Sunday, September 23, 2007

Black walnut continues...the pace quickens! I'm nearly ready to weave the last big challenge, the split walnut hull. I'm thinking I'll be there later this week--my deadline shifted when I realized I wouldn't have this ready for the VA exhibit. Now my goal is to have it for my jury at the Piedmont Craftsmen Fair in early November. But the work has to be complete and there at the end of October. Other events will be occurring in the meantime so I need to make optimum use of my time in the studio on the piece.

Other events include a trip to Roanoak, VA to pick up a loom I'm buying! It's a 60" tapestry loom and is previously owned (all my looms were with others before coming to live with me). The loom is no longer made but should be in great condition, according to the description of the current owner. I have a 60" Leclerc Gobelin style loom which I may donate to someone--or keep myself if I can fit both into the studio. And, speaking of the NEW studio space should be available to me by the first of November, maybe before.

I moved into the Stanton Storehouse studio in mid-October last year and have enjoyed the space it's given me to spread out. Although I haven't been paying for the studio through tapestry sales or teaching I've felt it was worth the expense to give myself this gift of space at this point in my life.

The new studio (in a house we own) will also give me space for work but, as it IS a house with kitchen, bedroom, 2 bathrooms (one attached to the bedroom) I'll be able to offer housing options for potential students or others who want to have a get-away for a few days. In fact, I've placed an ad in the upcoming ATA roster noting "Tapestry Retreat" -- space, kitchen privileges, equipment available. The town square is within three block of the studio house so one could come without a car (I'd pick up at the airport) and yet have many cafe and restaurant options in Dahlonega. The public library is also an easy walk away where Internet access could be had. And, Dahlonega has many performance venues, everything from a great community theatre (the Holly) to music in coffee houses and restaurants.

So, finishing touches for the studio house will be taking some of my time in the next few weeks.

I'm also going to Penland School of Crafts at the first week of October for a meeting of SEFEA--Southeast Fiber Educators Association. I've attended one meeting of the group (two years ago--also at Penland) and found it to be quite inspirational. University and other fiber educators from throughout the southeast were there, sharing ideas, their work, teaching hints--all in a very generous way. I'm looking forward to seeing those people again and seeing/hearing what's up in their world.

And yet one more thing is in the works! The weaving program at my university has the opportunity to receive 11 more looms from another university where the weaving program is being cut. While it's a sad thing for that program, this can be a great boon for us! We're in the discussion stages with the department head, the dean, the professor at the other school about logistics and cost. I hope this can happen and happen soon.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Doll days at Arrowmont!

The American Craft Council Southeast Conference was held at Arrowmont School of Art & Craft last weekend. Friend and fellow tapestry artist, Pat Williams and I took Akira Blount's "Figurative Expressions in Cloth" class. Akira's art work is phenomenal and I was excited to finally have an opportunity to participate in a class taught by her.

Two days doesn't give much time to accomplish as much as we all wanted to...just learning the basic steps of manipulating the head and facial forms was intimidating for me! I told Akira as the class began that I was "three-dimensionally challenged" but with her gentle guidance I was able to work through the process and feel good about my end result.

The first of these photos were taken on Saturday as the figures began to come together.

Rogues gallery--5 p.m. on Saturday!

My doll is the fourth from the left--a short one in the center, with an arm around the shortest.

Pat's is the first on the left...arm and hand points toward the others.

The next photos are several of the exhibition. I'm not sure how many pieces were accepted into the show, by juror Sandra Blain. Blain is a professional ceramist, Director Emeritus of Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Professor Emeritus of Art at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She now lives in Tempe, AZ.

The exhibit is Spotlight 2007 and the competition was open to all artists living in the ACC-SE region of the U.S. (AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WVA)

The exhibit closes on September 22.

The tapestry mentioned earlier in the blog, "...and they will be resolved into their own roots" is shown hanging in the last photo. Pat has two tapestries in the exhibit!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I know I'm putting up inch-by-inch shots of the black walnut tapestry, but every inch has significance to my days. I've had this piece on the loom since April and I'm trying hard to finish it this month.

The new studio should be ready in a few weeks; the lease is over in my current studio at the end of October. I don't wan't to move a tapestry loom with a weaving underway. So, I really want to finish this piece soon.

I also hope to have it to take to the SEFEA meeting at Penland in early October.

I realized as I looked at the overall view of the tapestry on the loom that the objects on the loom legs might look curious. I've C-clamped the beater/reed of the Tissart at the highest position since I don't use it for beating the weft. And the clamps make nice little shelves for stuff. On the left I have a pin cushion and on the right I have a couple of walnuts. Taped above each clamp are pictures of Archie Brennan, my weaving guru. I took the photo on the left of Archie while I was in the Penland Concentration with him and Susan in 2001. The right photo is from a website, showing Archie at about 16 or so, along with other weavers at the Dovecote in Scotland. He's the curly headed guy right in the center front.

Every day that I weave I take part in the developing depth of my knowledge of tapestry...most of which has been given to me by Archie and Susan. I like to have a continuing reminder of those teachings with me as I weave. I very ofter think, as I weave: "What would Archie do...? WWAD?"

Sunday, September 2, 2007

More black walnut...

The maquette for the tapestry is at the right. Although hard to see in the photo, I've added two elements since the beginning (the walnut hull and the split walnut shell). I drew those from shells found in the yard last month...yes, the tree is producing some nuts, in spite of the Easter freeze, and those have been dropping since early August.

I'd painted in a walnut hull originally on the maquette but then painted it out and began weaving without it. I mentioned in an earlier posting that, as I was weaving the bottom portion, I began to feel the upper area needed work. I redrew and painted on the maquette, then added the drawings of the nuts by cutting out the paper drawings and taping them in place. I took the cartoon off the tapestry, repositioned it over the maquette and made the changes. I put X marks on the cartoon to indicate no longer valid outlines.

A friend came into the studio yesterday to help my husband move a loom. As he saw the tapestry and noticed the mylar cartoon stitched behind the weaving, he said "Oh, you use a cheat sheet to weave, huh?" I said, "Yep, it's like a tapestry coloring book!" He replied, "I thought you just took it out of your head." Well, yes, it comes out of my head but not directly, in my case!

The images I weave are mostly organic. Lots of growing things are of interest to me and particularly trees, details of trees including leaves and now bark. In the process of weaving over several months time the original design seems to develop in my mind--as I see it in the maquette hanging nearby. I've begun to feel the development of the image, as I work, changing the maquette along the way, always remembering what went before (not making any changes to the design below areas already woven in the), is very much related to the organic, growing things I'm weaving.

As I'm moving through this black walnut tapestry I'm realizing the weaving of it is taking almost an entire season...and the maquette changes have reflected this growth cycle. The only thing I didn't add, at the time it occurred in the spring, were images of the catkins.