Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Come take a tapestry class!!!

I am teaching a class in a couple weeks at Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center in Espanola, NM.  The class is Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry.  It is three days and there are still some openings!  This class is a benefit for the center and I am hoping to fill the class to maximize their profits.  So this is a great time to take a class in tapestry if you never have.  Here is a recent blog post I did with more photos of the center and some of its offerings.

photo: Laura Barger
The class focuses on technical ways to grade color in a tapestry including using hatching and hachure.  I have some great hand-dyed yarns we can play with and the class promises to be a lot of fun.  As a bonus I will also be showing a slide show about the Bauhaus Tapestry Project (Interwoven Traditions: New Mexico and Bauhaus) I did with Cornelia Theimer Gardella and James Koehler which was completed six months before James passed away.

photo: Laura Barger
photo: Laura Barger
photo: Laura Barger
photo: Laura Barger
photo: Laura Barger
From the class description:
 In this three-day class, students will weave a sampler exploring 
color gradation techniques in contemporary tapestry.  A small tapestry 
may be started if time allows.  We will learn different forms of hatching 
and hachure along with various methods of grading color.  Color mixing 
techniques along with some color theory will be investigated.  Hand-dyed 
wool yarn in a large range of hues suitable for gradation will be provided. 
  Rebecca Mezoff was a student and apprentice of James Koehler for 
6 years and as part of the class, will offer a presentation about their 
Bauhaus project which included his last shows, photos of some of his 
work as it relates to color gradation techniques, and discussion about 
how James used the gradation techniques we will be studying in his work. 
  James was an avid supporter of EVFAC and this class is offered as a 
benefit for the center with all proceeds going to help EVFAC keep its 
doors open.  Basic knowledge of tapestry weaving is recommended, a 
desire to learn and have a great time is a requirement! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My return from the mountains...

I've been sitting in a campground near Silverton, CO for a few days reading a book about indigo (Indigo: in search of the color that seduced the world by Catherine E McKinley--I recommend it!).  How I came to be car camping near Silverton instead of walking the Colorado Trail south of Silverton is a long story.  If you're interested you can read about it in my trail journal HERE.  The short version is that I hiked 100 miles of the 300 I had planned to hike along the Colorado Trail this summer and a knee injury took me off the trail.  I am home again after some beautiful days with my family in a fantastic campground outside Silverton.  We saw two moose, a plethora of mines, did some four wheeling thanks to my sister and brother-in-law, and sat in the rain reading about indigo.

I am lucky to be able to walk 100 miles.  I am disappointed that I couldn't do the whole hike, but know that with a little rehab I will be out there again very soon.

I am ready to finish a tapestry and look to new horizons.  Colorado is unbelieveably beautiful and I enjoyed my three weeks at high altitude immensely.

Mine near Silverton
We saw two moose!  What is the plural of moose?
Between Searle and Kokimo passes on the Colorado Trail

At the top of the Ten Mile Range between Breckenridge and Copper mountain--first day out

Twin Lakes at sunrise from a lakeside camp

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm off for a hike... Colorado Trail

After I leave Pueblo tomorrow I'm headed out on the Colorado Trail.  I'm looking forward to some weeks of hiking and a simpler life... for a little while.

The Pueblo class has been marvelous.  What a great bunch of students!  I have enjoyed teaching and will be developing new classes about color and design for tapestry for the spring.  Thanks for the inspiration all you Pueblo-ites!

What a great facility--the staff and classroom were both wonderful.

I am leaving from Breckenridge heading towards Durango soon now.  You can follow my progress HERE if you are interested.  I'll be back in several weeks with more from the land of tapestry...

In the meantime, hike your own hike.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chaco Canyon

I found out James Koehler died not many hours after he passed.  I was on my way to Chaco Canyon March 4th, 2011 with Emily and some good friends and I got a phone message somewhere between Regina and Cuba.  

Chaco Canyon is a place of stillness.  It has a long history which is much debated--and is one of those places I like to go to because there aren't any answers to why it exists or what really happened there during its centuries of occupation.  

Chaco is a place that can push you.  Camping the first weekend in March was cold and the wind and blowing sand can needle you incessantly.  There is little shelter out on the desert and you are forced to take what comes at you when walking out on the mesas.  But I find that the discomfort that first appears at Chaco quickly disappears as I am forced to let go of noise and electronics and remember to look at the vastness of the sky and appreciate the brightness of the stars.
The great houses and kivas are a marvel and a mystery.  I love to trace the patterns of the rock walls with my eyes.  It is a place of repetition.  It feels old and unchanging, but even when it was being built it changed all the time.  We like to think of the Anasazi as a particular group of people in one time and place, but they were much like us—building and changing and creating and destroying their society all the time.

Chaco is a place to go when questioning.  It was a good place to be when I found out my tapestry teacher had died... a good place to wonder what that meant for me personally and in a more general sense.

Chaco is about doors and passageways and empty questions.  It is also about sand and sky and stars.  It pushes my boundaries and I will return.

All content copyrighted Rebecca Mezoff, 2011.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My next adventure...

There is a tapestry mouldering on the loom--a fact I greatly regret.  But I also regret the slipping away of summer without a single backpacking trip yet.  My soul needs to walk and so I am leaving the tapestry unfinished for now and heading out for a solid month of hiking.

Here is the sad lonely tapestry waiting for me to finish her up... Finished tapestry will be 45 inches--not quite halfway there.

Before I leave on the hike I will be teaching a 3 day workshop for the Pueblo weaving guild.  From there I'm headed out on the Colorado Trail.

My sister and I hiked the entire trail in 2003 from Denver to Durango (about 500 miles) with my then-3-year-old dog Cassy.  Cassy will be coming on part of this hike, but she is turning 12 in a few days and will not have to carry a backpack this time around.  She is a spry old thing -- a fact I attribute to her walking every day of her life perhaps as well as a puppy-ish personality and a lot of joy.

When we finished my grandmother had trophies made for us.  Too bad the trophy shop misspelled Colorado(A) !!

I have been busy dehydrating food and making some gear in between getting ready to teach the tapestry workshop and figuring out how I am going to finish that big tapestry and a commission before I return to gainful employment (NOT that tapestry weaving isn't gainful, it just doesn't quite pay the mortgage YET).

So I'm off for a little walk.  Part of it will be on my own and part of it will be with my two best girls, Emily and Cassy.  About 300 miles of the Colorado Trail before we come home again... You may not hear much from this blog until mid-September, but rest assured I am having a grand time outside.

Colorado Mountains... (This is actually Little Bear, a 14er that is part of the Blanca Massif near Alamosa, CO.)

Go For a Hike!!!  (before it snows again)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My grandmother is a weaver...

I remember growing up standing beside my grandfather as he wove on a 60 inch Macomber in his basement.  I think he was working on a large drapery project for their greenhouse (some horrific yardage number in what must have been doubleweave--and all white).  Grandpa learned to weave after he retired from a long career as a metallurgical engineer.  (It is amazing to me how many musicians, engineers, and scientists become weavers in retirement.)  Grandpa got me interested in looms--how they work, how amazing it is you can make cloth on this machine...

But it was my grandmother Marian who inspired me to actually make art.  She received her bachelors degree in art when she was 60 years old.  (Do what you love no matter what age you are.)  I loved her collection of children's books and her garden gnomes in her Tulsa, OK garden (I was never really sure they weren't real because she talked about them like they were).  Grandma was a person who encouraged IMAGINATION in a child (and sometimes terror if we didn't finish our breakfast cereal).

Grandma is in retirement now and no longer has her looms.  In fact, I have her and my grandfather's looms and I thank them every day I sit down to weave for those beautiful pieces of equipment.

This is a piece my grandmother did many years ago which I rediscovered recently when the medical clinic it has been hanging in was being redecorated and the piece was temporarily relocated to my parents house.  I loved the peek-a-boo flaps and all the faces in this round tapestry-ish work and I hear the kids in the clinic still do today.

(Yep, sometimes you have to sacrifice some stuffed animals in the name of art...)

Grandma has a fantastic drawing ability.  Her family Christmas cards are legendary and I wish I had a complete set--the little cartoonish family-member characters all set in their lively lives yet somehow blended on one piece of paper.  Every letter I've ever received from my grandma was covered with little doodles and marks to imply motion.  She also loves to underline and accent her writing.

I have her 60 inch LeClerc tapestry loom.  I am saving it's inaugural tapestry for a time when I have a big enough studio to set it up next to my favorite Harrisville Rug Loom (grandpa's loom) which I use for all my tapestry currently.  Her last cartoon for this loom, which was never woven, was a drawing from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak--a favorite in her book collection.

Thanks for living such a creative life Grandma... and for inspiring me to do the same.

Friday, August 5, 2011

In search of tapestry yarn?

NOTE: As of 2/24/2012 I can no longer recommend purchasing Weaving Southwest tapestry yarn if you intend to make it your long term yarn source.

I sell my work through Weaving Southwest in Taos, which conveniently for me, is only about 40 miles from my house.  I stopped by today after getting my hair whacked (I can say whacked, right?  Or do you have to be Canadian to do that on a blog?) to drop off Emergence IV (you'll have to visit it there--see post with photo HERE).

I walked in the door and saw this:

I gasped a little.  I've never seen those walls empty.  Teresa was having the ultimate fun of hanging a new show arrangement.  I'm sure it'll look lovely.

Some of my students were asking about where to get tapestry yarn.  I dye my own as I have had the same problem, but Weaving Southwest does sell a nice line of tapestry yarn which is all hand-dyed.  They will sell you this color card if you are interested!

It is hard to see that the gradations are bunched together on the card.  But there are 5 colors in each bundle.  Here are the Persian Lilac colors.  It is a two ply 100% wool yarn which comes in 4 ounce skeins (162 yards).

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Garage sales don't sell looms...

Well, I tried to unload a couple looms last Saturday at a family garage sale, but turns out that a yard sale in rural Colorado is not the place to sell even small looms. (Excellent garage sale street art by my sister Laura, somewhat modified by me to block out the address.)

These are the looms I had for sale.  I'll have to list them on some site once I get back from my next adventure sometime in September.  The LeClerc Dorothy loom is a good piece of equipment, but I just don't have any use for an 8 harness table loom anymore...  apparently neither do garage sale hunters in rural CO!

 I have an identical inkle loom to this one and I don't need two!  Probably no one knew what it was among the piles of old drills and bicycles.
 It is amazing what people WILL buy at a garage sale though.  Even if you tell them 10 times that something is irrevocably broken, they will stay pay a quarter to haul it away for you.

 Cassy wishing she could come and lick the sticky fingers of the kids under the tables...
 Then there was an injury...
Garage sales can be dangerous you know.
 It happened not far from where this sign was posted....

Turns out it was only STAGE BLOOD...  (Don't worry Tommye!)
I think I might need a 12 step program like this one... Do you think they have daily meetings?