Sunday, October 24, 2010


I have been home from Germany for over a month now, but somehow I still feel like the pendulum hasn't swing back to the center yet (Ever read The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe? He was one of my favorites as a kid--my Dad had a scary story-telling voice. And no, I'm not exactly saying that my job is like the Inquisition). Perhaps it never really stops swinging though. Of course finishing a 3-year project and pulling together two major shows was a lot of work. I forget this. I forget that recovery time is needed and that it is okay to relax... to review the photos, write the articles, come out of the foggy glow left by a fantastic European trip... and hopefully come back to the loom again and start to weave.

I started a small piece on my Mirrix last week and ended up tearing out a bunch of it. This is called frogging when you're knitting, but unlike knitting, the weaving has to be undone one pick at a time. When you're tearing out a pretty fair isle sock, you just rip. Anyway, the weaving had to be ripped back since the colors weren't working. Maybe I should just be glad I have learned enough to know when the colors aren't working while I'm still weaving it! (photo is before ripping... we'll see what the new colors look like this week)

Anyway, un-weaving seemed to go with my general struggle the past month. I was reading an excellent memoir by No Way Ray Echols titled A Thru-Hiker's Heart (about his hike of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada)... I tend to read hiking books when I am feeling a little bogged down. At the end of the book he talks about his return to his "regular" life. He says, "...There is an undercurrent, like a sub-sonic speaker, creating an indefinable itch, a tension in the neck and shoulders. It's fear... and anger. I am afraid that I will not be able to hold on to what I've found these solitary months along the trail. That I will, all too soon, be once again trapped by the non-essential, embroiled in the unimportant, snared by responsibilities of living in a world where others must be taken into account. I fear that in the coming weeks it will all be come fuzzed and gossamer. I will become more and more entangled, like a freeway driver in rush hour traffic, until all that seems real is the shouting and the honking, the grimacing and the groaning...."

I am afraid that I will forget the experiences of the summer and fall--of being part of two fantastic shows, of completing a long project, of forgetting what I have learned before I really understand what that was. Hiking, especially long-distance hiking, is an activity that quiets your brain and makes you realize how simple life can be in any given moment. It is hard to hear the quiet when squirming under an unmanageable job, too much driving, and the call of so-many-things-that-have-to-be-done. So I am starting at the only place I can start. I am asking the important questions: "What are those things that I think really have to be done?", "Is that really true?", "What things do I not have to do?", and "Where can I get gluten free cinnamon rolls?"

Some pictures from Chama, NM where I stay during the week. Ostensibly the For Rent sign used to have a trailer behind it, but they have been pulling trailers out of this subdivision this fall--the one next to mine and one on the next street just in the last few weeks. I hope they don't take mine while I'm at home some weekend. My Mirrix is in there.

The colors are beautiful... and since this photo was taken a few days ago, most likely covered with snow now.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Halcyon Days II

Here is a piece I finished last spring. I realized while searching my blog for a photo of it today that I never put it there or on my website. This piece was in both the Interwoven Traditions shows in Albuquerque and Erfurt, Germany. Actually, it is still in Germany. That show comes down the end of October. This was one of those pieces that I did not immediately like but that grew on me the longer I looked at it. There is a period where I have to put a tapestry away when it comes off the loom. I think I have been too close to it for too long and invariably I am disgruntled with it when it initially emerges. I am not sure if this is because of the inordinate amount of time (usually much longer than I had planned) that it takes for it to be finished, or because the finished piece doesn't look like the tapestry in my minds eye.

So I put it away for awhile. Then eventually I do get it out (for a show or because Teresa has managed to sell all of my tapestries), do the finishing, and hang it up in my living room. Usually at that point I start to see the initial idea-- the inspiration that sparked the piece. And sometimes when I look at it for awhile I see something completely different in the work and I like it even better. I like the adventure of that.

Here she is...
Halcyon Days II; 26 X 40 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry

Monday, October 11, 2010

What shall we call this October 11th?

Some call it Columbus day, but that seems disrespectful to the people who lived here before Columbus came...
The school in which I work (in a native american community) calls it Jicarilla Cultural Day--which is a good name for a day we are going to get off--federal holiday, public school...
Today is also National Coming Out Day... a good day to remember the things we are hiding and perhaps should not.

Here is the yarn I dyed last weekend for the next couple pieces. I think you'll find the palette unsurprising.
I know there are now photos floating around out there of the ATB8 show in Lincoln, NE. The opening was this past weekend and I wish that I could have gone! I very much wanted to attend the Textile Society of America symposium, but the timing was off for me. So if anyone has photos of the show, I'd love to see them!

Instead, I went on a somewhat cheaper adventure this weekend to southern Utah... a nice camping trip, fantastic weather, lots of friends and family...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October in New Mexico

Colors at Cumbres Pass on the border between NM and CO.

I am starting to get back into the swing of work and weaving after the trip to Europe. I earn my keep by working in the public schools in rural NM. I am currently staying in Chama and this week is THE week that the colors are changing.

I love hiking long trails, and often, especially after school (work) has started again for the year, I wish I was out on the trail somewhere. I have seen a few SOBO CDT thru's in Chama lately and wish I could spend the day listening to their adventures.

Despite the burning of a trestle this summer a few miles out of Chama, the Cumbres and Toltec railroad is still running. They are busing people up to Cumbres pass (shown here at sunset) and running from there.
I also have managed to get some dyeing done the last two weekends. I am hoping that once I start weaving the next two pieces, I will find that these colors are okay. Here are a few shots of my dye set-up. I certainly hope for my own dye studio one day, though this works for now. Carports are great things.

Taos Wool Festival was also this weekend. Emmy and I went yesterday and visited the alpaca, llamas, and angora bunnies. There was also some good yarn for sale as usual. Since I just bought a suitcase full of knitting yarn in Germany, I didn't buy anything this year at Wool Fest (can you believe it?).