Sunday, October 28, 2007

The move to my new studio is complete!

The final move of everything to my new place, 106 Martin Street in Dahlonega, happened yesterday morning. I'd been moving boxes and other small things I could lift and get into my car over the past week and arranging on shelves. If I hadn't had that accomplished, I'd be facing a crammed, packed full house this morning! As it is, the looms are placed, most of the yarns and other assorted supplies are on shelves, and--so far--I can find most things (of course, the things I can't find in their new location I don't even know yet that I need!)

My husband had rented a U-haul truck for the move so everything fit into one load. He'd also "enlisted" three friends to help out. With the four of them working, they were able to load up, drive to the new studio (less than 1/4 mile away from the old), unload and be driving off in LESS THAN AN HOUR! Let's see, that was five looms, a small sofa, an arm chair, three tables, small refrigerator, several boxes of stuff, and loom parts...I still can't believe they did it in 55 minutes. My husband has kept telling me, though, that I've done most of the work of moving, with all of the many loads I've made back and forth. I guess he's got a point but I'm still so thankful that he's so very supportive of my work--and that we've got good friends (strong ones, at that).

The Stanton Storehouse, where I've rented the downstairs for the past year, with looms ready to go...all the empty shelves held boxes of yarn and other things I've moved over the past week.

The guys are moving the Kessenich floor loom and also the Tissart loom to the moving truck...the floor loom has a rag rug in progress, a project of a student. We were able to move the loom with no problem to the weaving or the warp.

The Tissart loom has the cut warp ends from the black walnut tapestry still through the reed. There's enough warp remaining so I can retie and weave another small piece.

Here comes the Tissart loom off the moving truck and into the new studio!

The Martin Street studio is a small frame house built in possibly the 1930s. We've owned the house for about ten years, using it as a rental property. It's around the corner from the house we live in and the property at the back adjoins our back yard, with a line of trees between.

The house has only four small rooms, two baths, kitchen but also has attic (with lots of shelves), cellar, and a screened-in back porch.

We've had major renovation done on the house since May and it's good to go for another fifty years or so! I only wish I had that much more time remaining in my tapestry life.

Our cat, Raymond, has been to the studio with me several days and seems to approve. He's a skittish and nervous soul so to have him feel comfortable in the space is quite important to me.

Finishing details for the black walnut tapestry have begun. I was able to work briefly on this on Friday. I've scheduled my delivery day for the Piedmont Craftsman Fair...November 8, so now I must really spend the next few days on this rather than studio arranging.

It's good to be here, though. It feels like a great place and I hope to make productive use of my time here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The move continues today...and I'm touching up some of the paint above the fireplace and beside the built-in bookcase in the front room. I have finishing work to do on the black walnut, which I'm avoiding by working on the move stuff...but I'll get to it later today.

I mentioned Jacob nephew who's had two tours in Iraq now. He's combat camera--and when he's in civilian live (he's Army Reserve) he's also a photographer. The tapestry I said was his, and that's currently in the Artisans Center of VA exhibit, is based upon a photograph he'd taken of a friend of his. The tapestry is called "Jacob's Guitar" and I wove it for him. It was on the loom almost a year because I was using it as a demonstration piece in several different places. He didn't see it finished before he left for Iraq in the fall of 2006, but did see it on the loom and liked it, I think. When the exhibit's over maybe he'll finally get the tapestry in his possession!

I'm searching for a title for the black walnut tapestry and have come upon these two quotes, both from Chapter 4 of the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene. The title of the roots tapestry also came from the Magdalene Gospel. The two are:

v the essence of every nature....

v 31 That is why I said to you, Be of good courage, and if you are discouraged be encouraged in the presence of the different forms of nature.

Now, the meaning of "nature" in the Gospel may be referring to the nature of man...I don't know since I haven't read explanations of the reference. However, the sense of what I'm trying to portray through my use of images from nature is very much contained in both quotations. In fact, the black walnut has signified the cycle of seasons to me as I've worked on it. In fact, the image has grown through a complete season, from scans of leaves I did last fall, to the photographs of the tree I took last winter when the limbs were stark and skeletal, then the drawing/painting I did as I searched for the design during the late winter and early spring. I began the tapestry in April when the catkins and the leaves came out, was working on it in late summer when the first walnuts began to fall...then the leaves were yellowing, the walnuts being broken by squirrels and the hulls left in the yard...and the image changed as the seasons progressed. I've never altered a design so much before as I've worked on a tapestry and I was quite uncertain how it would look when unrolled.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Black Walnut tapestry cut off the loom!

Yesterday was a red letter day in several ways...first, Jacob came by!! This is the first opportunity to see him we've had since his return from Iraq in late September. He only stopped by the studio for a few minutes but just seeing him in person was just great. I didn't have his tapestry at the studio, though, since it's at the Artisans Center exhibit--but he was happy to know it was there.

I'd just finished weaving the last few inches of the tapestry before he showed up and had been out walking around Gold Rush, the annual festival here in Dahlonega that brings in around THOUSANDS of people to our small community. The festival has been held in Dahlonega since the 1950s and originally celebrated the discovery of gold in the north Georgia mountains in 1828. It has grown to be a massive event, mostly with "country crafts"--but there were a few interesting craft booths with pottery and wood working...and many, many food vendors. People come from far and wide to shuffle along with strollers, dogs on leashes, etc.

Beautiful weather for the event this weekend...and by this morning one would not know it has even happened! The local Jaycees sponsor the event but many, many people and organizations are involved. And the clean-up is a major effort undertaken by everyone from volunteer Scout troops to hired hands.

Here's a link from the Dahlonega Chamber of Commerce website to more info about Gold Rush:

So, after Jacob and his friends left I completed the hem of the tapestry, did the half-hitch at the top and invited my husband to the studio to help with the cut-off. The piece is hanging on the wall of the studio right now, put up with push pins. I'll begin the task of finishing later this morning when I get to the studio. Lots of ends to trim and also to stitch away from the edges. A few slits to sew--although I sew as I go, there are usually a few slit areas that I didn't stitch that I feel should be secured. Then, the hanging method will be determined...since this is 8 epi and a lighter weight than the roots I'll probably use velcro for the hanging. Size is 33" w x 53" l.

This photo shows it hanging with cut warps and the hem areas at top and bottom...the inch or so of gray at the top and the beige at the bottom will be turned back.

After dinner I began moving boxes of yarn into the new studio. My lease ends on the 31st at the current studio and now that the tapestry is off I'll be able to have the loom moved in a few days. I'll move what I can carry by myself but probably we'll have a few guys help with the looms and other furniture on one day later in the week.

The tapestry finishing must be completed this week, however, since it's one of the five I'm taking for the Piedmont Craftsman has to be to Winston-Salem, NC by the 9th of November. It usually takes a couple of days for finishing since the stitching movement I have to use as I sew is something tough on my hands.

Yarn boxes and new shelves in the Martin Street studio. Barely visible in the second room are the uprights for the Ruthie loom which isn't assembled yet. I'm eager to get into this studio space and adapt to the new configuration. The Stanton Storehouse space, being a large and open area, has had a great feel to it. Since the Martin Street studio is a small house, the individual rooms will give a different atmosphere for working. All will be well....

Monday, October 15, 2007

Closer and closer to the top of the tapestry! About 2 square feet total remaining. Several meetings and other things are happening during the week so won't have as much time as I hoped but I still am shooting for the 20th as completion day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Black walnut at this point, about 8" from the top of the walnut shell to the top of the tapestry...about 12" from the lowest point to the top of the tapestry. Maybe I'll make the deadline after all!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Last weekend was a whirlwind of driving and good times!

The Artisans Center of Virginia exhibit, "Tapestry: People and Places" opened in Waynesboro, VA. Joan Griffin, who's a member of the Center, organized the exhibit and invited several tapestry artists to show with her.

The opening was on Saturday from 2-4 p.m. and Joan took a copper pipe loom for demonstration. Here's Joan heading into the building, loom and yarns in hand!

The exhibit is in the back of the gallery area, a U-shaped space. The five of us: Joan Griffin, Lynn Mayne, Becky Stevens, Pat Williams and me each had several works related to the theme we'd selected last year. Since we all work often in ways related to people and/or places that title seemed to be appropriate.

The center of the space had pedestals of different heights on which were placed the notebook of artists' statements, brochures, and--during the reception, punch and snacks.

Joan talked about tapestry as she demonstrated. One of her students is in the orange shirt at the right of the photo, and in front of her (in the blue shirt) is a student of mine who'd driven up from Shelby, NC (about 5 hours) to see the exhibit!

I was surprised by a former student from my early days of teaching at North Georgia College! She lives in Richmond, VA now and had gotten a postcard about the exhibit, I think, so drove over on the chance I might be at the opening. What fun to see her again after -- can it be? -- 30 years!!

The trip was long--there and back again was over 1000 miles for me and my car. But it was wonderful to get to spend time with Joan at her house in Charlottesville where we talked tapestry into the night. I also was able to visit Noel & Patrick's new babies on the way guineas...lots of peeping! And, the 60" tapestry loom I bought from someone in Roanoke fit right into my station wagon without a well as the long bench that came with it.

The loom is still disassembled and in the floor of the new studio house right now. A few of the critical bolts were left behind (!!) and I'm waiting to see if the former owner can find them and send to me. If not, we've also left messages with Fireside to see if the current loom being made by them, that was designed based on this Crisp loom, has similar hardware. I still have three weeks of weaving on the black walnut so won't need this loom to be functional until later in the fall anyway. AND, it's not like I don't have other looms to keep me busy...after all, I can only work on one piece at a time.

Open house today at the weaving and textile studio of the university...lots to get ready for with that. We hope to show off the studios and work being done to other students and faculty of the school. Always scrambling to protect our turf!