Saturday, June 27, 2015

Arrowmont and before

I had a great time meeting Valerie Kirk last Sunday as she was leaving the U.S., for her next adventure in Peru.  She'd been teaching tapestry at Penland prior to the weekend when I was able to meet up with her in Asheville.  Here we are at Ariel Gallery in Asheville:

While I was waiting for Valerie, I happened to notice this coincidence of stripes being worn by a couple of people who apparently didn't know each other.  I loved the visual combination of their clothing stripes and the silhouette of the plant at Malaprop's.

Arrowmont  days are finally here--seems like so long ago when I was talking via emails with Nick at Arrowmont about this summer's class.  But here it is--starting tomorrow!  I'm quite happy to be here (after a driving adventure of epic annoying proportions...[thank goodness for Auto Zone of Franklin, NC]) and ready to set up tomorrow for class.

It was raining (a lot!) as I arrived.  My teaching assistant, Laura Beth, was here and helped unloaded my car with stuff for the class... here's the way some of the car looked as I was leaving Dahonega today:

I could see out the back, really I could!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hot Georgia days!

Yes, it's that time again.  Time for walks early in the morning before the temperature raises above 80˚ and for avoiding the mosquitoes however or whenever possible.  Should I mention the humidity?

Heat and humidity are part of the summertime experience here in the South.  Luckily, most of the time now days I have the advantage of being in air conditioned places.  Not like once upon a time.  We didn't have air conditioning when I was growing up.  We sat real still at certain times of the day, or later we used electric fans--anyone else like to stand in front of a fan and feel the sweat drying on your forehead?

My first three cars didn't have air conditioning--other than the open windows.  I remember seeing an electronic sign at a local bank as I was driving home from University of Georgia after a summer school class--104˚ was posted and that was around 6 p.m.  It's not often that hot that late in the day.  But it can be!  Times are different with air conditioning, that's for sure, and I'm glad.  I wish it could be the same for everyone.

Enough of heat and humidity talk.  Tapestry talk now.  I'm still working on class preparations and will be right up until I throw it all in the car and head north!  Although my bloodroot tapestry has been at a standstill for several weeks now, one of the constants in my life is my tapestry diary.  Recently my daily practice was mentioned, along with that of Jan Austin, Janette Meetze, and Kay Lawrence, in a short article by Micala Sidore in Fiber Art Now magazine.  Thanks, Micala, for describing a bit about what we do with this practice.

Here's my tapestry diary today--I've finished the third week of June a few days early.  I'll be starting the last of June on Monday.  But every day is still marked with a block or a few lines of color.  I just can't get away from the daily practice of giving a nod to the day!

I'm sure there are worse addictions.  And probably better ones, too.  But for me, to be able to sit down at the loom and weave a few passes of color to say "I was here today" makes me happy.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Color-full days

Yes, it's that time again.  Class preparation time.  Well, it's been that for some weeks now but other events of life are occurring as well, including lovely visits from family and friends who we don't see often enough.

The class that's coming up soon (June 28-July 11) is at Arrowmont.  I've written about it before so won't say more than the title:  "For the Love of Color--And More!"  I do indeed love color--even through my husband asked me a couple of years ago, "Why have you abandoned color?" I didn't know what he was talking about!  I hadn't abandoned color (in my mind)... just because I'd been working for months on two tapestries with black, white and gray as the color choices.  Those grays were quite colorful, I thought.  Cool grays, warm grays.  Grays leaning toward violet or toward ochre.  Anyway--it's all perception, isn't it?

Here's one of those "colorless" tapestries.
Perception of color is what I work with all the time as does any artist in any medium.  I'm constantly challenged to perceive color effects in selecting yarn for tapestries.  I almost always use more than one strand of weft yarn of different hues, sometimes very closely related in hue and/or value.  The effect I get with a bundle of weft containing more than one color is similar to what I achieve when using colored pencils or oil pastels together.  Lots of visual activity and, to my eye, this is is what I want to happen in my tapestries.

Here's a bit of what I'm sampling this week:

Yes, the chair seat is a spectrum range of cloth tapes... the chair is by Lyle Wheeler, a Southern Highland Craft Guild member.  I've had it for many years and love it. In fact, it was featured in a tapestry of our cat, Raymond, woven in 2003:

Here's the progression of the color study as I left the studio yesterday.  I have one more color transition to make to finish this off.

The yarn is Mora, a wool from Sweden that I've recently ordered through Glimakra USA.  It's a smaller worsted wool than I've used before and I'm interested to see how I can combine it to make blends of color.  First, I'm using it as single colors, moving from one to the next with hatching to have spectrum range from violet to yellow.  These colors aren't "true" color wheel primary, secondary and intermediate but as close as I could come with these yarns.  This is a similar study as I did last year using two other wools and different setts (link here to last year's post about those studies).  So far these colors seem to be more subdued, toned down a bit.  It will be interesting to compare to the others once this is finished, off the loom and place side-by-side with the other two.

I'm also reading about color and making notes.  I've got lots of color references and have made lots of samples through the years.  Last summer when I was the Peters Valley class one of the students, Cathie, mentioned the Munsell book for students.  I've gotten it and quite enjoying the read.  I haven't started with the color exercises using the color chips included with the volume yet but will do that soon.

There are several tapestry artist/teachers who offer workshops about color and other aspects of design.  Rebecca Mezoff, for instance.  Her work with color is amazing.  She dyes beautiful colors both for her own work and to share in her workshops.  She's teaches in person and online... here's a link to her workshop listing.

Elizabeth Buckley also has courses to offer about color and design for tapestry.  Here's a link to Elizabeth's workshop offerings.

Kathe Todd-Hooker has an article in the American Tapestry Alliance Educational site at this link.  And Kathe is working on a book about color in tapestry.

There are several tapestry artists' thoughts about their use of color in another ATA article, found at this link.

Teaching and learning...a pair, always together, forever joined in a delicate dance.