Sunday, November 16, 2014

Out and About

While my studio is among my favorite places, ( and if you have been following since we first moved the building on the property you can see that it is beginning to look more worked in), the last couple of days I have been out and about in Guthrie and Tulsa.

On Friday I visited the new Guthrie Art Center. A group of hard working artists have completely transformed a downtown building into a haven for the arts in the middle of the historic downtown area. Weaver Donna Hilton, pictured here on the far left is one of the driving forces behind the project. In fact the first thing you will see through the front windows as you are walking down the street is the collection of looms owned by the center.

The building also houses workspace for jewelry making, pottery, spinning with further plans to expand upstairs for classes like pen and ink and possibly even tapestry weaving.

On the morning we visited the Friday morning spinners group were busy at their wheels.

Here are Janet and Donna having a consultation about yarns and fibers in the weaving area.

 Donna is showing me her Mirrix loom with a tapestry in progress by Gail Davis. In addition to space to work and sell finished items the artists members also offer classes in all their areas of expertise.

Here is the entrance to the jewelry studio.

Two jewelry artists have work benches in the space. Here is the workbench of Fran Walker,

and some of her finished pieces.

This piece by another jewelry artist, John Cole really caught my eye.

A look at the pottery room. All ready for classes!

In the very back an area still being worked on has hosted some printmaking and a garage band. If you are in the Guthrie area chances are you already know about the new Guthrie Art Center but it makes a great day trip if coming from other points in Oklahoma and the drive is beautiful right now.

On Saturday I spent the day in Tulsa participating in an extended pose life drawing session sponsored by the University of Tulsa and Gilcrease Museum at the Zarrow building followed by a trip to 108 Contemporary Gallery. The current show, Here and Now: Contemporary Native American Art of Oklahoma is definitely one to see.

Back at the studio work continues on the 2014 daily diary as the end of the year fast approaches.
I am working on the top of the tapestry as I continue to weave the days and trying to make the end of the year mark the end of the tapestry as well.

Here are a couple of detail views

of the 2014 tapestry diary project in progress.

Finally, here is a sneak peak of the sketch that will probably be my next tapestry. The paint box will probably be the first tapestry to go on the new Fireside Loom when I receive it next Spring. My Mighty Wolf loom has moved to a new home where it will be used and cared for and that brings me even closer to my new 48 inch Cantilever Tapestry Loom. Exciting stuff around the studio these days. I am really looking forward to making a fairly large tapestry from this fairly tiny paint box and I think the abstract qualities of the project will make for interesting design.

Friday, October 24, 2014

I'm Back!

I've been over the rainbow and back! Or another way to put it is I have been to the Joan Baxter workshop in Dahlonega, Georgia and am now back to share the tale.

What a great experience! As if the workshop itself wasn't fabulous, but when you add the exciting Woven Together exhibit ( now showing at the Library and Technology Center, University of North Georgia) and the amazing artist talk given by Joan at the opening of the exhibit it was over the rainbow spectacular and a richly rewarding time. I have so many juicy morsels of knowledge and inspiration from this time that I know I will be savoring and nurtured by for a long time.

Here is a photo of my class weaving from the workshop done on my 16 inch Mirrix Loom. We started with some color blending techniques that Joan presented the first day. The next morning as I was walking to class a lovely rainbow filled the sky and I was part of an early morning group admiring it. When I got back to my work I began to see a little rainbow of my own appear in my color blending work for the class.

Every detail of the workshop, exhibit and all the activities of the week were so thoughtfully and wonderfully arranged. Of course it takes a village to carry off an event like this and so many wonderful people at the University added to the richness of the experience. I think it is safe to say though that these two, Tommye Scanlin and Pat Williams had a great deal to do with the planning and details behind the scenes. Thanks to you both!

Here is the other half of the space we shared for our workshop. On the front loom to the left a project is being woven by our wonderful workshop assistant and Art Marketing major, Leah. It was a very large and welcoming space and with all the other classes going on, open most hours for our use.

Here is a lovely photo by Randy Weghorst showing some of the beautiful color samples that Joan had with her. Such inspiring color blending and techniques. I was amazed that sitting down to the loom with nothing in mind but sampling colors could produce such a variety of tapestry beginnings.

A photo of colorful Joan, who not only weaves inspiring tapestries but is also a gifted and inspired speaker as well.

Here she is doing a little demonstration for us of a very interesting technique for stabilizing a series of single turns.

Hopefully this close up I captured tells the story pretty well. She used some polyester sewing thread of a color and value that blended with the background. After about 2 or three single turns she brought the sewing thread across and back in one pass. Half of the first pick is in the same shed but the sewing thread disappears completely, then she continues the single wraps 2 or three more times and repeats. Think two ( 2 single wraps) 2 ( two picks of sewing thread) and 2 ( about two warps ahead and behind the single wraps). it works beautifully.

One of the little extras was a visit to Tommye's studio where all the private consultations with Joan Baxter took place.

Inside, it is just the tapestry weavers paradise that you might expect!

The Woven Together exhibit was amazing and is  there till the end of the month so if you are able to see it you must!

In addition to this piece by Joan Baxter, over 50 tapestries from members of Tapestry Weavers South. Two of my tapestries, The Mango Hunters and the 2014 Tapestry Diary Triptych are there. So exciting to be hanging in such good company.

In addition to the tapestries there was also an interesting display of the design work that went into the creation of the tapestries which added a rich dimension to the exhibit.

More deign work...

and more.

Here is an example of the several educational plaques that were spread throughout the exhibit.

There was also a demonstration area showing design, materials and an ongoing tapestry that Tommye manned periodically during the month.

The talk that Joan gave was fascinating. She is a gifted storyteller as well as weaver and the many examples of her work were breathtaking. Obviously I was quite absorbed by the talk because I have no actual photos.

Here is another great photo shared by Randy Weghorst! Look at me standing right next to Joan.

It was a great time and I came home so inspired and with a powerful desire for a new tapestry loom. I need a larger one with treadles! I am looking into the Fireside Fiberarts Cantilever Loom and trying to help fund the purchase...

by selling my Mighty Wolf complete with 6 reeds, bench with bag, double back beam, wolf trap, stroller and extras for less than half the retail so if you are interested please get in touch. My email and information is in the right margin of the blog or just leave a comment and I will get back to you.

I also have an original style Mirrix treadle that I would like to sell for half of retail.

Thanks so much for indulging my little ad and I hope you enjoyed the story of my fantastic workshop with Joan. In the next couple of days I am going to move over to my Sketching Around Blog and share some travel sketches and watercolors from the trip that will help tell the rest of the story.

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.