Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My summer of reconstruction and other things!

DSCN0549This is about the 3 summer  months

that I decided to have a tune up. This is also the last of the reconstruction onDSCN0562 the house. Gale is busily painting the house and the studio and hanging the last 3 doors. I have been spending a lot of time reorganizing the studio,painting floors and reorganizing yarn, storage and gifting my DSCN0561unused larger yarns to friends and students. I will be done with that in the next day or DSCN5351so.  

Every so often one needs to have one or at least a time of reassessment. This has been both for me-Cataract surgery on both eyes, wrist hand surgery and a few other tweaks that should produce some lasting great results. The cast are off. I 340have 20/20 close up vision, but will need glasses for distance. I even get to start driving again on the 20th.  My colours  back to what they should be-no more grey staining the colours that I see... I am now off insulin. I am back to my Better Bones and balance. I have added tai chi-maybe- depending on the nerve in my leg and the PPS. Perhaps, I have done enough reconstruction to make it work. We’ll see. So all that said….It’s time to weave and write. Not that I ever quit-Just fewer walls to go up, over and/or  aroundDSCN5370d.

I finished weaving my Grandfathers piece yesterday-except for the finishing. I am not in a great hurry to finish them up as I am trying to come up with a new body of work for an exhibit I am have next June at ETC in Eugene, OR. My next piece is started even as speak. I am in the process of laying it out. The drawings take time. I can only use drawing utensils  only so many hours at a time. Just like I haven’t been able to use bobbins because of having worn the cast for so long.

These are my new best friendballss as I try to reclaim the muscles in my hand and forearm that were forced to hibernate and atrophy from lack of use. The nerves become less numb day by day and the hand stronger and less prone to shakes and charley horses.

3 Promises to keep-

 

An announcement that I hope everyone will consider and write for. I think that it is really important that small format/small scale  tapestry weavers step up and make themselves known. So I am looking for writers about small format/small scale tapestry that can help to document the process of our being accepted as tapestry weavers in the tapestry world.

Tapestry Topics

I am seeking articles for the American Tapestry Alliance Tapestry Topics
Small Format/Small Scale Tapestry: Subversive, Destructive, or...? Deadline: Jan 15, 2015
What is small format/small scale tapestry? Is it "tapestry," or isn't it? Why are so many people weaving
small format/small scale at this particular time in the history of tapestry? Ideas to think about:
The history of small format/small scale tapestry past, present, and the future....
What excites you about small format/small scale tapestry?
What can the format do? What can it not do?
What are the technical advantages, or restrictions, for this format?
Coptic weaving, K'o-ssu, Kesi, 16th century lowland small format, devotional tapestries
Exhibits of and about small format/ small scale-past, present and future.
If you plan on submitting an article, please contact Theme Coordinator, kathetoddhooker@comcast.net.

There's got to be a orning afterAThere's got to be a morning afterA

TOGETHER!

as promised!

 

 

 

These two pieces together  on my blog. There’s got to be a morning After part A and B.

Which in away lead to this post card and exhibit and catalogue-img055This was the tenth exhibit small format exhibit that sprang from The It’s About Time exhibit inimg059 1996 in Portland, Oregon. this is a great catalogue and I think can be purchased from ATA.There is another coming up. Hope you all will start planning for the next one!

 

LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT WEAVING WITH A CAST! No bobbins and placing the weft

I have learned and reinforced  a lot of information  about weaving with and without bobbins. I am not fond of the chaos created by not using bobbins even played with using butter341flies to keep down some of the chaos-339never again. Butterflies are two fragile. So, the solution was to use fairly long weft bundles-18-24 inches and tie an overhand knot every6-8 inches. Biggest lesson was to make sure that there were no loops in the end of the tail below the last knot. Leaving them in always created a knotted chaos of caught threads every time I pulled the knot through the open shed. I have gone back to using my smallest brassy bob’s that are about 3.5-4 inches long. At this point they are easy to hold in my hand,leaving the point out just enough to use as another finger- but, I am still using long wefts at this point. My hand tires too easily form putting the nob through the shed.

Since I was unable to use the side tip of my bobbin to scrape the yarns in I usedDSCN5374 the tips of my fingernails to beat in the yarns. My nails started looDSCN5373king like some one had taken pinking shears to the tips.(OOPS, I am dating myself-does any one use pinking shears anymore?)  My manicurist made a bundle applying gel nails as I wore down into the nails with the tight warps. I was able to get about 2 weeks from each application and replacement of a gel nail. After talking to my PT specialists I was able to come up with a solution they would damage my nail beds. The Japanese weavers have used this solution for hundreds of years. Most all of my instructors had told me never to use my finger nails to scrape or beat wefts into place because because the pressure of the beating could lift the nails from the nail bed or quick. This is true if it’s done wrong.

THE MIRRIX  SPENCER-Another new best Friend!DSCN5348One of the things that made weaving so much easier during this time was that I switched from my regular titter totter treadles to a a new Spencer treadle. It has a sort of  neutral that holds the shed open until I step down and change the shed. Notice the DSCN0552difference in size between my old treadles and the new Spencer which is under my foot.  Not only does it take less effort the neutral that holds the shed open is really great. So I purchased a second Spencer. It will be so much easier to travel with and pack. I am not getting rid of my old treadles either. the only draw back is that the Spencer needs to be plugged in to electricity, which sometimes isn’t possible  in some of the places I teach.  Perhaps, some one could design a battery pack or a a solar system for it-pretty please!

THE DIRE AND DEADLY SPRING SPREAD CONQUERED!

I think that I have finally come up with an easy solution to what I DSCN0567call Spring DSCN0570Spread on my mirrix. This is a problem that drives me nuts…Spring Spread is what happens when the springs become older and start to fatigue. One can go from weaving 22 epi to 18 as the spring spreads. The problem with this is it can cause the tapestry ridges to spread and in some cases shrink. It also makes it very difficult to control the edges of the tapestry. DSCN0564Note the bulges on the two side edges that I was constantly correcting.

So the correction for Spring thread is easy. I always twine when I begin a tapestry and tie a knot at the end at the exact width I want the tapestry img061to be and then space the warps accordingly.So now I am just doing it at the top of the mirrix directly under the spring. I larks head on to the first thread, twine all the wayimg062 across and tie the ending knot at the exact width of that spring should be or end.Please note that the loom is balanced up side down to do this. Makes it much easier.If you look closely you can see my two twiners.  If I want to turn the warp around the loom then I just pull everything down and around. I can theDSCN5376en beat the twining at the top back into place along the bottom of the spring channel. Solves the whole problem was Spring Spread!

 

Guess this is enuff for now. Chene is trying to tell me something important and grabbing papers!

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Cheers and all,

kathe

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring seems to have Sprung And It’s almost summer?

This has been an interesting spring. I have been on several major orchidstrips.Sedona, Cincinnati, Tec Nos Pec ,Santa Fee, seen a great many private students, the coast and Bend and numerous points in between. BUT, the hardest trip I have been on has been a mental trip of working on a piece about one of my Gramma’s. It was hindering me so badly with unresolved issues-hers and mine- that I decided toGranpa's piece 5-8-2014 shelf it for the time being. I am now working on a piece about my Grandfather and the charmed life I led when I was with them while I was growing up. Someday I’ll reconcile or at least come to terms with my other Gramma, but not now.

I have another small loom to the side that I am going to be doing some small studies of things I have always wanted to weave, but couldn’t figure out where to put them in larger DSCN5252designs. On the same loom I decided to see what would happen if I tried having a piece(s) that world be more of a daily calendar type thing-sort of in the nature of what Tommye,Janette and Jan’s group does. It’s not going well so far. I admire the work they do with calendar type weavings, but in on the calendar pieces. What I am discovering for myself is it gets in the way of the focus  and concentration I need to have on a given piece.It’s almost more of an irritation then any thing else. So, I am going to keep trying and see if I just need an attitude shift in someway or maybe there just not for me to do. I’ll see.

Warning-

This is going to be sort of an odd blog in 3 chapters or perhaps 4. I found while I was away teaching my “More class” that I really didn’t have the backup materials that I needed for teaching my method of warping a mirrix loom-which is both faster and easier then using the wrap around bar system that many use or try to use  and eccentric weaving. So, I wrote to rather long sections on doing both that I am going to publish as blog entries for my students.

 

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A 3 stage trip-

 

Stop 1- Sedona, Arizona

I enjoyed teaching in Sedona. The weather was beautiful!  It’s a beautiful place especially out away and into the red rocks where we are at. It was kindasedona red rim wild and very natural.One could look out and watch the birds while weaving and teaching, which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately my camera battery refused to stay charged and so I have no pictures   I wish I had taken more photo’s of the area and the class, but I discovered a new allergy complete with runny nose that sort of limited my picture taking. I really enjoyed the group. I am hoping to teach there again in the fairly near future. My  “More” class is fun to teach because it’s based on those skills already learned and pushing those skill  further.

I did see an interesting show in Cottonwood. It was in the Clarksdale library.My notebook got wet somewhere along the way and the ink ran so I called Carol VanSandt to retrieve the information and she’ll give it to me when she gets moved up to Southern Oregon this month. It was a really great fiber show.The pear and the orange sunset with rocks are done in embroidery floss by Carol VanSandt. Linda Pierce wove the orange sunset. Mary Liggit wove the other small framed piece. The larger wool pieces which are actually much better shaped and squarer were woven by about 12 weavers who were in a group project in the Verdi Valley Guild DSCN1426

 

 

DSCN1427DSCN1429DSCN1428DSCN1432DSCN1434DSCN1435

STOP 2

Teec Nos Pec, Navajo Nation, Arizona

Diane picked me up in Cottonwood and we headed out. The country is very different then what I am used to and know. Rock formations just pop up out vast flat areas. Rich colour is everywhere, but not the  vivid greens-created with an entirely different palette.  I am used to.The distances feel greater and vaster. In places the colour is like some one took a large brush and left brush strokes of reds and pinks. We stopped at the Navajo National  Museum in Window Rock.The exhibits were fascinating. I especially enjoyed one called a Beautiful Life.We finally arrived in Tec Nos Pec after taking a very long short cut.

I loved visiting with my friend Roy Cady. It was fun DSCN1439talking as weaver to weaver. Our weaving styles and/or philosophy are more similar then dissimilar.I enjoyed talking with several of the older weavers with Arieta as a translator.  Roy is a traditional weaver who enjoys pictorial tapestry, but with his own distinctive style. I love weaving just about anything that is pictorial. I first met Roy at a workshop in Santa Fe that was being taught by Jean Pierre Larochette, Yael Lurie and Phillipe Playier. The piece on the loom he has since finished and it is for sale on his web site. DSCN1438Roy, of course, is the better weaver because his ends don’t show, but I’ll get better-grin! I promised the “Older One.”

This is a detail of the twills  Roy has used so effectively in the piece.I am very fascinated with the contrast between the pictorial and the use of the twills. Roy is a great weaver and makes it look so easy. If I did this right you should be able to see the finished piece and an announcement for an exhibit he has going on. (Diné(Navajo) Master Fiber Artist & Navajo-Churro Sheep Herder Shimá's Gifts-My Mother's Gifts)DSCN1460DSCN1453DSCN1446

The bag is one that was done by his Shima Mary Clah. The mountain of rocks is I think called Goat Rocks, but to my way of thinking will always remind me of Monkeys because of a story Roy told me about escaped Monkeys, which reminded me of  my Grandmother and her tales of what would happen to children that disobeyed and the drumming of the birds wings.

STOP 3

Santa Fe, N.M.

This is probably one of my favourite places to travel  and visit. It’s a blending of new and old, traditional and non traditional. The Plaza is one of the few places I enjoy being a tourist.  I love picking up trinkets and needful things(?) such as wind ups and Milagros. I enjoyed talking to   the native American artists that were selling along one walls of the  Old Plaza. I bought a copper torque style and jasper  bracelet that I love . Had a great time talking about copper and where he was from. I stopped in for a few minutes and visited with Rebecca Metzoff in her studio. It was fun comparing a few notes and seeing more of her work. pages of notes

Two of the 20 pages of notes that I am  still sorting through on everything that I saw, tried to absorb, and talked about with others. While trying to have a good time hanging out with friends Tony and Diane. The business cards are Rebecca Metzoff’s. They are beautiful little works of art that I liberated from her studio. The wool samples are all of the various wools used in the area by regional weavers in Arizona and New Mexico. It also notates to different weaving groups that I want to research as I saw some of their weavings in different shops and galleries.

From there-Santa Fe-I took a train  home-2 days of reading writing and sleeping and watching the world change from one eco system to another-one life to another.

STOP 4, 3-weeks later

Cincinnati, Ohio

This was a  very anticipated teaching trip that had been planned years in advance.  Sometimes guilds schedule 2-3 years in advance and this was one of those. Again, I was teaching my “More” class, lecturing on designing tapestries and loving it. The lecture I gave for the guild is one of my favouriteIMG_0638 lectures to do because the skills involved can be used to plan any project-whether it be regular weaving, tapestry or even silver. Then emphasis is on the fact that there are no tapestry police and never dumb it down just because it might be difficult!

Best of all I would be spending any spare time I had with my Good Friend Cathie Beckman and her husband Ed.

There were extra days planned around it for talking, sharing and site seeing. There were also very heavy rains, lightening storms, a wonderful bird feeder with crazy squirrels and not quite spring.

There were 16 or 17 people signed up for the class and many different levels of weaving skills.  The workshop was held in a beautiful old house that belongs to the Cincinnati Guild. The questions and wants of the class were exceptional and unique-never a boring minute. We covered optical blending, hatches and a dozen other things-just touching on soumack. The contentDSC_0209 of the class is determined by a questionnaire prior to the class and subject matter for the class is created from the questionnaires. 

I am excited and will be even more excited to see what comes out of the class in the next year.  It’s already in the plans for me to teach in 2015 or 2016. I have been asked back, but the date is still up in the air. The class will probably be Soumack and friends+more of More! One of the things that came out of all of the classes was the need for me have better or more support materials for eccentric weaving and more detailed notes for warping Mirrix looms my way.

One last thing About the Cincinnati workshop- To the person  in the corner with the short blond hair whose name escapes me that I was talking to in the class about Zentangles.  I apologize that I am so bad with names.  I can totally img054envision you what you were and our conversation, but not your name. This is the book that to be me always reminds me of Zentangles, but are drawn more from nature then Zentangles. It was edited by Christian Stoll and is a Dover book, which means it comes from a book that was published in 1906 so you should be able to use any of these designs with out worrying about copy right or needing special permission to use them.

In the process of roaming around the city of Cincinnati with Cathie B. and sometimes Ed, there was wayIMG_0474 more then  one can see in a day or two. Two of the many places we went to really stood out to me.  We went to the Taft Museum of Art. We/I made some incredibly discoveries. One was Called the Threads of Hdragon lay out as woveneaven- Silken legacy of China’s last Dynasty. The exhibit was probably a third tapestry-Dragon Robes, lesserdragon in colour robes and pockets, shoes and purses. I am still sorting out my notes that I eventually wrote in my journals. BUT, here is what I consider to be a remarkable, happy, serendipitous, curious find. It has both eccentric weaving, pick and pick and probablyBW dragon eccentric pick and pick. AND, best of all the pieces had not been cut apart  from the way they had been woven initially and not cut apart. It allows one to see how they were actually woven and the fillers that were were used.  It’s a whole ensemble of accessories-fan cases, pockets, eye class case colour and various purses.

adoration of the magiI feel a little like a fair huckster by saying—AND, if that is not enough there was a small devotional tapestry called the Adoration of the Magi woven in Brussels in the first qtr. of the 16th century. It is less then a square yard35 3/4 inches by 33 1/4 inches with wool silk and silver wefts at 24 epi. I have pages of weaving notes to sort out. Unfortunately,  it was in a space that was fairly dark and one wasn’t allowed to take pictures and it was mounted a little too high for some one as short as me. But, it did open up another line of research for/and of  small devotional tapestries.

At the Cincinnati art Museum there was an exhibit called Genius and Grace-Francois Boucher and the generation ofGenius and Grace cover 1700.Many of the drawings in this exhibit-Genius and Grace- were done by artist who often designed for tapestries of this period-Boucher, Fragonard, Coypel, Oudry and 29 other possible tapestry designers. By looking at the drawings you can see how they relate to the cartoons and tapestries that were being designed and woven in the 1700. The drawings are incredible to see close up. And made me want to pull out any books I might own on tapestries woven in the 1700’s.

 

And then again-A Fabulous exhibit of Jewelry designed by Art Smith. Also part of this exhibit were pieces of jewelry by artist such as Calder. It was totally fascinating to me, but I am finally getting to the point that I can look a piece and have a small understanding of how it was done.

From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith February 22, 2014 - May 18, 2014 Organized by the Brooklyn Museum of Art, this exhibition features 24 pieces of silver and gold jewelry created by African .... - See more at: http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/explore/exhibitions/current-exhibitions#sthash.IsdAVDj8.dpuf

And, on that note,

it’s time for me to finish

up and post this before it

gets any longer.

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