Saturday, November 4, 2017

Long time coming!

Finally I'm taking time to write a new post.  So many things have happened in the last couple of months and I haven't gotten around to describing some of those.  I'll take time to do that now.

I had a wonderful weekend class in Durham, North Carolina in late September.  The Triangle Weavers Guild invited me to teach and there were 15 wonderful people who came together at the Murphy School where the guild has a couple of rooms.  Here are a few photos by participants in the class.  Thanks for sharing those, Lori, Jenny and Deborah.  Michiele later wrote a blog post about our weekend--here's the link to that at her blog--and take a look at her other posts, too.  Thanks, Michiele!

(I wasn't really that stern all weekend!)

Before that class, I'd spent many days at the end of September getting the small tapestries from the last post mounted and ready to take to Hambidge.  I also worked on finishing of the larger tapestry, hoping to have it photographed on September 11.  But then the hurricane came through.  One of the several from this year.  So I postponed the trip.

We had some storm damage from Irma on our property in the county but not much to speak of at home, just lots and lots of limbs in the yard that we spent several days cleaning up.  We were fortunate at the house in town to not lose power.  Many in the county weren't that lucky--the power was out or up to a week for thousands and the public schools closed for five days, I think.  Of course none of what happened around in north Georgia is anything in comparison to the devastation if Puerto Rico and other areas of the Caribbean.  My heart hurts for all who suffered so much--and continue to struggle for survival.

In October I was able to finally get to Tim Barnwell's place in Asheville to get the tapestries photographed--here he is shooting the latest one finished, Earth Echoes:

Before leaving Asheville I went by the Western NC Farmers Market to see Milissa Dewey and Allie Dudley at the Mountain Mama Weavers booth that Milissa has there. Allie was in the Penland class in the spring and she's currently working with Milissa as an intern.  Here's Allie as she's weaving Venetian carpet on an antique Swedish loom:

After Asheville, I went to the Lillian Smith Center for a two week residency.  I treasure every minute I've been at the center, just about once a year since 2009.   This year I decided to encourage others to consider spending time there by funding a two week residency for a visual artist.  It's being called the McClure-Scanlin Visual Art Residency Award and my husband and I want to give the award in honor of our mothers, both of whom were supportive of education and also of following one's chosen passions in life.  Applications may be made through the Piedmont College Lillian E. Smith Center website for 2018 season starting now, with deadline to apply March 1, 2018; the link to that is at this news announcement from the Center.

Even though most of my time was spent in other ways I'll mention below, I did dig a bit of dirt while I was there... isn't it interesting how this particular color of earth is so similar to the oak leaf from the yard.

I didn't have my earth pigment sifters and the muller for grinding along with me this time like I did last year but I bought a small strainer at the grocery store and did a bit of refining.  I painted with the few pigments I collected using matte medium as a binder.  I picked up charcoal from the fire pit for the black.

This time while at the center I spent most of the time looking back at past journals, notebooks, and sketchbooks -- I took over thirty to browse through.  It was daunting and exhausting to see what I've been writing and drawing about over the past thirty years.  Some of the journal entries were pretty raw and sad, while others were filled with flights of fancy about the world and my place in it.  All of this review work is going on to gather information for a bigger project that may or may not come about.  The look back was at least an exercise in reminding myself about who I was, who I hoped to be as a person and an artist, and how I'm getting there (or not). Here are many of them laid out on the top of the bookcase in Peeler Cottage the first night I got to the center, before I'd begun to plunge into them:

I found the flower for October while I was at the center--an aster.  And here it is, one of the photos I collected and the interpretation I made of it for the tapestry diary.

November's flower is still waiting to begin although I've decided what it will be... more about it later.

This week I'm busy with warping all of my looms to get ready for the winter's weaving.  I'll be having some surgery on my left hand in December and wanted to get this out of the way before that happens.

Teaching news--I'll be in Orlando in February to teach for a weekend for Weavers of Orlando and in addition to the class at John C. Campbell, I'll be returning to Arrowmont next summer.  I'm also having discussions about a future workshop in Florida in 2019.

Exhibit news--I've had two rejections lately.  But I've also been accepted into two juried exhibits.  One is Excellence in Fibers 2017 sponsored by Fiber Art Now magazine.  And the other is the Art of Georgia III for 2018, with selected artists' works to hang in the State Capitol in the Executive Offices. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Remains of the day(s)

The title of my post is about the wefts remaining on the bobbins after I recently completed a tapestry that was on the loom for a couple of months.  Those wefts represent the remains of the days I spent weaving that one.

I've been busy with the small tapestry I mentioned in the last post, one that would be using up remaining wefts from bobbins (a few of which are in the above photo) I had wound for the tapestry I'd cut off recently.  As it turns out, I have enough warp and weft remains to do another small tapestry and I'm underway with it now.

I always save weft that's on bobbins after I finish a tapestry.   I unwind the bobbins, make butterflies with the yarn and store them in zip lock bags.  I almost always use several strands wound together as wefts so the colors are mixed.  When I unload the bobbins, I don't separate the strands but put the whole bundle into the bag.  And then I almost never reuse the same color mixture!  Time consuming?  Yep.  But, after all, one's use of time is relative to the importance of the task, isn't it.

Anyway... quite a few of the bobbins from the big tapestry have now been emptied as I wove the first of two small pieces on the new-to-me loom I recently bought.

Here's the first piece after the weaving was completed:

It's woven at 8 epi on a gray wool warp.  The design is based on one of the earth pigment paintings I did while at Hambidge Center last December.

The second piece that's now underway is also based on a painting I made last year, one using black walnut to dye the paper.  At the right side of the tapestry I'm weaving blocks of color from, yes... the remains of the wefts.

This is being woven at the top of the warp.  To do that, I flipped the loom over and started at the opposite end of the completed tapestry.  Sounds more complicated than it is.  I find that doing this on a frame loom allows for the most use of remaining warps.  Sort of like burning a candle at both ends, I guess.

I'm hoping to finish this second small piece later today and cut both off so I can get to the finishing steps asap. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Solar Eclipse and more

Yesterday's solar eclipse was a big deal here in the United States as it made its way diagonally across the country.  Hundreds of thousands of people traveled to places they could have a view of it in totality--or nearly so.  Our home in north Georgia had a partial eclipse of about 98% and we stayed here to enjoy what we were given.  We had glasses and I made a viewer using a box and a pinhole camera lens that was from a camera I built when in a photography class in school many years ago.  I also did some quick watercolor sketches of the moon's shadow at different times throughout the event.  And of course, I had to record the eclipse in my tapestry diary!  So here is my homage to the August 21st solar eclipse of 2017 with the sun almost gone when it was at the peak around 2:36 p.m.:

Here are the little quick sketches I did as the eclipse progressed:

These were done on the front and back of a bamboo paper for printmaking, using watercolor with notes in pencil.  They are reminders for me of that wonderful experience and will be slipped into my studio journal later.

As I started to write this post I realized that July 22 was when I wrote the last one.  In it I mentioned I was working on the tapestry that I'd started in early June and that the Time Warp exhibit in Athens was ending in a few days.  Since then, the tapestries from that exhibit have all been returned to their makers safely.  And the tapestry is now finished.

Here's the cutting off on Sunday, August 20:

And here's the tapestry hanging temporarily.  I'll take it to Asheville soon for better photographs by Tim Barnwell but I have lots more finishing to do before then.  It's 62" long and 19.5" wide, woven on a linen warp at 8 epi, using natural dyed wool yarns for weft.  The dyes are all from either black walnut or from henna.  The varying colors come from amount of dyestuff and/or the dye pot used.  The more grayed and the darkest values of the colors were dyed in an iron kettle and the clearer colors in either a stainless steel pot or in a crock pot.

Right now, I've given the piece the title Earth Echoes.  That may change as I think about it more but it seems appropriate since the inspiration for the tapestry was an earth pigment painting I did last fall while at a residency at the Lillian Smith Center. I documented the weaving of the tapestry on my Instagram account at #earthpigmentleaves.

Last Saturday, I returned to the Lyndon House Arts Center in Athens for the closing event of  Fold/Unfold.  It was quite wonderful to see each of the many coverlets woven for the exhibit unfolded and shown, then stacked on top of each other, one by one.  There is a beautiful catalog that accompanied the exhibit that shows each coverlet in full and gives a brief bio of the weaver.  Here are a few photos from the unfolding:

This is Bhakti Ziek's coverlet, a panel of which she wove while we were at Penland's Spring Concentration earlier this year.

After all were unfolded and laid out on the pedestals, many of the visitors inspected them.  Quite a few of the weavers were present for the unfolding.  

So now... what's next?  I'm about to start a new tapestry, one that I hope to finish to be included with a few other small ones at the Hambidge Center Gallery for their upcoming fall show and sale.  I have a new-to-me loom I bought when I was at the Folk School that I'm eager to use. The warp is on and half-hitches are done at the bottom and I can begin!  But... the design is not quite ready yet but maybe tomorrow--

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The heat of summer

Time Warp and Weft exhibit in Athens ending soon--July 29 will be the last day!  I'll be going back on the 31st to help with the packing up of the works from everyone who participated and getting them sent along their ways back to Colorado (Kathy Spoering and Rebecca Mezoff), Oklahoma (Janette Meetze) and Rhode Island (Janet Austin).  Geri Forkner, who lives in Tennessee, will be coming to Lyndon House for the unfolding of the coverlets in the Fold/Unfold exhibit on August 19 and will pick up her daily weavings then.  I'll bring mine back to Dahlonega on the 31st--if I can get them in the car along with everyone else's boxes!  I'd made a separate trip to deliver my work back in May but since Geri's boxes will stay in Athens, maybe I can squeeze them all in.

Beth Sale, who's the Exhibitions Curator for the Lyndon House Arts Center, has been a pleasure to work with as this show came together.  I've been involved with many aspects of the exhibit from the outset, beginning early last year.  Lots of emails back and forth to Beth and especially among the others who participated as we planned the details.  I also approached the editor of Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot to see if she'd be interested in an article about the exhibit.  She was, and it was published in the summer edition of SS&D.

So, being involved in many ways with Time Warp and Weft over the past year and a half has given me a new appreciation of all of the work that goes into the preparation for and mounting of an exhibit.  Thank you, Beth Sale, for everything you've done to make this a wonderful exhibit experience for the six of us--and for the visitors to the Lyndon House Arts Center!

Now... other things.  I've been working consistently (at last) on the new tapestry that I'd started in early June.  It's based on an earth pigment painting I made while at the Lillian Smith Center last year.  I'd designed the cartoon last fall by cropping a vertical section from the small painting and having it enlarged at the university print shop.  Since the inspiration for the tapestry was earth pigment, I decided I wanted to weave the piece with natural dyes.  What better way to used up the remaining black walnut dyed yarns from last year's 2016 tapestry diary, I thought.  When I got back from Penland this spring, I dyed with black walnut and also with henna (the henna has given me a variety of orange and red-oranges that I wanted to add to the browns and grays of the black walnut).  I've continued to dye a few skeins as I've been working on the tapestry.

I have a goal of finishing this by mid-August.  I reached just over the 1/2 way point yesterday (33" of the 60" of the design).  Will I do it?  Maybe!  Time, and a bunch of weaving, will tell the tale.

Here's where it is now... first shot, a view of the loom with the weaving underway.  Second photo is a closeup of the piece.

I'm working on the 2017 tapestry diary daily; the flower for July is an Althea or Rose of Sharon.  There's one growing right outside the window of my studio here at the house and the flowers have been a constant presence throughout the month.  Here's where it stands today--lots to do to finish it off before the 31st.