Thursday, April 30, 2015

This and that about things...

... open topic, isn't it?  Well, that's the way things are going around here... a little of this and a little of that.  Loose ends are being tied up all around and new ones are beginning to show themselves.

Here's a bit of what's going on.  First, the April 2015 installment of this year's tapestry diary is complete:

Daffodils begin to bloom here in north Georgia in February and usually have some cold weather to contend with -- this year, an ice storm was followed by snow.  And yet the daffodils came through just fine.  I photographed them several times during March.  Then those photos were used to design the four weeks of April.  Above you'll see my celebration of one of the first flowers of springtime just above the twigs done for March--in honor of the fallen things from the ice storm in February.  So you could say that my year's journey seems to be moving forward by looking back.  Reflecting on what's gone before is something I do quite a bit.  May's theme is almost set in my mind (I have quite a few photos of at least two different items to consider) and I'll be ready to go with whatever I decide to use by in the morning.

Earlier in the week my husband and I made a trek to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to take a tapestry to Arrowmont School of Crafts for the upcoming instructors' exhibit.  The day before we'd picked up my newly framed tapestry at Caroline Budd's Picture Framing in Atlanta--it's in a floater frame.  Here it is sitting in the kitchen before I wrapped it up for delivery:

The day was sunny and beautiful as we drove to the Great Smokies and over Newfound Gap to Gatlinburg.  We could see lots of wildflowers in the woods and along the roadside as we went along and traffic wasn't bumper to bumper as it often is in the peak tourist season.  We dropped off my tapestry and after showing my husband around a bit, we headed back home.  Here's the entryway to the main Arrowmont building that houses offices, galleries, library and many of the studios.  I inadvertently included a selfie as I took the photo--and missed getting the entire name of Arrowmont above the door:

My class has at least seven students enrolled now and can take a few more.  There's also another fibers class during the same two week session, being taught by Amy Putansu.  Here's the link to both of the classes:  Mine is here and Amy's is here.  Another fiber related note, Andy Saftel will be teaching in the printmaking studio.  I met him in 2012 when he and I were both teaching during the same session.  He mentioned the tapestries from his designs that he's having woven in Mexico and I recently contacted him to see if he might bring some with him during this summer's session... and he said he would.  I'm eager to see them in person--his work is quite interesting and I'm wondering how the weavers interpret from his imagery.

On the way back we took a side trip to the top of Clingman's Dome.  The road there leads off of the main road near Newfound Gap.  I've traveled to Arrowmont many times in the past but I've never gone to Clingman's Dome.  It's about 7 miles from the turn at Newfound Gap and the road keeps climbing and climbing--seems like to the top of the world!  And it almost is--at least on this side of the U.S. At 6643 feet, it's the third highest peak east of the Mississippi.

We made the 1/2 mile steep climb on foot from the parking area to the observation deck--a structure that looks suspiciously like a space ship receiving unknowing humans (remember the Twilight Zone episode, "To Serve Man")... but there didn't seem to be any Kanamits waiting at the top.  Not that we saw, anyway.  Just other tourists like us.

Seating just below the tower.

On the way back down the mountains we stopped at a pull over and walked across a bridge over the Oconaluftee River.

And we walked a quarter mile or so along a gravel path through the woods.  Lots of wildflowers are out although many of them show ravages of weather and hikers.  Here's a few that were near the path and not too beaten up:

Showy Orchid
Painted Trillum
And we were thrilled to be going by one of the fields in which the elk are often seen in late afternoons and to find several were there!

Elk were once native to the region but were killed out by the 1800s.  There has been an effort to reintroduce them to the Great Smokies starting in 2001.  It was nice to see them grazing and relaxing and paying no attention to the many cars that were pulling over, spilling out folks to gawk!  And the elk didn't seem disturbed by the yapping dogs in one of the cars, either.  They've probably seen it all by now, tourists being what we are.

At the studio, I'm finally working on the next "real" tapestry, one that I've been designing off and on since December.  I weave every day on the tapestry diary and also I usually have one or two demo pieces on small looms that I use when teaching.  However, to design and weave something that I hope will be a new piece in my body of work is what I consider the real tapestry work.  Here's the state of it yesterday:

It's 24" wide and will be just about square.  I'm weaving it turned 90˚ to the hanging direction because there are many nearly vertical lines in the design, as in of the stems of the plants and the petals of the flowers.  I'm using 12/6 cotton seine twine for warp, sett at 12 epi.  The weft is a blend of four of the worsted wool from Kathe Todd-Hooker's business.  Slower going for me than my usual size warp/weft (I typically work at either 8 epi or 6 epi, with larger wool combinations).  But I'll get there eventually.  I'm about to start filling in a leaf edge today.  Soon as I finish this post and get over to the studio to begin!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Time for some changes...selling a loom. SOLD!

Time to find a new home for this wonderful loom:

This is a 4 foot Shannock loom.  I am the third owner of the loom and it is in excellent condition as it's been lovingly used by all of its owners for many years.

I haven't made this decision lightly.  I became the owner of this wonderful tool about six years ago.  I purchased it from another weaver in North Carolina.  I still fondly remember driving my station wagon there, hoping all the parts and pieces of the disassembled loom would fit into the car (they did).  How excited I was to finally have a larger Shannock tapestry loom!  I had once owned a 2 ft. Shannock tabletop model that I converted to a floor standing one with John Shannock's leg and treadle modification.  I used it happily for a decade or more until I found it had been sitting idle while I used other looms more often.  And so the smaller Shannock went to a new home.

That's what I realized about this loom a few days ago.  I've woven four fairly large pieces on it since I've had it but I haven't rewarped it in over a year now.  I've been working on other looms and so it became clear that someone else may be a better owner for this great loom at this point.

So... here it is, offered up for sale.  If anyone is interested in the price and the dimensions, please contact me at at gmail dot com

It must be picked up since I won't be able to ship it.  But, like I said, it will fit into most SUVs or station wagons when disassembled!  Assembled, it would fit into a truck or possibly a van.

Update:  this beautiful loom is going to a new home with a beautiful tapestry weaver!  Thank you!!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Exhibiting Thoughts

I could look back in my blog to see posts I've made when I've been very disappointed to have learned about having my work rejected for juried exhibits.  I could also find posts where I've noted being accepted into exhibits and even a few times being fortunate to have won an award.  I've had encouraging comments from folks when I've been whining about having my tapestries rejected, and I've also had congratulations when I've mentioned acceptances into shows.  I so much appreciate all of the times people have reached out to give a virtual pat on the back or a hug, whether in commiseration or congratulations.

Exhibiting one's work is a daunting process, to say the least.  What's involved?  Here's a short list:

  1. Making the work in the best way possible at the particular point in one's conceptual and skill development. 
  2. Once the piece is off the loom, next comes the finishing steps for presentation.
  3. Documenting the work, including photographing it and recording size, materials, etc.
  4. Managing the images so they'll be accessible when a exhibit possibility arises.
  5. Finding an exhibit venue.  This might mean reading listings of upcoming exhibits either in magazines or online, being part of an organization that mounts exhibits, and/or through word of mouth.
  6. Assemble exhibit information, note deadlines as well as specific requirements for each submission.  Image size, information to include, artist bio and/or statement most likely are different for each show.
  7. Once determined that an exhibit is one to strive for, submit the entry, with images, and other info, including payment in whatever form is required.  These days, most exhibits may be entered online... quite a bit easier in many ways than having slide duplication and mailing to deal with.
  8. Next one waits to hear about the status of the submission.  
  • Accepted?  Hooray!  Then go to the next steps required for the particular exhibit--including any further information required, packing and shipping the work or delivering it in person, attending the opening (if possible), then receiving the work back sometimes months or even a year later and hoping it is in good shape upon return (and not lost in the meantime).
  • Rejected?  Groan, whine, gripe and get over it and start the process all over again.
In the meantime, new works are being conceived and made and becoming ready for the next show on the horizon.  Why try to have work shown in exhibitions at all?  That's a thought for another post sometime down the road, maybe.

I've been very happy to have had tapestries accepted in several exhibits over the past two years.  Several of the exhibits have printed catalogs, as well.  It's always nice to have one's work in a show that has an actual catalog.  Three of the exhibits that have published catalogs are below.  There's a link to more information with each show name--

Here's my tapestry in the ATB10 catalog.

 The Art is the Cloth, curated by Micala Sidore

And the page showing my work, along with Jan Austin's.  We both had tapestry diary pieces accepted for this.  More about the exhibit is at Micala's website.

Intertwined, sponsored by Southeast Fiber Art Alliance

I have a couple of pieces in this exhibit--here's the catalog pages showing one of them.

Print catalogs are expensive, I know, but I hope they aren't to be replaced by only online catalog options anytime soon.  Nothing replaces the hard copy and the chance to sit for awhile with a cup of coffee, turning page after page and immersing one's self in tapestry imagery of all kinds, from all over the world.  Thank you, show organizers, for keeping the tradition in place for awhile longer!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Recent classes--John Campbell Folk School and Florida Tropical Weavers Guild Conference

I'm so fortunate to be able to occasionally teach about what I love--tapestry weaving.  This year I've been to the Folk School (February) where we had a grand time thinking about the work of William Morris for inspiration--and enjoying a couple of lovely snow falls during the week.  In March I was off to Florida to teach a 2 1/2 day session at Florida Tropical Weavers Guild Conference held at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center.  Weather in Florida was quite a contrast to the snowy days a month before in Brasstown, NC.  It wasn't too hot (low 80s)--definitely not coat weather.

I often post photos and comments about classes when the sessions are underway.  For various reasons this year I haven't been able to do that.  I want to catch up a bit to show off the work from the classes--everyone worked so hard and accomplished a lot.

So here goes--first from the John Campbell Folk School class, February 22-27, photos in no particular order:

Now, a few from Florida Tropical Weavers Conference, again--no particular order:

Next class is in June/July at Arrowmont, a two week one.  The session length should give us enough time to delve into explorations a bit more.

Happy Easter! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Spring Returns

Sometimes in the winter I wonder if spring will ever return.  Even here in north Georgia where the weather is much milder than in many places in the country it seems like springtime will never come again.  Cold, gray and dark the days all seem to be.  Maybe that's only my perception but when new growth begins to show its many faces I am happy. 

Yes, it makes me very happy to walk by this gingko tree (I can't call it the little gingko tree anymore since it must be 15 feet tall now) and to see the first appearance of the new leaves for the year.  I've watched the buds for several weeks now, waiting to see the first tip of the green.  I saw that a few days ago and this morning when I walked by they'd made a great push and broken free to begin unfurling!  They will move so fast now.  Last year there was a freeze after the young leaves were out and they were nipped.  The tree was OK, though, and fully leafed out for summer.  I hope a later freeze like that doesn't happen this year.  Here's a post last year on April 7 showing the new leaves.  The freeze happened during that following week, I think, while I was at the Folk School.

I've done more springtime viewings at a local park, Yahoola Creek Park, recently.  Here are a few photos from those walks--first several views of bloodroot:

After the petals fall off and the leaf has grown.

A bloodroot blossoming and in context in the forest floor--can you see it?

More from Yahoola Creek Park over the past week:

While my eyes are on the woods, ball games and soccer are being played at the adjacent sports fields. As you can see, I've got other things on my mind!

Those lovely springtime distractions have been brief; for most of the past ten days I've been doing a major organization and clean up at my studio, with the help of Jeff, the guy who can do anything.  He installed wider shelving units in one of my rooms so that I could begin to get my flat works under control.  Here's Jeff vacuuming after drilling for reinforcing brackets for the 20" wide shelves:

So that he could get to the shelves to remove the narrower ones I had to take all of the stuff off and park it somewhere--like all over the rest of the room:

It only took Jeff an afternoon to redo the shelves, putting in the new ones and cutting the narrower ones and reinstalling them in another room.  But it's taken me most of several days to go through this stuff, sorting and tossing several years worth of clutter artwork, tapestry designs, and teaching materials.

Here are the newly revised shelving solutions, first the room with the wider shelves at one side:

And then the narrower "skinny" shelf in the corner of another room--yes, I do have to use a step ladder to get to the top shelves in both rooms.

I posted about my new shelves at Facebook yesterday and it was funny to read a comment from a friend, Janette Meetze, who said she'd also been doing a major spring cleaning/organizing at her studio!  Here's a link her blog post about her own organizational doings this spring.

Photos from my February John C. Campbell class and the Florida Tropical Weavers Guild conference class are coming soon, I promise!

I'll end with another favorite spring viewing thing... fiddleheads!  Yes, they're out in abundance here in north Georgia.  My interest in fiddleheads began in 2008 when I first noticed them at the creek house.  Here's a post about the first of the tapestries in this series.  You could find other posts about this tapestry and the other four I've done with this subject by using the search feature in the left margin of the blog.

After weaving five tapestries with fiddleheads as subject I don't believe any of this year's viewings will develop into new tapestry designs.  I don't think...

...but this one looks interesting....