Monday, August 12, 2019

Summer Vacations and Sketches

The pace certainly changed this summer.

It was definitely time for recharging, something different, an opportunity to learn and just time to think.

That's always a gift.

Hence my summer trip to Vermont, sketchbook in hand. This trip had many parts to it, including taking a workshop rather than teaching one, this time the subject was figure drawing. 
The place was the wonderful Landgrove Inn, which I discovered via a search for "art workshops in VT". I highly recommend this gift I gave myself.

In between, of course there was laundry to be done...this time in Middlebury.

And visits to Smugglers Notch State Park,
Burlington Bike Path and countryside of Middlesex.

Vermont is truly a special state in our country. I'm ready to get back to the tapestry I plan to work on, the dyeing I need to do, the figure drawing I plan to continue.

And that's what vacations are for.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Those of you familiar with my work know I enjoy working in a series, most often with personal meaning.

Which brings me to a new series I've been thinking about and continue to work on titled Adaptations, inspired by problems I've had with my eyes this past year. It's been an interesting journey to say the least.

On the up side, working through problems often create good opportunities for art-making and I have completed 3 pieces in this series.

Eyes Shut: linen, wool, metallics

Eyes Shut was the first piece in the series, dealing with the initial symptoms and irritation.

Infusion: cotton, wool, plastic mesh, ribbon, metallics

Infusion was woven next, after I was receiving treatments.

Prism: cotton, wool, metallics, linen, wire screening

Prism is the third in the grouping and focused on my struggle to find adaptations that helped me do what I wanted to do.

All are mounted on 9 x 12 inch acrylic painted board.

Along with the idea concept, I wanted to work more with exposed warps, slits, and some new fibers that had different qualities than my traditional dyed wool. There were many discoveries that opened my eyes to other possibilities.

All 3 of these pieces were woven on my surprisingly sturdy old picture frame, 10epi, 4 inches wide.

I like the light from the back too but haven't figured out how to pull that off...yet.
More to come in this series.
Stay tuned.

Monday, May 6, 2019

ATA Postcard Exchange

And I do mean tapestry postcard.
As in a postcard woven and sent through the mail.

At some point this winter I signed up too participate in my dear organization, ATA 's Postcard Exchange, courtesy of Dorothy Clews, who organized the whole thing. She chose our partners randomly and one day in April (after I had typically forgotten about the whole thing) I received an email from my partner in England, Kirsten Glasbrook who sounded very organized.

I got to work.
The theme is delightfully broad, "Here to There". I decided to be very straight forward in my design. I've been creating a lot of pieces with stray threads and holes and hidden meanings lately.
And so the tapestry began, entitled, My Perfect Vacation.

postcard is to be 5" x 7", sewn to a backing

In the US people either get my attraction to train travel or they don't. I recently had a long weekend vacation to New York City - 19 hours by train - and the man at the grocery store said, "sounds fun for the first 20 minutes". I do talk to almost everyone.

This was a redo of an idea I had in 2007 after I took a train from Wilmington,DE to Savannah,GA. I drew a bit and the next month wove these two small pieces that combined my delight on the train with some landscape elements I grew familiar with during my 8 years as an elementary art teacher; the corner sun and a floating blue sky window.

Morning on the Palmetto

A nice tiny bit I never mounted

I've never redone an idea before like this and it's quite freeing, no pressure, just enjoying the revisit to my love of trains, just as I enjoyed last week's trip to NYC.

Big change from the neutrals I've been working with isn't it?

A perfect vacation indeed. We'll see how it ships over the Atlantic Ocean this summer.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Hallway Transition Series, panel 1 is complete

And of course there's plenty to talk about. This 3 part series, entitled Hallway Transitions has created some marvelous discoveries for me with growth and new directions.
I'm so lucky, isn't that what an artist hopes for?

3 of 5 drawings I've done with crayon...still working on final ideas

To review, I started with drawings that came from substitute jobs I've had over the years in the Madison School District. I completed several individual weavings, but wanted to create groups of students passing in the halls. I often feel as though I'm moving against some force of nature.

samples in tapestry might seem nuts but in this case, necessary

I decided to use neutral colors and some open-weave techniques, so samples needed to be done.

Then the weaving began.

using my copper pipe loom, my very favorite of all

Below is a play by play of panel #1. These pieces are woven on the vertical, side to side. The sett is 10epi, 8 1/2 inches wide. I followed the drawing to an extent, but serendipity was in play most of the time.

choosing yarn becomes more complicated once the first face is woven

lighter values to bring this face forward

the final face falls between the previous two values

panel completed, on to the next

Keep a lookout for metal, wedge weave, holes and unwoven parts. That's the beauty of it. I'm hoping to get the pieces woven by the end of the year.
Keep an eye on me.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Workshop: Tapestry Portraits from Photographs

Lost Art Fiber and Textile Studio, September 13 - 15, 2019, Waukesha, WI

Just when I think perhaps I've taught enough workshops here and there, an offer comes that's just too good to turn down, another trip to Lost Art Fiber and Textile Studio. And it's not just because Waukesha, WI is a short day trip for me or that owner Nancy Wilson is a warm and wonderful hostess. Nancy's two dogs are a pretty good draw though.

last year's's always a good time when Dawn is there...

When Nancy suggested I return after a great workshop in fall 2018, I wanted to shift the focus in this workshop and decided to have students work on portraits from personal photographs rather than letting the weaving process dictate the design.

I marketed and sold work from my studio in Rochester, NY for several years based on this idea. I had a 3 1/2" warp on my pipe loom constantly and did solo portraits up to a dozen grandchildren and everything in between. Special requests were the most fun, it's amazing the ideas people dream up.

I scanned some old photos to show you from a book I used to show clients so they had an idea of how I worked. I wanted to encourage many photos rather than just one. And of course pets appeared quite often.

But, speaking of pets, look at this wonderful weaving one of my students shared with me a few weeks ago. Linda came to a face making workshop last year in IL and has woven some wonderful faces since, then the dogs arrived!

aren't these guys super cute? I love dogs...

Linda has started the base of the weaving and has the main shapes drawn and behind the weaving

the finished tapestry, 12 epi, 8"wide x 6" long
So if you'd like to join us in September this year to work with tapestry weaving, photographs, and like-minded friends, contact Nancy for more information here and let me know if you have any questions.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Update on the Panels, Hallway Transitions

Winter has it's icy grip on Wisconsin.

I seem to have chosen a long term weaving project that mimics the colors I have seen outside for the past 3 months, neutrals or near neutrals. As March approaches I'm wondering if this is a good idea, but it may all work out as the weaving extends into July. Ice colored yarns may help with mosquito season.

back in Nov when you could still see ground, lots of color inspiration outside that day

An update on what I'm calling Panel 1/Hallway Transitions, just to organize it as I weave. This morning I reached the eye of person 2 in this group. So far I think the values are holding together.

I find I am very grateful I took the time to do those samples. They are pinned to a board and next to me as a reference, referred to daily.

More updates to follow as the seasons come and go.

these panels will be woven on the vertical, 8 1/2 " wide, 10 epi

overlapping camo shirt of person 2, lower right corner

organizing yarn selection for next person, much lighter values

where I am today, February 24

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Big Ideas Take a Long Time to Develop

And so it has been with "Hallway Transitions", the working title of this idea.
Regular readers of this blog may think I've given up weaving entirely in favor of sketching. I'm the first to admit an obsession with drawing, but weaving has been bubbling away in the background.

these tapestry cartoons are 8 " high and meant to be woven side to side

In order to create a larger group of work for my Substitute Tales idea, I decided a year ago to work on a few tapestries with groups of students from my daily substitute teaching journals. I worked with those sketches, combining groups by cutting out crayon drawings and moving the pieces around, finally drawing three strips with a black crayon.

At a loss of how to continue, I decided last summer to do watercolors of the 3 drawings.

The only thing this did was create more confusion. Adding color didn't seem to help move this idea forward.

I spoke with a few people who's opinion I value greatly and two of them mentioned that they preferred the black and white approach. I filed the watercolors away and focused on the neutral.

I chose to do a 6" sample of the 8"  high drawing...I'm staying with the 8" /10 epi for the final piece

Fall 2018 began and I knew I was not ready to start weaving. I sorted through yarns I had dyed during the summer, organized them into value and realized I needed to weave a warp of samples. I put a 6 inch warp on my pipe loom and completed 4 samples by the first day of 2019.

I tried weaving on the horizontal for this final sample, but will stick with the vertical

I learned so much weaving those samples: yarn value choices, weaving with new types of fiber, leaving holes, horizontal vs vertical. I think I might be ready to start weaving the first piece.

So guess what I did this morning?

it's warped!
Hallway Transitions is moving forward...