Friday, March 24, 2017

Second week at Penland

Wow... I cannot believe the energy that's in the air here.  There's so much going on.  Floor looms have been dressed and warps woven and cut off; visitors have been here and shared so generously; we've had one field trip and more are planned.  The floor loom exploration has taken over this week as several who haven't woven on those looms before concentrated on that.  Tapestry is proceeding slowly... but that's tapestry making, isn't it?  Bhakti's and my hope is that both kinds of looms and techniques on those will inform the approach to image making on each.  We know that some will probably want to focus in one direction or the other for the majority of our time here.  But we're throwing lots at them from both directions for the first couple of weeks--soon, they'll find their path and take it to amazing places, I'm quite sure.

Some photos of the process--few words to describe:

Jessica Green, our visitor on the right, is talking to student, Caroline.
Allie is spinning and Sarah is enjoying the first warm day here with her.
Bhakti is showing about dressing a floor loom.
Rebecca is working on the class tapestry diary.
Krysten is doing a beautifully complex color arrangement as her first floor loom weaving.
Sarah Rose is tucking in an end as a weft ends.
Catharine Ellis, the woven shibori expert, visited us this week with amazing fabrics!
Milissia and Alan Dewey also visited and Milissa showed about the wood turning they do, as well as spinning.
Alice and Bruce Schlein visited today.  Alice talked first about her work with TC-1 and dobby looms, then showed about spindle spinning to several students (including Bhakti and me) after lunch.
Class presentations by each student when they showed their past work has been an important part of the week.  Here's Nina, our wonderful studio assistant, during her presentation time.
Nina (left) and Sarah Rose (right) sport the scarves they've woven here this week!
Much more to come!

Monday, March 20, 2017

So glad to be at Penland!

It's been amazing week at Penland with 12 wonderful students and a cohort, Bhakti Ziek, who I can't say enough in praise about!  I'll post more to my blog soon about the adventure.  

This photo of me laughing to tears was taken by Debra Carbanes, one of the students... I was so tickled I was crying about "losing" my gloves... then finding them inside my cap (after wearing the damn cap three times with the gloves inside it). I didn't realize the gloves were there until I saw my refection in the window glass as I entered the Lily Loom House for class this morning... and noticed that the cap was taller than usual.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Phoenix and more

Earlier in the week I made a trip to Asheville to have the newest tapestry, Phoenix, photographed at Tim Barnwell's studio.

Here's the result:

Like I'd mentioned in an earlier post, I did make-shift finishing using masking tape to hold back warp ends.  I'll use the tapestry during the Penland session as a teaching aid for finishing and preparing a piece for hanging with velcro.

This is the last week of preparations before the Penland class begins!  So much to do and so little time remaining--no panic yet (or not much) but my anxiety level is increasing about what I'll really be able to finish before next Saturday.

Yesterday I put together yet another copper pipe loom to add to my stock.  I wanted to be sure each of us has a loom that we can use for sampling so I'm taking fourteen along with me as loaners.  We'll have both tapestry looms and floor looms going through the next eight weeks.

A couple of other things I want to note here.  First, is a new exhibit posted at TEx@ATA.  This is American Tapestry Alliance's online gallery showcasing curated exhibitions of contemporary tapestry artists from around the world.  I have a small tapestry included in Elements: earth, air, fire, water – an international non-juried exhibition initiated by Jane Freear-Wyld (UK).  Here's a link for that.

ATA has also posted a video recently in which I have a tapestry included.  The video is found at this link. 

Now, back to the Penland Prep!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

University of North Georgia weaving class and tapestry

This is going to be a bit long... I realized that after I started writing so I'm going warn you about that.  You might want to jump to the photos at the bottom!


The University of North Georgia is where I spent twenty-eight years teaching in the art department.  It was North Georgia College at the time and I began working there in 1972 in the newly formed Fine Arts Department that included visual art and music majors and a theater minor.  It was small in number of faculty (two in music, three in visual art, one in theater).  Student numbers were also modest--visual art majors outnumbered the music majors about two to one, about twenty majors in the two offered art degree programs for the first few years.

Although I'm a tapestry weaver now (and have been for over twenty years), my degree was in art education.  I'd selected as studio courses those in drawing, painting and printmaking and my experience in craft making was only in a couple of ceramics classes--and I liked those quite a lot.  I even considered concentrating on ceramics as a studio practice after graduation but soon decided that it wouldn't be a reality in my real life.  After all, sharing a small apartment didn't lend itself to setting up a pottery studio.  It was much easier to continue with drawing and painting media.  And who has time to do much (any?) art work of one's own when teaching art classes at high school anyway?  That's what I was doing for the first three years after I graduated, teaching high school art classes and learning about textile making processes along the way.  My first attempts at weaving were done during my first year of high school art teaching--found the Sarita Rainey book, Weaving without a Loom, in the school's library, built simple frame looms, and plunged in. The students and I warped up those frames and wove with yarn, cloth, sticks... anything we could put into those threads on the loom.  They enjoyed it and I was hooked!

Here's my copy... a bit ragged from use but I still have it!
In graduate school, which I attended during summers as I taught during the academic year, I eagerly took a general textile class that included weaving, spinning, dyeing, and basic surface design methods.  I loved working with fiber techniques and I realized that I could indulge my desire to use process with materials in the making of images.

When I began working at NGC teaching the art education classes was part of my job.  Other courses I taught were watercolor painting, color theory and also textiles.  Although I had rudimentary textiles experience myself, I was learning as I was teaching, reading, trying things and taking short courses.  During my first year, we built and used frame looms.  In 1973 I was able to order three Macomber looms.  Over the next two decades the department chairman was able to find funds to gradually increase the equipment in the weaving studio to include several more looms, to add shafts to the ones we had, and to buy assorted smaller equipment.  A couple of times the department also received looms as donations from the estates of people who knew about our growing weaving program.  When another school in the university system closed its weaving program, NGC was able to arrange a transfer of equipment and we added six more looms.

I'm very happy to say that the three looms that arrived at NGC in 1973, new from Macomber, are still there today and in use by current students.  I'm also very happy to say that the weaving and surface design classes are still supported by the department and the university, have nice separate studio spaces and are well attended by students.  I dearly hope that weaving and surface design will still be around many decades from now.

This long discourse brings me to the reason for the post--to show photos of a recent tapestry experience by the current crop of weaving students at UNG.  I visited with the class for one session a few weeks ago to show how to set up the frame looms for tapestry.  Jo-Marie Karst, the weaving instructor, took them from there.  The class came to my studio for a visit one day last week and I've dropped in a couple more times to see how they're doing.  Most of them have now finished and are mounting their small pieces.  I think they've done a wonderful job!  Congratulations, new tapestry weavers!

And here they are: