Thursday, August 26, 2010

As it should be…

I had an economics professor back when I was in college – the first time – who used to talk about “hog heaven.” I can’t quite remember what constituted hog heaven from an economics standpoint. It had something to do with supply and demand, and it seems the elasticity of one or the other was involved. Basically it described a state where everything was humming along happily.

Now while today’s economy may be a long way from hog heaven, I found myself in that blissful state today. I had returned from design class at Haywood Community College, where I have finally enrolled in the Professional Crafts-Fiber program, albeit on a limited schedule. After lunch I parked myself in my sunroom overlooking the Western North Carolina mountains and went back to work on my tapestry loom finishing a piece for the Blue Ridge Fiber Show in October.

Meanwhile at the studio, I have two students coming in for class on Saturday, and I am weaving a scarf also intended for the Blue Ridge Fiber Show. It’s turning out even better than I’d hoped, but I won’t share pictures of either until after the show is judged, just in case the handweaving judge should happen across our blog.

So while I was weaving today, listening to my Josh Groban CDs and snacking on a few pieces of dark chocolate (for my health, of course), I was thinking about these projects, being in school again and all the exciting things coming up on the sutherland schedule this fall: new classes; the start of a new study group at sutherland (more about this soon); the CURVE studios & garden open house and twilight party the last weekend of the September, an in-studio workshop with Daryl Lancaster on Sept. 27, new displays and furnishings we’re adding to the gallery side of sutherland, a special exhibit of contemporary tapestry rugs by Wence and Sandra Martinez that opens Oct. 8 with an artists’ reception (more about this later too) and being able to share it all with my good friend and studio partner, Barb.

Suddenly I started remembering Professor Kuhlman and hogfunnysmilingpig heaven, and how that seemed like a pretty good description for my current state of mind. I don’t have a clue what hogs had to do with it, but here we are, me and the hogs, lovin’ life.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Have I mentioned?

This past week I began on a journey of weaving about which I am most excited. The journey began this past spring when a couple came into sutherland during The Studio Stroll in the the River Arts District and asked me to weave them a table runner. Not just any table runner, mind you. They desired a true art piece for their dining room table.

So, after months of acquiring over a hundred skeins of hand-dyed 60/2 silk to "paint" the picture of the piece I have in my mind, I have been to dress my loom. This has been tedious. And if you know me as a weaver, there is nothing I love more than tedious. First, I had to add 400 more Texsolv heddles to shafts 5 through 8 on my Harrisville floor loom at home as my warp has 1050 ends of Habu silk which is finer than human hair. Next I have had to wind each of those 104 skeins of yarn into balls before I will be able to wind them on to individual bobbins. Then there has been the winding of said 1050 warp ends on the warping board and then onto my back beam. I admit I had Karen help me with the latter task and it was a huge help! Then the task of threading began. I am half way through this and plan to finish this up tomorrow. Warping back to front on my big Harrisville requires a fair amount of leaning into the loom, hence neck and back fatigue. I am up and down a fair amount to give my body frequent breaks, which helps immensely.

I am hoping to be able to start weave this commissioned project by the end of this coming work week. I am excited to see the shuttle flying back and forth with these beautiful had-dyed silks.

Thought I would include some photos of the beginning of this piece. The photo with the pencil shows the entire warp, all 1050 threads, and just how fine they really are.

Oh, and have I mentioned I am excited??

Monday, August 16, 2010

Barb in the News

The Sunday Living Section of the Asheville Citizen-Times features an Asheville Artist Portfolio feature each week. I thought it was Barb’s turn to be featured and submitted information and photos to the editor.
The editor liked the idea, and Barb’s Portfolio was in yesterday’s paper! Here is a link to the story online, but they didn’t include the photos that ran in the paper. So if you can find a Sunday Citizen-Times, pick it up and look inside the Living Section.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I’m on TV, but don’t blink

Remember when I told you about QVC coming to our studio to do some filming about Asheville for a jewelry designer? Well the segment aired on Aug. 8, and here’s a link to a very brief peek at me at the loom now on UTube. CURVE studios & garden got a nice plug, and that’s our studio mate and CURVE owner Pattiy Torno quilting.

Constance Williams next door got a speaking part, but then she’s president of the River Arts District Artists. The other clips about Western North Carolina are fun to watch too.

Seriously, don’t blink.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blue Ridge Fiber Show Entry Deadline is AUG 13!

EIGHT DAYS!!  That’s when all entry forms for the 2010 Blue Ridge Fiber Show have to be received by the committee! I want to encourage all of you who weave, spin or felt to enter a few pieces of your work. The show is non-juried for entry, which means no one will judge whether or not your pieces can be included. If they meet the criteria, they’re in! For those unfamiliar, this is a production of the Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild. Traditionally it has been one of the biggest non-juried fiber art shows in the region. You don’t have to be a guild member to enter and you don’t have to live in Western North Carolina! This show has attracted international entries.

The deadline for receiving entry forms is Aug. 13...yes next week! For guild members, that is BEFORE the August guild meeting. However, your entered pieces do not have to be delivered until the end of September. (Are you reading between the lines, here?).

Your entry form does not require a fancy photograph. Just fill out the one-page form, describe your pieces and send with a check for $30 for every two items entered. You may enter two pieces in each major category: weaving, spinning or felting.

Although the items are not juried for entry, the pieces will be judged for several awards, which include many CASH PRIZES. You may enter in either the amateur or professional category. You’re a professional if you sell your work or teach.

I would love to see entries from all our weaving students! I’ve included a link to the entry form. Click on it and print the form to remind yourself. Then fill it out and send it in so it arrives by Aug. 13. If you need help or advice, come see me at the studio. I’m there tomorrow through Sunday and again next Wednesday. If you have any questions email me.



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Convergence Reflections

Now that the laundry is done, students are back on the studio looms finishing their classes, and the boxes I shipped back from Convergence have been emptied, it’s time to reflect o005n the inspiring but exhausting experience last month in Albuquerque. Convergence is the biannual conference of the Handweavers Guild of America and attracts weavers, spinners, dyers and basketmakers from around the world.

I hadn’t attended since 2006 in Grand Rapids, where I met Barb by the way. So I got there early to warp a rented loom for my 3 day workshop and didn’t leave until they were kicking us out of the exhibit hall at 4 Sunday afternoon. I spent a lot of time in vendor hall where I picked up some books from the Unicorn booth, a few skeins and cones of unusual yarns I want to try, several tubes of Bockens 8/2 cotton for classes…on sale (it pays to shop on Sunday) a new ondule (fan) reed for Barb, and my personal indulgence, a Randall Darwall scarf that begged me to take it home.

My workshop was outstanding. Robyn Spady calls it Pictures, Piles, Potpourri and Perplexing Curiousities. If you are a structure person, and ever have a chance to take it, don’t hesitate. There were 13 u082ncommon structures, on 32 different looms and 31 participants. Still, we all managed to weave all 13 samples. The sample notebook of all the structures is worth way more than Robyn charges for a supply fee. I warped one of the handwoven velvet looms. Actually I just threaded, beamed the ground warp, sleyed and tied on. Robyn had already done the heavy lifting, bringing the velvet pile warp on a secondary warp “beam” she had fashioned from empty wire spools she got from Lowe’s. Here’s a picture of the pile warp set up. It worked pretty well, but we had some tension issues as the sampling continued.105

Other neat structures that I’ll definitely spend more time with include a fantastic supplementary warp and weft that I will subject to one of my differential shrinkage experiments…definitely making a SAMPLE first; a corkscrew twill that begs further study; and beiderwand. 132I’d always been curious about beiderwand, and now the next thing on  the loom will be a scarf that tests the structure with fine yarns: one of  those beautiful hand dyed skeins of 30/2 Tencel from Just Our Yarn (met these creative ladies in vendor hall) for ground and a 111soy silk I found at another booth as the pattern weft. Yes, I’m sampling first.

My other Convergence classes included a behind the scenes tour of the Juried Fashion Show with Daryl    Lancaster, where I collected a bunch of clothing construction tips…and got to see inside some of these beautiful pieces. Sunday morning I attended a seminar with Rosalie Neilson all about designing warp rep with curves. When pressed, she said getting real curves takes more than 8 shafts, but her design techniq148ue will be very useful and her work is gorgeous. Here are a few samples.

While in New Mexico, I spent time with good friends from New Jersey, reconnected with other friends I usually only see at conferences and met some fun new people. As a personal highlight, I got to spend a few days with my sister and her family in Las Cruces, and then drove north with her to tour Santa Fe and Albuquerque before the conference began.

Kelly was also around while I spent Tuesday afternoon w016arping that velvet. I was so focused, I didn’t notice her taking pictures with her phone. She posted them on her facebook page with some interesting descriptions of what I was doing. Here’s Kelly at our Monday lunch spot in Santa Fe.

Convergence is an expensive proposition, but this trip was well worth it. I asked a few HGA board members at dinner one night where the 2012 Convergence would be and was given the party line, “Well, there WILL be one.” They remained mum on location except to say the executive staff was negotiating with four sites and they didn’t want to muck up negotiations. Look for the site announcement in Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot or join HGA’s email list.

If you’d like to peek at the workshop sample notebook, just let me know when you’ll be in downtown Asheville and I’ll bring it to the studio. Pique, corduroy  or beaded leno anyone?