Sunday, July 28, 2019

2019 Tapestry Diary

It's almost the end of July and I've finished my self-assigned duty of doing a flower each month in this year's tapestry diary. I selected this flower, one I'd photographed in the neighborhood earlier in July. Is it a black-eyed Susan or a small sunflower of some kind? I haven't yet taken time to find out. I was entranced with the shape and color, though. I always think of yellow flowers in mid-summer. Maybe that's because I see a lot of them then?

I'm sure you'll notice the little representation of the American flag at the right side--yes, that was woven on the 4th of July. Every year since I've been doing the tapestry diaries I've included the flag in some way. I'm proud to be an American in spite of the ugly political climate now. Better days will come. I have to keep believing that. 

On another note, I'll be teaching my last class soon at Penland School of Crafts. I'm scheduled for session six, August 11-23 and I'm eager to get back there again. 

I took a class in weaving at Penland in the summer of 1975 that was a life-changing experience. That was when I met Edwina Bringle, who was the teacher for the class. She was an amazing resource of information and I've continued to learn from her through the forty-five years since then. Edwina, along with Bob Owens, Archie Brennan, and Susan Martin-Maffei are who I consider to be my mentors. One day soon I'll devote a blog post to each of those people. 

It's been a slow year for blog posts. I've been writing, though, just not in this format. I'm hoping I'll soon have some news about that. In the meantime, I'll be daily going through the tapestry diary until the end of this year--my tenth. More about that soon, too!


Saturday, July 13, 2019

An online exhibit: Pat Williams Has Stories to Tell

I'm quite pleased to have recently had a chance to curate an exhibit of the tapestries of Pat Williams. The exhibit, called "Pat Williams Has Stories to Tell" lives online only. That's great because it's accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. And will be on display through the American Tapestry Alliance website for years to come. 

The only unfortunate aspect of this is that the viewers don't get a chance to be in the physical presence of the tapestries. Photos of tapestry work can only do so much to help one understand the technical skill and aesthetic choices made by the artist when weaving. Pat is indeed an expert in both aspects. Her technical abilities with tapestry are such that she can make the yarn do whatever she wants it to. The aesthetic choices are ones that are made in such a way as to take a viewer on a visual journey with her. She uses color, texture and shapes to eloquently communicate depth of feelings about circumstances of life. 

Take a look and visually absorb something from the stories Pat tells with her tapestries. Be sure to notice that there are links at the top that will take you to each of the three galleries. I pointed to those with the three red arrows in the screen shot from the webpage.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Convergence 2020 in Knoxville, Tennessee

I'm excited to announce that I'll be teaching a one day workshop next summer at the Handweavers Guild of America's 2020 Convergence in Knoxville.

The workshop is called "Untangling Design for Tapestry" and will be filled with ideas that I'm working on for an upcoming project.

More about all of this later!

Monday, May 13, 2019

John C. Campbell Folk School class--one last time!

Well. The last class I'll teach at John C. Campbell Folk School has come and gone. And it was a wonderful one. I was so glad to be back there once more... the door to the Keith House says it all:

I took my first weaving class here in 1974. It was taught by someone who was not an experienced weaver but he knew much more than I did. He guided me through some of the things that I hadn't been able to figure out on my own. I really feel my career as a craftsperson began with the Folk School forty five years ago with that experience.

I taught my first weaving class there in 1982. The weaving room was in what's now the History Center at the school. Now the weaving and fiber studio are in spacious quarters, the Louise Pitman Fiber Studio. I love coming into that space each time I'm there. I've taught weaving at the Folk School at least nineteen times since then.

There are many floor looms in the weaving side of the building. For tapestry classes, though, those are pushed back and tables where two students work side-by-side are at the front of the room. Here's how the room looked on the first day before students arrived:

And here are a couple of room overviews throughout the week... lots happening, as you can see!

Here's the building at night after I'd left for the evening. Allie, my assistant, and at least one other student were still hard at work... not quite until the wee hours but later than I could stay.

The grounds of John Campbell Folk School are always beautiful. One of my favorite places is actually a walk from the Keith House to the fiber studio through the woods. I could feel my blood pressure lowering on the first afternoon when I arrived as I walked through these trees:

Late April and the first few days of May were perfect time to see some of the early wildflowers. Flame Azaleas were blooming and there were Pink Lady Slippers in the woods! Many other things were out, as well.

There were twelve students in the class as well as Allie, my assistant. All were somewhat (or a lot) experienced with tapestry weaving. The class was called "Tapestry: Expand Your Horizons" and it was intended to be a class in which a few techniques that perhaps hadn't yet been explored by students would be introduced. I also talked about the "What? Why? and How?" questions that play a big role in any art making. There was a new white board that I made copious use of throughout the week as we had morning discussions.

During the week we also had a lovely visit by Joy and John Moss, of tapestry bobbin fame. John has had health problems but is now back to turning a bit. Joy has taken over much of the bobbin turning in the meantime. I'm glad they were able to stop by during the week. If you've ever ordered a bobbin from them and haven't met them, here they are! I thought it would be appropriate to have them pose surrounded by the weavers who they love to work with.

Now... photos from the week, in no particular order. Because students brought their own looms along many had weavings underway that would be finished later. Several did cut off pieces during the week, as well.

Susan was able to complete a small tapestry and even mount it for display.

A few design exercises were  presented and several people worked with those in addition to their weaving:

Nancy had a couple of larger cartoons she was preparing for tapestries. She was able to pin up her papers to the wall in the room next door since there wasn't another class there during that week.

And we were also able to use the opposite side of that room to have an informal show and tell of work from students a few had brought with them. There were a few digital images by others the next day.

Allie demonstrated a couple of techniques during the week:

But, sadly the final day was there at last. Everyone got packed up and ready to go for the closing ceremony but before we left the room we sat around and talked about this and that of tapestry. So many questions, so little time!  Here's the great group that took the last Folk School adventure with me (minus one who had to leave early):

At the closing ceremony our tapestry week's work spread out before us to be admired by one and all. Allie Dudley, thank you very much for being such a great assistant! Thank you to all of those who came to share five days at John C. Campbell Folk School with me. You helped to make my last teaching experience there an outstanding one. I'll see you again in the future, I'm sure. Happy tapestry weaving to one and all.