Sunday, June 30, 2013

Have you ever had that week where your To Do list was more than one page long every day and you had no idea how you were going to fit everything in?
  •  you fear the yoga class is going to be the first thing to go but you really really need it because that sciatic nerve is acting up and you really feel fat and need to stretch and you already paid for it for goodness sake! 
  • you fear you are short-changing yourself because you're really excited about the workshop you're attending in Seattle but just haven't found the time to cull your extensive photo collection for the right images for the design portion?
  • you're worried your suitcase just wasn't going to work out after all because you didn't find the cash for the 16 inch Mirrix and you have to cram your 22 inch in in pieces and you are sure that TSA is going to confiscate it even in checked luggage because it looks like nothing they have ever seen... and what if you forget the heddles or the warp or the tapestry beater?
  • and you have to mail two tapestries which mean a lot to you to Oregon and now your walls are bare and what if they get lost or someone punctures the box and no one in Santa Fe sells ski boxes in the summer and you have to make due with the one that is smaller than you'd like and for heavens sake, you just trusted two huge tapestries to FedEx. Anything could happen!
  • and you need to find presents from New Mexico for the two awesome kids you are going to visit and have no idea where to start even though you work with kids every week and somehow green chili doesn't seem appropriate for a 4 year old
  • and the bills are all due before you get back and you're trying to plan a backpacking trip for the day you return but haven't looked at the gear in over a year and you just know it is going to be a disaster and all the forests are going to close July 3rd and you're going to be stuck in the smokey heat in town eating hamburgers without buns and trying to squeeze the last bit of ketchup out of your sister's empty bottle because you CAN'T eat a burger without ketchup
  • and your grandfather is going in for surgery and you don't really think he is going to pull through ... but then it is all fine and he is home and doing okay
  • and your wife is now your wife because DOMA was struck down but it isn't quite clear that that means much different in your life since you don't live in one of the golden 13 states
  • and then you take the 22 inch Mirrix apart which you didn't do until the last minute because a student was bringing over his brand new Mirrix and you wanted yours together to demonstrate but when you take it apart 20 hours before your flight leaves you realize the threaded rods are too long and you didn't know because you couldn't see them and darn it! the thing isn't going to fit in any suitcase you own (which is exactly one) and who wants to buy a huge suitcase you'll never use again? 
  • so you call the amazing ladies at Mirrix and explain your plight and because it is Seattle I am flying to they have a used loom I can purchase when I get there and it is the right size and you are saved and don't even have to risk TSA throwing you off the plane on the way there
And then you know that you are damn lucky to be on this planet and to be able to weave tapestries and play with children and have your health and a dog who is a hundred and four and to be able to see your amazing niece next week and have dinner tonight with your wife.

It has been one of those weeks.

Monday, June 24, 2013

LaDonna Mayer and her 51 US cities

My friend and weaving colleague, LaDonna Mayer, has done something extraordinary. She set out three and a half years ago to weave a city from each state in the United States. 50 states plus Washington DC meant 51 tapestries.

Here is a little video with a view of her beautiful studio in Santa Fe. Hopefully it gives you something of a feel of what 51 tapestries really is (a lot of work for starters).

She finished this spring. I had the distinct privilege of being at her cutting off ceremony for the last piece, Oklahoma City. Here it is ready to be cut off.

LaDonna with Oklahoma City just after it was cut off the loom.
All the pieces are done with black, white, and shades of gray and hand-dyed by LaDonna. Her palette of grays is gorgeous and includes some blue-gray and green-gray colors.

Seattle may be my favorite of all, though it is difficult to choose.
LaDonna Mayer, Seattle, WA
LaDonna Mayer, Charleston, WV
The details in these pieces are fascinating. For example, look at the lazy lines she used in Providence, RI as well as the beautiful little balconies on the sky scraper.
LaDonna Mayer, Providence, RI
LaDonna Mayer, Portland, ME detail
Congratulations LaDonna!

Visit her website at

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fire Hazard

It is impossible to live in the southwestern United States in recent years without constant worry about fire in the summers. This year has so far contained a lot of worry. The large fires in the Pecos wilderness and the Jemez Mountains seem to be under good control now, but there are more.
With the news that the Santa Fe National Forest will be closed to all access starting tomorrow, I went hiking today. Walking is one of my favorite activities. It gives me head space and when I am out there long enough, my perspective becomes much clearer. I headed out early for Tesuque Peak and ended up making an impromptu loop to a 12,400 foot peak and down a ridge route, past the sign above and down a short road walk to my car.

The sign pictured above was blocking the trail to Nambe Lake. I was not headed there as I knew it was in the previously closed Pecos Wilderness (closed for a month now but people still were milling around this sign flabbergasted that they had hiked a mile up from the trailhead and now couldn't go any further except up the steep route I had just come down). The burning of the southwest and the continuing drought is, I believe, directly related to climate change. I don't think the drought is going to lessen in any long-term way any time soon. I am no climatologist, but I do think Al Gore had a point a decade ago. There have been multiple large fires in New Mexico and my newest worry is the huge West Fork fire that started west of Wolf Creek Pass, CO, crested the Divide on Friday and is heading like a steamroller for the San Luis Valley. South Fork has been evacuated since Friday and the windy conditions and beetle-killed pine make it a fierce threat. Not only to people in South Fork but to people farther east and north. Lives change in the line of fire. (Here is a link to some amazing photos taken by one of the hotshot crews a few days ago.
And the most impressive photo:

 I was standing on the top of Deception Peak today and spotted this small fire (red arrow) a ways to the north of the line of burned trees (blue arrow) left from the recent Pecos fire. I hope it is a spot fire that they are monitoring and not a new blaze.
Below, 13,000 foot Truchas Peaks are seen in the far distance hazy from the smoke. Those are people on top of Lake Peak just a stones throw from Decepetion Peak where I was standing. But Lake Peak is in the Pecos and off-limits. Actions like these make the forest service close the forest even earlier to protect it. Please just follow the rules (at least when it comes to fire, forests, and forest protection... we can discuss breakable rules such as not splicing your yarn another time).
Walking is the kind of activity that makes tapestries come together in my head. I need the kind of head space that it affords me to see the images that become my tapestries. I don't know where I'm going to walk with the forests closed. Perhaps the monsoon will come soon, though that will cause flooding across the newly-burned forest.

I think all we really can do is Be Here Now.  (And please don't start forest fires.)
We can also support our wildland firefighters. I doubt there is a more difficult or dangerous job.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Regarding my upcoming online tapestry class...

So I have stoked the fires of student interested in tapestry classes online and have found myself not ready for the class to go live yet! I have been happily setting up a new studio and putting together new in-person workshops, but have not yet pulled together all the technology needed for online teaching. I am getting close though. I have purchased all the programs I need and the online platform... I just lack the video platform. So at this point the tech part of it is coming together, but there are still many (many) videos needing to be shot and edited. This is a very time-intensive process.

Honestly, I wasn't really sure there would be that much interest in online tapestry classes, but I believe that I was wrong on this front. People are interested.

So if you have been patiently waiting for more information about learning tapestry online, the class I am working on is a beginning tapestry class called Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry. The class includes information and practice of the most important tapestry techniques as well as lots of tips that you learn in workshops but never find in books. I have a new page on my website devoted to online learning and you can find it HERE. There is some preliminary information about the format of the class.

Here are a few questions about yarn for online classes... and the family sociologist is going to roll her eyes when she reads this as I am certainly not a survey designer! And these questions are for people who are actually interested in taking an online tapestry class at some point. You can email me at rebecca (dot) mezoff (at) gmail (dot) com or reply in the comments. At some point it occurred to me that for a beginning tapestry techniques class, it is helpful to have a specified yarn and warp. This yarn kit would take care of that.
  1. Would you purchase yarn for the class if it was offered as a kit? This would ensure, especially for beginning students, that the warp and weft will work together and you won't be frustrated by a disconnect between sizes of yarn and warp sett. (I do not plan to in any way "require" students to use my yarn. There are many yarns out there that work very well for tapestry.)
  2. Would you purchase the yarn even if there were only two or three different colorways for the available kits? There might be 8 colors in each kit. As an example (but I am not committing myself to these!), one colorway of bright colors, one of seaside pastels, one of desert varnish colors.
  3. Considering the incredible amount of effort it is to dye and package small amounts of yarn for such a kit, would you be willing to pay between $45 and $55 for a kit that included 8 different colors in small amounts (approximately 1 ounce skeins)? The kit would also include some small incidentals needed for the class and potentially even warp. (plus gross receipts tax. See the "dba" blog post for reasons on that... and of course postage.)
  4. Alternatively, would you prefer to get a list of suppliers for yarn that will work for the class or just experiment with whatever you have? 
These are the skeins I'm talking about, except the ones pictured here are only 6/10ths of an ounce and I am proposing a whole ounce--about twice this much yarn. Aren't they adorable? This is singles yarn however and for the beginning class I will use Harrisville Highland. It isn't QUITE so cute, but almost. For future color gradation classes I am considering small skeins of the singles yarn (which are exactly as cute as the ones in this picture).

The yarn kits actually happening depends on me purchasing an electric skein winder. There is no other way for all that yarn to make it into skein form to be dyed. It just can't happen. So I'd like to know if there is interest in buying yarn in small amounts for the classes before I invest in another  piece of equipment and dyeing time.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tapestry Class Schedule for summer and fall of 2013

Here it is folks. If you haven't already heard the news through my newsletter (sign up here), the list of real-time, in-person workshops for the next few months is finalized. At least it is finalized in my head. Things change and it is quite possible that with a little pressure suggestion, I would add a workshop or two (for example, if you're interested in a beginning tapestry techniques class, I'd really like to know that!).
Here is a stab at the list. You can double check it at all times on my website at (Please let me know if my brain and my website are not in sync today.) You can also sign up for a class in my studio while you are there or find the link to register for workshops held outside of my studio.

Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry, Harrisville Designs, Harrisville, NH, August 5-9, 2013. This class has the advantage of being 5 days long (not to mention the amazing setting!) so in addition to my successful color gradation material, we will be learning some tapestry techniques and tips to help you accomplish the kind of work you want to do. I have checked with Harrisville and there are a few spots left in this class. So if you're been thinking about it, now is the time to grab one of those spots. You can sign up on the Harrisville Designs website HERE.

Successful Design for Tapestry, Rebecca Mezoff Tapestry Studio, Santa Fe, September 22-24, 2013. This class will be taught with Cornelia Theimer Gardella as part of a weekend of events celebrating our official studio opening. There will be a blog post coming up with the whole line-up of events, but if you're interested in this class, it is going to be a wonderful mix of two teachers in a great setting. To register for this class, check out my new workshops page on my website. You can also call me or email me or Cornelia to sign up. This class is going to be a great experience: small group of students, two great teachers, beautiful studio, Santa Fe in the fall.

Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry, Rebecca Mezoff Tapestry Studio, Santa Fe, October 6, 7, and 8, 2013. This is following Taos Wool Festival so you can go see the festival on Saturday and come take a tapestry class Sunday through Tuesday. Visit my website to sign up for this class HERE. The Taos Wool Festival is a yearly favorite for me and I highly recommend a few hours browsing the booths, petting the angora bunnies, watching the churro sheep shearing, hanging out in Kit Carson Park watching the spinning demonstrations, and seeing some great crafts. I'll definitely be there on Saturday.

The official studio opening has been scheduled! It is going to be Saturday September 21st, 2013 from 4 to 6 pm. Further events to be announced.

In other news, I am now accepting private students in my studio in Santa Fe. I used to be a piano teacher and private tapestry lessons are something that fits right into that pattern for me. So if you want to come an hour or two a week, that is great! If you want to come at some other interval or just once for a specific question, we can work that out too! There is more information on my website HERE or email me with questions.

And if you missed my newsletter of last week, you can see it at THIS link. There is a link to sign up at the top right of this blog as well as at the very bottom of the blog (if there are multiple entries showing up you may need to scroll a long way to find this one. When I figure out a pop-up light box for this feature I'll be really excited.)
 With lots of positive weaving energy and fingers crossed for more cooler damp weather, weave on!

Friday, June 14, 2013


(Doing Business As)

This week I went to a two hour workshop on gross receipts tax. For those of you who don't live in New Mexico, this state doesn't have sales tax. We have gross receipts tax. What that means for me is that everything is taxed. If I sell yarn, there is tax. If I teach a workshop, there is tax. At least if it is in New Mexico. I've had this class before but I needed a refresher. The Small Business Development Center at Santa Fe Community College puts the classes on. The teachers are the people at NM Tax and Rev who recommend you for audit. They are very good people to listen to. And I have to say that they are also very nice (at least on this side of an audit).

So being an artist and a teacher, there are times where I just forget about charging tax. My colleague Conni who is in cahoots with Emily is excellent at reminding me about this. So from now on, this is fair warning. There will be gross receipts tax! (It is either that or I raise my prices 8.1875%, variable quarterly. Take your pick.)

This is all the cost of doing business. Hours in classes. Hours at a computer trying to figure out how to manage things like taxes and Pay Pal and websites and all. But it seems worth it. I am expanding my world. And I get to make stuff most days. That is very very cool.

Whew. I feel better now.

 (Don't you wish some days we could still use one of these?)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Technology intersects a very old discipline

I think some weavers are well suited to understanding computers.
I think other weavers would rather sit and weave and let time flow by, and computers make time rush in little bits, quickly and out of control.

I think I like a little of both.

I have had some website issues recently, but the new site is up and though definitely not finished, you can see the tapestries and get some information about me and my work. That is good.
The link is

Surprisingly, I didn't get frustrated by the discovery of a non-functional domain name last week. What I did discover is that the two hosting services I had to reconcile the issue with both had live chat functions. I have always ignored those little icons and used the phone or emailed my questions. But I have to say, I'll use the chat from now on. In both cases I was able to chat online with a technician who solved my problem in less than 10 minutes. Chalk one up for technology.

Today I have spent many hours working on my list of classes for the rest of 2013 and integrating the new parts of the website with a shopping cart and PayPal. This has not gone quite as smoothly as I had hoped, but as before and surprisingly, I feel like it will all work out in the wash. I will try some of that magic tech support to work out the bugs in the next few days. I am hoping the list will come out Thursday in my newsletter (which you can sign up for by clicking HERE or on the link at the upper right corner of the blog)... and if all is not running smoothly with the website yet and you are having trouble getting into a class you want to take, please just email me. Eventually it will all work out. The only problem I can foresee is if the classes fill up so fast I don't have time to stop the orders rushing in. (Lets hope that happens!)

Technology is wonderful. And it is a time-sucking monster. Managing it all might make a Buddhist out of me yet.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I will be an artist first.

At my lunch break in the studio today I was perusing an old issue of Handwoven magazine. I thought it was from January/February of this year, but upon further inspection I realized that my "to read" magazine pile goes a little deeper. It was Issue 158 which is January/February 2012.

On the last page in the New Beginnings column, I read this quote by Anita Osterhaug, the new editor of Handwoven.
One morning five years ago, I woke up and decided I would no longer think of myself as a technology writer with a hobby. Instead I would be a weaver with a day job.
This moment happened for me when I walked into the studio space in March. Even though it was under construction and 30 seconds before that moment I had had no intention at all of renting a studio outside my home, in that moment I knew that I was no longer an occupational therapist who wove tapestries on the weekends. I was going to rent this space and I was now an artist who has a day job.

The start of the studio has been exhilarating as well as a little rocky. Maintenance, moving, lost furniture all happened. But so did designing tapestries, warping looms, and dyeing yarn. And Saturday I started the first tapestry on my large floor loom in close to two years. It makes my heart leap in anticipation for all the hours of weaving ahead.

Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, August 2012

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Alphabet Soup

There are some exceptionally talented tapestry weavers in northern New Mexico. The Alphabet Soup project's history is detailed below. I want to encourage you to go and see this show if you possibly can. I know many of these weavers personally and have met most of them in some way. These tapestries are enchanting and their dedication to producing a show like this and finding numerous venues including an ongoing search for a Convergence 2014 venue, is noteworthy.

Here are some photos of the weavers along with the letter or number they wove.
photo: Dan Klinglesmith
photo: Dan Klinglesmith
photo: Dan Klinglesmith
I didn't make it to Albuquerque to see them in May, but you can bet I will see them when they come to Santa Fe... or perhaps this is a good excuse for a trip to Durango.
Where you can see Alphabet Soup

  • Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta, Albuquerque, NM, May 23-25, 2013
  • Intermountain Weavers Conference, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO, July 26-27, 2013
  • Macey Center, Socorro, NM, August 1-29, 2013
  • Southside Library, Santa Fe, NM, October 1-31, 2013
  • Fuller Lodge, Los Alamos, NM, January 14-March 22, 2014
  • American Tapestry Alliance Small Format Show, March to September 2014

Alphabet Soup History (taken from the publicity for the show)

"Alphabet Soup" came out of the meeting of two tapestry weavers, one from the Las Aranas Spinners and Waavers Guild and one from the Las Tejedoras Fiber Arts Guild. The weavers were attending an Intermountain Weavers Conference tapestry workshop in 2011.  In February 2012, the Tapestry Study Groups of the two guilds met and decided to collaborate on a project involving twenty-nine weavers.

As the name suggests, "Alphabet Soup" has an underlying theme of the alphabet and numbers much like the children's books illustrated to teach us our letters and numbers. It is a series of small tapestries using a wide range of fibers and techniques from traditional tapestry to surface, warp and weft manipulations. The size of each piece is approximately 9.5 x 9.5 inches. The tapestries included in the exhibit are works completed during 2012-2013. Each weaver was assigned a letter or number and created a representational, metaphorical, or abstract design using a color scheme of the weaver's choosing. The letter or number which is the theme of the piece can be obvious or hidden.

Las Aranas was founded in 1971 and was composed of mainly Albuquerque residents. Las Tejedoras was founded twenty-five years ago and was composed of weavers from the Santa Fe and Los Alamos areas. Since that time, both guilds have added members in central New Mexico from Taos in the north to Socorro in the south, and Moriarty in the east to Magdalena in the west.

These guilds provide educational experiences to their members and participate in projects that increase awareness of the fiber arts. The Tapestry Study Groups within each guild are focused on the study of tapestry design and technique and the sharing of expertise with fellow guild members. Our Tapestry Study Groups include beginning tapestry weavers who are just learning the discipline and experienced artists who have taught and exhibited all over New Mexico, the United States, and internationally.

The websites for the two guilds are:
Las Aranas:
Las Tejedoras:

Here are a few closer shots of some of the tapestries. Go see the show for the full effect!
Cindy Dworzak, Airplane in Air   photo: Dan Klinglesmith

Alex Lear, 'F' is for Friends    photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Sharon Van de Velde, "G"   photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Jeanne Adams, Hat, Handbag, and Heels    photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Letitia Roller, Uh-O   photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Mary Colton, 'T' is for Tarantula   photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Karen Crislip, Venerable old adobe in the village of Corrales    photo: Dan Klinglesmith
Kathy Perkins, Zebbie's Mom   photo: Nancy Wohlenburg
Diane Beck, Prayer to the four directions  photo: Dan Klinglesmith

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sometimes your website just isn't there...

Well, technology seems to have failed me. In the alphabet soup of CNAME, Type A, IP addresses, domains, and DNS managers, my website has flown into the ether. I have all faith that it still exists out there, but it is not visible at the moment due to a snafu I caused between my domain host and my website host. At least I think I caused it. I was messing with the domain host last week and then returned to the website last night to try to complete the switch to a new platform. To my chagrin, it wasn't there.

So my apologies to anyone who was looking for it. It will reappear with any luck by Wednesday. I suspect I am going to need some tech help to clear it up though, so wish me luck with the technical lingo.

So, a temporary respite from web presence. It isn't a bad thing. Unless that one client who was really going to commission a tapestry was looking for your stuff at the moment it happened to be down. Hopefully that isn't my luck this week.

6/4/13: Well, I am partway to figuring out the website problem. I currently use Squarespace for my host and things are working well there.
So you can see the website by clicking this link: Never Mind! It is back up!
The regular links should work again very soon... and it works again at 4pm Tuesday. Whew.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Oh the yarn.

I have been a dyeing fiend the last week. I am really working hard to get the colors for the next big tapestry done. My arms have literally been aching for the last couple days and I can only assume that this is from a combination of lifting heavy dye pots for days on end, riding my bike around Santa Fe, and perhaps a return to yoga at the same time. I seem to have invented my own fitness bootcamp--weight lifting, cardio, balance. Chasing three year olds around a gym a few days a week doesn't hurt either. Though certainly a constant ache in almost every arm muscle MUST be a sign of impending death, I can only assume that I do NOT have multiple sclerosis. At least Emily assures me that this is most likely not the case, but you can never be too careful when it comes to worrying about potentially severely debilitating conditions.

I vowed that this tapestry would contain no purple, but alas, after much debate, purple has crept in despite my best intentions. The palate for this one is going to look much different than my last few pieces despite the purple however. I think I am going to like it.

The cartoon has been enlarged.
The warp is ready.
It is time to start.