Sunday, December 31, 2017

Out with the Old! In with the New!

Happy, happy New Year to one and all.  I cut off my 2017 tapestry diary earlier today and here it is! 

The warp for my new one is on the loom shown at the right in the photo.  It's ready for me to begin anew tomorrow on another year-long adventure in tapestry, day by day.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 is ending in a few days... and so is my 2017 tapestry diary

I'll be finishing the ninth of the year-long adventures in what I call my tapestry diaries.  My husband happened to catch me and my cat as I finished weaving the day this gray morning (although the sun has now peeked out from behind the clouds).  I'll post the completed and cut off 2017 tapestry diary in a few short days!  Until then... here we are, Tommye Scanlin (in front of the loom) and Raymond Purr (behind the loom)--in case you didn't know who was who:

By the way, I recently wrote a post about my tapestry diary practice for my Tapestry Share blog.  Here's the link to that.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


The Merriam-Webster online dictionary has this to say about handwork.

I have the following:

I had hand surgery on December 12 to correct a trigger finger that has been giving me lots of problems when doing handwork.

For the next couple of days, my handwork with tapestry moved along a bit slowly...

The dressing was taken off on December 15 and the incision covered with a large bandaid.  I've had very little pains, a bit of slight bruising around my ring finger, the one the surgery has repaired.

Stitches will come out next week and I'll be back to full-speed ahead with my handwork (I hope!)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hambidge Once Again (briefly)

To add to my last post about gratitude, I'll mention my recent time at the Hambidge Center.  I'm grateful to be a Fellow of the Center and to have had residencies there through the years, beginning with my first stay in 1994.  Earlier this fall an opportunity arose to be a fill-in for someone who wasn't able to take a scheduled stay and I jumped at the chance.

The only problem was, as I realized after confirming my stay, the dates overlapped not only Thanksgiving and my birthday a couple of days later, but also an event in town that we were committed to working for!

My solution was to go to Hambidge for a curtailed time and try to squeeze as much work into the opportunity as I could at the beginning and the end of the two weeks.

Here was my studio space on my first night there--a blank slate to begin within:

I wanted to continue my writing project, but also to work on a weaving I've had underway for about a month.  And I wanted to paint a bit each day. 

The weather was glorious for the few days I was there... the bright blue sky of November 27 was as clear and intense as I've ever seen:

I didn't walk as much as I usually do but did get one quick hike in to pass by the stone foundation in the woods:

I loved the contrast of colors in the dried mosses, the stones and the sawbriar leaf.

Almost every day while there I found something from outside to use for a painted study.  I used 140 lb. watercolor paper as the surface and drew first with pencil, then added some color with watercolor pencil, and finished it with watercolor and a little gouache.  Observations like this help me appreciate the details of the world--not that I'll ever plan to make tapestries from these studies.  But I might!

Only three of these were from Hambidge studies--the hickory at the left was from Lillian Smith Center earlier in the fall.  

 Most of my days' time was spent in reading, revising, writing.  All in all, even though my stay was brief, I feel good about the work I was able to do.  Sometimes I really need the away time to chart my path ahead... this was one of those times.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankful for...

I'm grateful for so much and can't even begin to list it all.  Here are a few of the things my world holds and that I hold dear... but only a few.  Thank you, world, for letting me share my passing years with your wonders and with family and friends.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Long time coming!

Finally I'm taking time to write a new post.  So many things have happened in the last couple of months and I haven't gotten around to describing some of those.  I'll take time to do that now.

I had a wonderful weekend class in Durham, North Carolina in late September.  The Triangle Weavers Guild invited me to teach and there were 15 wonderful people who came together at the Murphy School where the guild has a couple of rooms.  Here are a few photos by participants in the class.  Thanks for sharing those, Lori, Jenny and Deborah.  Michiele later wrote a blog post about our weekend--here's the link to that at her blog--and take a look at her other posts, too.  Thanks, Michiele!

(I wasn't really that stern all weekend!)

Before that class, I'd spent many days at the end of September getting the small tapestries from the last post mounted and ready to take to Hambidge.  I also worked on finishing of the larger tapestry, hoping to have it photographed on September 11.  But then the hurricane came through.  One of the several from this year.  So I postponed the trip.

We had some storm damage from Irma on our property in the county but not much to speak of at home, just lots and lots of limbs in the yard that we spent several days cleaning up.  We were fortunate at the house in town to not lose power.  Many in the county weren't that lucky--the power was out or up to a week for thousands and the public schools closed for five days, I think.  Of course none of what happened around in north Georgia is anything in comparison to the devastation if Puerto Rico and other areas of the Caribbean.  My heart hurts for all who suffered so much--and continue to struggle for survival.

In October I was able to finally get to Tim Barnwell's place in Asheville to get the tapestries photographed--here he is shooting the latest one finished, Earth Echoes:

Before leaving Asheville I went by the Western NC Farmers Market to see Milissa Dewey and Allie Dudley at the Mountain Mama Weavers booth that Milissa has there. Allie was in the Penland class in the spring and she's currently working with Milissa as an intern.  Here's Allie as she's weaving Venetian carpet on an antique Swedish loom:

After Asheville, I went to the Lillian Smith Center for a two week residency.  I treasure every minute I've been at the center, just about once a year since 2009.   This year I decided to encourage others to consider spending time there by funding a two week residency for a visual artist.  It's being called the McClure-Scanlin Visual Art Residency Award and my husband and I want to give the award in honor of our mothers, both of whom were supportive of education and also of following one's chosen passions in life.  Applications may be made through the Piedmont College Lillian E. Smith Center website for 2018 season starting now, with deadline to apply March 1, 2018; the link to that is at this news announcement from the Center.

Even though most of my time was spent in other ways I'll mention below, I did dig a bit of dirt while I was there... isn't it interesting how this particular color of earth is so similar to the oak leaf from the yard.

I didn't have my earth pigment sifters and the muller for grinding along with me this time like I did last year but I bought a small strainer at the grocery store and did a bit of refining.  I painted with the few pigments I collected using matte medium as a binder.  I picked up charcoal from the fire pit for the black.

This time while at the center I spent most of the time looking back at past journals, notebooks, and sketchbooks -- I took over thirty to browse through.  It was daunting and exhausting to see what I've been writing and drawing about over the past thirty years.  Some of the journal entries were pretty raw and sad, while others were filled with flights of fancy about the world and my place in it.  All of this review work is going on to gather information for a bigger project that may or may not come about.  The look back was at least an exercise in reminding myself about who I was, who I hoped to be as a person and an artist, and how I'm getting there (or not). Here are many of them laid out on the top of the bookcase in Peeler Cottage the first night I got to the center, before I'd begun to plunge into them:

I found the flower for October while I was at the center--an aster.  And here it is, one of the photos I collected and the interpretation I made of it for the tapestry diary.

November's flower is still waiting to begin although I've decided what it will be... more about it later.

This week I'm busy with warping all of my looms to get ready for the winter's weaving.  I'll be having some surgery on my left hand in December and wanted to get this out of the way before that happens.

Teaching news--I'll be in Orlando in February to teach for a weekend for Weavers of Orlando and in addition to the class at John C. Campbell, I'll be returning to Arrowmont next summer.  I'm also having discussions about a future workshop in Florida in 2019.

Exhibit news--I've had two rejections lately.  But I've also been accepted into two juried exhibits.  One is Excellence in Fibers 2017 sponsored by Fiber Art Now magazine.  And the other is the Art of Georgia III for 2018, with selected artists' works to hang in the State Capitol in the Executive Offices. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Remains of the day(s)

The title of my post is about the wefts remaining on the bobbins after I recently completed a tapestry that was on the loom for a couple of months.  Those wefts represent the remains of the days I spent weaving that one.

I've been busy with the small tapestry I mentioned in the last post, one that would be using up remaining wefts from bobbins (a few of which are in the above photo) I had wound for the tapestry I'd cut off recently.  As it turns out, I have enough warp and weft remains to do another small tapestry and I'm underway with it now.

I always save weft that's on bobbins after I finish a tapestry.   I unwind the bobbins, make butterflies with the yarn and store them in zip lock bags.  I almost always use several strands wound together as wefts so the colors are mixed.  When I unload the bobbins, I don't separate the strands but put the whole bundle into the bag.  And then I almost never reuse the same color mixture!  Time consuming?  Yep.  But, after all, one's use of time is relative to the importance of the task, isn't it.

Anyway... quite a few of the bobbins from the big tapestry have now been emptied as I wove the first of two small pieces on the new-to-me loom I recently bought.

Here's the first piece after the weaving was completed:

It's woven at 8 epi on a gray wool warp.  The design is based on one of the earth pigment paintings I did while at Hambidge Center last December.

The second piece that's now underway is also based on a painting I made last year, one using black walnut to dye the paper.  At the right side of the tapestry I'm weaving blocks of color from, yes... the remains of the wefts.

This is being woven at the top of the warp.  To do that, I flipped the loom over and started at the opposite end of the completed tapestry.  Sounds more complicated than it is.  I find that doing this on a frame loom allows for the most use of remaining warps.  Sort of like burning a candle at both ends, I guess.

I'm hoping to finish this second small piece later today and cut both off so I can get to the finishing steps asap. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Solar Eclipse and more

Yesterday's solar eclipse was a big deal here in the United States as it made its way diagonally across the country.  Hundreds of thousands of people traveled to places they could have a view of it in totality--or nearly so.  Our home in north Georgia had a partial eclipse of about 98% and we stayed here to enjoy what we were given.  We had glasses and I made a viewer using a box and a pinhole camera lens that was from a camera I built when in a photography class in school many years ago.  I also did some quick watercolor sketches of the moon's shadow at different times throughout the event.  And of course, I had to record the eclipse in my tapestry diary!  So here is my homage to the August 21st solar eclipse of 2017 with the sun almost gone when it was at the peak around 2:36 p.m.:

Here are the little quick sketches I did as the eclipse progressed:

These were done on the front and back of a bamboo paper for printmaking, using watercolor with notes in pencil.  They are reminders for me of that wonderful experience and will be slipped into my studio journal later.

As I started to write this post I realized that July 22 was when I wrote the last one.  In it I mentioned I was working on the tapestry that I'd started in early June and that the Time Warp exhibit in Athens was ending in a few days.  Since then, the tapestries from that exhibit have all been returned to their makers safely.  And the tapestry is now finished.

Here's the cutting off on Sunday, August 20:

And here's the tapestry hanging temporarily.  I'll take it to Asheville soon for better photographs by Tim Barnwell but I have lots more finishing to do before then.  It's 62" long and 19.5" wide, woven on a linen warp at 8 epi, using natural dyed wool yarns for weft.  The dyes are all from either black walnut or from henna.  The varying colors come from amount of dyestuff and/or the dye pot used.  The more grayed and the darkest values of the colors were dyed in an iron kettle and the clearer colors in either a stainless steel pot or in a crock pot.

Right now, I've given the piece the title Earth Echoes.  That may change as I think about it more but it seems appropriate since the inspiration for the tapestry was an earth pigment painting I did last fall while at a residency at the Lillian Smith Center. I documented the weaving of the tapestry on my Instagram account at #earthpigmentleaves.

Last Saturday, I returned to the Lyndon House Arts Center in Athens for the closing event of  Fold/Unfold.  It was quite wonderful to see each of the many coverlets woven for the exhibit unfolded and shown, then stacked on top of each other, one by one.  There is a beautiful catalog that accompanied the exhibit that shows each coverlet in full and gives a brief bio of the weaver.  Here are a few photos from the unfolding:

This is Bhakti Ziek's coverlet, a panel of which she wove while we were at Penland's Spring Concentration earlier this year.

After all were unfolded and laid out on the pedestals, many of the visitors inspected them.  Quite a few of the weavers were present for the unfolding.  

So now... what's next?  I'm about to start a new tapestry, one that I hope to finish to be included with a few other small ones at the Hambidge Center Gallery for their upcoming fall show and sale.  I have a new-to-me loom I bought when I was at the Folk School that I'm eager to use. The warp is on and half-hitches are done at the bottom and I can begin!  But... the design is not quite ready yet but maybe tomorrow--