Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Time flies

It is hard to believe that my last post was Baby Watch in Chicago. A mere 9 weeks later I am on baby watch again as I enjoy a visit from my daughter, her daughter and infant son.
Teagan (grandaughter age 2 and change) and I start the day with an odd form of partner yoga. She likes to do downward dog, under my downward dog. She loves to sit in the lap created by butterfly pose.
We are lucky enough to have unseasonably warm weather, and so we are spending most of our time in the lake.  Just the toes please - the water is still icy.


Tomorrow I will be teaching my first class at Northwestern Michigan College. It is in their adult community ed program.The class is a two week introduction to Rigid Heddle Weaving.  I can't wait to meet my students, and hopefully hook them in. A coil basketry class comes a week later.

In the meantime I am working on the planning of the ArtRapids! Art Fair on June 25. A wonderful selection of carefully juried artists, in a beautiful park, next to a beach in a charming small town in Northern Michigan. So idyllic!

Even though I have a little less time the studio these days. I have a start on an idea for my next Tapestry. The challenge is for the show Rare Threads hosted by JRAC, to make a fiber piece inspired by an heirloom. My heirloom, pictured below, hung in my Grandmothers kitchen for as long as I knew her. This was from the era of the Great Depression through WWII, and beyond. I have been researching my Grandmother, Agnes, by asking others who knew her for their memories of her. I know she was kind, loving, made great chocolate chip cookies and had a crochet hook in her hand every time she sat down. I didn't see her sitting very often or for very long - but she managed to produce many pillow edges, chair back covers and baby outfits. Sadly - I have none of those.
She had a clover patch in which to hunt for the lucky four leaf ones. She would press them in her bible, and send in letters to her sons serving their country overseas. Later she also sent one to a son who had suffered a heart attack. I remember once opening her bible, and dried four leaf clovers fell out from between the pages.

I also remember her garden, both vegetables and flowers. We would shell peas together on her front porch, watching cars go by and scoring points for each car of our chosen color. At that time,  the traffic was pretty thin - averaging about 5 per hour.


And now I find ways to quietly entertain my own grand daughter. Today we will make chocolate chip cookies together.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Baby watch in Chicago

I am in Chicago for the next several days, knitting a baby surprise jacket for, surprise! My toddler grand daughter. We are also anxiously awaiting the arrival of her new brother. Could be seriously any minute now. 

This morning I took advantage of a rare quiet moment to update my class schedule on this blog. Look under teaching schedule for more information. I have added a rigid heddle weaving class in Elk Rapids in April. I have also added a Rigid heddle class at NMC in late May, and an introduction to coil basket class in June. 

I will still be in Chicago at the time of the opening of the Opening for the Michigan Handweavers Guild biannual at the Dennos Museum on March 19. I will be sorry to miss the opening, but very excited to see what my fellow fiber artists have been up to. I haven't heard yet if my two tapestries made it in, fingers crossed! 

In the meantime I have been doing yoga (yoGA) with Teagan. Strolling around the neighborhood (hi doggy! Bye bye doggie!) with Teagan. Reading to Teagan (BOOK! BOOK!) and "napping" with Teagan. We went to the children's museum at Navy Pier. Great place! we spent a bit of time in the stuffed animal room. There were at least 20 stuffed dogs, cats and rats scattered around the room. Interspersed were furry vests and Scaly tails for dressing up as your favorite beasty. Another room geared for toddlers and babies was filled with items to stimulate imagination, like a pine cone table, streamers, magnetic blocks and much more. Both rooms were filled with kids and parents. Chicago is a great place to live. But I am happy to be a visitor, and look forward to returning to watch Spring arrive at my lake up north. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Wings and Water

I am very pleased to be included in this show at The River Arts Center in Prairie du Sac Wisconsin. The opening reception is St Patricks Day, but I won't be there. I will be snuggling with my new grandson in Chicago. He will be at least 3 days old by then.

Below  is my entry, titled "Waterfall" It is a space dyed cotton warp and Theo Moorman inlay in linen and cotton.

It seems appropriate to be in this show because here in my new environment I find I am completely fascinated by birds, and by my lake. The sun, moon and sky also shape my day. It has had a big impact on the work I do now. But this piece was made in another time, and this reminds me that wings and water have always figured strongly in my intentions.

I have added a new beginning rigid heddle class to my schedule. It will be April 2, at The Wild Hare Rug Studio in beautiful downtown Elk Rapids. I you would like to join us for the day, contact me at nmcray@mac.com and I will give you all the details.
This beginning level class is just before the slightly more advanced Textures and Patterns class at Interlochen on April 9.

It is 28 degrees here today, and there are big mounds of snow piled up against my pole barn. Yet, the light has changed and it feels like Spring. I am ready!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year - New Classes

I have just updated my teaching schedule for this year. I will be adding more classes as they come along. In addition to the classes I put up -(look under teaching schedule, please), I will be teaching coil basket making and rigid heddle weaving at NMC.

February is turing out to be Rigid Heddle month for n.anne.  I will be making a presentation to the Northland Weaver's Guild on February 18 about the versatilty and ease of use the RH offers.  Interlochen Adult College is hosting a class on February 20. The Dennis Museum (Where the show "Extreme Fibers" is showing)  is offering the same class on February 27. I am glad for this focus for the next 6 weeks. There are many experiments I would like to try on this fabulous little loom. This gives me a impetus to really dig in!

Meanwhile, I am enjoying watching the sun return over my lake, and on my loom.

And playing around with natural dyes and ikat techniques.

While Gary gets to know the locals.

Monday, November 16, 2015


In the past I have found myself to be attracted to complexity. The more intricate and difficult a design was to make -the more satisfying I found it to be. 
Now I am discovering - perhaps again, simplicity has its charms. 
Complexity is plentiful. Maybe I don't need to create more. 

I needed hand towels for my powder room. I wanted them to be linen. I wanted them to match the counter top. I wanted them to be timeless. I tried to buy them at a local store - but my ideal towels didn't seem to exist there. Having decided that I could weave them, I was tempted by multi harness complex broken twills. Because I can! But dead simple seemed to be the way to go. 

 Here are the finger towels right off the loom.  Plain weave - rather stiff. I loved the drape - or lack of drape at this point. I momentarily considered  making the continuous piece into a table runner.
Instead, I threw the whole thing into the washer, on very hot, with lots of agitation. The fabric came out relatively soft, with a nice drape. Still a little tooth in them.  They will become softer over time. They feel great in my hands and absorb water well. They match my counter stone perfectly.  It was the combination of the right fiber with the right structure that got me the result I wanted.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the simple pleasures.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Back in East Lansing for a minute

I am back in East Lansing for a quick little weekend. I attended the Grove Gallery holiday market opening last night. Always a good party, and so great to spend some time with my gallery buddies and art friends. I returned this morning to pick up a shawl that coordinates with the dress I plan to wear tonight. 
Grove Gallery is filled with wonderful gifts, and indulgences. I am sure that more work will continue to come on over the next month, but the selection is pretty darn amazing right now! 
325A Grove Street, East Lansing. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Extracurricular photos from Gatlinburg

I am amazed by the juxtapositions I see in Gatlinburg. Just fascinating.
The entrance to Arrowmont. For those who don't know, Arrowmont is a school of arts and crafts where people can go for workshops of very high quality. It is a serious institution in a very strange tourist town.
This is my class work. Made from trash found on the Gatlinburg strip. 
Pumpkin spice liberation army. action against mindless consumerism. The T-shirt is the problem. Carol Lung. 
Sign outside the Salt and Pepper museum. They were closed when I got there. I hope to get inside today.
face in the pavement.