Friday, October 3, 2014

Getting ready for Joan Baxter

Almost ready to leave for Georgia and the Joan Baxter workshop sponsored by Tapestry Weavers South.

My loom is warped and my personal collection of Ymmyarns and John Moss bobbins are also coming along. The largest two tapestries finished in 2013; The Mango Hunters and the 2013 Tapestry Diary Triptych are already at the University of North Georgia.

The exhibit opening on October 8th and the artist talk with Joan Baxter are eagerly anticipated! I have been studying Joan's work on the internet ever since the possibility of studying with her arose. It amazes and astounds me! I admire her affinity for the landscape and her ability to speak so eloquently of it in the tapestry medium. I am somewhat dazed and feeling very privileged to have this opportunity, and okay a little nervous too. Add that to the reviews I have read of her workshops from Rebecca Mezoff and Katie Russell and my mind is so full that my body can't keep up!

The name of the workshop I will be taking along with others from TWS is Weaving to the Medium. This is a topic which has been on my mind ever since I started weaving tapestry. The question of how to keep the design and expression in harmony with the medium and distinct from one of my other obsessions, drawing. In the past I have thought that the sketches I do provide impetus for design ideas in tapestry. Recently, I have discovered that it is a two way process.

I have been weaving a tapestry with hands as the subject and I have an idea in the back of my mind for another design but the interesting thing is that in doing a little experiment in my sketchbook I realized that some of my sketches are being influenced by the fact that I also weave tapestry.

This was my first experiment, a simple contour drawing using my left hand to draw the right hand and my right hand to draw the left.

Here is the second with the same type of experiment. These have nothing to do with the design I have been thinking about for a tapestry but it is obvious to me that these sketches have been influenced by my weaving rather than the other way around. It is these kind of connections that make things so interesting for me!

In addition to the workshop and the Woven Together exhibit I also have an opportunity to have a private consultation with Joan and I needed a way to show my current work.  My thought was to share lots of progress photos and details here that could be accessed during our time together.

Here is the Hands tapestry. Not much progress lately as I have been so caught up in getting ready for this adventure and finishing an online class I have been taking at SBS but still hoping to finish it by the end of the year.

Another photo with more detail,

and even more detail.

Another detail shot of the hands,

and another.

Here is the last one!

Moving on to the 2014 tapestry diary which I am beginning to call, Red Dirt Days.

October has begun and my diary sketchbook is going with me so that I can draw the day as designs and weave them when we return.

Looking at the overall view I have a graphic reminder of how little of 2014 is left!

Here is another view of May through October 3rd 2014.

Here is a closer look at the bottom right corner with the beginning of October.

Starting from the bottom with July through September,

and working up for the same three months.

Here we are at the top of the same three months.

Here is a partial view of some of the work being done at the top of Red Dirt Days.

I am also bringing my sketches of ideas for next years diary and hope to discuss this with Joan when we meet.

I feel certain to come back with expanded sensibilities and new possibilities for next years work!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sketchy Stuff

As some of you may know I do a lot of sketching. It keeps me connected to the world in a special way and nourishes all the other work going on in my studio, like tapestry for example.

Thought you might like to see the very beginnings of this years tapestry diary; a rough sketch in my current tapestry notebook. It seems that thinking for the next years effort starts to happen around the middle of the preceding year. At this point and thinking of the efforts of the past couple of years it is easiest to consider them as a series.  At first my emphasis was on technique and more importantly learning how to express myself through the technique of tapestry weaving.

Here is the 2014 tapestry diary or daily practice as of yesterday afternoon. At this point I am giving some thought about how the daily practice differs from other types of tapestry work and what I can bring to it for next year.

The daily practice can be read very much like a cartoon, each little frame is a point in time and together they form a narrative which happens in time. My daily practice is of course my narrative and to some extent I can determine the way it is read just as all pictorial design can be manipulated with the design elements.

So I am continuing to think about my daily practice as a journey that can be read visually as a personal narrative, or cartoon of my life. It is a lot to think about!

Here is a detail of the top left corner of this years diary where I have started to add the border of pale colors which will tie together the columns of the various months. My intention is to be working on this steadily so that at the end of the year I can move on to 2015 in a timely manner.

One of the interesting things about this years tapestry is that it grows in two different directions at once, it grows up from the bottom as all tapestries do but it also grows from side to side. Using the squares as a symbol for the beginning of each month helps to establish the order of reading the narrative which is quite different from the normal "reading" mode which travels from top to bottom and left to right. It occurs to me that within this framework the symbols for the months can  establish different ways of reading my cartoon narrative.

Here is another detail of a piece of 2014. I have used eccentric weaving this year and I really like the effect as it does lend motion and direction to the way the story is read. My thinking is that I would like to employ this idea again next year.

This is a rough sketch of my idea for next year but I have already reconsidered a few things since making this sketch.

For next year, still thinking of a journey through the days symbolized by moving over a landscape or terrain, perhaps a more challenging journey next year and rougher terrain. Also considering letting the months read alternately from left to right and right to left. 2015 may be a journey with an incline!

Speaking of sketchy stuff here is my first rough sketch for the Hands On tapestry. All my tapestry sketches end up in notebooks and very thumbnail in approach. I think it is because the materials of tapestry are so sensuous that I don't want the sketches to compete, they are just an idea of the slightest kind put on paper. The real work will happen with wool, silk cotton and linen!

Here is a photo of the "Hands" as of today. I am happy to be able to say that it is making some progress and finding a voice. There is much more linen and silk in this one than any of the others I have done and while I am not exposing warps the linen warp is also being used as weft in the tapestry.

A little closer view with some of the background eliminated. It is coming along.

A few more sketches done in my tapestry notebook from the ATA retreat, July 2014 in Providence, Rhode island.

I had almost for gotten about them until I went searching for something this morning. This is from Susan Martin Maffei's class...

and so is this one. I was trying to work out an idea for my extended warp sample and  ended up working with the trees above.

Here is a little sketch of Marcel Marois while he was giving an introductory lecture at the same retreat. I was impressed with how expressive his body language was. It was easy to read how passionate he is about tapestry even if you couldn't hear what he was saying. Fortunately I was able to enjoy both!

I have had my head and body in my work the last couple of weeks and sometimes it is hard to transition from doing the work to talking about it.

Hoped to have lots of pictures from a studio party I gave a while ago and this one picture of the lovely food that my friend Janet Kozusko made for the event is all I have.

The transition from taking pictures and observing an event to participating in the event is also difficult to make. Obviously I made the transition to participant at this event and the picture taking was all but forgotten until after it was over. Pretty sure we all had a good time though.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

108 Contemporary

The 108 Contemporary is having a weaving invitational this month and although I missed the opening while on my way to Convergence I did get to see it recently.

This space is fabulous and we are so fortunate to have it as part of the ever burgeoning art scene in downtown Tulsa. Here is a link,

I spent a few hours last Sunday spinning at the 108. It was toward the end of the show and not very busy while I was there but the people I was able to talk to seemed genuinely interested in the work displayed.

They have had demonstrations in weaving and spinning throughout the show and  I was happy to be able to come in and demonstrate.

Here is Jen who was working at the gallery that day weaving a very nice shape on the community tapestry that was displayed.

She was also making some weaving kits to distribute and mentioned that they have been very popular and viewers at the gallery were enjoying them.

I took a couple of pictures of the space which is just amazing. This show included several types of weaving in many forms; wall pieces, garments and three dimensional objects.

My 2013 Tapestry Diary Triptych was in the show,  sharing space with a piece by Sheryl Landis.

Also my first Tapestry Diary piece from June/July 2012 was displayed.

In this picture of the space Lyn Lucas's woven traffic cone is prominent.

I hope you have had a chance to see the show if you live in the Tulsa area but if not it doesn't close till Sunday so there is still an opportunity.

I will share some more pictures after it closes but the best thing is to see it at the gallery!

There is also a nice gift shop with a lovely array of hand made things for sale.

Since I have been back Mack and I have been trying to catch up on some of the projects left on hold when things got so busy in June/July.

Here is Mack putting some finishing touches on the path to the Fiber Studio.

The tomatoes just keep coming and require picking and eating, very tough work.

Thank you to Janet for giving me a jar of her excellent tomato jam made with part of my harvest.

In addition to getting some details on the studio building taken care, filling orders and making them  I have also been making some time to weave.

Hands On and the Tapestry Diary for 2014 are making some progress.  I have to confess on some days I take out more on the "Hands" than I weave, and so it goes. I can't believe that I'm contemplating doing two more of these tapestries with hands!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Tapestry, Fireworks and Popcorn

I took dozens of pictures of the fireworks we enjoyed the first night of the American Tapestry Alliance retreat in Rhode Island recently. As I was reviewing the pictures from Convergence, the ATA retreat and the Fiber Christmas in July show I did directly after returning home it occurred to me that the last few weeks my life has been  like fireworks, fast paced and exciting.  Now that the flurry is past the Ahhh of reflection and wonder.

I had a wonderful time at Convergence! Even though I did not take any classes I did get to see the Vendor Mall and the exhibits.

The most exciting ( and the only) purchase I made at the vendor mall was a new Spencer power treadle for my Mirrix Looms. Here is a picture I took this morning in the Studio. I am getting very attached to this new tool. Not only does it work fast and efficiently with little effort  to open the sheds but it is so much easier to carry along to shows and to attach and detach from the loom. It took me less than a weekend to be quite spoiled by it and very comfortable with its operation.

It was also so much fun to meet Claudia and Elena there.  One of the most exciting things about the whole experience was meeting so many tapestry weavers previously only known through Facebook face to face. I even managed to make a few brand new friends while in Rhode Island.

On Thursday night the Untitled Unjuried show opening was inspiring. The gallery director said that about 500 people attended and with so many small tapestries from all over the world it was an exciting event. Janet Austin headed the show committee and her hard work was evident everywhere. It was a great event!

Here is the panel with my Riverside tapestry on the upper right. If you want to find out more about the show including pictures of all the tapestries check out Janet's blog.

On Friday I was able to make a day trip to the Fuller Museum where the Small Expressions HGA exhibit was installed as well as another wonderful fiber show.

Later that day we visited Peter Patchis yarn warehouse which was a fun side trip and I was able to collect a few samples that ended up in the sample I wove at the workshop later in the week.

The first evening of the ATA tapestry retreat was marked by an exciting bus ride that included a glimpse of the Rhode Island coastline, a dinner and concluded with the fireworks I mentioned earlier. They were actually part of a hot air ballon festival on campus that weekend but considering the timing it felt like they were especially for us.

Once the workshop started with talks by both of the instructors Susan Martin Maffei ( far left ) and Marcel Marois (far right) things started to get busy! In the middle is Mary Lane, coordinator of the event for ATA.

My workshop was with Susan.

Here are the small samples I wove during the workshop. Susan led us through four selvedge weaving ( no warp ends) and adding supplemental warps to create shaped tapestries and then through many  interesting finishing techniques like embellishments with feathers and crochet; even how to move the warp threads to create shaped edges. Fascinating, fun and a great workshop! My only regret was that I couldn't be in two places at once and take Marcel's class also. Everyone who was in it seemed excited by all the design inspiration they received there.

After all the pleasant exhaustion of the ATA retreat and workshop I have to admit the trip home was not that pleasant. Starting with catching a limo ride at 3:30 am on Wednesday morning to arrive at the Providence Airport for a flight at 6am. Then sitting on said flight because of a computer glitch for an extra half hour which resulted in missing my connecting flight from Chicago to Tulsa. After a great deal of walking and confusion at the Chicago Ohare airport I discovered about 9 am that there would not be an available fight to Tulsa until 7pm. Ah, the joys of a 10 hour layover at the Ohare airport! Instead of arriving home at 10 am  on Wednesday it was more like 10 pm.

Never mind, I had until Thursday at 7pm to pack and deliver my things for the Fiber Christmas in July show. This show just keeps getting better every year and despite my less than energetic start I had a great time. Lynn and Janet were there to help which made the whole thing possible. They definitely have the best food of any of the shows I do and we had a nice roomy booth space where all the looms were nicely displayed.

I had a special spot to demonstrate tapestry weaving and play with my new power treadle from Mirrix. It didn't take any time at all for me to become spoiled by the ease of opening those sheds.  Channel six came by to talk with me and film me weaving as well as  others at the show. If I find out when it will air in time I will try to post it here on the blog.

Here is a picture Of Emmelita from the show. I can't say she is a new Mirrix owner because I know she already has at least one at home but she is the owner of a new 12 inch Little Guy.

I celebrated the fact that FC is a local show by bringing the Mango Hunters to display.

It took me a few days to get things in order after the show, unpack and put the shop part of the studio back together. Then there was the day long laundry fest and I really wanted to weave the days I was away on the TD so I had some weaving to do.

Here is a picture with July 2014 complete.

I also took some details of June/July from this one at the bottom...

then a little further in the month,

to this one which includes the fireworks in Rhode Island.

At the top and end of the month it looks like Spring. It really felt like Spring that week with temps in the 70's and plentiful rain. Not your typical July/August in Oklahoma!

I now have August underway and am doing a little work on the top edge so I will have more progress photos soon.

Let me finish with this lovely beginning of a color study in Ymmyarns woven by Cathie Beckman at a color class with Tommye Scanlin recently. The color palette and lovely gradations of Ymmyarns  make them ideal for studies like this. Thanks Cathie for sharing!

I have a few other photos that friends have sent me but am having some trouble loading them so I will try to work that out for next time.

 For now the fireworks are over and I am entering the nearly cooked popcorn days, small bursts of excitement followed by a little rest in between. I am ready for the popcorn days and ready to do some weaving!