Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Towel Anyone?

There is nothing like a field trip to renew and replenish. And that is what Karen and I set out to do this past Monday. We headed West towards Dillsboro, NC to meet up with two lovely ladies whom we had met at our Web Chats with Alice Schlein oh these many months ago.
First we stopped by KMR Handwoven where Kathy Roig has set up shop. She is is a fabulous weaver and has wonderful pieces hanging she has woven on her beautiful draw loom. Not only that, but she is a magician in the dyeing of warp yarns. I have included some photos to give you a sense of her work as well as her work space. Needless to say, Kathy almost had to put towels on the floor to catch all our drool. It was lovely in every way::inside and out.
The drawloom you ask? The photo alone does not do this beautiful loom justice. Kathy graciously explained the basics of how it worked (none of which I feel comfortable even trying to relay in this blog-it will take more intense study on my part), even telling us how she learned from a book. Ok, have you gotten the idea I was impressed?
Next we walked just around the corner to see Susan Leveille at Oaks Gallery. The beauty of the rooms with the natural light drew us both right in and we were browsing lovely artisan works in any number of media, from furniture to glass nail files(yep, you guessed it, I have started Christmas shopping already). Did I mention a little shopping for moi as well? A lovely cuff bracelet made from birch wood painted with just the lightest of green fading into an light orange. How could I turn down something in my two favorite colors? As we wandered amongst Susan's artfully placed works for sale, she gave us a delightful history of the building(s) in which her shop is located. She also mentioned she and her husband, his name is alluding me this moment, had done the design of the famous Grovewood Gallery located next to the Grove Park Inn. Again, towels were needed for Karen and me.
In the tradition of weavers, Kathy and Susan took time out of their day to sit, have lunch with us (in Kathy's studio, where we felt quite at home), and talk about all things weaving. These two ladies provided us with enough things to have swirling around in our heads for weeks if not months to come.
After lunch we headed to Waynesville as Karen needed to update one of the photos for a piece in the Blue Ridge Fiber Show Raffle which is currently showing at Textures located on North Main St. This shop provided much enjoyment for the two of us. They have for sale several wonderful woven pieces from none other than Kathy Roig and Neal Howard.
Last but not least we stopped by Karen's other home away from home(aka sutherland) and that is Haywood Community College. She began her journey in their textile degree program there this summer and I wanted to see where to place her in my mental "picture". The ever lovely Amy Putansu was there and was working away in a frenzy of serious fan weaving amid 3 installations to be up in the next few days. The campus and studio seem to be full of energy while at the same time quite serene. Maybe only a weaver can understand what I mean by that. Let me know what you think about that please.
As we headed East we talked non-stop, our creative juices flowing with renewed energy. There is just nothing like a good field trip to recharge the battery.
Thank you much to all the lovely ladies who made our day this past Monday.

Oh, and note to self:: do not wear sandals to Karen's again, her puppy loves to lick toes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 2010 RAD Studio Stroll…Whew!

Twice a year, the second weekends of June and November, the artists in the Asheville River Arts District sponsor a Studio Stroll, when all of the more than 150 artist members with studios in the RAD (including us) open 10 am-6pm both Saturday and Sunday. The first stroll was in 1994 and attracted about 200 people to the 25 or so artist studios at the time.

For those of us at CURVE studios & garden, opening the doors is a daily thing, as we’re always (save 5 holidays a year) open 11 am-4 pm. Nevertheless, Barb and I geared up for the “thousands” of strollers we were told to expect this past weekend. And there may indeed have been thousands, despite heat and humidity that was far abovjune 2010 stroll 001e the norm for our mountain climate in early June.

When I had time to catch my breath from helping children and adults weave on the demonstration loom, I snapped a few pictures. One is of the crowded front room of sutherland’s handweaving gallery, where Barb was weaving two more tencel/bamboo pashminas, answering tons of questions and ringing up a few sales. Trust me, she’s back there.

Another captured the nicest group of college-age kidjune 2010 stroll 008s who took turns weaving and sharing their amazement at the patterns made by a simple twill treadling on an overshot threading. They were all working in the area as camp counselors for a Lutheran summer camp, and this was how they decided to spend their one day a week off.

Finally there was Thomas, a young man who sat down to weave on Saturday, caught on in an instant and shared his thjune 2010 stroll 003oughts on color theory as he pulled bobbin after bobbin out of the basket, loaded them in the shuttle and made up his own treadling patterns. He had so much fun, he asked his mom and aunt if they could come back Sunday. And they did. (Notice the shirt change in the two pictures.) Thomas wove another 20 minutes or so before relinquishing the loom bench to a couple more young men who wanted to try.

Thomas made a big impression on us. We hope his fascination with weaving continues.june 2010 stroll 011

By the way, during the weekend more than 20 people signed our guest book to receive email updates about future classes. That’s a lot of potential new weavers, and we hope to see many of them in our upcoming classes. A new schedule for fall will be out in a week or so. Contact us if you’d like to receive it via email or snail mail. Or stop by the studio. You can see the finished community sampler our guests wove this weekend.

Friday, June 11, 2010

You would have thought I gave the man $10,000

Today I started weaving the first of two scarves I have warped on the loom. I find it is always fun to throw the first few picks to see what it will look like. I did not like what I saw so I quickly headed to my stash. Threw picks of two different colors and voila, found just the one! My original plan was to use two different wefts, but I am loving what I have on the loom I will weave one to sell and one for me.
So, I am weaving along and in come 3 people- two ladies and a gentleman. As is usually the case the fellow heads over towards the loom. Men are attracted to mechanical devices. I would like to think it was me, but I know better. I explained the mechanics of the loom and he explained he was a woodworker. And then he said he also tied flies. Well, not to be outdone, I handed him a thrum from the metallic silver scarf. You would have thought I had given the man $10,000!! Seriously. He told me a lot of times fish will bite at something if they do not have any idea what it is. who knew?
And this made me think of the guy in my second Deborah Chandler class who seriously asked how he could reuse all his thrums. Really, I thought?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

May I Touch?

Several months ago I met up with a friend from nursing school to celebrate a very important birthday. Oh, who am I kidding? At this age they are all important. Anyway, we had not seen each other since graduation for many many years (or should I say decades?) and so it was also a reunion of sorts.
Roxane had invited several friends to join her at her lovely mountain home in Dillard, Ga. I had never been to this beautiful area and it was quite a treat. This was a really fun gathering--there were four of us and the only one who knew everyone was the hostess. There was Laura, from the west coast, and Jeanne, from the North, and me from WNC. It took a lot of nerve to invite three women to come together who had never met before, including me who Rox had not laid eyes on forever. I guess she knew what she was doing as it was as if we had all known each other for years. We did not stop talking. And talking.
You are probably wondering where in the world I am going with this, but I am getting there. In all that talking, Laura mentioned she had seen a metallic silver scarf in a magazine and wondered if I could weave her one like it. I thought that would be the end of that. Nope, she texted and then emailed me a photo. She was relentless.
I was enthralled with the challenge of working with a yarn I had not ever woven. There are lots of yarns I have not used, but this is would be way out of the box for me. So I did my research and ordered what I believed to be the best choice for this project. Silk City came through with a nice weight yarn and when it arrived Karen was at the studio and I was at home. She emailed and asked "May I touch?" The most important thing any fiber enthusiast wants to do. She quickly emailed me back and told me it was lovely. And slinky.
With each step in the weaving process I kept thinking something would become difficult with this yarn, but it never did. It was so much fun and even the slinky part was not hard. The sett is 30epi and I used my favorite 120/1 silk from Habu as weft.
I took the piece into the studio today to show Karen before I shipped it off to Laura. As soon as she saw me she said "I have to wash my hands, I want to touch." And she did. We both decided I must weave another one. Soon. And I will.
My thanks to a new friend who got me out of my silk and tencel box and into something different. I'll let you know what she thinks when she gets the piece in the mail.

Oh, that's Laura and her scarf::separately. Next photo I hope they will be together.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Inspiration and Experimentation

Some days creative inspiration lands in your front yard. We’ve frequently seen hot air balloons in the skies near our home on weekends as a take-off and landing location is just across the highwa007y. This weekend though, my hubby called from the patio, “They’re right over the house.” On this day the breezes blew two of the four balloons in the sky that day right into the field across from our clubhouse.

The picture washed out a bit as the sun was very bright, but the colors, patterns, shapes and unmistakable sound of the balloons launched the day into creative high gear.

So how coincidental was it  today when the differential 011shrinkage shawl I’m weaving at the studio gave me a hint of what’s to come -- just the slightest little balloon-like poofs.

With two students coming tomorrow for the More Twills & a Taste of Overshot Class, I had to fold up my loom and roll it out of the way. I turned it so the cloth beam faced out so the students could see the progress on this undulating twill with tencel/cotton blocks framed in black merino. I’ve been experimenting a lot lately with dimensional fabrics from various weave structures. Not all these experiments have succeeded. So I was thrilled to see that with the loom tension released, my shawl is already beginning to puff up into the “undulating bubbles” I wanted.

Now I can’t wait to get it off the loom and drop it in the shrinkage soup to see how it finishes.