Archive for the ‘The Artists at Work’ Category

‘Mysterious Reflections’ remade

September 25th, 2011 by Administrator | Posted in Installations, The Artists at Work |

Here is the result of the commission of ‘Mysterious Reflections’. It finished setting at a bigger size than intended (there’s always a surprise factor in felting!), quite a bit larger than the 2007 version, at 83″ x 142″. However, that turned out to be perfect for the wall it was intended for. And the blended red / beige background looks absolutely stunning in its new surroundings. The client was pleased, and Alibay and Saule are happy that the felt found such a beautiful home!

How a felt is made

August 18th, 2011 by Administrator | Posted in The Artists at Work |

Here is an example of how a felt tapestry is made.

Alibay is working on a new version of ‘Mysterious Reflections’ (see below, 65″ x 120″, 2007). The commission calls for a reddish background, and slightly larger dimensions. In the photos, you can see the different raw materials, Alibay mixing colors with a coarse brush, the white base, and the application of the pattern.  A new masterpiece in the making!

To count, or (k)not to count…

March 26th, 2011 by Administrator | Posted in Events and Exhibitions, General, The Artists at Work |

I’m asked a lot what the knot count is for Alibay and Saule’s tapestries. Well, first of all, the tapestries are woven, not knotted like an open pile carpet. So strictly speaking, there are no knots. Tapestries are a weft-faced weave, and wherever the weft passes in front of the warp, a ‘pixel’ in the tapestry forms. The weft is then battened tight to make sure that the warp will be completely invisible. So, I guess, people are interested how many pixels there might be per square centimeter, or per square inch. Well, there is a short answer, and a long answer. The short answer is: It all depends! (You probably knew that was coming…)

If you’re not afraid of math and technicalities, read on for the long answer.

I discussed this at length with Alibay. Here’s what he said. He usually strings a loom with 14 double warps per 10 centimeters. That means that there are 14 ‘front’ warps and 14 ‘back’ warps that are either pushed back or pulled forward during any given pass of a weft color. So that makes 28. Now, every one of those 28 warps actually consists of 2 strings. So essentially, there are 56 vertical strings on the loom per 10 centimeters that serve as the base. So the weaver can double his ‘pixel resolution’ at any given time, depending on the pattern or the required detailing, by not picking up the warps two-by-two, but one-by-one.  Now, if Alibay wants to get even more detailed for a pattern, he strings the loom with 18 warps per 10 centimeters, so that makes 72 strings in total. So much for the warp. Now for the weft: it depends how many strings are used to form a weft color, and how tightly the weft gets packed onto the warp. Typically, there are at least 4 – 5 different strings combined to form a weft. But we won’t count those separately, a weft is a weft. Dizzy yet? Also, Saule loves the relief type weavings, where she over-weaves different types of fiber over the simple weft, in order to create three-dimensional patterns. I guess that is just simply not countable, so we’ll disregard this here.

You are probably thinking: ok, lady, just give me a number. Average. Ballpark. Roughly speaking. Ok, so we just counted. We used an average 14 warp per 10 centimeter tapestry, and counted 45 – 50 ‘rows’ of weft. So the pixel count would be between 1,260 and 1,400 per 10 square centimeters. Yup, it’s a work of art, and a labor of love! And since you won’t be walking on it anyway, I guess it does not really matter what the number is… 😉

Sneak preview at ‘Winged Unicorn’

December 9th, 2010 by Administrator | Posted in Events and Exhibitions, The Artists at Work |

Here is a new tapestry that Alibay is working on: ‘Winged Unicorn’. He will hopefully bring it to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in March! The first photo shows the cartoon, the second the work in progress.

Here’s how far he got weaving during the show…

November 24th, 2010 by Administrator | Posted in Events and Exhibitions, The Artists at Work |

No, he did not finish it. He’s about half way. So I guess he has to come back in March for the Architectural Digest Show! 😉

Here are some photos of the process. Day 1, he strung the loom and started weaving. We had forgotten a fork for him to tighten the weave, so he used a plastic fork from the cafeteria. That did not work very well! The next day, we upgraded to the next level of technology and brought a metal fork along! That really changed the game completely! (He would have probably been done with the whole piece in a day using the plastic contraption! Would have been pretty loosey-gosey, though! Not up to his standards!)

Also, on the last picture you can see how he does not weave in ‘rows’, like you would knit a sweater, or how a loom with a shuttle would work. You can see how he comes up for an inch and a half with the colors on the left hand side, and later will bring the rest of pattern in line with that. Witchcraft!

Commission for Grace Lutheran Church, Scarsdale, NY

September 5th, 2009 by Administrator | Posted in The Artists at Work |

For the 60th anniversary of Grace Lutheran Church in Scarsdale, NY, a tapestry was commissioned based on John 15:5 (I am the vine, you are the branches).

The piece will be consecrated on October 11, 2009, during the Service starting 10.00 am.

The church is located at 59 Grand Boulevard, Scarsdale, NY 10583.

Saule working on ‘Yellow Mountains’

September 5th, 2009 by Administrator | Posted in The Artists at Work |

A true master at work!

Saule weaving 'Yellow Mountains'

Saule weaving 'Yellow Mountains'

Alibay in the Bapanovs’ Studio

September 5th, 2009 by Administrator | Posted in The Artists at Work |
Alibay at work in the Studio

Alibay at work in the Studio

It never ceases to amaze me how some vertical strings and a bunch of spindles of wools can be transformed into an incredible work of art!

How the shawls are made

September 5th, 2009 by Administrator | Posted in The Artists at Work |