The Butterfly Loom

The newest addition to the Casa Marengo Collection of looms is the butterfly loom. The loom measures approx. 5.5″ x 4.5″ and is cut from 1/8″ birch plywood. There are so many ways to use this loom:

  1. Weave a grouping for your wall
  2. Makes a great gift topper
  3. Add it to your macrame hanging
  4. Clip it to your curtain
  5. And, of course, it makes a great ornament for the holidays.

The first photo is my sample that I painted and wove in the colors of the Monarch Butterfly. This year the number of western monarch butterflies hit a historic low for the second year in a row. So even thought this isn’t their exact shape, I wove it in their colors to honor their beauty. Thankfully, there are several organizations committed to restoring their population.

Looms and loom kits are now available in my Etsy shop. Here are some of the other mini looms available in my shop.

OrnamentGroupshotHappy weaving!

Warping the Mountain Loom

Here is a short video on how to warp the mountain loom. This is the same technique for most vertical warp looms. My previous post has a video on warping a circular loom. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions. Mountain looms and other unique looms are available in my Etsy shop.

Christmas in July

WHAT?!? I know, nobody is ready to think about Christmas yet, but if you want your product or gifts to be ready for the holidays, you have to start early. Starting in May, I began developing my idea for mini, single-use ornament looms and they are now ready!

Above and below are samples that I designed. You can totally make these your own heirloom ornaments to keep or give as gifts or you can give the kit to your crafty friends. Paint them or leave them raw, back them with felt, fabric paper, etc., embellish with sequins, beads, puffy paint, embroidery and/or crochet, drill a small hole(s) to hang beads, tassels, etc. Limitless possibilities, really. They are also a great way to use all those yarn scraps!!

Blue_Green_comboI have two kits available in my Etsy store:

Full set includes: 4 mini looms, tiny beater, warp string, 2 tapestry needles (straight and bent tip), felt backing and glue.

Basic kit

The individual set includes: 1 mini loom, tiny beater, warp string, 2 tapestry needles (straight and bent tip).

single set

I will also be releasing a larger version of the tree. Instead of a wreath, you can weave a unique decoration for your door.

Of course, as a pet lover, I had to work up some dog and cat ornaments. I will also be making larger versions of these that can be used as wall hangings to honor or memorialize a pet. You can even drill a small hole to hang their tag!!

Dog_catloom

Also, in the works are a butterfly, a monkey and a nursery set (sun, moon and stars). So much work to be done still, but I think you are really going to like these. Follow me in Instagram @casamarengostudio for updates and design ideas

Weaving the L.A. River

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I was going to write Part 2 of my spinning adventures, but I really wanted to write about what I have been working on the last two weeks. Some very dear and long-time friends are designing a permanent installation of a Day of the Dead altar for the Natural History Museum and commissioned me to weave the LA. River as part of the piece. It was a great project, so of course, I said yes, then I found out the short deadline and the size. It needed to be 6-7 inches tall x 10 feet wide which ordinarily wouldn’t be a big deal, but in this case the waves need to go horizontally and I couldn’t use one of my regular looms. I decided to build a loom. I made it 12″ x 5 ft. figuring I could weave the piece in two sections and then splice them together. It was a little more work than I thought since first I had to measure 1/4″ marks on both sides and then hammer in 600 nails. Yes, 600 NAILS!!  Here’s a pic of me starting the piece on my homemade loom. Please ignore the mess in the background, there’s no time for housework when working on a project like this, lol!

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I jumped right in and didn’t even take the time to make a sketch. It was design on the fly! Not the way I normally work, but time was short. The loom was a bit cumbersome, but worked great!

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After many hours and late nights of weaving, the first panel was done. It was a great feeling and I was pretty pleased with how it came out, until I realized I needed to weave the other panel. I was pretty exhausted from running my graphic design business during the day and then weaving into the wee hours every night. But, I had to buck up and weave part two, which thankfully seemed to go a bit faster.

RiverWeave_2

I finished it in time (whew!) and here is a pic of the piece just installed on their altar.

Of course, I now keep wondering if it would have been easier to weave it on my Saori loom using the comb reed. Best not to drive myself crazy and think about that too much, I guess. It was a challenging project and I am happy with the result and so were they. I also like knowing that I contributed to this representation of a tradition in my culture that will be part of a permanent installation in a museum.

Yes, I needed and deserved a long sleep after this.

 

So much going on in the studio…

that it looks like this is going to another mostly picture post. I’m trying to make work for my Etsy shop, so I’ve been pretty busy and not much time to blog, so photos with captions it is.

First up, I’ve been making many necklaces, both tassel and woven. I am also working on some bracelets, but don’t have a photo to post just yet since they aren’t quite finished.

 

Next up is clothing using a combination of weaving and sewing. I’m still working on a vest and camisole in this same yardage, then moving to a black palette.

 

This is a linen cross back apron commissioned by a friend some time ago and I finally finished it. I have one just like it and I love it!

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And, last, but not least, I found time to do a study for a painting for my Jazz Series. This one is based on Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t.” I think it would also make a great tapestry, but that would  be challenging and perhaps drive me over the edge, lol!

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More to come soon!

 

Have a great day everybody!

Looms and more looms

I can’t believe that it’s been over a month since I blogged. I’ve been pretty busy with my graphic design, art, art project and weaving. I just refurbished a vintage Leclerc Dorothy tabletop loom (left). It was free and all it needed was a little TLC. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will soon.

I also bought a vintage Leclerc Nilus 45” floor room. It’s huge and my whole house is now officially studio. It was a great buy and came with a bench plus lots of extras. Plus, whoever had it before must’ve woven rugs because the beater is weighted. Yay! I am waiting for a new brake coil and heddles. I also need to clean it up and wash the aprons and then I will take it for a short run.

Last, but not least, I bought a spinning wheel. It’s much harder than looks, but I’m hoping with regular practice that I will get the hang of it. Now, if I could only spin straw into gold, so that I am able to pay for all these toys! 🙂

spinningwheel

 

Wall weavings and a new loom

Montage

I’ve been working on small wall hangings using various recycled and natural elements. The pine needles are particularly tricky to work with. Clockwise from top right: 1) cotton, wool, pine needles, wood, leather; 2) Wool pine needles, leather; 3) hemp, cotton, wood; 4) Wool, pine needles, leather;  5) Wool, recycled sari silk, recycled tea bags, raffia, nettle yarn, handmade paper and watercolor. All are now available in my Etsy shop.

The big news is that I finally got my Saori loom. I am so excited and can’t wait to start using it. Will post photos soon of new projects.

saori loom

Lastly, I finally finished this felted/linen/wool-embroidered and leather wristlet. Now available in my Etsy shop.

It sat on my work table for weeks just waiting for me to put the strap on. Sometimes things just fall by the wayside.

Well, that’s it for now. I hope everybody is having a great week.

Sunday’s weaving

IMG_1040I like keeping Sundays for myself to play in the studio. I either paint, weave, block print, rust/eco dye or sew. So many fun choices that sometimes I can’t decide. It’s a great time to experiment and not worry about any deadlines. This past Sunday I spent a relaxing day in the studio working with pine needles and wool. The tricky thing about pine needles is that the tips are fragile and you have to be careful not to break any off while weaving. The other hard part is keeping them steady when starting the weave since you can’t really warp them on a loom. I made two weavings, but only one of them (this one) seemed to work. I really like it and will be making more for my Etsy store.

Save

Roots?

I am super excited that my Navajo loom came today. I won it in a hard fought auction on Ebay. It is beautiful and it is signed by the Navajo artist that made it. While I won’t be doing completely traditional Navajo weaving on it, the idea of weaving on it makes me feel like I am reaching back to my roots. I am not Navajo, but I am part Yaqui. And, while the Yaqui were better known for their mask making and basket weaving, they also made woven blankets. I can’t wait to get started.

Weekend work

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This weekend was filled with various projects. Some fun and one not so much. First on the list was rebuilding my graphic design website. My former host company went out of business without notice, so I woke up one day to find I had no email or website. What a headache! And, of course, they were unreachable, so I signed up with a new host and now have a website again. It still needs tweaking and I have to write the About section, but it’s off to a good start. I am looking for a few new clients, so if you or somebody you know needs some graphic design, please send them my way. Thanks.

Of course, I had to work on some fun stuff. Here is a picture of some boro strips I am working on to add to the cuffs of a blouse I made. I love boro!

boro

And, lastly I am playing around with frame loom weaving. I haven’t yet tackled the new rigid heddle loom I purchased about a month ago. It’s a bit intimidating, so I think I am going to register for a class. Here are two pieces I am working on now. Working on these is a bit like figuring out one of my abstract paintings.

The one on the left is 100% wool and recycled sari silk and is on a 12’x16″ frame loom that I made. The one on the right is recycled silk, raffia, wool, tea bags and I will be inserting some painted paper strips. This is a on a small lap loom. It is so relaxing and really fun. If you’ve never tried it, give it a whirl.

Okay, that’s it for now. Gotta get back to the graphic design salt mines. Have a great day everybody!