Thursday, May 29, 2014

A video, a toilet, and a new set of classes...

Here is a bit of an update about the online classes.

They are going smashingly. The first class has completed Part 1 and they did amazing things. They have now forged ahead into Part 2 and are already having a great time with the new material. These weavers are funny and committed and are working harder than I ever expected. They are keeping me on my toes and I am enjoying every minute of it (well, except for that one moment where my computer memory was completely full of video files and I was unable to keep editing... and the one where it was raining so hard I couldn't hear myself speak... oh, and the painter upstairs kept flushing his toilet just as I was trying to record something profound. Go figure.)

Here is a short video with just a few examples of their work. They are certainly prolific!

Scheduling announcements:
Registration is open for further offerings of this course.

Part 1 starts again June 9 (this one is going to be a great group!).
You can take all three Parts of the class as one course and that offering starts June 23rd.

Please visit my website at for all the details about these classes and the link to register.

To sign up for my newsletter for future updates on my exhibitions, workshops, and online classes as well as continued information about tapestry in general, click HERE. (Hint: I highly recommend the HTML version of the email. That just means it comes with pictures!)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fiber Art Now article about ATB10

The Summer issue of Fiber Art Now doesn't come out for a few more weeks, but they offer free peeks at some of the articles in the upcoming issues. My article about American Tapestry Biennial 10 was one of them. You can read and download the article by clicking HERE!

It was great to work with the editorial staff at Fiber Art Now and I recommend a subscription to this great publication. Or at least pick up a copy of the upcoming issue with an article that says:

BY Rebecca Mezoff

Pretty cool, eh?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Synthetic dye class: Learn to make that yarn any color you want it to be!


This is a guest post by a fantastic tapestry weaver and expert dyer, Cornelia Theimer Gardella. You can see her work on her website at We are teaching classes at the same time in Golden, CO June 10 to 13. I'm teaching Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry (and there is one spot left if you want it!). But the real fun is happening in the dye studio! There are several spots left for the dye class. It is a rare treat to be able to study with a dye master like Conni.

Cornelia Theimer Gardella:
Together with Rebecca, I will be heading up to Golden, Colorado next month for four days of teaching at The Recycled Lamb.

While Rebecca is teaching her workshop Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry, I will be in the dye studio teaching Around the Color Wheel in 4 Days: Color Theory in the Dye Studio. The classes are June 10 to 13.

If you've ever wondered how to dye your own wool and silk for tapestry weaving or any other fiber projects or if you've had problems determining which colors you will get by mixing dyes, this is the perfect class for you. We will not only practice the process of dyeing with Lanaset/Sabraset dyes, we will also explore color theory in all its facets which will help you take the guesswork out of dyeing. One fascinating topic for many textile artists is how to produce smooth color gradation. The 4 days of the workshop will give us enough time to develop all different kinds of hue and value gradations and really experiment with color!

At the end of the week you will go home with dozens of yarn samples along with all the formulas we've developed together and the necessary knowledge to start your own sample book and dye every color imaginable on your own.
The classes are happening at The Recycled Lamb in Golden, CO. You can see more information on their events page here: (scroll down a ways to see both classes). If you'd like more information, you can email me at

Dye samples drying

Cornelia Theimer Gardella, Regular Horizontals I, 24 x 39 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry
Cornelia Theimer Gardella, Horizontals I, 18 x 27 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry
All photos above taken by Cornelia Theimer Gardella.

This is Rebecca again:
I can tell you that Conni is an amazing teacher and a great dyer. 
Around the Color Wheel in 4 Days: Color Theory in the Dye Studio will be an experience which will change your approach to color and enable you to dye whatever color you want for your next work of fiber art. This is a great opportunity to learn from a master dyer in a beautiful area of the country. Acid wool dyes are what I use for all of my work. They are colorfast, lightfast, and surprisingly easy to use. You can register by calling The Recycled Lamb at (303) 234-9337. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How many strands of singles yarn should I use for my tapestry?

My online students are learning a lot about various tapestry yarns. Many of them are using Harrisville Highland, but just as many are using other yarns. One frequent question lately is about how many singles to use at 8 ends per inch. I did a little experiment with a beautiful Swedish yarn,


This yarn is quite similar to the Harrisville single that I use in my work and it is the yarn that James Koehler used at the end of his career. It is well-spun, a little shiny, and it weaves beautifully. I use this weight yarn at 3 singles over 10 ends per inch. I wanted to see how this yarn would behave at 8 ends per inch in both 3 and 4 strands. (It may be important to note that I am using a 12/6 cotton seine twine warp.)

I made this little video to show you what happened! (Tip, you can enlarge the video by clicking the little square icon in the bottom right of the video player.)

Here you can see the three bundled strands on the left and the four on the right. For the first part of the weaving I just laid the yarn in without twisting the singles together.
For the second part of the weaving with the darker purple, I plied the yarn on my spinning wheel. The difference is in the texture of the fabric. The plied yarn created a smoother texture, the un-plied was much bumpier as it is harder to get all the strands to behave the same way. Overall, I don't think it matters that much whether you ply it or not. Especially if you are using multiple colors in your bundle, plying them together may not cause the visual effect you want. Sampling may be necessary!
You can see the darker purple yarn plied here.

Make sure to watch the video at the top of the post if you are interested in this concept. I talk about why you might want to use 3 versus 4 strands in the video.

What singles yarns have you used? Leave a comment below this post!
And if you enjoyed the video, please share it!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

American Tapestry Biennial 10, San Diego

I spent the weekend in San Diego attending the first opening of the American Tapestry Alliance's premier tapestry show, American Tapestry Biennial 10. I was one of the co-chairs for this show so it was quite gratifying to see it hanging after all the hard work to get it there.

The reception was a great deal of fun. There were three New Mexico artists who were accepted to the show this year and all three were at the opening. Way to show up New Mexico! (myself, Cornelia Theimer Gardella, and Linda Giesen) Also, Canada made a good showing with both represented artists coming to the opening. Thanks to Christine Rivers and Suzanne Paquette for making the long trip south. Michael Rohde of California was able to represent California and a few other artists had visited the show the weekend before.

Note: These are snapshots I took at the opening. The lighting was low and I was not always able to get a square shot. Please purchase a catalog of the show to see the artist-approved images of their work. You can do so from the American Tapestry Alliance HERE.
Below is a video walk-through of the show. There is a long section of stills near the end of the video that give you some shots of the gallery and opening reception.
I was able to take some photographs when the gallery opened and enjoyed hearing visitor's reactions to various pieces. One of the greatest a-ha moments I overheard was about Michael Rohde's piece, Contemplation. I heard a group of fiber enthusiasts talking about the beautiful naturally dyed colors and the interesting way the squares were put together.
Then perhaps a half an hour later as the group was leaving the gallery, a few of them turned around and saw Contemplation from 20 feet away and there were large exclamations about the image in the piece. The thrill of discovery.

Cecilia Blomberg, Birch Rolls, detail
Joanne Sanburg, Home Sweet Home, detail
One of my favorite pieces in the show (though there are many many favorites) is Anna Kocherovsky's Wishing Well.
Anna Kocherovsky, Wishing Well, 24 x 47 inches, wool, metallic, cotton
Wishing Well, detail
Elke Otte Hulse's Tempos Heterogeneos 2 was such a fascinating piece in person. Of course I had seen the images of the piece often because this piece won the Second Place Teitelbaum award, but I didn't understand the weave structure until I saw it in person. She used a doubled warp and the faces are much more detailed than the rest of the piece. She also makes interesting use of fuzzier textures with what must be the fabric strips she lists in the materials.
Elke Otte Hulse, Tempos Heterogeneos 2, 26 x 31 inches, cotton, fabric strips, linen
Tempos Hetergeneos 2, detail
Another piece with some wonderful texture and structure changes was Jennifer Sargent's Shadow Warrior. I was fascinated by the double warp sett and the sections of plain weave. The textile was airy and completely gorgeous.
Jennifer Sargent, Shadow Warrior, 36 x 32 inches, linen, cotton, silk
Shadow Warrior, detail
Another favorite work in the show which I did not manage to get a good full shot of is Cornelia Theimer Gardella's Untitled #2 (Red, Blue). I really love her amazing use of color and you have to see this piece in person to completely appreciate its simple beauty.
Cornelia Theimer Gardella, Untitled #2 (Red, Blue), 26.5 x 40 inches, on left. (Other tapestries are by Elke Otte Hulse, Mary Lane, and Dorthe Herup)
Suzanne Paquette had come down from Quebec for the opening and it was wonderful to be able to to talk to her about her piece, Maisons. The color blending in this piece was lovely and the sett was large to accommodate many colors in the weft bundle. She talked about this piece being about her "second home" in Morocco and her home in Quebec.
Suzanne Paquette, Maisons, 54 x 20 inches, wool and synthetic fibers on cotton warp
Maisons, detail
Clare Coyle and Tommye Scanlin both had fascinating pieces and these photos don't do them justice at all.
Top: Clare Coyle, The Land Gives Us..., 4.25 x 22.25 inches, cotton, silk, linen, wool; Bottom: Tommye Scanlin, In Spirit, 26 x 23 inches, wool, linen
The Land Gives Us..., detail
In Spirit, detail
Here are some more works from the show. I would love to show you all of them as they are all marvelous in different ways. Go see the show or buy a catalog!
Connie Lippert, Wakulla (red line series), 32 x 24 inches, linen, wool, natural dyes
Lialia Kuchma, BluRose, 64 x 71 inches, wool weft, cotton warp
BluRose, detail
Joan Griffin, Forest Edge, 24 x 48 inches, wool, cotton
Christine Rivers, North Coast Reflections, 14 3/8 x 46 inches, wool and rayon weft, cotton warp
Margo Macdonald, Little Deschutes, 38 x 35 inches, wool over cotton
Kathy Spoering, October, 18 x 18 inches, wool weft, cotton warp
Annelise Kofoed-Hansen,  The Flying Umiaq 2, 39.4 x 45.3 inches, wool and flax
Inge Norgaard, Net Triptych, 10 x 49 inches, wool on cotton
This piece by Anna Olsson won the First Place Teitelbaum award. I love the simplicity of this piece and the social questions it asks.
Anna Olsson, Where have you been living since we last met? --Here and there, 31.5 x 39.4 inches, linen
Mary Lane, Untitled #140, 15 x 18 inches, wool, cotton, linen
The entrance piece for this show was Ulrikka Mokdad's Floating in Blissful Ignorance.
Ulrikka Mokdad, Floating in Blissful Ignorance, 50 x 33 inches, wool weft, linen warp
Floating in Blissful Ignorance, detail
And I felt very fortunate that my own piece was accepted to the show.
Rebecca Mezoff, Emergence VII, 44 x 44 inches, hand-dyed wool weft, cotton warp

And then I went and walked on the beach.
Christine Rivers, North Coast Reflections, detail

ATB10 will be traveling for the next year. If you can't make it to San Diego before the show ends July 20, it will be at Kent State University Museum in Kent, Ohio September 25, 2014 to January 4, 2015 and at Kaneko in Omaha, Nebraska February 6 to April 24, 2015. There is more information on the American Tapestry Alliance's website:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Online Tapestry Techniques Classes Reviews plus registration announcements

The first run of the online beginning tapestry techniques class is going fabulously. The students are engaged, and quite frankly, amazing. They have already taught me loads. Here are some examples:
  • Hockey pucks are a great way to prop up your Mirrix loom so you can get the yarn spool under it while warping. This was from a Canadian of course!
  • Making butterflies is a great thing to teach people sitting in a cancer center waiting room at the hospital. It is even better if you can teach your son and he can teach them how to do it while he waits for his grandma's treatment. Dealing with the car-load of resulting butterflies is a small price to pay for waiting-room engagement.
  • Sometimes you just have to accept that the current body of work you are creating is going to be called "The Learning Experience Tapestries."
  • Purple nail polish DOES help you weave better (at least if you are from the wine country of northern California!)
  • People DO actually weave in the middle of the night. (I sleep then; don't expect help at 2am)
Here are some of the things they had to say about their experience so far (and thanks to all of you amazing weavers for allowing me to share your thoughts... and for being so appreciative!).
You have been incredibly responsive to everyone's questions, with answers that both convey additional knowledge or information and engagement with your learners.  Your videos are very personal and engaging as well (I enjoy your written cryptic comments and corrections, as you might imagine).  It takes the right type of teacher to do well in an online environment and I believe that you are going to have great success in this medium.                                                      --Summer Larson, California
I love this course! Rebecca's thoughtful consideration for her students comes through in all of the videos, written materials, and discussion areas. I felt like I was there in the studio with her. Highly recommended!              -- Gina Pruette, Santa Fe, New Mexico
This is a great class! I am learning a lot. I just wish I could skip work so I could work on learning tapestry.                        -- Catriona Mortell, Ann Arbor, Michigan

On April 30, Trish wrote this about weaving headers and splicing, "Thanks for all the help so far and we are only three days in! Already worth more than the cost of the course!!!"
She added to this on May 8,
Things already worth the price of admission -- EACH of them
Double ended butterflies
Consistent bubbling -- the hand dance
Weft tension
Easier ways to warp the Mirrix -- not getting the heddles mixed up and messy
Having a height adjustable table or using an easel to get the work dropped down in front (I HAVE a height adjustable table and had not lowered it. WHAT a difference.) 
                                               --Trish White, British Columbia, Canada
Dawn commented at the end of the first week of class about her experience:

I’m about 12” into the sampler, spending most of last week reading Rebecca’s handouts, watching and re-watching her videos and asking questions. AND WEAVING! I question what made all of the difference this time around. I truly believe it has to do with having her right there with us “online”. She has been so responsive to questions, her videos are actually fun to watch as she adds her fun personality to the videos which keep me from drifting off and getting bored. The videos are also just the right length - not too long - not too short. She demonstrates precisely the technique being taught. The camera work and close ups are taken professionally making them easy to see and to follow. I actually understand WHY things need to be done for certain techniques. This class now has me thinking and designing in my head, and understanding the path it will take to achieve those designs.             --Dawn MacFall, Macfiberfall studio, Pine River, WI                     

The class is offered in three ways.
  1. You can take each of the three month-long classes individually (Part 1, 2, and 3). All these classes come with in-depth moderation and teaching from me.
  2. You can take all three of them together so you can work through the modules as quickly as you wish. This option also comes with intensive moderation and teaching from me. This class starts June 23rd.
  3. You can take all three of them together as in #2 but get no moderation or teaching from me for a significant price break, also starting June 23.
Part 1 is offered again starting June 9. Go to my website HERE for more information or click the link at the bottom of the page register.

Part 2 is also open for registration for all of you currently taking Part 1 (and those brave souls who want to skip part one and move straight to Part 2 -- you might want to email me about this option just to make sure). Registration is below.

Registration for the three-in-one options will be opening in about a week when I finish tweaking the slightly different presentation of this class.

Feel free to contact me with questions about the classes. And if you know of someone who might like an online tapestry class, please send them my way!


Click below for more information on my website including a trailer video and a FAQ page that will answer many of your questions.  


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

James Koehler's tapestry process... the last video

I was bumming around the internet looking for an image of James Koehler's work to show my online class and I found this video now posted. This is a part of a longer movie which I have, but didn't know that it had been shown on PBS and is now online. I was working in his studio when this was shot. In fact he tried to get me to do the ball-winder scene, but I thought better of it. This video gives you a little peek at the process he used for creating tapestries.
The structure gives me limitations. If one understands the limitations of the medium you're working in, you also understand the possibilities. The other lesson that the loom has really taught me is the importance of being consistent in decision-making in my life. The rhythm at the loom, the passing of the shuttles through the tapestry, the back and forth motion, all of that has helped me develop as a person.       --James Koehler, 2010

Note: Just to be clear, this is not my video. It was made by Karen Cantor of Singing Wolf Documentaries and you can find it HERE.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Mora Valley Spinning Mill

I finally found someone to go to the Mora Valley Spinning Mill with me. This is, according to them, the only working mill in New Mexico at the moment. It used to be Tapetes de Lana. Their mission is to create jobs for the small community of Mora which is a beautiful town in the valles above Las Vegas, NM. So far they have been quite successful. DY agreed to make the trip up there with me in search of some good churro. Obviously I don't currently use churro in my work, but DY needs plenty of it and Mora provided. I have some hope of eventually being able to get some good tapestry yarn from them. Locally sourced wool spun by local people would be wonderful.

As you may remember from THIS POST about the Harrisville spinning mill, I am fascinated with mills. This one is practically in my back yard and until Wednesday I had never been there.

Our tour started in the store where they have some beautiful hand-dyed yarn. There was an old theater in the building that they were working on renovating and a community room that is the meeting place for the people of Mora.

The mill is definitely a mill! It is smaller than Harrisville, but some of the equipment seemed familiar. I asked the boss Joshua how he fixed the machines when they break. He just pointed to Jimmy, the genius mechanic. Mostly they can't get parts so they just make something and keep on going. That is the spirit of New Mexico all the way.

Here is the back end of their carding machine which wasn't running when we were there.

Loops of roving going into the spinner.

The all important guy who knows how to create the yarn the client wants. They will do a special mill run for you with only 20 pounds of fleece.

They have a new churro yarn. It is a thin single and well-spun. They only carry it in natural right now, but I suspect they'll be dyeing it soon. I bought a pound and hope to try dyeing it myself soon.

That sign to the right of the door turned out to be true. If you go to the mill to buy their yarn, you get 40% off. That was one great yarn run.

The Mexican place right down the street has good tacos if you go. And it was snowing as we left (April 30th!) and they had a roaring fire both in the mill's art gallery and in the restaurant.

If you need an inexpensive loom that needs some love but would be perfectly serviceable, the mill has a whole room of old looms, most seemed to be counterbalance, that they need to get rid of to make room for new enterprises. I'm sure they'd love for you to take one off their hands.

It was a great day out in rural New Mexico. We drove home over the Sangre de Cristos in the snow through Penasco and left a prayer at Santuario de Chimayo before heading back to Santa Fe. But that is a New Mexico story for another day.
Links for this post
Mora Valley Spinning Mill: 
Santuario de Chimayo:

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