Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I said I would

... and I did.

Sixth year of Tapestry Diary is completed.  Here it is, just off the loom:

Next task--get the warp ready for 2015.  Whee!

Happy New Year to one and all!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Value of Daily

Seth Godin's blog post here says it all.

But of course I've got to say some more.  More about the value of daily practice.  We all know the value of brushing our teeth every day.  And we practice that from a very early age until it becomes habit, not just something our parents nag us to do.  I have found value in a couple of other daily practices, mundane enough on their own, but added up, day by day, year by year, these have become intrinsic to my well being, as important to me as brushing my teeth.

One of those daily practices started as Morning Pages, as described by Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way.   She recommends that one write three pages each and every day, first thing in the morning, writing by hand and without editing one's thoughts.  I've done three pages of rambling words for around five or six years now.  Let's see, three pages each day for 365 days X 5 = 5,475 pages that I've written, at least. 

All about this and that and other things.  And once written, not read again.  Sometimes these pages are more diary-like, recording happenings of the previous day.  Other times, they're dream journals, pages I fill with the strange and mysterious happenings of the night-time brain.  I also find solutions to weaving problems in these morning rambles.  Or find problems rather than solutions, artistic and other, to mull over for days on end.  I've written haiku, short stories, cussed, cried... anything that happens to fall out of the end of my pen goes down on those three pages each morning.  And I keep on doing them.  Daily.

Another daily practice is woven and is what I call Tapestry Diary.  I've written lots and lots about my journey in this daily weaving habit in this blog and other places so I won't do more of that here, other than to say that this year's TD is approaching its end.  I have assorted thoughts about what next year's warp might bring but I'll make the decision about my plans for 2015 once 2014 comes to a close.  Here's where the year's TD is today:

Now, back to my first sentence--Seth Godin's thoughts about the value of daily are short and sweet, click on the link above to read them all.  I'll just quote these:
There's a fundamental difference between the things you do every day, every single day, and the things you do only when the spirit moves you.

One difference is that once you've committed to doing something daily, you find that the spirit moves you, daily.
Amen, Mr. Godin!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rebecca Mezoff's online tapestry course--new one begins soon!

I am a great fan of Rebecca Mezoff's tapestries.  I first saw her work in person in New Mexico when Lyn Hart and Jane Hoffman let me tag along with them to see the Bauhaus Tapestry Project exhibit that Rebecca was in, along with James Koehler and Cornelia Theimer Gardella.  I was just amazed at the beauty of the Rebecca's tapestries and also quite taken with her writing in the statements for each piece.

I've followed her progress through her blog and her website through several years and had a fun time with her whenever we've been able to meet up in person (like about every two years somewhere in the country at an American Tapestry Alliance event).  I've been always impressed with how seriously she takes the field of tapestry and how passionate she is about promoting and encouraging others through her blog and other writings.  So I was excited to find out that she was developing an online course for tapestry teaching.

She's offered her course several times now and she's about to begin a new one as the New Year rolls around.  She just emailed about that yesterday.  When I scrolled through her info link at her website, I found it was so thorough and entertaining in itself that I wanted to post a link to it here at my blog.  So here it is:

Rebecca weaves her tapestries a bit differently than I do but nevertheless what she does and how she teaches about tapestry is marvelous.  As one of my best teachers ever (Edwina Bringle) once told me, "Have every experience you can, take what you need and throw the rest away!"  And I've taken that bit of wisdom to heart over the past three decades.  Although knowing, all the while, that the rest isn't really thrown away... maybe just on the back burner until needed.  So I know she meant, "Learn everything you can and when the time is right to use it, it's there for you!"

So... here's to you, Rebecca Mezoff!  And to the many students of tapestry I hope will find you!!

And... disclaimer here!  No financial rewards for me with this promotion!  Just, I hope, more people finding the wonderful world of tapestry weaving!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Growing a landscape

That's what I'm doing this week. 

Here's the drawing I'm working from.  I've made a modification to the drawing at the upper right to add a mountain and cloud and I like this better now.

Here's the tapestry progress:

I replaced the line cartoon on Mylar with the color printed copy of the drawing.  The color areas were beginning to be too confusing for me to make sense of and so having the color behind the warp, along with the Sharpie lines for the major edges helps.  I need to replace the upper right corner of the cartoon to show the revision. 

A detail of the tapestry shows the blend of wefts; I'm using five or six strands of wool, a combination of either five 20/2 worsted wool or six with a couple of strands of Australian tapestry wool combined with three of the 20/2.  What I choose to combine depends on what colors I want to make.

And finally, a Happy Holiday wish to everyone from our house to yours (sent by way of our cat, Raymond Purr). 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sample completed

I've finished the 6" x 9" sample of a portion of design.  Here's what it looks like before turning back the hems:

Here's the sample in context with the rest of the design, pinned on top of the painting I'm working from:

From the sampling I've learned these things:
  1. A sett of 10 epi would be best if I want to weave the tapestry the size of the painting
  2. The colors will need adjustment.  The lighter green of the back side of the leaf needs to be even lighter in vlaue and the interior part of the leaf needs more richness of hue.
  3. I need to carefully work to delineate the subtle values of the petals and to distinguish each from the other.  In the sample I've used white, very light gray and a light medium gray in various combinations.
  4. I need to more carefully indicate the central portion of the flower.
  5. The background blue should be changed a bit--don't want it to be as turquoise as in the painting but should have variations to combine turquoise with more "sky" blue.
  6. I'm wondering if I should enlarge the size of the whole thing.
This design will now simmer for awhile as I get reacquainted with the landscape that I'd started during the TWS exhibit as a demonstration tapestry.  I took a few minutes with it this afternoon and reintroduced myself to it.

"Hello tapestry!" I said.

The tapestry sat mute at first, then said, "Well, you're pretty fickle, aren't you. "

"That's over!" I cried!  "It's all about you ..."

"Now...(at least)" I whispered.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sampling continues

I may be able to complete this tomorrow.  It's going to be about 9" tall (wide--once the tapestry turns to the direction it will be seen as I'm showing it here):

Saturday, December 13, 2014


I weave tapestry a lot.  Yet there are times I need to sample a bit to see what might work best for what I want to weave.  Most of the time I use one of two setts for warps.  The sett, for those who might not know weaving terms, means the number of warp ends per inch (in the U.S.) and the number of warps per inch will have an effect on the design to be woven.  Just like pixels in a digital image... the larger the pixels, the coarser the image.  Same thing with tapestry... larger the sett (and the warp itself), the coarser the image.

My usual go-to setts are either 8 ends per inch of a cotton seine twine, either 12/12 or 12/15 in size, or 6 ends per inch of cotton seine twine, of 12/18 size.  Occasionally I use 10 epi of 12/9 or 12/6 (the 12/6 can be used at 12 epi, also).  I wrote a post at Tapestry Share about warp options a year or so ago.  Link to that is here.

In a previous post (the one about Hambidge) there was a photo of another sampling of bloodroot image in a sett of 8 epi.  For this sample, I'm using 12/6 cotton seine twine and 10 epi.

In the photo, the warp is turned 90˚ to the way it's being woven so that the design, a bloodroot blossom and leaf, can be read as it will be when completed.

I've also inked onto the warp.  I usually stitch the cartoon to the back of the warp when I'm weaving rather than taking time to ink on.  But the amount of detail in the blossoms is such that I'll need to be more in control, I think.  The inking is done with a laundry marker; I'll post about that process later on my Tapestry Share blog.

I want thin vein lines in some of the leaves and those are being done in the sample with soumak.  Weft size is 20/2 worsted wool, used at 3 strands (the soumak lines are done with only one strand).

I have a double row of soumak at the bottom (left side in the photo) and that's the line for the turn-back or hem.  The width of the sample is 6".

Sampling.  It's good to change it up a bit occasionally. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

News on the teaching front

It seems the John Campbell Folk School class I'll be teaching in February is now full!  And the Florida Tropical Weavers Conference class in March only has one space remaining.

Arrowmont registration has begun and I'm hoping for a full class there, also.  Here's the link to the Arrowmont class.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hambidge days

I am a Hambidge Fellow and so am occasionally able to take part in a fill-in opportunity when there's a cancellation.  That has happened recently and I'm spending a few more days there this early winter. By the way, applications for next year are now open... go to this link to read more about how to apply.

I've spent wonderfully productive times at Hambidge Center in the past.  I was at the Center in mid-October and was able to get quite a bit done with the William Morris study in preparation for a John Campbell Class coming up in February.  This time, I'm working with designing thoughts for a new tapestry.  I'm working on paper and also sampling a bit on a small loom to clarify some of the ideas and to check the warp sett to see if I need to do a smaller sett than I usually use (usually I work with 8 epi but I think this will need to be 10 epi).

Weaving the sample turned 90˚

I'm also taking a bit of time to walk and gawk at the wonderful world of Hambidge.  North Georgia is a beautiful part of the world and Hambidge Center is right at the tip of it... almost in Western North Carolina.

The other night, Jamie Badoud, the Center's Director, invited the eight residents to his lodging, the Mary Hambidge house.   Interesting log structure with a deep history.  Mary Hambidge's loom is still there:

The history of Mary Hambidge and the Weavers of Rabun that she began is quite fascinating.  Here's a brief bit at the Hambidge site.  You can read more about it in Philis Alvic's book, Weavers of the Southern Highlands.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November is completed on this year's Tapestry Diary

One more month to go on this year's ongoing daily adventure.   This tapestry is my sixth year of this particular obsession of weaving a small increment each day.  I'm already thinking about next year's!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

More about the two tapestries underway--

Here's the drawing I'm working from for the landscape:

Interpreting it in tapestry is an interesting challenge.  The drawing was done with oil pastel onto toned paper made with an acrylic wash of sort of neutral medium green on sheet of Bristol board.

The oak leaves are complete but still on the loom.  I have more warp remaining that I'll use for another small study.

It appears that the John Campbell Folk School class scheduled for February is now almost full!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Two tapestries are underway

Both of these are small.  I mentioned the William Morris study I'm doing a few posts back.  The first sample using thoughts from the study is this one, oak leaves drawn and begun while I was at Hambidge in mid October:

Pretty simplified, I know, but that's OK for this study.  Size is 12" high (to be) x 8" wide.

The other tapestry is one I had on a demo loom during the Tapestry Weavers South exhibit at the UNG library during October.  I'm working on both of these now, a bit on one then for an hour or so on the other one.  I'd like to get both of them off the loom before the end of November.

The landscape is going to be about 14" high x 19" wide.

Hambidge is once more in my future--another fill-in is coming up in early December.  I have some serious design work to do while I'm there.  I'll continue to read and make notes in my Morris study but I have another tapestry to develop.  Focus time coming up!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Tapestry Weavers

I had the pleasure over the past several weeks to spend time with the weaving class at the University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, and to work with them as they learned about tapestry weaving.  I have special ties to the weaving classes at UNG since I began the program back in the day.  The "day" being in 1972, in fact, the first year I began teaching at what was then North Georgia College, in the second year of a newly created department at the school.

In 1971 Bob Owens, a ceramicist and art educator, was appointed as head of the department that he'd been instrumental in developing NGC.  The new department was called the Fine Arts Department and included music and theatre classes as well as those in visual arts.  For the first years there were only a few of us on the faculty--three in visual arts, three in music, and one in theatre/speech.  There were maybe 8 or 10 students majoring in visual art when we began offering bachelor degrees (B.S. in art education and in a degree we were calling craft design at the time).

Although we were a small department, like the little engine that said, "I think I can, I think I can!" we thought we could make a difference by having the option of an arts education degree for students to choose.   And we did.   Over the next twenty + years, art education majors from North Georgia found jobs throughout the region.  They went on to make wonderful contributions to arts learning for youngsters, many of them being recognized as teachers of excellence in their schools and communities.

In fact, the visual art and music areas of the program grew to the point that they were made into two distinct departments several years ago.  The university now covers four campuses throughout north Georgia and the Visual Arts Department has a combined total of around 28 or so faculty, including full and part-time members.  The Visual Arts program has over 300 students across all campuses now. Here's a link to the Visual Arts Department at the University of North Georgia.

Today I visited the UNG Library and Technology Center to see the latest exhibit of senior art students' work.  Once again I was impressed with the level of the technical abilities in the works created (this exhibit has sculpture, surface design on fabric, weaving,  and digital work on display), as well as the thoughtful artist statements presented by each student.

Bob Owens is no longer with us; he passed on in 2004.  But his legacy is certainly alive and well in the arts at the University of North Georgia.  Congratulations, students, faculty and staff of the Visual Arts Department at UNG!

Now--a few photos from the tapestry sessions:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Blue Ridge Fiber Show 2014

I was quite pleased recently to receive a letter informing me that the tapestry, with cartoon designed from my niece's painting, was awarded the First Place in Professional Weaving--Tapestry at the Blue Ridge Fiber Show.

I wrote about the weaving of the piece earlier in the blog in several posts... one here and another one here.  I also wrote about the process of working from Megan's painting in the American Tapestry Alliance online newsletter, Tapestry Topics.  The article was in the Fall 2014 issue.  Unfortunately, the newsletter is for ATA members only so I can't post a link to that. Back issues of Tapestry Topics ARE available for viewing online... here's a link to those.

Here's the piece hanging at the Blue Ridge Fiber Show with a nice, handwoven blue ribbon beside the label:

The title is Probation Violation

During the trip to Asheville to see the exhibit I was also able to make a stop at Tim Barnwell's studio to have him photograph the large stones tapestry--here's Tim getting ready to shoot a detail:

If you visit Tim's website, be sure to click on links to his beautiful books.  His latest one is Blue Ridge Parkway Vistas.  It should be a wonderful read for anyone who loves the Appalachian mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I visited my friends Noel and Patrick when in Western North Carolina--and gave them the towels I was weaving with the hemp yarn that I showed in an earlier post--

and here's one of them in use!

I enjoy weaving functional fabrics for friends.  I only give myself time to do that once or twice a year--but I truly love to see the cloth in use.

Things are calming down a bit and I hope I can soon catch up in the blog more with some of the very busy fall doings around here.  But this is it for now!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

2015 approaches!

Yes, it really will be next year before you know it.  My tapestry diary tells me that as I move along in it, day by day.  So do my journals--yes, plural for journals.  I write a lot and in several notebooks or handmade books.  Then there's my calendar for what's coming up.  The days of paper calendars have gone by the wayside, for the most part.  If I have a cloud failure, I guess I won't know where I'm supposed to be.  Hope I'll still remember who I am.  But, how I did enjoy getting the new Month at a Glance calendar, back in the day.  All those blank days of the new year neatly bound together, just waiting to be filled in with this and that and another thing.

Now... about 2015.  I have three teaching trips planned and links to those are at the left side of the blog.  The first one for the year will be at John C. Campbell Folk School, February 22-27.  Next will be a three day workshop at Florida Tropical Weavers Guild Conference, March 20-22.  And the last class that's now on the schedule is at Arrowmont School of Crafts, June 38-July 11.  The Arrowmont class will be a two week session and it's always nice to have an extended time for a tapestry class.  Right now the link at the Arrowmont site is for a sneak-peek listing only; registration for the 2015 classes there will begin on November 17.

I hope I'll see you at one (or more) of those classes next year--or should I say, in a few months?!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Catching up--at last

Welcome to November!  Time has fallen back and the temperatures have fallen with it, it seems!  Here in Dahlonega we didn't have any of the early snow fall that happened over much of the southern Appalachian region a couple of days ago but we surely had colder weather.

What a month October was!  I'll see if I can catch up a bit with this post and maybe stay more current with the blog.  So here goes...

September ended with final details of installation for "Woven Together"--the exhibit by Tapestry Weavers South members that was held in the Library and Technology Center at the University of North Georgia from Oct. 1-31.  Pat Williams and I were co-chairpeople for the exhibit and the Joan Baxter workshop scheduled for Oct. 7-10.  First, Here are a few views from the exhibit:

The exhibit was held on all three levels of the library with the long hallways being the primary display area.  On the third floor there were two walls on opposite sides of the large reading room, in addition to the hallway that were used for exhibit.  On one wall, tapestries were displayed.

On the other side of the room were items related to design process. We invited participants to send design work in any shape, form or fashion.  Because the exhibit was being held in an educational setting it seemed appropriate to share with students (and other visitors) a bit about the background work that goes into the creation of a tapestry.  Comments made about the design wall have all been good.

A detail of the center section of the design wall display.
I had a demo loom set up at the library and was able to spend several afternoons there throughout the month, weaving and talking to anyone who was interested.

But the first of the month was also busy with travel... in fact, at the end of September, my husband and I left for few day's trip to Baltimore.

We drove up to visit friends and to attend several events during the opening days of an exhibit at American Visionary Art Museum, "The Visionary Experience: St. Francis to Finster"

Before leaving Baltimore on October 3rd, we made a quick visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art, always one of our favorite stops when we're there.

Soon after our return,  Joan Baxter arrived for the workshop that she was going to be teaching for Tapestry Weavers South.  I mentioned a bit about her workshop in the last blog post but here are a few more photos.

Joan's samples were just beautiful and she invited us to handle and to photograph them.  What a treat.

A reception for the exhibit was held on October 8 and followed by a talk by Joan Baxter.  Here's Joan talking to Terri Bryson and Joan Griffin, workshop participants, and Jon Eric Riis, one of the invited artists for the exhibit.

Jon Riis and Silvia Heyden were invited to participate along with the TWS members.  They were given the distinction of becoming our first honorary life members of the organization, as well.  Jon Eric Riis and Silvia Heyden have done so much to promote the art of tapestry in the world during the past decades.  They both live in the Southeast region of the U.S. and it seemed very fitting to present them with the honor.

Following the reception and talk, the workshop participants and several others were invited to our house to have soup and salad... all delicious... from Picnic Cafe in town.  

Picnic Cafe also provided our lunches during the workshop.  Here's Janette Meetze's lovely sketch of the front of the building.  Janette was in the workshop and not only did many sketches during her stay, but made an wonderful tapestry during the workshop.  Check out her blog post to read more about her experiences in Dahlonega.

Courtesy of Janette Meetze

The workshop ended on the 10th but Joan Baxter's return flight to Scotland wasn't until the 12th.  She stayed on in Dahlonega and she was able to wind down a bit from her hectic month of teaching all across the U.S.  Out to dinner-- Joan and my husband having quite lively chats about assorted things.  

I was winding down myself following the workshop, the exhibit, and the Baltimore trip when an opportunity to have a week's residency at Hambidge Center came up.  I jumped on it and was off to Hambidge on October 16 for a brief stay.   Even though I was only there for a few days, I was able to get quite a bit of research underway for an upcoming class I'll be teaching at John C. Campbell Folk School in February.  The class is called "William Morris, Tapestry, and You!" and in preparation for that, I'm reading about Morris, looking closely at his designs, and hoping inspirations from his incredible work might be developed into ideas for small tapestry images.

A couple of the sketches done while at Hambidge:

Some photos of beautiful Hambidge Center:

Cove Studio 

During the Hambidge week, I came home overnight to help my husband with reception at Paradise Garden in Summerville, Georgia.  He curated an exhibit of work by Ed Gillam and the opening was on the 23rd of October.  Howard Finster's Paradise Garden, is looking so good with all of the work being done by the Foundation to restore and renovate the environment.  

Selfie in the mirror house... incredible reflections....

Add a few other things to the month... a pumpkin carving party--

... setting up the floor loom for a bit of weaving from 1800's weaving drafts found at the local library...

...visiting Lillian E. Smith Center to give a brief presentation to the board of advisors for the Center about how valuable I've found my times in residence there...

... and teaching in the UNG weaving class for a few days -- tapestry weaving, of course!

And that's about it for my October.

Now... on to November adventures!