What a summer we could have



Okay, right off the bat here, I’m just going to say that I was one of the last people in the world to get an iPhone. I was happier many years ago with a Windows based phone, but my previous phone was a Blackberry. The syncing really drove me nuts with the Blackberry. So, I’ve got this iPhone, I can take a picture, send it to my Photostream, and voila! there it is on my computer. Now I’m not going into any of the privacy concerns that this makes me think about, and I am pretty careful about what I post, names, etc, ‘cause this stuff never goes away. All of that verbiage gets me to the photo on the right. I took it, sent it to PS, walked to my computer and posted it. About the photo–Do you see all those empty spaces just waiting to get a warp coat? The last bout I wound on the warp beam just tells me that I have the attention span of a gnat! There are mistakes. I’m only putting on 30 yards, which means I have to count ten revolutions of the wheel. And I have to do that 12 times because each section is 2 inches and I’m warping 6 epi. But even with that simple count to 10, my mind goes walk-about. Which brings me to the next part…

Workshops. There are so many good workshops this summer, and I have been tempted mightily. But I finally decided that the money for a workshop could better be spent getting a “real” dye place set up, one that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to take home to my mother. The following are some of the workshops I have considered:

Sarah Swett

THE VALUE OF VALUE How do images come alive on a warp? What gives things the appearance of volume? How can a collection of woolen shapes exude energy, movement and mood? In this workshop we will look at yarn, light and color as we try to answer these questions and more. The class begins with a series of exercises in blending and value progression, exploring how these can be manipulated to model form. We then apply these principles, each person designing and beginning to weave a cartoon based tapestry. Students will work with pencils, paper and wool as they train mind, eyes and hands to develop and weave flat objects that come alive on a weft faced surface.
Plus as a bonus we will learn to incorporate a “4-selvedge” warping technique, for those that would like an additional challenge.

By the way, if you haven’t seen it, take a look at this news bit with Swett’s tapestries and an interview. Absolutely amazing work!

Mary Zicafoose at Tapestry Weavers South

You can read about it on Tapestry Share. The descriptions below came from Mary’s website. Mary is an excellent teacher, and this was so tempting. I took an ikat workshop with her in Nebraska.  If you’re interested, read here, although it seems I wrote more about the trip than actual workshop. And just as an aside–I think I need the last one on this list, The Zen of Weaving….

The Language of Art: COLOR

This one-day intensive dip into color will saturate your palette and provide courage at the loom and dye pot. In referring to the work of colorist, Josef Albers, students create a color workbook of 24 personal studies. After cutting and pasting through the rules, you will brave into bending theory, pigment and hue, striving to speak with a new frequency in your work.

Class Size: 40
Level: All
Equipment & Supplies: Separate attachments
Lab Fee: $25 (workshop folder and a 240 pack of color-vu silk screen papers)

The Language of Art: DESIGN

This one-day class will focus on the sequential steps required to develop your unique visual ideas into dynamic tapestry and rug designs. We will spend the day looking at images, drawing, and developing hunches into plans for a series. This is an ideal “time-out” to collect your thoughts, expand your design tools, talk about your work, and transform ideas into workable blueprints.

Class Size: 40
Level: All
Equipment & Supplies: Separate attachments
Lab Fee: $5

The Zen of Weaving: Getting Inspired, Staying on Track & Reflections on the Making of Fabric

This one-day workshop abounds with handouts and resources to nourish and nurture the busy artist, spinner and weaver. This unique fiber class provides stimulating exercises to aesthetically recharge and ample food for thought about unraveling the threads of life. Focus is on creative purpose, goal setting, stress management and staying in the flow of production and inspiration. There will be time for specific Q & A, and portfolio consultation.

Class Size: Unlimited
Level: All
Equipment: Slide projector, screen, CD player, flip chart

Indigo with Botanical Colors

Description below is from the email I received. Again, so tempting. While you’re there, read about Pigments of Provence with John Marshall and Kathy Hattori.

We will work with a number of different indigo preparations and specialty indigo powders procured from small cooperatives and organic producers. You will learn how to create, maintain and revive your own indigo vat using both the organic fermentation and the chemical lye-hydrox vat method. You’ll explore dipping and color strategies and techniques such as resists, overdyes, underdyes and surface effects and gain confidence and ease with working in your own studio by practicing vat observations, troubleshooting and problem solving with a skilled mentor.

We will experiment with the following indigo varieties:
* Organic indigo powder
* Bangladeshi fair trade indigo
* Salvadorean fair trade indigo
* Instant indigo
* Saxon Blue converted indigo
* Plus a few surprises if the weather and crops cooperate

Each student receives a notebook of indigo recipes and techniques, a set of pH indicator strips, plus yarn, paper and fabrics for dipping including ribbons, silk, velvet, and handwovens. Students are encouraged to bring their own fibers to dip; guidelines will be sent with registration.

Each student will tend their own personal vat that they will build, balance and maintain.


Where does the time go?

All my life, it seems, I have been trying to find balance between all the things that should be done and those that want to be done. I had a really long list of things to do for last week, and I’m pleased to say that most were crossed off the list. Plus, I wove or worked in the studio for 4-6 hours daily. Not too shabby! Of course, this is the day that the new list gets compiled…oh, well.

image Sunset on Platte

Right-Sunset on the Platte at Pahuk, the workshop location.

Above-Tall grasses

For those of you who might be interested, Mary Zicafoose is having a fall ikat workshop. Here is the link. This is the same workshop I took in May, except that it is longer, so there can be more exploration. Mary is a great teacher, the location is ideal, and the food is superb. I wish I could go again. The tall grass prairie in fall will be lovely; something else for me to see  someday!

Adding It Up


Bird Hanging from Wrapped Tree-Pahuk 

I added up the number of hours of weaving for the last 9 days—almost 16 hours, not a great average. However, within those 9 days I broke a tooth and we had a holiday, so I’m cutting myself some slack.  I’m off to a good start today, weaving 3 hours this morning.  Then it was off to more mundane things, like waiting in line at the post office and a quick trip to the library.



Fiber-wrapped tree at Pahuk

Finally! I think I’ve got the upper fins of this fish marked in the right places. When you only weave in bits and pieces, it’s like learning all over again every weaving time. Tomorrow should go quite well, I think.  After this, I may use up some hand-dyed rug yarn that was given to me and weave a plain weave piece while I prepare the yarn for a new ikat piece.  Of course, I could just clean up the studio, right?

Traveling and Getting Busy

Sunset on the Platte (Pahuk)

I just drove to Nebraska for a 3-day workshop with Mary Zicafoose. The workshop was great, and I will post more about it later. But now, I am committing to getting in 15 hours weaving time per week. Makes me want to retract that statement just putting it in black and white! I will really start on that goal next week, but for the rest of this week I am trying to get in what would be the required time based on the days left in this week. What with Main Street Arts Festival, and the drive to Nebraska, too many days go by without weaving. Going days w/o weaving means too many mistakes and too much unweaving. There are many things rolling around in my head as I weave, which will also probably be future blog posts. Of course, there other studio time commitments besides weaving (designing, business), and then there are the regular house, yard, friends, and family commitments, so we’ll see.