Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tapestry Diary -- Year Three is completed and Year Four is about to begin

With the 31st day of December, 2011, I've finished this year's tapestry diary work!

The process of making a distinct bit of weaving every day is one that I've done for three years and a month now.  My first venture into the idea came in May of 2008 when I did the first piece with this concept.  I didn't quite know what to even call it then... used the term "tapestry calendar" or "tapestry journal" and finally settled into "tapestry diary" as my description.

I'm happy to know that other people are using a similar idea.  Jan Austin's 2010 tapestry diary is quite a beautiful piece and she describes it at her blog here.

Here are a few of the blog postings I've made over the past three + years as I've been involved in the tapestry diary process:

During 2012 my plan is to go back to a single piece for the year rather than to do the separate pieces as I did during 2011.  I've been able to weave almost every day in 2011 but the separate pieces don't have the same visual impact as do the year-long tapestries that result from the daily practice.  At least that's what I think right now.  By 2013 perhaps I'll be ready to do individual pieces once more!

Here's a composite of the months of 2011 (missing March... can't find a photo of it and it's hanging in the Quinlan exhibit so can't photograph it right now).  The pieces are not shown to scale in the composite, by the way.  Sizes vary quite a bit and once I get them all back from the exhibit I'll measure and note sizes here.  For instance, the April piece is about 42" long x 3 or so" wide while the December piece is 7" high x 5" wide:

Earlier pieces are:

12" w x 42" long

12" w x 82" long

The warp for 2012 is on the Tissart loom at the home studio and is almost ready to begin tomorrow morning.  It's a 10/3 linen warp sett at 8 epi X 12" wide.  I have 3 yards on the loom, plenty for the year even if I weave several inches for the daily entries.  I'm not quite sure how to proceed with "theme" (if any)... but by tomorrow morning I'll have to decide something!  I have a bit more to do with spacing the warp and then doing half-hitches before beginning.  I'll do that shortly when I get home.

I wish a Happy New Year for all of you.  I hope your design ideas flow smoothly and your tapestries grow beautifully.  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Peak Experience

Last Wednesday I was taken on an adventure.  My friends, Noel & Patrick own 100+ acres of a ridge and mountain top near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina.  They have a small off-the-grid cabin there they spend time at whenever they can.  High Knob, where the cabin is located sits at 5200 feet.  There's a narrow, steep jeep road to the cabin and a parking place for larger vehicles about a mile and a quarter below--about 1400 feet below.  Patrick drove to the top in his jeep with supplies while Noel, the dogs and I came along separately in her car.  We parked and started up the mountain on foot. Although I hiked up with them a couple of years ago, this time around I didn't make it all the way up on my own!  I ran out of steam about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way up and absolutely couldn't go further.  I felt light-headed and nauseated, and had to stop to sit down--even threw up a bit!  Noel made sure I wasn't going to pass out, and then rushed on to the cabin so that Patrick could come to my rescue in his jeep--cell phones don't work in that neck of the woods so she was both blowing her emergency whistle and shouting for Patrick on her near run to the top.

After throwing up I began to feel better almost immediately.  I sipped water, began to look around at the landscape, even took a few photos of the leaves just at my feet and the trees and sky... I was standing and walking around by the time they got back to me with the jeep.  They asked if I wanted to leave or if I wanted to go to the top... what do you think I chose?

So... here's a slide show of the adventure.  A few of the photos are also from their other property.  Both places are magical.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Exhibit opening and talk at Quinlan, Dec. 8, 2011

The opening for exhibits at Quinlan was well attended last night.  I was pleasantly surprised that quite a few people came at 5 for my talk and tapestry demonstration before the reception at 5:30--and I was especially glad to see a few former students in the group.  Nice to make connections again and to learn what they're up to now.

Here are a few photos my husband did...  I'll start with the tapestry demonstration that people patiently listened to and watched.  I took an almost completed tapestry on a copper pipe loom for the demo;  I didn't weave very much but explained briefly how my hours are spent when I'm doing tapestry.   I had several examples of the kinds of design planning I do, including photographs, drawing and painting.  I also had a small tapestry along not included in the exhibit, and the initial drawing from which I based the cartoon, as well as the cartoon used to weave it.

After showing about tapestry for a few minutes we moved to the area where the tapestries are hanging so I could talk a bit about several of them.

So... my tapestry life in 30 minutes or less!  After my talk we stayed a few more minutes during the reception and then made a quick trip back to Dahlonega to have a rushed meal, and then on to an Amy Ray concert at our local theatre, The Holly.  Amy played to a sellout house and gave a fantastic performance--I always enjoy hearing her whether she touring with her solo band or as part of the Indigo Girls.  Coming up next ... Solstice Sisters tonight at The Crimson Moon in town, then Shawn Mullins before the end of the month.  Love the music in Dahlonega!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

making friends with the loom that bit me

I've been weaving a couple of rag rugs and using the loom that I had the unfortunate accident with back in February.  I've had it warped all summer but just hadn't had time to weave on the loom.  When I do weaving like this, in this case the rag rugs, I call it my "hobby weaving"--hobby for me since it's for my own use and not for show or sale.  It takes time from tapestry making to do this but sometimes I need a break.  After the past month's push to finish the pieces for the exhibit at Quinlan I felt some down time was needed.  Hence the rugs.



One of these will go to the house to use in the mud room and the other one will be used here at the studio.  These woven with 1" strips that are stitched together by sewing machine.  I'll braid the warp ends next and then wash the rugs before putting them on the floor.  I just cut them off a few minutes ago and will spend a bit of time early next week getting the ends done.

So my usual garb is what that you see in the photos above, but once or twice a year my husband and I play dress up to attend a charity function of some sort.  The most recent event was last Saturday night and here we are... ready to leave.  The next "do" is coming up this weekend and we'll once again be putting on the party clothes!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happiness is...

New steps between my studio yard and home...

... a full cup of coffee....

... a beautiful new handmade book by Alice Schlein from her etsy site...

... and a few minutes to sit down to admire the book, drink the coffee and read the article about Annika Ekdahl's work in the latest VAV magazine.  Oh... The Lord of the Rings is an ongoing read, a few pages each day with lunch.  Let's see, is this the third or fourth time I've read it?  Doesn't matter because I'll read it again in a few years.  So this is how I'm spending my Sunday afternoon studio break.  All part of happiness for me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Threads of Time

Here's the postcard for the exhibits coming up at Quinlan in Gainesville, Georgia.  My work is in the George and Anne Thomas Gallery.  As the card notes, there are another artist and two groups in other galleries of the Center.  Quinlan provides a very active visual arts center for the city of Gainesville and the surrounding north Georgia region.   I'll be giving a brief talk about my work on Thursday, December 8 at 5 p.m. along with a demo of tapestry making.  A reception follows at 5:30.


Members of Tapestry Weavers South will be exhibiting at Quinlan in the largest gallery space during 2013, and demonstrations and workshop will be scheduled during the show's duration.  I'll be posting more about that next year.  In fact, if you want to become a member of TWS so that you'd be eligible to exhibit with us, give me a comment and I'll put you in touch with Rosemary Smith, the membership chairman for TWS.  Our TWS exhibits have always been open to members to enter, rather than juried.  The resulting collection of works are always exciting, combining the tapestries of folks who are new to the field as well as those from people who've worked in tapestry for many years.  

On another note, Pat Williams and I went into Atlanta yesterday to see The Opulent Object, an exhibit of works by Jon Eric Riis, Richard Mafong, and Mike Harrison.  This is being shown in Museum of Design Atlanta on Peachtree Street, just across the street from the High Museum of Art and will continue through December.  The museum is open T,W, F, Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm; Thursday from 10 am to 8 pm; and Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm.  

Jon Riis's work is incredible; I always stand before any of his tapestries just staring in amazement.  As the accompanying brochure says:
"Jon Eric Riis links his work (which is tapestry) to the ancestral textile tradition by using historical iconography and traditional techniques to articulate contemporary themes.  Many of his pieces reference myths, beliefs, and ideals of past cultures; they express the sacred and the ceremonial through their imagery and through the use of luxurious and sensual materials such as gold thread, freshwater pearls, crystal, turquoise, and coral beads.  In this way, Riis uses the tapestry genre to investigate issues of humanity, identity, and life."
Try to get there before it closes, if you haven't yet! I know that several of the tapestry study group in Atlanta met there earlier in the exhibition time.  Having an opportunity to see these pieces is well worth the charge of admission and the hectic drive into Atlanta, in my opinion!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ready for the exhibit at Quinlan

The car is loaded, inventory sheet is completed, artist statement and bio are done.  I'm delivering the work tomorrow to Quinlan Visual Arts Center in Gainesville, and it will be exhibited there from December 8, 2011 through February 19, 2012.

I've put a lot of effort into the preparation stages for the show--hope it all looks well when hanging!  So here's how it looks right now:

p.s.  the pieces wrapped up  IN the basket are my work... NOT the basket!
I was asked to give a title for the show and I chose "Threads of Time" since my work is often about aspects of the passing of time.  Here's a snippet from my artist statement:

My art work is about time, about seasons of change, and about accumulation of parts.  I do handwoven tapestry, a process that in itself is a time-consuming medium.... Each tapestry is, by its very nature, an accumulation of parts.  The tapestries on exhibit show different approaches to the concepts of time, change, and accumulation.  Several record a daily passing of time....  others ... celebrate the seasonal changes in the natural world. 
By working daily with ... tapestry ... and by looking at, thinking about and designing from the world around me, I am weaving my own threads of time.
I hope some of you can stop by Quinlan in the next couple of months to take a look at my work and that of the others who'll be exhibiting in various galleries there.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Yay! Love the little frames

These small frames were custom made for the pieces... I'm quite thrilled with the way they look.  They're exactly what I wanted... Jeff did a great job with them.

All the work will be delivered to Quinlan on Monday.  I'm almost through with the pieces--am stitching on the last of the tapestries now, the large quilt one.  Artist statement to go and inventory of the works I'll be showing... maybe I'll be able to enjoy the day on Thursday and not feel so rushed to complete everything after all.  Fingers are crossed!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Upcoming exhibit

For the past couple of weeks I've been preparing work for an exhibit at Quinlan Arts Center in Gainesville, Georgia where my tapestries will be in one of the smaller galleries. A reception will take place on December 8th at 5:30 and I'll be speaking briefly about my work at 5.

Here's a link to the Quinlan's website:

The process of mounting small tapestries is almost as time consuming as weaving them (no, not really... but it begins to feel that way after days and days and days of prep work!)  I've just posted some photos of the steps at the Tapestry Share blog so won't repost the same ones here.  But, here's a few others that will show a bit of what I've been up to since returning from the class in Asheville.

Whole lot of stapling going on!  I've gone through 2 new boxes of 3/8" staples... let's see, 1000 staples per box... so that's 2000 staples that have gone into mounting boards!

And then I've stitched...

... and stitched some more.  

Curved needles and assorted thimbles have become my tools lately.  I found the black thimbles, called 
"Nimble, the Soft Thimble" to be the best to use.  I had one on my thumb and one on my index finger, plus bandaids on all the rest of my fingers to get the task accomplished of mounting eleven small tapestries--the tapestry diary pieces for 2011, and the one from May of 2008.  

And, there they are... plus another one that's not diary (the one with pink at the right side of the table).

NOW... tomorrow, I begin to stitch the next ninteen!

Then there's the larger quilt tapestry in the background here... it still has to be stitched to its mounting board.  All of these pieces are due at Quinlan on the 28th... lots more work to do before I'm ready to load them in the car.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Arrowmont summer 2012 classes--sneak peek published

I just received an email with a link to the Arrowmont School of Crafts schedule for the summer of 2012. Here's a link to that:

I'll be teaching a tapestry class at Arrowmont, June 24-30.

The John C. Campbell Folk School class that I've got on the schedule in January has plenty of space in it right now. So if you want to take a look at that course description, go to the link here:

So... come on to JCFS or Arrowmont -- or both! -- and join me for a class!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tapestry workshop at Sutherland Handweaving Studio

Here are a few photos from the workshop that was held this past weekend at Sutherland Handweaving Studio in Asheville, NC.  Pat Williams and I co-taught the class at the shop that's owned by Barb Butler and Karen Donde.  They've got a wonderful retail and classroom space in the River Arts District at Asheville.  Pat and I appreciate being asked to teach here and hope to do so again.

This class had 15 people in it and it was a fantastic group working together.  Everyone put their whole energy into the process and, I think, went away from the weekend enlivened about tapestry making, in some way.

Here are a few photos from the weekend:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back to tapestry...

... almost back to this point... soon I'll be back to the loom.  But first...

...Halloween foolishness over for this year.  Now, it's back to what I'm really doing in the studio right now.  And that's working on preparations for the upcoming workshop in Asheville.

Lists get made, boxes and baskets pulled out and filled, handouts are revised and printed, yarns stashed in suitcases.  As most teachers do, I'm sure, I spend quite a bit of time getting organized for workshops and classes.  It usually takes about two weeks of work before the workshop days until I feel ready to do instruction.  In fact, I spend more time in the before than I do in the during.  That's the way I feel most comfortable in approaching classes and it's the way I'll continue to do it, I guess.  Even a class I've taught before will have a revamping of materials.

So that's what I'm doing now.  My tapestry diary work is continuing although I haven't photographed the finished month of October yet.  I was able to start November's diary yesterday on a warp that was already in place on a frame loom.  I'll be finishing the months of 2011 as separate pieces to be hung together in some way.  I'll be writing a statement about the tapestry diary process in a few days.  It's something I've been thinking about for quite awhile and I've just about gotten my thoughts together in a coherent way to describe why I began doing this and why I continue weaving a daily bit.

More to come next about the workshop this weekend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011



OK... HAPPY DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN... but you get the picture!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ill, Sick, Puny, Under the Weather, Pitiful...

... yes, all those and more I've been during the past week!  What a bore but I feel better this morning.  My affliction was most likely pollen allergy related and probably triggered when I cleaned pollen off of some outside tables and chairs.  The scratchy throat that resulted the next day turned into several days of achy ear, runny eyes and nose, vile cough, and overall tired and grumpy feeling.  I had a lot to do during the week at the studio so couldn't give in to it;  luckily most of the work involved sitting in one place and stitching back weft ends on tapestries to get them ready to hang and to photograph.  Got that done, photos of the pieces were taken yesterday by a young man who's a fantastic photographer, and then I went home to go to bed!

BUT... today... I feel as bright as this sunflower:

OK... a bit of exaggeration there.  But I DO feel about 85% of my usual self today.  Just in time, too, since the workshop at Sutherland Studio is next weekend and I'm about to begin intensive prep work for that!

Here's Trevor as he did the photos of the pieces.  Can you say deadline?  The ATB9 deadline is coming up on the 31st and the pieces being shot in the session are among those I'll be submitting.  I know, I know--I swore off of entering juried shows.  But here I go again.  All I can do is the work and try to put it out for others to see.