Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brother-in-law to the rescue

I posted awhile back about the death of my trusted Mac Powerbook G4.  I had pretty much given up getting the data back, and stoically refused to think about the loss of all those little bits and bites of data I generated over several years that were gone in a puff of electronic whimsey.  BUT I have an absolutely amazing brother-in-law who despite my frequent abuse of his incredible brain power, continues to help me out with fixing just about anything that could possibly be fixed (and I believe he lives by the mantra that anything can be fixed somehow).  Seriously, this man can make anything run again.  For goodness sake, he replaced the head gasket on my sister's aging Ford Escort (incongruously named Red even though it is bright blue in color) TWICE!  He can fix everything from cars to washing machines to plumbing.  So it wasn't too far off to think maybe he could fix my defunct computer.  He volunteered to give it a go, really he did.  The thing is, it looks like he actually might recover that data for me.  Now it is clear that I worshiped the ground he walked on before this feat, but if he actually hands me a DVD with the contents of my hard drive on it, he will have earned a place in my pantheon of worshiped beings--or at least a whole truckload of bribery beer.  Here are the photos of the gutting of my Powerbook.  I couldn't look.  We started by nesting my computer with my sister's identical computer in the hopes that some sort of electronic synthesis would take place and jump start the ailing computer.  No dice.  So Luke started doing what he does best--he took the whole thing apart.  And there is my hard drive.  Turns out there was probably some electronic glitch in the thing and he actually did get it to spin again... lets hope it spins again long enough to transfer my photos to a DVD.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fuller Lodge Report

Here I am last night at the Fuller Lodge show in Los Alamos (Espanola Valley Fiber Arts show).  This piece is called Awakenings III and it was woven probably in 2005.  People there seemed to like it.  The show was well done especially considering the small space.  They had adequate lighting, snacks (one woman had gluten free chocolate chip cookies!! which made my day), name tags, and some really nice people making sure it all turned out well.  The work in the show (which was juried) was very nice.

And I can report that the staff at the Starbucks across the street is quick and friendly.  I haven't been in one of those since I lived in Seattle, but if you live in Los Alamos, things are a little different than the rest of rural New Mexico.  (For example they have a REAL grocery store--meaning the produce is edible and they even have some organic stuff.  I have to stop there before I get overly expressive about the benefits of living in Los Alamos vs Espanola.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fuller Lodge Show

I am a member of the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center.  I can't say enough good things about this organization.  The people who work there are amazingly helpful and the variety of classes and services for weavers and other fiber people are wonderful.  I think the fact that a place like this exists at all in a small town like Espanola is a miracle.  If you're ever in the area, go and visit. EVFAC has a couple shows a year and I think this is the first time for them to have a show at Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos.  I haven't been to Fuller Lodge yet, but I'm going tonight for the opening.  Fuller Lodge has a website where they actually post photos of the work.  Unfortunately the photos aren't fabulous, but I think the fact that they do this for their shows, which go up frequently, is quite amazing.  The website is www.artfulnm.org.  Click on the EVFAC exhibit link.  The pieces I submitted to this show are old ones for me.  I like the piece with two panels and the large green circles the best.  That piece is called Meridians and it hung at my sister's wedding at Quarai (an old ruined adobe church south of Albuquerque).  The newer pieces I have I am saving for some juried shows and for the Bauhaus show which may hang before the end of this calendar year.  So it will be odd to go to a show where I have work hanging that I don't really connect with that much any more, but I suppose that happens for most artists at some point.  I feel like I have moved so far beyond those pieces that I'll have trouble talking about them.

Here is a photo which I am including mostly to mark my progress.  This is the piece that I'm weaving at James Koehler's studio and I realize that you can't tell what it is at all yet, but I just want to remind myself that I am making progress!  When that tape
 measure says 48 inches I'll be really happy.  :)  It says just over 14 if you can't read that.

And I went hiking last Saturday north of Taos at Cebolla Mesa.  It was hot down on the Rio Grande river.  There were pasque flowers
 out along the trail (at least I think this is what these flowers are... I'm not a botanist though and could just be really wrong).  Last night we got a couple inches of snow and the school I work at on Fridays was cancelled.  I never tire of getting snow days as an adult... reminds me of the glee of getting them as a child (oh so very infrequently in Gallup, NM).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Walking on the Rim

A lot of my inspiration for making art comes from being outside.  I'm a big walker.  My yellow lab Cassy is getting older and I'm watching her slow down and wondering what will happen to our daily walks?  We love to clamber over mesas for miles every day (or at least I love to do this and she humors me).  But she is approaching 10 years old and is not as thrilled to just peek around this or that corner or over that rise any more.  Will I have to leave her behind?  I will have to continue walking and probably to get another dog when she is gone because there is no better motivation to walk than a dog's begging for some exercise.  I've been plying her with glucosamine and even lift her out of the back of the truck to save her joints (her vet recommended it--I'm not completely nuts!)  The big skies of New Mexico just seem to help me forget all the details that clog my mind day to day and that lets me feel possibilities for art--and other things in life.

Here are some photos of me out on the west rim trail of the Rio Grande Gorge.  That is Wheeler Peak in the background near Taos.  Mostly I think I'm thinking about how I'm going to redo my website completely--and how much this needs doing--and how I don't have the time to do it right now or the money to pay someone to do it for me.  And then I saw the sunset and the alpineglow on the mountain, and I realized how fabulous it was just to be outside and able to walk.  The website can wait a little bit... at least for today.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I visited southern Colorado today and spent a couple hours at the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge watching the cranes.  I'm something of an adorer of cranes the last few years.  I've never been much of a birder or even know much about birds... but about 6 years ago I was living briefly in eastern Oregon and was walking my dog in a completely illegal place (I was blissfully unaware I wasn't supposed to be there) on a wildlife refuge... and I saw two huge grey birds that made the most amazing sounds.  I bombarded the ranger who came to kick me off the refuge (in his huge truck!  I'm guessing the diesel fumes and noise were more disturbing than my footfalls, but you can't argue with a man in a big truck) with questions about those big birds.  All he told me was they were probably sandhills.  Since then I've been chasing the sandhill flock that winters in Socorro, NM, flies over my current home in northern NM, and stops in Monte Vista, one of my last homes, before flying to Canada for their summer reproductive fun.  The cranes are amazing every year, partly because they are such large birds and are so fun to watch, but also because they are predictably there, yet threatened in every possibly way in this world.

On my way home from watching the cranes I got some good news about a possible show next year (details sketchy and untellable yet), Yeah!  ...and some bad news from a dear friend who's 96 year old grandfather was badly burned in his back yard in Illinois trying to burn weeds.  He died a few hours later.  Sometimes our days are such a mix of joy and sorrow--I guess that is called life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bauhaus Project Update

I'm sure you've all been waiting with baited breath (or is that bated breath?  I inherited my father's spelling difficulties--and it is worse when I think about it!) for the update on the big Bauhaus project!  

But first, a tangent of course!  My website is sadly very very behind.  You can see it here.  The project description posted there has not been updated.  I am hoping very much to switch my website to a different host as the one I've been using frankly sucks rocks for Macintosh users.  And I certainly am not switching to a PC for the sake of a website!  I don't know why they can't make a sitebuilder work with Safari or Firefox, but they can't seem to do it.  So while I wait for the stretch of time and inspiration needed (and getting those two things to coincide is tough!) to rebuild the site on some kind of artist-friendly host, you won't find my website very up to date.

BUT that doesn't mean I haven't been working my toolies off!  My Bauhaus team
 of Cornelia Theimer Gardella and James Koehler have been meeting religiously (or at least regularly) to discuss all manner of interesting studies and work on pulling together 2 shows and workshops.

Our project has been extended a year and will culminate in 2010, not this year... something I think we are all happy about as 2009 is well into it's 3rd month already.  We have secured a venue for the show in Erfurt, Germany in September and October, 2010 and will be doing a show of our work there.  It is likely that there will be other weaverly events connected with this venue and/or city, so stay tuned!  (I know, it would help if my website was functional--sorry).  We are also looking at some options for the same show in New Mexico in the summer of 2010--so if you can't travel to Germany for shows and workshops, perhaps you can come 
and see us in Albuquerque or Santa Fe.

And lastly, I don't have any great pictures of Erfurt, Germany to lure you there (yet), so here is a cool photo of a petroglyph taken somewhere near my house.  I'm sure I couldn't find it again on purpose, but I know it is out there somewhere.  

And as a post script, can I just say that geez!  I wish "they" could decide to extend deadlines for weaving shows before I spend two long evenings swearing at photoshop and my crazy camera.  I just found out Fiber Celebrated (the reason I was trying to get Inscription photographed) isn't due until April 25th.  Heck, I could weave another whole piece by then!  Ah the joy of possibility and the pain of the late nights fussing with the camera.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


In lieu of some bathroom humor involving some really excellent borscht, I have opted to post a photo of my newest piece.  You all can thank me at any time.  

I did the first panel of this piece last fall.  I was unhappy with the result and decided to do a second panel to "fix" some of the design problems I had with the piece.  Here is the result.  It is 66 inches wide by 47 inches high.  I'm not sure the black background is the best--and certainly the photographer needs some assistance.  Actually, a new camera would be a great asset.  I took this with my Pentax point and shoot and the zoom distorts the weaving--so every weaving I photograph looks like it is bowed.  I adjusted the horizontal panel in this photo pretty well, but the vertical panel remains skewed.  Hopefully a new camera will be coming my way soon so I can stop banging my head against my tripod in frustration late at night (a common photographing scene in my house as I take the photos after dark to try to control the light better).  In fact as I look at the photo downloaded here, it is extremely blurry around the edges.  I think I'll have to fix that before I send this file to a juried show.  I'll post a better photo when one materializes.

The title of the piece is "Inscription."  The piece was inspired by Anni Alber's thoughts about thread as text.  "Through her continuous investigation of thread as a carrier of meaning, not simply as a utilitarian product, she was able to create art that functions as a visual language..." (Anni Albers (by Nicholas Fox Weber and Pandora Tabatabai Asbaghi): Thread as Text: The Woven Work of Anni Albers, Virginia Gardner Troy, pg 28).  I have been reading about Anni and her work for the last couple years as part of the Bauhaus project I'm involved with--which I will update you all about soon!  As a big reader and a worshiper of the written word (as well as a person with a large book tumor growing in her home), I loved the idea of creating a weaving that the viewer scanned for meaning somewhat like one would read text.  This piece was the result.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An inch at a time...

I suspect if you're a tapestry weaver and you're reading this, you understand what I mean by "an inch at a time." Thats how it feels some days.  Today I wove all day on this piece, and I think at the end of the day I had woven quite a bit more than an inch, but not more than two.  This piece is 48 inches long (and 48 inches wide)...  I'm hoping things'll pick up a bit as I go along.  I've tried whistling as I work, ignoring the other people in the studio (that is often impossible actually as fun things are happening and I like to be involved--how can you ignore the glee of the woman next to you who just figured out how to do a smooth interlock?), and deep breathing as I work because I find that when I get anxious about my progress I mess up and going one inch back after several hours going forward is not fun and leads to much swearing and an occasional plea to various saints (and sinners--I'm not Catholic.)

This is the first piece I've done at 10 e.p.i.  Before this all tapestry I've done has been at 8 e.p.i.  That also is screwing me up.  Who knew that going from 8 epi to 10 would be such a huge switch?  But it is.  I worked for a whole day putting in waste at the beginning of this piece to get the bubbling correct so the warp was covered.  Now I'm having trouble with too much weft.  Eventually I'll get it right I suppose.  At least I hope so!

When I go back on Sunday to work on that piece, I am considering wearing these 
mardi gras beads that a co-worker gave me last week as a good luck charm.  What do you think?  I heard plenty of stories from Kelly who is from New Orleans about women taking their tops off for a good set of beads, but I didn't hear anything specifically about good luck.  Perhaps I should look forward to St. Patty's day instead.  It is likely I'd get the beads caught in the millions of weft bundles and more swearing will ensue anyway.  I'm pretty sure these beads aren't good enough to get women to take their clothes off... so they're probably not lucky either.  Perhaps I should just stick to using the beads to test visual skills in babies.  Seems safer.