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 really...it'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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Self Portraits, Continued.

So when we last met I showed you the first of what is turning out to be a summer of self-portraits. I wanted to work very informally on a sturdy 8 x 10 inch picture frame with the intention of NOT having even edges. I called the first piece Self Portrait:Eyes Shut.



Now I'm back to show you the other side. Same warp, just turned the frame over. I made no sketch, simply started with the aluminum wire and a glittery ribbon type yarn I bought at a knitting shop years ago. The weaving guided me in this design and told me what should come next. At this point the title is Self Portrait:The Line.



One interesting thing about this warp is the stiffness, although it is quite fine. I like the little bends at the top of this piece and am trying to bend some into place with the other. I'm pretty sure these warps will be exposed.




And I'll be thinking awhile about how to present them. But then thinking and playing are what my summer is about this year.

Next up, a third self portrait on this little frame a friend once sent...


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Self Portrait: Eyes Shut

I'm getting more interested in unusual materials this summer, to see how they my impact the portraits I do. I've been in a bit of a rut lately.

So I put some very fine and hairy linen on my low tech tiny picture frame (aspiring tapestry weavers please do as I say, not as I do) and decided to focus on my stranded aluminum I've had a couple years. I've used it in small bits, but not much more than that.

the spool of aluminum also doubles as a great end table.

I did do a very rough sketch but left it in my journal, only as an idea, not a cartoon to follow. This idea developed from the weaving, but I stuck to the mood and the closed eyes.

4 inches wide, 10 epi


I have only a few passes to go and will keep the uneven edge at the top when I knot the warps. No turnback needed, this linen is awesomely kinky when you cut off the warp and will remain exposed.

I'm thinking the shiny aluminum is a pretty good match for my hair...


And delightfully, as it's a circular warp, there's another side.

Which means another portrait.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

It's Summer

You know it's summer in Madison, these people are back on their bikes and walking their dogs now that the weather has turned summer wonderful.
For me I've fallen into a routine of dye pots and sketching outdoors. I like the break from weaving and spend more time thinking about things instead of immersing myself in process for the winter.

My friend Nina dropped off a bag of rhubarb from her back yard. There's dye inspiration there.

that red to green transition would make some cook skin colors...

I have been fiddling around with my idea of weaving 3 strips showing students passing in the halls at a high school. It's very much a work in progress, nothing has really jelled yet.
But these things take time.

black crayon sketches from my substitute journal


trying color ideas...i'm still not sure I'll weave this


I've headed off on a few bike drawing adventures, I always find a day of sketching satisfies me.





Yes it's summer mode...wonder what I'll do tomorrow?