Laurie brings the ’80s jazz vibe into artworks

Laurie brings the '80s jazz vibe into artworks

A weaver and fiber artist for more than 40 years, Laurie Carlson Steger is the one we’re featuring in this edition of Digital Weaving Norway’s What’s on your Loom series. Laurie weaves on a TC2 Jacquard loom in her home studio in South Dartmouth, MA (USA). Her specialized skills include weaving with fiber optic elements and wire, which has brought consulting work for engineering companies! In this issue, Laurie tells us how on rediscovering her sketchbook drawings of concerts from 1977-1982, she brought them alive with her woven artwork. Referring to the the Golden Age of Jazz Clubs in Boston (Massachusetts), Laurie writes…   

It was a time when, at the end of a weaving or work day, I would look to music for inspiration, and draw portraits of the musicians hoping to capture that relationship between the musician, their instrument and the magical musical moment.  The sketches were fast, merely a tune long, because the mood would change with the next song. I have been converting these sketches into fabric panels for wall art pieces that express a sense of musicality through the use of color, texture and modulating line. Some of the pen lines are only one or two pixels wide which supports the hand drawn imagery esthetic.

For this project, my TC2 is 2 wide by 2 deep, set up with a warp in black 10/2 cotton, and it will soon convert to a 2 wide by 4 deep. I have been working with cotton, tencel and linen wefts of various sizes to get the right effect for this interpretation. Stephane Grappelli, a gypsy jazz violinist, woven with four color shuttles and satin weave. One version as classic black and white in close representation of the sketch.  The colorful version is the fifth rendition, with bright and shiny weft yarns, characterizing the gypsy rondo quality of the jazz music.

Bill Evans, a jazz pianoman, (images below) was designed in a single shuttle 1/7, 7/1 satin structure, woven using two colors and two shuttles. The first shuttle is a dusty blue linen, and the second is a natural linen with indigo dye tinted areas.  I also used a random supplemental silver metallic thread to characterize the lightness with which his fingers touched the keys to make a delicate voice in the smoke-filled club setting.  The sample test seemed to give a weak image, so I inverted the weave, to make the background dark with the sketch in light weft. The red rose threads also just a quick detail.  This fabric would hang like a banner, so that both sides would be visible.


Laurie has both an MFA/ Artisanry/Fibers and BFA /Textile Design/Weaving from The University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She was introduced to the TC1 at the first workshop in the US, at Montclair State College.  It took many years to finally become an owner of the TC2.  After purchasing the loom, she participated in workshops at Peter’s Valley Craft School and at The Jacquard Center with Cathryn Amidei. She is a member of Handweaver’s Guild of America, and is active with the Weaver’s Guild of Boston and the Cranberry Country Weavers. She has been a workshop leader at several HGA Convergence Conferences, and at guilds around the US.  Her artwork has been exhibited in the USA and Internationally.




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