Sunday, July 20, 2014

Still in Providence... A couple tapestry shows

Convergence 2014 vendor hall from above
I am still in Providence and most of the Convergence crowd has left. It isn't all that easy to get back to Albuquerque from Providence and flights on a Sunday were tickling $700 one way. So I'm going to visit my grandmother which was a better plan all along anyway.

I am exhausted beyond measure. I am so exhausted that when I sat down in the American Tapestry Alliance meeting just after I finished giving my last three hour lecture to hear the end of Marcel Marois's talk (which I greatly regret having to teach during), I almost started sobbing. I am deeply, undeniably, to-the-bone weary. The last 4 months have been fantastic but in every way I need a break.

So before I completely sink into the fluffy white pillows in this great hotel room, I am going to post the final Convergence photos. I was able to go to the American Tapestry Alliance's Untitled/Unjuried show opening on Thursday. In the same building was the Tapestry Weavers in New England (TWINE) show. There were many many many small format tapestries in this show and I highly recommend seeing it if possible, and if not, buy the catalog HERE. Below are some photos.

Some weavers from Damascus Fiber School in Oregon. They were in my studio in January and it was great to see their work in RI.
Matty Smith, Untitled, 7 x 4.5 inches, wool on cotton warp
Elke Hulse, Monogram, 10 x 10 inches, cotton
This panel had my piece on it. Mine was the piece that told some observant installer that the panel was upside down. That is all I'm saying.
And this panel had a very special tapestry on it by Matthew Lewton. He is 12 years old and well on his way already.
Matthew Lewton, Ted Williams #9, 6 x 4 inches, Wool on cotton/linen warp, center top
But despite the fantasticness of Matthew's work, Louise Martin's piece was my favorite of both shows.
Louise Martin, Looking Out, 5 x 5.5 inches, Linen, silk, rayon and tainless steel on cotton warp
Don Burns won the American Tapestry Alliance Award for Excellence in the TWINE show for this piece:
Don Burns, Fauvist Woods
Kathy Spoering, rather inexplicably since she lives in Colorado, had a large number of pieces in the TWINE show.
 A wall of pieces by Sarah Warren:
Sarah Warren
Sarah Warren, detail
Susan Matthew, the talented weaver who we think might be related to the talented young man featured above... I suspect he had some coaching by his aunt.
Susan Matthew

I met Bonnie Eadie in one of my tapestry classes earlier in the week and then I saw her work in the TWINE show. I thought it was very fun.
Bonnie Eadie, Working Together
It is always a little shocking to work with someone in a class for a few days and then stumble across their marvelous work at a show. First there was Bonnie, then there was another one, Katie Hickey.
Katie Hickey, Moon over Albers
Betsy Wing and Elizabeth Trocki:
And this was a little moment of weirdness for me. See, I grew up in Gallup, New Mexico on the edge of the Navajo Indian Reservation, so seeing the Burnham and Company Navajo Rug Auction in the Rhode Island Convention Center felt just a little, well, jarring.
Convergence is over. Now I can sleep.
(Except for the hotel fire alarm at 4:54 am. I arrived in Providence with soaked luggage and I am leaving after groggily watching the fire fighters saunter up to the building, clearly not in a hurry, and listening to the alarm for about 15 minutes in what felt like the dead middle of the night. I am not sure Providence and I have started the best relationship after all.)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Convergence looms, yarn, and friendly faces...

I had one day off of teaching while here at Convergence and I spent it well. I chatted with everyone under the sun, met up with some old friends, and made a whole bunch of new ones.
I had a little time to visit the Rhode Island School of Design's art museum.
I visited the people in the vendor hall I knew and made some new friends along the way...

Harrisville Designs: They make my yarn (well, I dye it, but they send me big boxes of white fairly often) and they also made my loom. I'm pretty fond of them. Plus Nick has a very sweet golden retriever and anyone who loves a dog that much has got to be a great person.
Pro Chemical and Dye: I love dyeing my yarn and was really happy to find that ProChem has a dye technician who I can call and she can answer my technical questions about using different dyes together. I can't wait to go home and experiment.
Fiber Art Now: I finally got to meet Marcia Young! It was great to talk about this fantastic fiber magazine and hear more about their plans for upcoming issues. And since my article is in the current issue, it was fun to see it spread out all across the booth. Marcia looked great, but I'm looking a little ragged in this photo.
What do you think, are these my people? Claudia and Elena are the owners of Mirrix Looms which, as you all know, is one great piece of weaving machinery.
I think Joni (our intrepid photo bomber) is definitely my people... And I'd hang out with Claudia and Elena any time. They have such good ideas! (Also, next time I take a photo standing next to Claudia Chase, she is going to have to stand on a box or something. She isn't very tall... but she is brilliant.)
Providence has been great so far. I've had some really great food, enjoyed meeting some wonderful people, made some great new friends, and am looking forward to my last day in town tomorrow as I teach my last class and have some time in the ATA meeting.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Little looms, great burgers, and some amazing students...

My classes are rolling along at Convergence 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island. The sun came out yesterday and everything was much less damp.

Yesterday was my new class, The Mobile Tapestry Weaver: Weaving Tapestry on a Hokett Loom. If you don't know, Jim Hokett makes some beautiful weaving equipment. Much of it is small--for little looms. I sold all the looms I brought and wish I had brought twice as many at least... or better yet, that Jim himself had been able to be at the conference!

The classes are classic conference center ballroom style. Deep skinny rooms, horrible lighting, no windows (though we could hear the rain hammering on the roof), and that special sound-deadening quality those rooms have which make you feel a little drugged by the end of the day. Despite all that, the creativity swelling around all the classes on the fifth floor this week has been astounding.
The class working on their Hokett looms.
I had several sizes of looms in the class, some 6 dent and some 8 dent. This allowed me to present various warping options. Here was a beautiful example in progress of using the loom warped double with part of the weaving in a finer sett. I can't wait to see Karen's piece finished.
I was fortunate in both of the classes I've taught so far to have amazing assistants. The Handweavers Guild of America offers scholarship to fiber students to come to Convergence in return for some very hard work on their part not only helping teachers like me, but setting up shows and generally making things run smoothly. A HUGE thanks to Mandy and Abby. You two were miracles.

Here are a few more explorations from the Hokett class. I can't wait to teach this class again somewhere. So many ideas!
I loved the effect in the yellow/orange bar in the piece below. This student was using some pearl cotton for weft and she changed the sett in the middle of that bar. The cotton was shiny and the sett change made that texture change look so beautiful. I'm thinking silk... (Didn't I see that RedFish was in the vendor hall?)
I wish I had photos of everyone's work in my classes. There were some beautiful color gradations done in the Hokett class and the blur of 52 students in three days sort of washed out the names that went with the tapestries that I can still see in my head. I woke up thinking about a beautiful orange/yellow one where the weaver had used bits of demi-duite which gave the piece amazing variety and interest and made it glow. Maybe she'll send me a photo.

And after three intense days of teaching, I stumbled out into the Providence night and with the help of some good friends, found some tapestry shows to enjoy... and a good burger.
Today is vendor hall and exhibition day. I have a one day break from teaching and I intend to use it well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Landing in Providence... Convergence 2014

This is the land of water, but the only boat I've seen so far is this one in the Providence airport.
I almost needed a boat in Chicago. As the prior flight was deplaning and I thought I was on my way to Providence and dinner, the dreaded, "Folks, we just need to let you know that the ramp has just closed for lightening" announcement crackled over the loudspeaker. Fortunately, the storm was short and we were on our way soon, but my luggage apparently got to experience the lightening first hand in a deluge of water in an unprotected luggage cart on the tarmac. Because when I got to my hotel room, I realized that everything in both bags except the yarn Emily had encouraged me to put in plastic bags, was soaked. Every piece of clothing. Every book. Every woven sample. Every handout for my Thursday class (sorry about that class). Soaked.
The first day of my Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry class at Convergence 2014 went well despite the damp clothing and tapestries. Out of 25 students, 16 had Mirrix looms. I think that might indicate a success for that particular loom company. But who is surprised? They are great little looms.
I am off for another day of teaching.

PS. Today it is raining.

Monday, July 14, 2014

On my way... somewhere anyway.

I'm off today on a plane for Rhode Island. I've never been to Rhode Island and when I held up my little squatty umbrella that I dug out from under a pile of shopping bags in the back seat of my car where NOBODY ever sits and asked Emily if she thought I was going to need it, she looked at me like I was crazy. "It is the ocean! Of COURSE it is going to rain. Yes, you should bring it." I grew up in New Mexico and these things are difficult for me. I put the umbrella in the suitcase. She should be impressed that I even own an umbrella.

I also put a metric ton of yarn (in addition to the boxes that I mailed), some clothes (because I mailed stuff I have room to take clothes! I am sure my students will appreciate that.), the important bits of this and that like the yarn scale and the digital projector... and I'm thinking there is still something missing. Knitting?

I am thinking of leaving the knitting home. Is that crazy? After all, knitting is what keeps me from killing the crazy person that is ALWAYS seated next to me on the plane. I must look like that nice-skinnyish-lady-of-indeterminate-age-who-doesn't-smell-and-has-experience-with-mental-illness and they always pick me. Darn those Southwest flights with open seating. If they weren't better in every other way, I'd go with some more rigid airline just because my odds would be better. Anyway, I have been working on these little Hokett looms for the class I'm teaching and I'm kind of into them. But what if I get tired of the little weaving looms and need my knitting to keep me from armrest rage? these are the dilemmas that face me in the coming hours.

Fortunately I'm not flying through Dallas. I always get stuck there. Without fail, if I'm on a plane that stops in Dallas, there will be a major storm and no planes will be leaving. It know it is my fault. Chicago is perfect this time of year, right?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Who is ready for Convergence 2014?

I have been frantically rationally and consistently getting all my materials prepared for two brand-new classes and one old favorite. Next time I am going to a conference where I am teaching more than one class, please remind me to make sure they are classes with similar tools and materials. Packing has been a nightmare! I bought a rolling duffel big enough to put two of these in:
But fortunately I don't need to bring a two-year-old. Just huge quantities of a great variety of yarn. And thank goodness for the US Postal Service and Priority Mail!

Massive pile of handouts: check (mailed! Cha-ching!).
Three hour lecture written: check.
Yarn skeined, dyed, balled, partially mailed: check.
Massive luggage problem: fixed.
Hotel scheduling goof-up: fixed.
Rental car reserved so I can visit my grandmother: check.
Transportation found to various amazing fiber exhibits: check.
Sanity: still missing, might be permanent.

I hope to see a few of you at Convergence. But if I don't, you can feel sure I will post photos of the event in all it's crazy glory right here.

Online class updates: You can still register for the All-Three-in-One class (or the Self-directed version of the same material). The class goes until December 31st. And if you were waiting for Part 2 to open, it is up and rolling! (Next offering of Part 2 is in January 2015 just as a gentle reminder.) All the information you need is HERE, and if you don't find your questions answered there, contact me and I'll fill you in!
Newsletter sign-up: If you'd like to get updates of my crazy adventures and teaching/lecture schedule sent straight to your inbox, you can sign up for my bimonthly newsletter HERE!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Magic carpets and Hokett looms

I am teaching a new class at Convergence 2014. It is called The Mobile Tapestry Weaver: Weaving Tapestry on a Hokett Loom.

I proposed this class because it was a way to play. And as I've worked on the class the past year, I've been able to live in my imagination a little more.

Despite the background studded with upstanding members of the Dutch Reformed church, a bevy of professional-type relatives, 17 years in healthcare service, and a fair amount of innate perfectionism, I still dream of magic carpets and tree houses.

I still believe my grandmother had garden trolls--I saw them in her Tulsa garden when I was 6.
I remember riding on the bathmat in the orange and green bathroom at home when I was 8. It was green shag. (The bathmat is new but the bathroom is still orange and green... maybe I can ride the new bathmat)

And I loved the huge dollhouse we had when I was little (Yes, Auntie ML, I know it was yours when you were a kid)... the perfect spot for magic carpets and little mouse-house inhabitants. Now that I have little looms to weave on, perhaps I should weave some doll house magic carpets.

So creating tiny tapestries, not small format works of art, just tiny tapestries on beautiful little looms appealed to me suddenly. This is a place I can make things that don't have to be sold to a gallery. No one even has to see them. They are just little things to play with... tiny magic carpets for garden trolls perhaps. And the loom fits in my backpack.
Jim Hokett's small looms and tools are beautiful and a lot of fun to work with. If you ever get the chance to go to a conference where he is a vendor, make sure to stop at his booth. It is a treasure trove. You can find out more about him on his blog:
Yes, that is "Hokett Would Work". He is a funny guy, that Jim.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fatal Flaw in the Convergence preparations

In which the flaw in my plans for Convergence becomes painfully clear.

I was planning on mailing these to Rhode Island tomorrow.
I don't own an electric ball winder.

I wonder if I can buy it a seat on the plane.