Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Happy New Year Dear Readers

And what a wonderful calm and quiet start we have had here in Madison....snow quietly falling, weaving and sketching happening.

it appears that cupcake t just got a little snow icing on it

I'm participating in my traditional weaving of words in the new year; it's not a tapestry diary, but's a tradition.
I like to weave these word strips to provide fodder for my morning coffee routine. Weaving as I drink coffee for the first hour of the day is a tradition I started when my daughter was born. Time for myself.  My day really doesn't start right without it.

the front side of the loom, quite dramatic isn't it?

the flip side, two separate strips woven concurrently

This happens to be the end of a warp, a great opportunity for woven words and why not side by side? The piece on the left is a gift for a dear friend; the piece on the right was something that was spur of the moment (my favorite kind of idea), why not weave a piece for the deck posts?
I wonder what words I'm weaving...

I've been nailing tapestries to the deck posts for a few years now, ones that have languished in boxes, not living up to some standard or other. No one seemed to want them, but why shouldn't they be able to see the light of day?

this sad little landscape is much happier out on the deck post

And snow and rain and the attention of a few squirrels it seems.

So now here I am weaving a piece for the great outdoors. Who knows what other craziness will occur in 2019....

After all, you never know until you try, right?

Stay creative in 2019...please.
And don't forget to enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Workshop Samples

This is fun to look at, my entire year of workshop samples have been cut off the loom. I did go a bit crazy on the workshop circuit this year and it's a good thing I stopped at four because the loom I had warped was entirely full.

Must be the end of the year is approaching.

My cast of characters fresh from the loom

These samples are woven at the workshop and used to demonstrate a technique or design strategy. I don't plan them out beforehand because I work on these pieces as I get requests during the class. I often bring the loom back with me at night to finish a section in preparation for the following day. The loom was warped with 12/9 seine twine at 8 epi, 4 inches wide.

Yarns are usually grabbed from a table and because of that, surprising things happen.

Architecture with the Milwaukee Guild, a pleasant surprise...

Lost Art Fiber Workshop, she appears a bit wistful, missing the good old days I guess...

Illinois Prairie Weavers, this woman has some attitude problems, don't be so judgemental!
St Louis Guild, some sort of strange Candyland ....
This last sample is a good example of surprises. I was teaching a workshop based on creating a still life of desserts; cupcakes, cookies, pies and the like. After every demonstration I did, the piece continued to grow into a pastry filled sea.

A little fantasy in your life can be a good thing.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Workshop with Illinois Prairie Weavers

It's a treat to teach a workshop nearby, so when Kathy contacted me last year last year to see if I was interested in coming to the Illinois Prairie Weavers Guild for a workshop I was certainly game. Better yet, they chose the workshop that really is at the heart of what I do, Weaving Expression in Faces.

as you can see, I apparently had a good time...

Yes it is weaving people and that makes you nervous, but's just shapes.

Paula and Suzanne sharing ideas...

Each group I teach tends to have it's own personality. This group had a wide variety of ideas, a WIDE variety. Ideas are my thing, you can't have art making without them as far as I'm concerned. Knowledge of technique will vary in any workshop, but the seeds for these face ideas came from all sorts of places.

You want outside the box?, get to know Sheri...I was enchanted

Many of the pieces from the workshop were not completed to the extent that you can see the idea (and yes IPW folks, if you are reading this) yet I'm sure they are committed to finishing, the ideas felt just that compelling.

And these aren't even all of them, only the ones I took decent pictures of!

Blanche has a special place in my heart, a fellow elementary art teacher
and it shows in her work

Cathy's very ambitious FIRST tapestry, and she's doing it!

Pippi Longstocking in process, I love it Maxine

Paula did a very interesting interpretation of a painting by her mother

a fascinating expression by Suzanne

Regardless, it's in their hands now, as happens with all artists.

it would be hard to find a more 'chill' student than Billie, love her

her finished piece posted on Facebook - way to go Billie!

I just want to thank them for letting me come and spend time with them, learn from them as well and see the friendship and goodwill that comes from making art together.

Try it sometime.

Thanks IPW.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Sketching Expedition

I told you about the wonderful workshop I had in Waukesha WI, now I want to take a minute to share a few sketches from an experiment I will definitely repeat, my Drawing Expedition 2018.

cool cafe in Waukesha

so nice to stay at Nancy's house and be greeted by her dogs...

I decided, as I was planning details for my workshop, that I would extend my trip further east, visit family and friends and spend time along the way in places I'd never been, drawing in my sketchbook.

It was so fulfilling I won't hesitate to do it again.

I'd never spent time in Michigan and I discovered Marshall, a town you should visit.

Who doesn't want to go to a Magic Museum?

Ashtabula was only a stop on I 90 in Ohio for years, you should see the drawbridge there.

And sometimes a rainy day at a laundromat can enrich your day.

I'm so grateful I have a passion for sketching the things I see as I live this life. It's even better when I can share them with you.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Faces Appear at Lost Art Fiber and Textile Studio

I'm back refreshed from my two week Drawing Expedition back east and I wanted to share the beginnings of that adventure in Waukesha, Wisconsin. This town is on the way to Milwaukee and about a 1 1/2 hour drive from Madison. Nancy Wilson, owner of Lost Art Fiber and Textile Studio hosted both the workshop and myself at her home outside of town. The two dogs, Rosie and Henry were an added bonus.

Our hostess Nancy with Michele on the left and Sue on the right

as always, I like to dye most of the yarn for our workshop

This was a risk taking bunch of weavers. I have an approach in my teaching that is quite open ended and can be unnerving for those who fear venturing into uncharted territory. This group took the challenge and even when they found themselves at those scary crossroads (how do I start the eyes??!!, did I weave enough lips??) it didn't take much to push them into a decision.

Michele tries a 3/4 pose

Sherry creates a woman with style and class

Dawn tackles glasses and white hair...and to think she was nervous about weaving people
and Emily is a rug hooker who had never tried tapestry before...

What I love about these workshops is the individuality; we can't help but create different personalities. Naming our new friends became an earnest occupation among the group. On the last day these new people had a life of their own and almost wove themselves.

I'm so proud.

Thanks Nancy, a great space to hold a workshop!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Summer Sketching Results

I'm sure you all know my obsession with a sketchbook. If I haven't drawn it, it may not have happened.

And really, what better way to train your eye and get new ideas than drawing. It's the basis for all the artwork I do and think about in my life.

Olbrich Park in Madison...beautiful breeze that day

UW Memorial Union along Lake Mendota

Emily relaxes before the visitors come

Last drawings of Porkchop

The day Mom found her lost bike lock key by the tomato plant.

When I look at each one of these the memories of that moment come flooding back. These sketches are all done in a Stillman & Birn 10 x 7 inch sketchbook with micron ink pens, colored pencils and watercolor.

Stay creative....

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Self Portraits: The Summer Ends

I realize the calendar isn't telling us that, we have at least a month...but really, when Labor Day arrives, it feels as though the seasons are changing.

And it also feels as though my exploratory series of self portraits, a surprise really, have come to a temporary end. After all, self portraits are a continuing interest of mine so certainly more will follow. For now I need to stop and think.

from the left, Eyes Shut, The Line, Prisms

I have three pieces to show for my summer efforts, the idea is based on some issues I had this summer with my eyes. Amazing how your life changes when your eyes are effected, naturally one feels compelled to make art.

The surprise of this series was the impact of the holes in the tapestries. As you may remember, if you are a regular reader, I have made no cartoons, preferring to let the tapestry language tell me where to go. The final piece in this trio, Prisms, found me exploring open warps within the piece. I'm still not clear how the effect I want will be resolved, but that's part of this process.

Most importantly I'm pushing my boundaries, heading into risky territory which is what artists need to do.

What might happen?

Stay tuned.