Monday, November 3, 2014

The Squirrels are right! Time to stock up.

For the last several months most of my art practice has been focused on experimentation and development of classes. I have learned a lot, and I have taught a lot, and it has been good. 
It is now "that time of year". You know - Fall, with all its new energy. And stockpiling. Savoring every last bit of sunshine and color. We know. We know what is coming. Months of cold and gray. Wisely we break up the long dark months with celebrations. Festivals of light and food and glittery gifts. 

In the spirit of all this I have been stockpiling too. Warm and cozy scarves, and tiny waxed linen coiled baskets. 
 This bounty of goodies will be at Grove Gallery starting this week for our annual Holiday Art show. We host a couple dozen fabulous guest artists, in addition to our regular membership. Some artists, like myself, focus on making fun and affordable gift worthy items.
Please come! Pick up a coiled "Evil Eye" to protect your loved ones - or a handwoven wool (but not scratchy!) scarf to warm a neck. The preview opening is Friday, November 7, but the show is on until the end of December.

Grove Gallery and Studios
325A Grove St
East Lansing, MI 48823

Grovegallerycoop.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wedgies!

I am out of my studio this week. I am up at the lake, preparing to remove one house from our property so that we can build another one. This exercise is occupying much of my time, energy and brain.

However, I still get time each day to do a bit of art work.
This tiny  bit of wedge weave is inspired by meeting Connie Lippert at the MLH workshops a couple of weeks ago. Let me tell you - this is addictive. I photographed this outside, because it reminds me of irises.  However, I think this would also make a good wedge weave composition:
This was taken at the end of my dock, and might give you a clue about why I have decided to live here. 

I am going to reluctantly admit that Summer is winding down. There are five more days that I  consider to be SUMMER. I have lots of teaching fun lined up for this Fall - which in my mind starts in September, right after Labor Day. 

If you are interested in knowing my teaching schedule, please click on the link above. Next up is "Shibori loves Indigo" with Shanna Robinson at NCMC.  On Saturday, September 13 we will weave some fabric with a resist pattern woven right in. Sunday morning will be all about pulling those resists, and dunking it into the indigo pot. Thrilling! I might have to have something ready for that pot.  If you would like to come learn and play with Shanna and I call North Central Corporate and Continuing Education at 231-348-6705 to register.”
The cost to participate is $90. I ask that you arrive with your loom warped with undyed natural fibers. 

Then, right after that is the great Fiber to Fabric Weekend at Interlochen.  Grab a friend and join us for this early Fall Fiber retreat in northern Michigan.  

Just before the Interlochen weekend I will be installing "The Great Felt Lakes" at Grapids Irrigation for Art Prize.  If you come to art prize this year, please try to visit my installation, and leave me a note so that I will know you were there! 

A change of season usually instills in me a new energy - and I am glad for that, because, this Fall,  I think I am gonna need it! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Interlochen Fall Farm to Fabric Weekend

Here is a project I have been working on with Leslie Donaldson and a few others over the past few months. Registration is now open!

Playing off the “farm to table” concept, the Interlochen Fiber Arts Weekend will focus on Michigan’s growing “farm to fabric” movement and offer multiple hands-on experiences. 
Friday, September 26, 2014 to Sunday, September 28, 2014
Registration Fee: $175 (Friday panel and Saturday luncheon included)
Sample what the fiber arts have to offer and learn more about Michigan’s rich fiber resources and opportunities at this celebratory gathering for all skill levels and interests. Playing off the popularity of the “farm to table” concept, the Interlochen Fiber Arts Weekend will focus on Michigan’s growing “farm to fabric” movement. Offering multiple experiences for fiber curious attendees as well as those with more advance fiber arts knowledge, the weekend will open with a panel presentation on Michigan’s growing fiber-shed movement and will then lead into a series of unique, hands-on, mini-workshop sessions on topics such as natural indigo dyeing, sample and gauge garment design, wet felting, beginning drop spindle spinning and drafting for weaving (please visit the daily schedule to learn more about these exciting opportunities--some mini-workshops will have supply fees to be paid directly to the instructor). A Saturday luncheon (lunch is included with registration fee) will feature a presentation on textiles in the world economy and at home. Participants will also have opportunities to enjoy regional vendors and receive one-on-one technical troubleshooting assistance from guest faculty. Join us for this unique event as we focus on, and celebrate, the growing fiber arts movement in Northern Michigan.
PLEASE NOTE: It is highly recommended that you download the daily schedule to review mini-sessions and select your choices BEFORE clicking the registration button to enroll.
- See more at: http://college.interlochen.org/fiber-arts-weekend#sthash.UIYC2fi1.dpuf

Sunday, July 20, 2014

HGA Convergence, over too soon

I returned on Friday from the biannual conference of the Handweaver's Guild of America in Providence Rhode Island. It is now Sunday afternoon - and I am still in recovery. A little bit tuckered out - but a LOT inspired.  I took two classes, both in areas that I have some experience in. First was Pick up Pizzazz with Deborah Jarchow. This class was about how to use pick up sticks to create warp and weft float patterns. It was lots of fun, and I made a couple of exciting discoveries. I am looking forward to the next time I teach this class - I will have a new trick or two to share.

The next class I took was color gradation techniques for Tapestry with Rebecca Mezoff.  We only had two days to explore her many techniques for shading and gradual transitions. I wove as fast as I could, barely stopping for lunch either day. Man did my back and neck hurt! The pay off is that I have a decent size sample, illustrating some of the techniques. The class was certainly not long enough - but maybe long enough to  know that I would like to study with Rebecca again.
 Our warping challenge here is that the loom has to be clear on the bottom, top, front and back for a continuous warp. It took us awhile to figure this out. Who knew coffee cups are good for something beyond holding my coffee?


I am teaching "Foundations of Tapestry" at the upcoming Michigan League of Handweavers conference this August. Here is the official description:


FOUNDATIONS OF TAPESTRY
Materials Fee: $20 (Covers Weft and cartoons) Number of Students: 12
Skill Level: All levels (Appropriate for new weavers)

Tapestry is a weft faced, plain weave fabric with discontinuous weft yarns that make an image. Traditionally created for drafty castle walls, ancient tapestries were traded as commodities, partly because some of the threads were made from silver or gold. Tapestry has survived as a fine art media to our current day, with exciting new work taking on contemporary themes.
In this 3-day workshop we will focus on the foundations and building blocks of tapestry techniques. Class will start with building a good warp, heading, and hem. As warp spacing is closely related to weft size and grist, I will supply the weft in a selection of hand dyed colors. Our building blocks will include basic slit technique, weft direction, warp and weft interlocking techniques, along with a discussion of choosing the right method for your design. We will also learn diagonals and diamonds, horizontal and vertical stripes, curves and hatching.
To make sure that we cover all the basic techniques, I will be supplying cartoons to work from. On the last day, time permitting, we will work on cartoon development for your next tapestry. The last topic covered will be finishing, mounting and caring for your tapestry.
Students should bring:
  •  tapestry loom, preferably with a shedding device. I like the Mirrix looms the best. Schacht and Ashford are also good choices. If someone wants to build his or her own loom, check:
    http:// brennan-ma
    ffei.com/ Loom.htm
  •  12/6 cotton seine twine. Our tapestries will be ten inches wide with a sett of 8 ends per inch. I don’t know the size of your loom so I can’t specify yardage, but one 4-ounce cone or tube should be plenty. (Available at Yarn Barn, and other places I am sure.)
  •  Straight Pins for pinning cartoon to warp, laundry marker for marking warp,tapestry bobbins (optional), scissors – small, tapestry beater (kitchen fork in a pinch), plastic kitchen trash bags for heading.
  •  sketch pad and favorite drawing implements 

    I guess I should also add brick or books or coffee cups to elevate your loom while warping! 

    There are five spots left. Visit the Michigan League of Handweavers website for more information.

    I have started a new tapestry, as part of my ongoing series of small format improvisational tapestries. These little works are reflective of what is going on in my life, and works as sort of a diary.  Here is the beginning of my latest:


Friday, June 20, 2014

Wonderful Wednesday

A trip to Grand Rapids under heavy clouds turned into a wonderful adventure. First, lunch at San Chez, while watching the storm pass over Grand Rapids. The sky went from gray to nearly black while we shared our tapas. The hostess  came to our table to tell us where to go if the alarms should sound off. For any of you who have odd eating restrictions, San Chez is wonderful. They have five separate menus to address the most common food allergies. And the food? Delicious.

My lunch companions were Megan Blysma, associate director of UICA, and Deb Cholewicki, manager of Grove Gallery in East Lansing. After a wonderful lunch, Deb and I enjoyed a personal, behind the scenes tour of UICA. It has a wonderful theater, four floors of art, and will soon have a member lounge for meetings.There is also a space for artists to hold workshops, and more. It is a great building. Wonderful! The *business* reason for our visit to UICA was to drop off artwork for the gift shop. You can now find wonderful work by Deb Cholewicki and myself at the UICA gift shop. I am beyond thrilled!

After our UICA business was completed (thank you Jacqueline!) Deb and I headed over to Grapids to see the space that will host my Great Felt Lakes during Art Prize this year. There will be several other  lake and water themed pieces there at the same time. I am so happy to be working with this wonderful company. They had 5000 visitors to their site last year. I am going to need lots of paper and many, many pins. Aaron had a great idea of how to include the sound portion of my installation. Thanks Aaron! I have a bit of research to do. You know those graphic codes you can point your phone at, and get more information about stuff? Anyone out there know how to get those? How to use them?

Great Felt Lakes and Sutra/Suture  are currently at Grove Gallery for a short amount of time. If you would please go over to Grove Gallery this weekend, and share a memory of anywhere in the Great Lakes region, your memory will go to Art Prize! Grove is open Thursday - Sunday. Located in downtown East Lansing.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bruce Metcalf pokes the bear ( the art/craft debate)

I am pretty tired of the old "Art vs Craft" debate. After lots of churning it around in my brain, and listening to how others work the issue out, I came to a  definition that works for me.
Art is the idea, craft is how it is made.  There, done. Years have gone by without giving the question another thought.

Then along came an article in the June/July 2014 issue of American Craft by Bruce Metcalf. He opens his article with this statement : "Craftsmenship often doesn't matter in the contemporary art world. It should"

Major flashbacks to my grad school days when I was chasing after an MFA. Beauty and craft were rather discouraged, even in my field of fiber. I was often told my work should be more raw. More visceral. The focus was on concept - which is OK, but as Metcalf points out; "The art world has scrupulously avoided stressing the necessity of clear ideas. Critics give artists a pass. Bad ideas are everywhere." I would go so far as to say that unclear ideas were encouraged. A concept too easily discerned was seen as not interesting enough.

While I find his four points of what makes good art thought provoking, I am working in exact opposition to that on my current series of tapestries.
His last of the 4 points; " The last component is exercising control over composition". Nope, I am not doing that. Not right now.

I will keep this article to read again, and probably again. It makes me think about art/craft a little bit differently. I see value in the way I am working now, because it is what I need to do. Art making is ultimately about the maker. The deal I made at the beginning of this commitment was that I cared about the making as an exercise, and I would relinquish control over the outcome.

Here is the latest progress.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A good day for Krokbragd

I mailed a rug off to my daughter Kristin for her birthday last week. Yesterday she called to say how much she loves it.
I made it for her because she said she wanted one. That ploy usually works pretty well on me - try it sometime! She wanted one because she saw the one I made for her sister and her boyfriend, (who happens to be of scandinavian descent), and I felt their new apartment needed some colorful rugs. I am told the cats love to play slip and slide on the rug.

While trying to research this weave structure, I didn't find much. I am sure there is loads of information out there. I just didn't find it. My best information was a paragraph in Peter Collingwood's Rug Book.  So, I proposed an article to Handwoven Magazine based on using Krokbradg for it's potential for designing on the fly.  I am thrilled to say, that article has hit the stands.
You can find a copy here:Interweave Store


I was really happy to figure out how to execute Krokbragd on the rigid heddle loom - using 2  5 dent heddles, you can make a very sturdy rug, by repeating the 3 basic shots, and playing with color combinations.