Friday, July 30, 2010

My finger has slipped off the control button... for better or worse

It used to be that I KNEW when my tapestries were pictured somewhere and where exactly they all were hanging. Recently I have realized that I no longer know this. My work has found it's way out into the world and I really don't know where much of it is. This is exciting in some ways--maybe my work is influencing someone else somewhere. Maybe in my very small way, I can create something that will help someone else.

I just found another blogger (Sandra Rude) who does fantastic complex fabrics who loved my work in Albuquerque and blogged about it here. I opened the Rio Grande Sun (local paper of Espanola, NM) yesterday and found a photo of Contemplative Garden in the Arts section with the press release for our show in Albuquerque. And the arts editor of that paper is going to do a story about our show in the next issue (if I actually sit myself down tonight and answer all his questions!).

The world has become a complicated place, and I am okay with not knowing where my creations have ended up. Part of my journey is learning how to let go of control. I am contemplating a new series of work that addresses the fragile and changing nature of life. We try so hard to make things archival, to hold on to people and memories and events... and often we clutch the past so tightly to our chests that we completely miss the present.

I love finding my images or news of my tapestries in various places. I hope that discovery continues for a long time. And for the photos, articles, and tapestry locations I don't know about... well I will imagine that they are making someone take a second look somewhere in the world.

As a related post script, I got a call from my father this morning. He is visiting some friends in upstate New York and found an article in USA Today about northern NM fiber trails with a couple photos of Weaving Southwest. There is also a nice video that has some footage of Teresa Loveless of Weaving Southwest dyeing and Lisa Trujillo of Centinela Traditional Arts weaving.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What else am I missing? (Or peanut butter blindness)

I have inherited a few minor "disabilities" from my father. One is a problem spelling. I think my mother's talent in this area tempered the spelling gene from my father as I am able to spell difficult words like Espanola, daisy, and pants. The other is a difficulty finding food in the kitchen. I can't imagine how someone couldn't find cheese in my parents' refrigerator (which at any one time sports an average cheese yield of 4-6 pounds--my mother is Dutch), but sometimes it hides nonetheless. This particular affliction struck again tonight when I was searching for peanut butter in my own kitchen.

About 10 days ago Emily spent the better part of a visit rearranging and cleaning my kitchen. She deserves beatification for this. And I am quite sure she kindly failed to mention many of the items she had to throw away. This difficulty I have seeing in the kitchen (things just become invisible, I swear) manifests itself insidiously in copious amounts of certain food items I am sure that I have none of while standing in the grocery store. I will buy 3 more bags of tapioca flour because I am sure that I have none (after all, I haven't seen any for quite awhile). Emily found a stash dated 5/2001 behind the mammoth bag of rice and another few bags stuffed behind the outdated salad dressing at the back of a bottom shelf. (Not long ago I opened a bottle of GF salad dressing that I had brought from home in a restaurant and the funny taste made me look at the date on the bottle. Mar 2007 is a long time ago for salad dressing.) Needless to say, there was a lot of food in my kitchen that was no longer edible. She got rid of it and had the good sense not to tease me too much after she found the 27th jar of opened pickle relish in the frig (I kept buying the dill relish when I wanted the sweet. I seem to have a shopping disability too).

Anyway, Emily left yesterday to bring Megan home and this evening I was in a post-Convergence funk and really wanted some peanut butter (though I would have settled for Nutella). I was reasonably sure that I had one of these substances somewhere in the kitchen, but wasn't quite sure where. I searched in every cabinet that, to my knowledge, contained food... to no avail. After 10 minutes I was frustrated and still no peanut butter.

I texted Emily hoping she wouldn't tease me too much as I had a sneaking suspicion that I was just peanut-butter blind. Sure enough. It was right in the center front of the middle shelf of the main food cabinet. It could not have been more obvious. But by the time I found it I had already given up. Cookies made from the Pamela's cookie mix I could clearly see hiding behind the olives (which I detest more than any kind of food) on the very top shelf... THOSE I could see.

I can see a design in my head and translate it fairly effectively into a tapestry, but darn if I can't find the peanut butter jar in the cupboard. My artwork is largely about seeing the world in new ways, exploring visual puzzles, and the visible/invisible-ness of what is real in the world (and what is real in the world???). I have to be honest. My inability to see the peanut butter when it is so obvious worries me. What else am I missing?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A new weaving generation

I had a couple days at home with Megan before she had to go back to her home in Mississippi this evening. She wanted to learn to weave on one of my big looms. Since I had a warp on the Macomber I wasn't using, I tied it up for her. I thought it would probably be pretty difficult for her to get her fingers around 10 epi and Harrisville Highland yarn, but she managed quite well!

I pulled out a bin of leftover yarn in various colors and she looked at what was there and announced she was going to weave an interpretation of a watermelon.
She is 10 years old. This is the result which took her just a few hours. If I can keep her off her horse long enough, she might be the youngest tapestry weaver in the next ATA non-juried show!

This is Megan with the Mystic Moon tapestry she designed at Enchanted Pathways. I wove this piece per her specifications. She is going to be weaving the next one though!

I (and I gasp and feel my heart sink when I write this) have to go back to work in two weeks... that is back to the job that pays the bills, which I like well enough, but summer was only 5 weeks long this year and that just doesn't seem quite right. This year I want to do some weaving projects with my kids (I am an occupational therapist in a small rural public school system serving a native american population). I am considering doing a project in conjunction with Mirrix looms, but even if I don't I will be bringing some various looms to school with me. Megan was my test pilot. True, she is much swifter than many of my kids who are in special education and often come to me with fine motor problems, but with a much wider sett and some fatter yarn, I think they will enjoy the weaving a great deal. I'm not sure how they'll do with the Mirrix and think I may also try a table loom as tapestry may be too complicated. I also have a couple inkle looms which may be useful. Perhaps I will try all three.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home from the party...

Convergence ended yesterday afternoon. As the funny-man from Texas who volunteered to watch the entrance to the vendor hall much of the weekend kept telling me, "at 4:01 you won't be a newbie any more!" I had a first-timer sticker on my badge and he called me "newbie" every time I walked through the door. I warmed to the appellation after awhile. It is good to approach the world with fresh eyes.

There is much to say about the past week and I am not sure it is at all possible to get it down in any sort of coherent order. So here are some highlights for those of you who couldn't attend, and for those of you who did and perhaps had different experiences than I did.

I met many wonderful people this week. Many of them I had gotten to know a little bit online and it was a great deal of fun to attach a face to a blogger or body of art I had seen on the internet. I was also able to reconnect with some weavers I had met at Intermountain Weavers Conference and chat with old friends and teachers such as Northern NM College Rio Grande weaving instructor, Karen Martinez.

I enjoyed the ATA forum on Sunday. Lynne Curran and James Koehler gave lectures about their work. Mary Lane also did a digi slam with work of about a dozen tapestry weavers. I have some new perspectives on international tapestry weavers (okay, artists who are not American--I KNOW this is a long time coming, but sometimes it takes a lilting and lovely voice like Lynne Curran's to jolt my brain into recognition of a new perspective) which I will post more about after unpacking the dirty clothes and giving my new spinning wheel a whirl.

I took some fun classes which I talked about briefly in a prior post. Gregory Case's photo classes were extremely useful and I regret that I couldn't hear the last hour of the class Saturday afternoon. I did have an opening to get to.

Here are some photos from the Interwoven Traditions: New Mexico and Bauhaus opening Saturday night. The gallery was keeping track of people coming in for the first couple hours and then the volunteer staff left and we don't know how many people came after that. At last count which was about 6pm I think, there had been 150 people to see the show. As the opening lasted another 2 hours, I think it likely we had over 200 people in one evening. I find that amazing considering how busy Convergence was and how far from the convention center the venue was. I was also so pleased to have people from other parts of my life attend. To those of you who came from places as far flung as Ojo Caliente and Gallup, thank you for coming! It meant a great deal to me to see your smiling faces and hear your words of support.

The following 4 photos of the show were taken by Chris Barber for the gallery. He graciously shared them with me since my camera stopped working about 5 minutes into the opening (yes, the new Nikon). His photos are likely better than any I would have taken anyway and it was a relief not to try to take any photos while at my own opening.
Thank you so much Chris for sharing these shots.

Copyright The CTB and SHR Trust, used by permission

Sunday evening we stopped at the Enchanted Pathways opening at William and Joseph gallery in Santa Fe.
This is Megan Swartzfager. She did the cartoon for the Mystic Moon tapestry (she also named it)
of the unicorn we had in this show. She was the artist. I wove the piece. I am happy to report that Megan has begun learning tapestry weaving herself and I hope that she may have a piece that she designed and wove herself in the next small format show. She is a young lady of many interests and talents, so it remains to be seen which ones get her time and attention.

I am sure that I will have much more to say about Convergence at least in my own head over the next week or two. Whether any of that makes it to this blog remains to be seen. The most important things are hard to capture in words or photos and my heart is full of gratitude for all the people who shared bits of themselves with me this week.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Convergence Day 3

Convergence Day 3.
A quick post with more detail to come. Convergence has been wonderful and exhausting... so much going on in my head.

The opening of Interwoven Traditions: New Mexico and Bauhaus
Unfortunately my camera card malfunctioned and I didn't get any shots from the opening tonight. Here are a few Emily took.

Conni Gardella, me, and Maria Wilson. Maria is one of my unsung heroes (I am singing now I suppose). She is a well-known ikat weaver who has not woven for many years due to eyesight problems and stubbornly refuses to teach me ikat! She is unfailingly gracious and beautiful and I appreciate her kind words and encouragement about my tapestry career immensely.

Open Spaces Gallery, opening 4-8 this evening. The gallery space is beautiful. We were fortunate to get this space and I am grateful to Joshua Willis for all his help in hanging this show and making the exhibit happen. Open Space Visitor Center is a wonderful place and I highly recommend a visit.

Emily got two bouquets of beautiful flowers for the opening. Unfortunately due to the technological malfunction I don't have a photo of them at the actual gallery. This is Megan and I with the daisys.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Convergence Day 2

Convergence 2010. This is the first Convergence I have been to, and I have to say that I was a little overwhelmed at the beginning. They put a little sticker on your badge that says "First Timer". I guess this is so the other people wandering around with orange HGA bags can help you out if you look too lost.

I got here yesterday and first thing I did was buy a spinning wheel. I wanted to get that task out of the way right away and was glad I did because the inestimable Jim from Yarn Barn of Kansas sold me the only one of these wheels he had and I can take it home Sunday. I have a third of my latest piece left to do and need that wheel to avoid further lateral epicondylitis from trying to ply yarn with my fingers.

James Koehler's book is out and here he is at his book signing with apprentices Sheila Burke and Nancy. I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but it is full of color photos which are nicely printed. It is truly an art book. It is available on his website.

This is what you see when you first walk into the Albuquerque Convention Center--the yardage exhibit. The fabric is beautiful. If you walk up into the balcony you can actually feel swatches of it.

The vendor hall is a treasure trove. I have given myself very very strict instructions about what I can purchase there. I probably should have some sort of technological lock on my credit card. I usually buy many books while at conferences and it has taken a lot of willpower for me not to buy more than one. This time there were only two items on my shopping list, and on the second day, I have purchased both of those items and as they were both pricey, have told myself I can do no further purchasing as much as yarn like this calls to me! This is the Weaving Southwest booth. Their yarn is hand-dyed and gorgeous.
The two items were, as I mentioned above, the spinning wheel (ended up with a Schacht Ladybug which was not at all what I expected. But after trying the other candidates, it seemed to fit my needs and body the best. I hope I like it!) and James Koehler's new autobiography, Woven Color.
I have taken three classes so far. I took a free form knitting class from Adrienne Sloane which was interesting. She was hilarious and I appreciated the less-than-gentle nudge to try knitting without patterns. It is a good lesson in letting go of control... and in creating a mess and knowing how to fix it! I definitely created a mess. But I learned how to short-row and then knit off in another direction AND how to knit backwards. I'm proud of the last one. Not sure when I'll use it, but maybe if I do entrelac one day...

This morning I took a class from a fantastic Brit named Stacey Harvey-Brown about ancient and archival textiles. The description of how to make velvet blew me away--I had no idea. And the stream of photos of fabrics from the last 500 years which she has studied in libraries and museums across Europe was stunning.

This afternoon I took a class about photographing artwork. I am happy to report that I already knew how to do this. I thought maybe there were some magic secrets that I wasn't getting, but really everything I have been doing is right. I just have to put that new camera to use and keep shooting.

This evening I am going to Paisanos for a fantastic Italian gluten free meal (I cannot say enough good about this restaurant. They gave me hope for my gustatory future when I had none) and then to see a tapestry show I have been wanting to see.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Interwoven Traditions: New Mexico and Bauhaus Opening Saturday 7/24

So Convergence is upon us. It snuck up on me... but I am excited to meet many weavers and reconnect with ones I haven't seen in years. I hope to see some of the members of the Reno Fiber Guild who helped start me on my weaving way about a decade ago.

Here is the beautiful rack card Cornelia designed for our show. The photo is hers and the weaving detail is James Koehler's Rhythms of Nature. The show is at Open Space Gallery at the Open Space Visitors Center at 6500 Coors Blvd in Albuquerque. More information and the phone number of the gallery is available on their website here.

The opening is Saturday the 24th of July from 4-8 pm.

Further information about our project is available at the project website here. The show will go to Germany in September and October with the opening in Erfurt on September 5th at St. Michael's church at 5 pm.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Convergence: It begins.

I realized today (with some ferocity) that Convergence is upon us. I realized this as I was "killing" 45 minutes at Village Wools in Albuquerque (more like savoring 45 minutes in a great shop full of yarn). I saw a lovely guild show and then spent some time looking at Kathe Todd-Hooker's show. Suddenly I was talking to two women, one a teacher of doubleweave (who incidently also sells at Weaving Southwest whom I had not yet met), and the other a fiber enthusiast interested in learning tapestry. I was off chatting about weaving and where to learn in NM and suddenly realized the Convergence experience had started. I was in Albuquerque today to bring my family to the airport, but was sucked early into the conference vortex.

Before I can attend the conference for real (and mostly I am looking forward to seeing all the exhibits), I have to spend another marathon weaving day tomorrow. I am about 2/3rds of the way done with this one, but the next 7 inches are going to be intense and likely will take more time than the entire rest of the piece. This one is going to Germany and has to be finished in the next two weeks.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Interwoven Traditions: New Mexico and Bauhaus

Today Cornelia Theimer Gardella and I hung Interwoven Traditions: New Mexico and Bauhaus. Honestly, we had a great time. This was unexpected as I thought it might be difficult to get everything up and looking good. True, it took most of the day, but the results were excellent if I do say so myself.

The show is at the Open Space Gallery on 6500 Coors (between Montano and Paseo del Norte) in Albuquerque. The visitors center is an interesting place in it's own right. I recommend a visit (of course while the show is hanging).

Artwork (photo and design; weaving by James Koehler) below by Cornelia Theimer Gardella.

An empty gallery at 10 am...

And the helpers... These are Cornelia's friends from Germany. Paul and Stefan (probably spelled that wrong, sorry!) kept us laughing and provided some excellent technical skills (turns out Stefan is a stickler for getting things lined up--a real help when I'm tired and just want to get home--especially when associated hilarity is included). The T-shirts were special made for their American adventure. I loved "Bratwurst Abroad", but "Achtung Autobahn Kaputt" was also excellent. As I was wearily driving the two+ hours home, they zipped past me in their rented convertible waving and laughing.

Some peeks at the show... I have not included any photos of Conni's work as I didn't want to give away the best part of the show! Her Tomorrow II piece is worth the trip out to the gallery.
Go see it! The opening will be July 24th from 4-8.