Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tapestry Weavers South meeting--and more

I traveled with my Good Buddy, Pat Williams, to Asheville last weekend for a meeting of Tapestry Weavers South.  On the way to the city we first made a stop at SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair) so that I could pick up a loom bench I'd ordered some time ago from master craftsman, Walt Turpening.  Here's Walt in his booth with a demo underway, telling a visitor about his process:

And, here I am, proudly sitting on MY bench.  Walt has a formula for calculating the right height of loom bench for individuals.  It is based on one's lower leg length, the height of treadles of one's loom, the breast beam height, and one's elbow distance to a seat.  How in the world he uses those numbers to arrive at the best height for a loom bench for a person is beyond me!  But this is the second bench I've had him do (the first one was for a different loom) and I know it works.   I'm looking forward to using my new bench with my Macomber loom sometime in the near future.

Pat and I stayed a couple of nights at a friend's house in West Asheville... although the friend wasn't there at the time.  Said friend has a primary residence at Penland and uses her Asheville house whenever she's in town.  It's always comfortable to be able to spread out when traveling.

The get together with the TWS folks was to start at 2 p.m. on Saturday but before that, Pat and I had time to get to the Guild Gallery in Biltmore Village (stopping at Starbucks for coffee first... evidence in Pat's hand, here)--

I've mentioned the exhibit TWS now has on display at the Folk Art Center. It was a nice time to see lots of folks who I don't get a chance to visit with too often.  I didn't do a head count but seemed like there may have been 15-18 members who were able to be there.  After our gathering in the gallery, we had a brief business meeting.  A few brand new members joined us for that!

Later in the evening about a dozen of us met for dinner at a local restaurant.  The next morning, Betty Hilton-Nash invited us to her house for brunch where she laid out lots of goodies... unfortunately, we'd filled up our plates one or two times before I thought to photograph the spread.  It was all yummy, to be sure.

We had nice conversations among those who came to brunch... I didn't get photos of everyone, sorry folks... but here are a couple:

The current membership of TWS is around 80, according to the membership chairperson!  It's wonderful to hear that.  The inkling of an idea for a regional group that began in the fall of 1996 has blossomed through the years.  In fact, during the meeting we talked about how we will celebrate the 20th anniversary in 2016.  We had a lovely members' retreat, mini-workshop and informal clothes-pin exhiit for the 10th anniversary at the same place where the initial meeting 1996 was held.

Although the group is called Tapestry Weavers South, membership is open to anyone, anywhere.  Annual meetings, workshops and/or retreats have been goals of the organization from the beginning, as has staging tapestry exhibitions.  Add a newsletter (now online) and a website and you'll see that this quite an active group--and all things that happen are done through volunteer efforts.

Support, fellowship, networking... all those and more are valuable benefits of getting together with like-minded folks!  TWS members--THANKS!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

And so it begins...

Starting a new tapestry is always a joyful thing!  And so it goes for the first several inches, at least for me.  Along about mid-way, it seems to turn into a chore to keep on keeping on.  Then when the end is in sight, I find the excitement again.  Many more inches to go before it gets to be a chore, though.

This piece is 60" wide and sett at 8 epi, 12/15 cotton seine twine.  It's going to be woven 14" high.  I began this one with a 1 1/4" hem, using two strands of Vevgarn for the turnback.  The body of the tapestry will be woven with three weft strands, two of Vevgarn and one of 20/2 worsted wool (the Elf that Kathe Todd-Hooker sells; Vevgarn is from Norsk Fjord Fiber).  Both of these wools are ones I've used for many years and I really like the way they work for me.  And the 12/15 warp is from Glimakra USA.

Here it is with cartoon in place before I began the first bit shown in the top photo.

I've been working on and thinking about this design since April.  In the spring I made lots of photos and sketches of the fiddleheads as they were popping up.  The old fern fronds were still on the forest floor making a beautiful deep, dull green contrast to the new fresh yellow greens of the fiddleheads.  The leaf litter added beautiful rust and deep orange contrasts.

Here's an earlier post about working on the design... it's from a stay at Hambidge Center in May.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Yesterday's workshop and a bit more

We had a nice workshop day at Pat Williams' studio yesterday.  Five people joined Pat and me for a lively day of discussions about tapestry.  As a special treat we took a short field trip to Grace Episcopal Church in Clarkesville, home of five beautiful tapestry woven kneelers that Pat did a few years back.  All of the workshop photos were taken with my phone so are a bit fuzzy... sorry about that!

Pat explains her commission for the kneelers to our group.  Later we helped Pat cut off her latest tapestry--Rosemary clips a few of the warp ends here:

Back at home today,  I took a quick walk around Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega (where we are visited by around 100,00 people over the weekend).  Here's a view looking from the square toward the university.   Ambling through the crowds and then making this blog post is my way of procrastinating from putting up all of the things I took to Pat's for the workshop!   I also made a quick post to the Tapestry Share blog about a couple of recent frame loom modifications I've made with my Hagen and my Mirrix loom... check it out here, if you want to.

OK... time to get busy!  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Busy, busy October!

So many things are going on this fall it's hard to keep the tasks sorted out!  With all of the "must do todays" and then the "can I even get to it today??" stuff I haven't had time to do a blog post in almost a month.  Yet, day by day, somehow things are getting completed.

Early in the month my husband and I attended the Folk Art Society of America conference in Raleigh, NC.  I was glad to be able to visit Mary Kircher's studio at Artspace while we were there.  Mary was my studio assistant at Penland this summer.  On the second visit to her studio during the First Friday gallery walk I ran into another person who'd also been in the Penland class--she was in town for an art educators conference.  That was loads of fun.  Mary's work is just beautiful and I was so happy to get to see her studio.

The FASA conferences are always filled with tours to quite interesting events and places, including visits to public and private collections of folk, self-taught, and/or outsider art.  This time we visited the Vollis Simpson Conservation Project, Clyde Jones's Critter Crossing in Bynum, and several of the potteries at Seagrove, among other places.  And, we made a visit to the Gregg Museum at NC State and the North Carolina Museum of Art.  This gigantic El Anatsui hanging was astounding... that's me at the right of the photo--that piece is huge!

This piece is called "Lines that Link Humanity"--a detail of the multiple pieces of discarded aluminum and copper wire he uses in the piece is shown below.

Needless to say, we both were in visual sensory overload by the time we left the conference.

As soon as we got home on the 8th we began tying up loose ends of preparations for the wedding that was to take place at our house on the 12th!  The weather turned out to be a glorious early fall afternoon for the event and everyone seemed to have a grand time.   Here's a closeup of some of the wedding flowers a couple of days later, just before we began to disassemble them.  The bride (our niece) and groom put the arrangements together.  She also prepared small jars of jellies for guests and had a mound of local apples for everyone.  Other treats, including personalized chocolate bars, were provided by her mother and the wedding cake was made by the groom's mother.  The whole event was a beautiful family affair.

I'd given the large feathers tapestry I'd completed earlier in the summer to my husband for our 30th wedding anniversary gift and he hoped I'd have it ready to hang for the wedding event.  Luckily, I was able to do it with the help of a local cabinet shop man who built the stretcher on which I mounted the tapestry and also the frame.   Here's the installation process as Jeff and Thomas put it up:

It's now hanging above several of the Bob Owens sculptures of birds that we have.  

Since the tapestry is so large and is now framed, I won't be showing it anywhere but here at home!

This week is also a bit hectic.  Pat Williams and I are teaching a one-day workshop at her studio on Saturday, the 19th, so I've been putting together several new things to share with the participants.  

The Tapestry Weavers South group will meet in Asheville on the 26th to see the exhibit that's currently on display at the Folk Art Center, "The Beat Goes On."  

November and December will be weaving time for me once more, I hope!