Follow the Thread Mixed Media Woven Works

I have uploaded photos of my series of mixed media tapestries, “Follow the Thread” to

https://crone-findlay.com/2022/01/17/tapestries-follow-the-thread-series/

If you’re interested in any of them, please send me a message 🙂 LINK

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“Woven Portals Tapestries and Mixed Media Weaving-1

For approximately 4 years, I worked on a series of tapestries and mixed media weavings that I have named: “Woven Portals”.

As I worked on the tapestries, I found myself being more and more fascinated by the compelling imagery of either a single eye or both eyes. When I finished the last piece in the series in the beginning of March 2020, within days, the world shut down because of the pandemic.

And, we all masked up…. and suddenly…. all we could see of other people’s faces were their eyes. I was gobsmacked by how I had been obsessed with making images that just showed the eyes surrounded by ‘soul imagery’ or blessing imagery, and now, that was what I was seeing in the world. Truly fascinating!

To see images of all of the tapestries in the series, click on WOVEN PORTALS

“A Blessing For the Bees” by Noreen Crone-Findlay

The pieces are woven on looms that I either modified to be able to weave the pieces or that I built myself or with my husband and son.

I will post images of the tapestries and mixed media weavings in separate blog posts to follow.

Here is the artist statement that I wrote for the show:

NOREEN CRONE-FINDLAY ARTIST STATEMENT: “Woven Portals”
How on earth do we navigate our way through the upheaval and chaos that have unfolded in the last few years?
Noreen Crone-Findlay draws upon systems like Sacred Geometry and the slow, meticulous process of weaving
tapestry and making lace to create beauty as an antidote to suffering, using the process of enquiry through art
making in the voyage of discovery at the heart of the creation of images of compassion, courage, community,
integrity, resiliency, hope and connection.
Metaphor is one of the main themes in this collection of mixed media tapestry/woven works. One of the first
steps in creating these tapestries required building and altering looms to be strong enough to stand up to the
rigours of weaving with wire, which is a relentlessly difficult medium to wrestle into a congruent form. This process
is a powerful metaphor of weaving the web of a new way of being in the world.
Why combine wire with the more normal fibres of tapestry construction? Wire is ubiquitous in our world, but
almost invisible in it’s ‘every-day-ness’. Wire is sturdy, flexible and strong, while having a definite breaking point,
much like humanity. Its reflective quality offers a moment of light at play while acting as the foundation for the
softer fibres. It has the ability to hold its ground, so it frames the Woven Portals into the Sacred Geometrical
shapes of equilateral triangle, square, circle and hexagon. It can be folded and manipulated to lift off the wall once
it has been woven. It’s magical. Difficult, beautiful, sometimes even painful to work with, but magical.
The mixed media woven works/tapestries that are the Woven Portals are a way of capturing glimpses of what is,
and what possibly can unfold by using Sacred Geometry as the leaping off point for each piece, while each tapestry
is asking questions that reach down into the depths of our souls.
How is it possible that children are held captive in cages while parents seek refuge? What do we carry forward as
a beacon of hope in creating healing and justice? What aspects and elements of the previously created systems
and structures will act as foundations for creating new healed and whole ways of being? How do we create
communities of resiliency in the face of a pandemic that has brought the world to its knees? How do we connect
with Nature and end the cycles of destruction that humanity has unleashed? These are difficult, painful questions
that need countless acts of small and great commitment and action.
Because the questions are so vast, great focus is required, and so some of the tapestries are very small, as they
are meant to be viewed as a cluster, with the narrative flowing from one piece to the next. Other tapestries are
meant to be seen as mandalas, offering an invitation to pause, sink in, and gaze into the eyes that look out at the
viewer. They are a moment of respite, of sanctuary, truly a portal that invites a visionary, new way of seeing and
being. As we navigate this great mystery, we need new ways of seeing and being. New portals. New hope.

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Fused Glass and Welded Steel Heart and Hands

My husband, Jim Findlay, and I really enjoy co-creating.

He has always had a penchant for welding and metal smithing, and because of the pandemic, was able to explore his love of metal working more.

He’s a musician, and has had almost all his gigs cancelled for the last 2 years.

So he re-directed his creativity into his woodworking and metalsmithing.

Seeing what he was up to inspired me…. I’ll show you more pictures of some of our co-creations later…

I have loved the ‘Heart and Hand’ blessing image from folk tradition and worked with it in various ways for decades.

I asked Jim if he would be into welding hands that I could add hearts and cuffs to in various ways.

He liked that idea.

And then, we started taking Fused Glass classes, and we got all excited about making the

hearts and cuffs in Fused Glass. We loved working together on the glass. It’s magical!

We decided that this was the perfect Christmas gift for several family members.

We took the class several times over the spring, summer and autumn to hone our skills.

(We make Christmas presents all year long, so it’s part of our rhythm as a couple.)

It took a lot of trial and error to get the hands just right, and so Jim built a very

nifty jig to shape the rods. (Lots of cutting and welding was involved!)

We are sooooo pleased with how the Hearts and Hands turned out.

They were totally made with love in every step!

One of our family members said that hanging it in her window

would be like waving to her neighbours, and sending love out into the world.

I was delighted when she said that, because that is exactly what the Heart and Hands are meant to be!

They are a symbol of welcome, but also of protection, too….

and the metaphor of saying that only good things are welcome is pretty significant these days.

We learned a lot while making the Hearts and Hands.

We have also started exploring including wooden hearts that I sculpt from offcuts of fallen trees that have been given to us for firewood, but Jim has been milling into usable lumber rather than just chopping for the wood burning stove.

( We sent the first one of the sculpted wooden heart version off to friends without remembering to take a pic of it, but will make more and then photograph them.)

The Heart and Hands were the inspiration for making the cardboard folders

that I wrote about in my last blog post. LINK

This has been an alchemical journey!

We feel the Heart and Hands are something that we want to continue to work with,

and see how they evolve.

And, in the meantime, they will be waving from a few windows, sending love out into the world!

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Upcycled Cardboard Boxes and Folders

Normally, we wrap all our presents in bags that I have made over the years. We never buy paper for gift wrapping.

But, this year, my husband and I made some gifts that needed special packaging.

So I set my mind to working on how to do this in an eco friendly way.

(I’ll show the special gifts in my next blog post)

Several years ago, Jim bought a roll of cardboard to build a case for his Oud (Turkish Lute).

It came as a roll that is 12 inches wide by ever so long, and it’s been kind of in the way ever since, but I didn’t want to get rid of it because I have a huge fondness for cardboard.

Jim wrapped the first gift in a protective swath of the cardboard, but that seemed rather ‘less than’ to me, so I mulled it over and came up with the folder idea.

I LOVE it.

It’s super simple:

I cut a 36 inch long piece of the cardboard and cut triangles off one end to make the point.

Then glued one triangle to the inside of the point to stabilize it.

I traced a tray to make the curve and then glued the edges.

Next time I will add strips of cardboard along the sides to give more dimension to the folder.

I used the off cuts to decorate the front.

The cord is made from crochet cotton that was given to me last summer (see Tea Towels) and a Lucet (LINK) and I am pleased as can be.

Another cluster of gifts needed special packaging, so I tried to fold origami boxes with the cardboard.

FAIL.

Instead, I came up with trial and erroring in making fitted boxes that were a time consuming pain in the neck to make. I tried using this technique, which works great with ‘normal’ card stock and paper: LINK

I won’t bother doing this again- not with this cardboard.

(Note- even though these were the pits to make, they were still made with love and some mild cussing).

BUT, by now, I was seriously on a roll with this whole box/package designing thing and remembered those nifty containers that are tubes that have semi-circular ends that push in to close them.

Of course, I probably could have looked up a tutorial online and found the simple way to do this, but, oh no, that’s not the way my brain works.

My brain likes ~to figure things out~…..

So I pushed cardboard around and flipped and folded it and measured and hummed and finally came up with this ‘Slightly Tube-ish’ container:

I had made several of the ‘Slightly Tube-ish’ ‘ containers when I twigged to the fact that they had a big old mistake, which I then fixed.

I made proper templates for the ‘right’ ‘Slightly Tube-ish’ containers , since I really like these and plan on using the concept again.

But, I wasn’t going to waste the ‘wrong’ ones, so I used them anyhow, with an apology to the recipients of the gifts and an explanation that I have got it right now, and they’ll get a better iteration next time.

Until then, the wrong ‘Slightly Tube-ish’ containers can be re-used and eventually be recycled or used as fire starters.

Here are the proper templates:

This one is for cutting out the ‘Slightly Tube-ish’ container
And, this one is for scoring the curves on the ends.

All in all, it was a lot of work, but I loved doing it and I hope that my family liked the nifty boxes and folders.

Even though I used cardboard that we had bought years ago for another project, these techniques will work really well on regular upcycled cardboard and cardstock, which pleases me very much!

Happy Upcycling! ❤

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Tea Towels woven from upcycled crochet cotton

Last summer, loved relatives gave me 2 boxes of crochet cotton that they had adopted from the ReUse Centre in their town.

This is the smaller of the 2 boxes.

I immediately used some of the cotton to tat butterflies, and thought about what to use the generous and unexpected treasure that remained.

I decided to weave Tea Towels for my family – I wanted the cotton to become something useful, rather than just languishing as ‘stash’.

I had no idea, when I began, just how much I would love weaving the Tea Towels!

It was so meditative and contemplative- and watching the play of shadow and light on the various shades of cream and white cotton was deeply pleasing.

To begin the journey, I warped up several warp chains.

And wove

and wove and wove….

The blue bands look odd, because I used several strands of variegated blue thread held together…

I used one of my favorite weaving drafts, ‘Rosepath’, which gives the diamond effect when woven to the ‘correct’ treadling, but also a pleasing zig zag twill and of course, plain weave tabby.

This was perfect for me, as it allowed me to add definition to the hems, the cream colored borders, the blue bands and the body of the tea towels.

Once the tea towels were all woven, washed them and then ironed them and hemmed them.

I had hand stitched the hems between each of the towels while they were on the loom, but then stitched the hand stitched edges again by machine before cutting them apart.

I then rolled and pinned the hems and stitched them by machine.

I had hand stitched the hems on some of the prototype tea towels, but wasn’t happy with the way they looked, so opted for the machine.

Ooops… at one point, my grandson, who has been taught how to sew on the machine by his mother, chastized me for sewing over a pin. Oops!

He has the family ability to raise one eyebrow very high and fix you with a baleful gaze.

This is also a family trait. We pass along such interesting legacies, don’t we?

My father could transmit a world of ‘ahem’ with his eyebrow. Ahem.

I didn’t sew over any more pins after I was given ‘the eyebrow’!

Earlier in the process, I wove miles of tape on my narrow band loom.

But, I forgot to take a picture of the weaving process for the tape.

I cut lengths of tape from the miles of narrow band.

Then I sewed the hanging loops with it onto the tea towels by hand.

Then, off to the washing machine for the towels….

It was so exciting to see how washing the towels snugged them up and made them all soft and inviting.

And then ironed the living daylights out of the tea towels again.

Most of them have been designated as gifts.

Generous gifts of boxes of abandoned crochet cotton by our relatives turned out to be such a lovely gift for me.

I loved the process of bringing the cotton to life again and I hope that the towels will be a pleasure in some small, quiet way for years to come.

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Carved Little Wooden Teddy Bears

I took a break from social media last summer and spent my time carving and weaving 😊

One of the oh so fun series that I carved are these little bears with moveable arms and legs.

These darling little wooden Teddy Bears are approximately 3 1/2 inches tall, although Teddy F is 4 inches tall.

They fit perfectly in the palm of your hand and are very cuddly.

I carved them from very old Douglas Fir.

Teddy A has sold.

Teddy C has a ‘Birthmark’ on the left hand side of his/her face, from a tiny branch that revealed itself in the carving.

He/she wears an oak acorn cap from the lovely oak trees around the corner from us.

Teddy D has sold.

Teddy F is painted gold, but all the others are varnished.

They are all $95 each + shipping

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Tatting Shuttles by Noreen Crone-Findlay and useful video links too

Tatting is one of my most favorite things- I never leave the house without a little tin or pouch that has tatting shuttles, thread, a tiny hook and tiny scissors in it.

I have been busy in the woodworking room again… carving more Goddess and Hedgehog tatting shuttles.

Until the end of the year, I will be reducing the price of the Goddess shuttles to $39 + shipping and the Hedgehogs to $25 + shipping.

Please message me if you are interested.

Here are some helpful videos about my Goddess Tatting shuttles:

This video shows how to wind thread onto the Goddess Tatting shuttles:https://youtu.be/94vbtAd9THg

This video shows how to weave with the Goddess tatting shuttles:https://www.instagram.com/p/CN5RZ5_JZPM/

This video shows how to add a cord so you can wear the Goddess tatting shuttle as a necklace:https://www.instagram.com/p/CN2ppKup68P/

How to tat a necklace cord:https://www.instagram.com/p/CN8AV6HJAW2/

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How to Weave a Butterfly on the Mirrix Saffron Loom

I have been weaving a lot of butterflies lately, as a metaphor of hope, transformation, healing, creativity, community, and so much more.

These butterflies are ones that I designed to weave on the Mirrix Saffron loom.

I love the way that I can set up the Saffron to the exact size that I want….

The pink butterfly is made by weaving a full size triangle on the Saffron (see instructions in my book: Innovative Weaving on the Frame Loom).

And, the blue butterflies are made by weaving half size triangles.

Because the smaller butterflies are woven using a variation on the technique that I developed for the book,

I have made a video showing how to weave them.

The bodies are made on the loom, using the same setup as the wings, so you can weave away without having to re-set the loom. Yay!

Here’s the link to the Video How to Tutorial:

Mirrix looms are selling a wonderful kit that includes my book: Innovative Weaving on the Frame Loom, as well as the Saffron Loom and the Sandy Stand for it. It’s a great kit! Here’s the link for it:

In the video, I mentioned that I carved a chopstick to make the weaving hook for weaving the triangles.

Here’s the link to that video:

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Imagine” Banner Weave Along: PART SIX: How to assemble the banner

To see all the links for the ‘How To’ posts for the “Imagine” Banner Weave along, please go to L I N K S

To order the loom, book and extras kit for the Weave Along from Mirrix, please go K I T

ASSEMBLING THE BANNER:

Place Einstein behind the narrow band.

Stitch his hands to the front of the banner and then stitch the banner to his sweater.

Enjoy and be inspired!

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Imagine” Banner Weave Along: PART FIVE: How to weave the freeform homage to Albert Einstein

To see all the links for the ‘How To’ posts for the “Imagine” Banner Weave along, please go to L I N K S

To order the loom, book and extras kit for the Weave Along from Mirrix, please go K I T

FREE FORM WEAVING: HOMAGE TO ALBERT EINSTEIN:

Albert Einstein is woven (with a few extrapolations and a slight adjustment to the waistline) following the instructions for the Woven Dancer on page 30 of “Innovative Weaving on the Frame Loom”.

In order to hold the pattern onto the loom, a backing board is needed. See: LINK

INSTRUCTIONS:

HOW TO WEAVE THE ALBERT EINSTEIN FIGURE:

1: SET UP THE LOOM so it is 11 inches/27.5 cm) from the lower set of pegs to the upper set. Lock it into the ‘Sandy Stand’.

Fold the ends of the backing board to the back and slide it in place on the loom.

2: WARP THE LOOM: Following the instructions for the Woven Dancer on page 30 of ‘Innovative Weaving on the Frame Loom’, with 1 strand of #4 Medium weight (Worsted or Sport weight) yarn white and 1 strand grey held together as if they are a single strand:

Skip 6 pegs at each side of the loom and warp the loom, following the instructions in the book closely.

3: WEAVING:

LEGS:

Leaving only an inch or of a tail end rather than the long tail end listed in the instructions in the book, weave the legs with 2 strands of black yarn held together as if they are a single strand, and packing the weaving down closely to completely cover the warp strands. Follow the instructions in the book for weaving the legs, but noting that you will be beating the weft yarn in more densely than in the book.

SWEATER:

With 2 strands of light blue yarn held together as if they are a single strand, weave up to the neck. Beat the weft so it completely covers the warp strands.

DO NOT pull in the waistline as it is drawn in the book. Weave the sweater straight up to the shoulders.

Wrap the neck with the blue yarn and weave in the ends.

SLEEVES:

Weave the sleeves following the instructions for the arms, but, once again, beat the weft so it completely covers the warp strands.

FACE:

With skin tone yarn, weave the face, weaving under 1/over 1 and over 1/under 1.

MOUSTACHE:

Stitch loosely over the shed stick with 1 strand of white yarn and 1 strand grey yarn held together as if they are a single strand at least 3 times. Take the ends to the back of the head.

EYEBROWS:

Take 2 slightly tighter stitches over the shed stick for each eyebrow.

EYES:

Stitch 2 small black ‘e’ size beads on for eyes.

HAIRLINE:

Lock the top of the head in place by stitching around each warp strand at the top of the forehead.

Lift Einstein off the loom.

NOSE:

Stitch 2 vertical stitches with skin tone yarn.

SHOES:

With Brown yarn follow the instructions for the feet on page 36. Weave the yarn ends into the legs.

HANDS:

Weave in the single strand at the side of each hand into the arm so that it is the same size as the loop of the hand.

With skin tone yarn make hands the same way as the feet. Weave the yarn ends into the arms.

HAIR:

Stitch loops of hair yarn around the edges of the face and on the back of the head.

Use felting needles to finalize the loops into the ‘dandelion’ shape of his classic signature hairstyle.

FINISHING:

1: Steam the woven figure on the wrong side with a steam iron, being sure to not touch the iron to the weaving.

Finger press the arms down and the hair into place.

Weave in the ends.

Trim any ends.

2: Sew a plastic or metal ring to the back of the head for hanging the banner.

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