Tuesday, September 30, 2008

another day, many more passes

OK, those of you who weave tapestry recognize the term "pass"--and you know we're not down on the main street in Gatlinburg trying to fend off unwelcome advances from strangers!

A pass, for you others out there, is the term used for the two alternating trips of the weft that, used one after the next, make a completion of the plain weave sequence. One trip of the weft is commonly called a "pick"--so two picks make one pass. A major goal for this week is for each person to come to a clear understanding and recognition of what makes up a pass and then how to use passes that travel in opposite directions, yet in the same shed. This is the essence of what I'm teaching. Good old meet and separate technique is used in many traditions of tapestry throughout the world and across time, and this is what I use primarily in my own work.

We had a treat today in a visit to the campus from a nearby dealer of tribal rugs. The gentleman comes once during each workshop session to set up outside and show and (maybe) sell his work. When I asked today how he got into the business, he replied that he was a rug collector and his collection began to grow and grow.

One of the beautiful Iranian kilims with him today (and that Gerda and Jennifer are admiring here) he said he'd sold to someone about twenty years ago. That rug had recently returned to him as the couple changed living arrangements with retirement.

The days are very full here, although the official class time is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a lunch break between 12 and 1:30, other activities are planned in the afternoon and evening after dinner. Three nights each week art work of faculty, resident artists and studio assistants are shown in the auditorium; on other occasions during the workshop session there are demonstrations in studios, and visit to the resident artists' studios. This afternoon, just after class and before dinner there was a reception for Friends of Arrowmont, at which David Willard, director of the school, talked about the current situation with the potential sale of the land Arrowmont leases from Pi Beta Phi. Lots of folks throughout the nation have learned about this situation from many sources. David said that everything the Board of Governors for Arrowmont knows is constantly updated on their website (link here).

Tonight I was one of three of the faculty to make a presentation of my work to anyone who wanted to attend. Faculty presentations happen on two or three nights each session and might be slides and/or demonstrations--I did a little of both, showing images in a powerpoint slide show and then doing a quick demonstration of tapestry weaving with a small frame loom I took into the auditorium. After that session ended, most everyone on campus went back to their studios for another hour or two of work--some students and faculty won't get to their rooms until the studios are locked tonight at 1 a.m.

So far, all's going pretty well for everyone...small challenges here and there but each seems to be able to be worked out pretty quickly and easily. Phyllis is driving a number of miles every night as isn't staying on campus so she's maybe feeling a little frayed. But she's accomplishing quite a bit with her Hagen loom and we'll rewarp it with a continuous warp on Thursday so when she takes it home with her on Friday she'll have enough warp ready to go to try out the design she's been wanting to tackle since an earlier workshop she took.

Jennifer has a concert coming up soon so brought her harp to Arrowmont; she's practicing each day after lunch and before coming back to the weaving studio--I caught her outside today.

Gerda wanted to get some sun today so we took a weaving bench across the way to the wood studio where she wove for the afternoon. I'd go over to check with her periodically to see if she had questions and to see how things were progressing with her.

Tomorrow we'll tackle color blending using 20/2 worsted wool, four fold. We've dealt with meet and separate over and over and over...have done a sampling of angles, a bit of hatching, learned to solved the addition of another shape between shapes, and solve the M/S problem, stitched slit edges as we go (thanks to Susan and Archie's method), and one has begun pick and pick. So, color blends tomorrow as well as discussion of design, cartoons, options for plaching cartoon to warp (inking on or stitching cartoon to back).

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