Friday, September 18, 2009

Community Gallery Opening

Well, a turn of events yesterday kept me off the loom for the rest of the day.  But I did get a piece in a show in Santa Fe as a result, so I guess that is good.

Go see the show if you're in Santa Fe:
It is called Hard and Soft: Works from New Mexico Ceramic and Fiber Studios.  It is in the Community Gallery which is on W. Marcy street at Sheridan.  The opening is from 5 to 7 tonight.  There are some great pieces in there!  
I know that there are some great pieces in there because I got a sneak peak last night at 3:59 after I arrived breathless and disheveled in the rain clutching my little piece in a plastic garbage bag praying the fabulous director of the gallery had not left at 3:59 instead of 4.

See, I made a little boo boo with this show.  I'm trying not to feel too stupid about it, but really I should have made some entries in my day planner about this event... in which case none of this would have happened.  I failed to write down the day that the work was due in the gallery--which incidentally was actually August 29th NOT September 17th.  But the fabulous Rod Lambert, and I quote him saying, "I work with artists, I know about you guys," allowed me to rush my fool head down there and bring him the work for his last remaining space just in time for the opening today.

As I was running through the rain (I forgot when I told him I could get from Velarde to downtown SF in 45 minutes that not only is there the mother of all construction projects in Espanola, but that I would have to find parking in downtown Santa Fe in order to deliver the piece.   Fortunately for the parking it was raining... and I found a spot a few blocks away--even had quarters in my pocket for the meter!)... a man who may or may not have been homeless tried to engage me in conversation.  Being a kindly person, I usually do talk to homeless people... after all, one of my favorite patients at the county hospital in Reno, NV was a schizophrenic homeless man who's girlfriend (also homeless) brought me a little plastic tree with round decorations on it from the dollar store... best present ever from a patient.  They (the homeless people especially when schizophrenic) have an interesting take on the world sometimes--sometimes they need mental health assistance.  Anyway, this man was polite but after a few seconds, I found myself gasping, "I'm LATE!" and running on, stepping squarely in a large puddle and soaking my leg as I ran down the block toward the gallery hoping Rod had not left me standing on the sidewalk dripping wet clutching my little tapestry wishing I was inside with it hanging next to the tag that had my name on it...  Fortunately Rod, in my brief association with him, proved to be an incredibly helpful and kind individual who did a bang-up job hanging this show!  (And did not leave me dripping on the sidewalk.)

Anyway, it looks to be a great show!  There is some awesome fiber work including a fabulous piece by Julie Wagner, a beautiful weaving by Irene Smith, and some mixed media fiber by 
Kathleen Vanderbrook.  The pottery also looked great in my hurried survey of the gallery--sorry potters, I was focusing on the fiber.  I have a little piece in it called The Space Before Knowing that I wove in 2007.  The show specified pieces that were in the 2 foot square size range, and as everything I've done recently is much larger than this, this little piece got to go to Santa Fe all by itself.  Plus then I got to go and visit the new Collected Works bookstore... that was awesome too.

Go see the show!  It looks great.  I think it will be hanging through the end of December, 2009.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Finally back on the loom...

I hate to admit it, but although my grandfather's loom came to me last January, and it has been in my studio put together for months, I have not yet woven anything on it.  I did a small piece on the Macomber (also from my grandfather) --that seemed familiar and safe-- but the Harrisville seemed like a large countermarche beast that needed taming before I could weave on it.  Turns out she is a gentle giant and so far I love her!

I could site endless excuses why my actual weaving in my own studio hasn't so much, well, happened in the last 8 months, but the truth is that life got in the way.  A shift in perspective is called for--weaving is necessary to my soul.  Making art and spending quiet time in my studio is of utmost importance.  Resistance is a creeping, insidious presence that will use any excuse to draw me away from the loom (oh, you're hungry?  Why not drive 10 miles to town to get a Sonic shake?  you have a hang nail on your pinky toe?  that might take several hours to remedy... etc.)

Back to the Harrisville Rug Loom:  For those of you who aren't familiar with this loom, it has a warp tensioning rod on the back that lowers as you weave so the back beam doesn't have to turn at all as long as your piece is less than about 8 feet long.  This feature I love.  It should make the warp tension fabulous... and so far it is!  My only complaint is the lack of locking treadles.  I know this loom was not designed for weaving tapestry, but locking treadles would sure make tapestry easier!  It is a high loom and I could probably rig it to stand and weave if it had locking treadles.

Anyway, I've started a couple quicker pieces for Weaving Southwest while thinking about a more complicated project for my shows next year.

Upcoming shows:
Speaking of which, I have two group shows scheduled in 2010.  The project is called Interwoven Traditions: New Mexico and Bauhaus.  I am working with James Koehler and Cornelia Theimer Gardella in a study of Bauhaus art theory and how we have used this theory in our work as tapestry artists both in Germany (Cornelia is a German citizen) and here in New Mexico.

The first show is in conjunction with Convergence 2010 which is in Albuquerque, NM in July. It will be at the Open Spaces Gallery in July and August 2010.
In September and October 2010 it will be at St. Michael's Church in Erfurt, Germany.  More details to come!
There is nothing so comforting as an old yellow lab sleeping in the sun next to your loom...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Art as a practice

I just saw the movie Julie and Julia.  I enjoyed it.  In case you haven't seen it, the premise is that a young writer named Julie Powell is working her way through all the recipes in Julia Child's French cookbook in a year and blogging about it (no, I haven't missed the irony that watching a movie about a blog got me blogging--something I haven't done in a month it seems).

My questions as I left the theater were simply these:
Can weaving be a practice that is done daily like Julie's project?  and what is the value in that?
Is a project like this a good way to learn focus?  Focus seems like a necessary ability for a tapestry weaver or nothing is produced.
How is it that I haven't woven anything since Emergence came off the loom in June?  How does life slip away like that?  We only have this one short and precious life.  To let the days slip by unnoticed is not the way I want to live it.
Tommye Scanlin is weaving a calendar tapestry--one block for every day in 2009.  This idea is perhaps starting to get at my nascent thoughts about focus and having a project that moves you along one day at at a time.  And her calendar tapestry is really interesting!

And there are more thoughts about art as a spiritual practice.  What else can it really be anyway?  Most of us aren't going to make a living off of it, and so I think we have to do it because it is what we love and making art is what helps us see our own soul.

Editor's note (okay, I don't have an editor, it's just me):  I wrote this post on the date you see but am just "finishing" it today... hmmm, lack of focus?  Too much going on?  I have finished a piece since this post.  Yeah!  Ready for another one.