Thursday, May 6, 2010

Last Days at Knoxville Museum of Art--Anne Wilson Exhibit

At last I have a bit of time to post photos from the last day I spent at the Knoxville Museum of Art working with the Anne Wilson "Local Industry" part of her larger exhibit, "Wind/Rewind/Weave" that was at KMA from late January through April 25, 2010.  I wove earlier in the exhibit, as I noted in other posts, and then returned at the end of the exhibit to help out with the final stages of the cloth that had been being woven throughout the entire time, as it was cut from the loom.  The cutting off of the cloth when I was there at the end was actually the second cut-off since the fabric built up so much on the cloth beam, as the piece was woven by around seventy weavers, that it had to be cut off and the warp re-tied to continue with the weaving.  Anne Wilson hoped the two cloths could be joined to give a continuous length of weft-faced, striped (banded) fabric--as was her concept for this part of the exhibit--and that's what several of us worked to achieve during that last weekend in April.

I've described what we did to make the join in the last post... take the warp ends from one cloth into the other cloth, then pull to shift the two pieces together.  The next step was to take the warp end from both sides back in the direction of the original cloth.  I felt that doing this about 1/2" apart would be sufficient to hold the cloth together quite well and that's what we did.  Here's Nick on the opposite from me, working to needle those ends back in the opposite direction.

Once those warps were needle woven back along a channel of an adjacent warp for about 1/2 to 3/4" then they were snipped off to be flush to the surface of the weaving.

Above is how the ends looked before we started snipping... and below, Nick is hard at work with the cutting off of ends.

I'll bet no one can now spot where we pulled the two cloths together!  The joining came together quite successfully. 

The weaving, that turned out to be abour 26+/- yards long, was carefully rolled up for storage at KMA; an exhibition of the whole cloth is in the planning stages for the future--possibly to be in the fall of this year.  There will be a catalog available about the show then, I believe.  You might want to check in with the Knoxville Museum of Art website in the future, if you're interested in seeing more.

The length of the cloth caused us to have it spread out in a ribbon-like fashion over several tables...

Here's the entire 26 +/- yards, rolled around a cardboard core, photographed in front of the yarn wall...

I'll have to say that this whole experience has been quite a wonderful one for me.   I've been involved for a bit over a year now and in that time I've gone to Knoxville for a couple of meetings, then I returned a couple of times to work at the exhibit.  I so much enjoyed meeting Anne Wilson and hearing her speak so eloquently about the concept for this exhibit.  I appreciated working with Libby O'Bryan, one of Anne's graduate assistants at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as Libby pulled together the many weavers who were critical to this exhibition.  The many e-mails from both Anne and Libby have really helped me feel connected to this whole project for a distance.  When in Knoxville, I really loved working with Chris Molinski, curator at KMA, and Nick DeFord, who was the Knoxville project manager of the exhibit--both were so helpful and congenial.  I met several others of the KMA staff and all were so very cordial.  During the last weekend, Ray Snyder and Pat Bing, and Geri Forkner, other volunteer weavers, were so helpful.  Jo-Marie Karst and Hailey Fowler, from Georgia, also were there to help with the finishing stages.

I enjoyed spending some time in Knoxville, Tennessee--a place I've only visited a few times in the distant past.  The small, quirky hotel I stayed in (the Hotel St. Oliver) was  a great location for working at the museum... it's in downtown, adjacent to Market Square where I could get meals easily--and also walk over to Yee-Haw Industries to buy a few things (!), as well as being just about an 8 minute walk to KMA.  Each time there I arrived, checked in, then drove down the block to the municipal parking garage where I left the car until I departed several days later.  While I was there I was also able to see my nephew and his wife, who live in Knoxville... here they are at The Tomato Head on my final trip to work at the museum... great meal we had there!

As a result of my participation in the Anne Wilson exhibit, my awareness of weavers in the world who really are working at this craft as a necessity for themselves and their families has been renewed.  Because of that I've become a patron member of Weave a Real Peace (WARP).  The good that this organization does can't be measured and I'm so glad to now have become part of the effort.

Here are the links in my blog to past posts about this exhibit and my participation:


  1. Tommye....thank you for this post! I'm looking forward to the exhibit in the Fall to see the finished length.

  2. What an amazing excellent experience! It must be wonderful to be part of something so big!

  3. What an amazing project...Thank you for sharing,and will watch for it in the fall.