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.