Monday, April 13, 2015

A conversation about Rebecca Mezoff's tapestry with Fiber Art Now. See the webinar replay.

What a fun thing it is to participate in a conversation in webinar format. If you missed my webinar with Fiber Art Now's FANFare yesterday, the replay can be found HERE (or watch in the viewer below).
I have always been a very introverted person, but my 17 years of practice as an occupational therapist forced me to learn to interact with other people quickly and to think on my feet. This is the kind of challenge that made this webinar fun to do. The live format is great and of course we always wish for more time for questions! I certainly can't think of my questions that quickly, so if you have them, put them in the comments below or contact me and maybe I'll do a blog post about it.

As you watch it, here are more images and some further explanation about things I was talking about.

The most important part of the webinar for me was the last third where I was talking about the importance of learning and my philosophy about teaching tapestry. Teaching tapestry in a way that is accessible to people in many different life situations is important to me. Expanding the reach of tapestry in the world both as an art medium and as something that is just fun to make is what it is all about for me.

Here are some more details from the webinar:
I talked some about the Reno Fiber Guild (and I am eternally grateful to these wonderful people) and how I started trying to make images in doubleweave which led me to tapestry. This was the kind of thing I was making just before I returned to New Mexico to study Rio Grande weaving at Northern New Mexico Community College in El Rito, NM.

This was my studio in El Rito, the outside and the inside.
My studio in El Rito, NM. 2004-2007
The walls of that studio were five foot thick adobe. It was heated with a woodstove and since I didn't keep the stove lit all the time, it was freezing in there all winter. Still, the light was great from some huge skylights and I wove many things there at the same time I was taking some classes with James Koehler. I would eventually drop out of the Rio Grande program and became James Koehler's apprentice in Santa Fe.

Here are some images of Northern New Mexico Community College in El Rito. They no longer have the Fiber Arts degree program there, but you can take a continuing education class from Karen Martinez who was my instructor if you are interested. She is an amazing artist.
The first "tapestry" I ever wove on one of the walking looms at NNMCC, 2004. It is now a runner in front of my loom and you might spot it in the webinar replay.
This is an example of some of the first tapestry weavings I did.
I talked about the spiral motif in the Emergence series of tapestries. I lived on Mesa Prieta. It is completely covered with black basalt boulders and a great percentage of those rocks are covered with petroglyphs covering a couple thousand year span of time. The spiral images in my work came from the experience of living on that mesa and hunting the glyphs every day on my walks.
My niece Megan with one of the most spectacular petroglyphs on the mesa. This one was about 50 yards from my house.
The strawbale house on Mesa Prieta.
Coming down the mesa after a petroglyph-searching hike. The road turns to rutted dirt just past this point.
One of the spirals on the mesa. Overlooking the Rio Grande River when the cottonwoods were changing.
If you are interested in the petroglyphs, my landlady, Katherine Wells is the person who has spent much of the last couple decades of her life making sure these amazing petroglyphs are preserved. You can find out more about the place and perhaps schedule a visit HERE.

If you are interested in seeing more about my dyeing, this YouTube video shows some of the process. (Hint: If you push the YouTube button in the bottom right of the player, you'll be taken to YouTube to view. If you get these blog posts in an email, you have to visit my blog online to see videos: http://rebeccamezoff.blogspot.com/)
I mentioned my teacher James Koehler. He does still have an artist page on the American Tapestry Alliance's website. This is an example of his work.
James Koehler, Harmonic Oscillations LXIII
Cornelia Theimer Gardella, James Koehler, and myself at the opening of our show, Interwoven Traditions: New Mexico and Bauhaus show in Erfurt, Germany, September 2010.
Rebecca Mezoff, Barn Burned Down, 5 x 17 inches
I talked about this tapestry and the inspiration from the old barn in the Austrian alps. What I didn't really say in the webinar was how much stories have a part in my design. This one glimpse of light through the slats of a barn created a whole story in my head about light and fire and things disappearing and making way for new things. This piece and another reference the haiku below.
I talked a little bit here about the show I did in Germany with James Koehler and Cornelia Theimer Gardella. The photo above of the three of us was taken at that opening. THIS blog post has more about that experience.

The discussion about representative tapestry versus abstract work both in my work and in tapestry historically is always interesting to me (and perhaps no one else!). I gave the example of this piece being one of the most representative tapestries I've done.
Rebecca Mezoff, Cherry Lake, 8 x 13 inches
... and clearly if you don't know the story you wouldn't know what this was. I took a hike to a lake called Cherry Lake in southern Colorado and the blue became the lake and sky and the pick and pick pattern the aspen trees that were changing colors. Many of them were red that year which is unusual.

As I was talking about the American Tapestry Alliance, I mentioned Mary Lane (an indispensable part of the organization!) in response to Cami's statement about their Facebook tapestry of the day. And I noticed fleetingly that someone noted who actually does this for ATA. I missed who that was, but please put it in the comments below for me!

Partway through we had a few technical difficulties and Victoria had up the Kasala Gallery page. I didn't think quickly enough to comment on this, but it is my new gallery in Crested Butte, CO.

Cami mentioned my newsletter. You can sign up HERE.
I referenced my YouTube channel which has many videos about tapestry. I was talking about how much better my video-making abilities have gotten. That is true... and more to learn every day.

Leave comments below or contact me with what was interesting to you about this webinar. I'd love to have your input and help in growing the community of tapestry artist/weavers all over the world.

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