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!