the loom line by line, a black pixel represents a thread that the loom will lift; the white pixels are threads that will not be lifted.

Then I throw a shuttle across the shuttle race, and here’s where it gets tricky – the weaves I’ve defined for the current image assumes I will throw the shuttles in a certain order. For example, while weaving Blue Bayou, I threw the shuttle with grey yarn first, then the shuttle with violet yarn, and then the shuttle with gold yarn. If the shuttles are thrown in the wrong order, the picture will start to look very strange! The black yarn is only in the vertical direction, and these are the threads the loom lifts (or not, as appropriate). This is where good record keeping is a requirement!

I also create Woven Portraits. These weavings are based on photographs, too, but usually family photos. I have woven a young couple’s engagement photo as a wedding gift from a relation. I have woven my husband’s parents’ wedding photo as an anniversary gift from my husband and me (and am I the favorite daughter-in-law now?). These are all woven in black and white, because that’s the form most old family photos come to me. The weaving below is based on a photo taken by my mother of my sister, aged maybe 2 (so the original dates back to 1942 or 1943), with her first Jack-o-Lantern. There’s an almost endless list of events that can be commemorated with a weaving: birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, you name it!


Be sure to stop by the Open Studios Art Tour Kick-Off party Friday, October 5th at The Court Street Terrace, downtown San Luis Obispo between 5:30 and 8:30pm.  Tour catalogs will be available, and you can purchase raffle tickets to win $300 in ART Bucks to spend on art during the 2012 Tour!


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