Sunday, October 30, 2016

Lexicon -- An Exhibition of Weavings by Bhakti Ziek

I have a new exhibition up at BigTown Gallery in Rochester, VT from October 26 - November 26, 2016. It is called Lexicon and includes new weavings as well as some older ones. I have posted images on my Facebook page but will put them here too.

The Refuge series (1 - 8 shown below) are all 8"h x 6"w, woven using taqueté or plain weave structures, composed of seine twine warp (hidden) and wool, rayon chenille, and metallic yarns.

Refuge 1

Refuge 2

Refuge 3

Refuge 4

Refuge 5

Refuge 6

Refuge 7

Refuge 8



Taqueté Bands, Taqueté Rabbit and Samit Duck are part of the didactic series about structures. Some of this series could not be shown, due to space considerations, but I will put them at the end of the images.

Taqueté Bands
29.5"h x 15.5"w, 2016

Taqueté Rabbit
18"h x 26"w, 2016

Samit Duck
16.5"h x 26.5"w, 2016
I wove Florence Cross-Sections and Birds 2 in the summer of 1997 at Fondazione Lisio. They are both damask liserie, one woven by hand (Birds 2) and one woven on a fully electronic loom at Rubelli Silk Mills.

Florence Cross-Sections
31"h x 46.5"w, 1997

Birds 2
9.75"h x 7.25"w, 1997

Quote is the beginning of a series that I still have to weave. It is samitum structure; a motif handpicked on an 8 shaft loom based on a historical textile.

Quote
3.25"h x 3.5"w, 2007
Mark Goodwin made a vitrine for me to show four weavings made circa 1990 using lampas structure and some brocading.


Detail of Pink Lampas Study
80"h x 8"w

Detail of Gold Diamond Lampas Study
69"h x 8.5"w

Lampas with Brocade
6"h x 5.5"w

Supplementary Warp Study6.5"h x 8.75"w
 
There wasn't enough wall space to hang the following five pieces, but they definitely are part of the Lexicon work.

Taqueté Structures
10.5"h x 26.25", 2016

Taqueté Sunset
12"h x 14"w, 2016

Taqueté Trees
12"h x 12"w, 2016

Taqueté Described 1
15"h x 13"w, 2016

Taqueté Described 2
15"h x 14"w, 2016
This is what the gallery says about the work:

Bhakti Ziek - Projects Gallery

October 27, 2016

Bhakti Ziek doesn’t like to be asked “what is it?” about her work. She responds, “It’s a weaving.” If she were a scientist, she would be a research scientist, freely exploring possibilities without expectations of outcomes and end use. As an artist, her favorite pieces are her studies. For her exhibition, Lexicon, at the BigTown Gallery Projects Room, she has created a series investigating three ancient weave structures: taqueté, samitum, and lampas. 
Ziek is a renowned teacher (she says her “higher self” is when she is teaching), and she often leads workshops that cover these three types of interlacement, which probably developed one from the other. Ziek likes to refer to her lineage as a thread of weavers going back thousands of years. As early as the 2nd century, some of these weavers were using taqueté to make figured textiles. Today the looms have changed, but the structures that create the cloth remain the same. In Lexicon, Ziek is attempting to bring the audience into the work by explaining how they are made.
Stitched samplers, illuminated paintings, Mughal miniature paintings, and Sassanian, Safavid, and Ottoman textiles are a few of the influences Ziek sees in her work. Letters have often been a component of her work, but now they are didactic as well as visual. She says that making these weavings has been an elusive quest—that she isn’t quite there, but hopes to get there. Then she laughs and says, “isn’t all life like that; it’s all a journey of hope.”

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Eleven New Weavers Launched

Penland School of Crafts
Session 4
July 5 - July 17, 2015

Beginning Weaving 
Instructor: Bhakti Ziek

Cast of Characters:

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Janie Woodbridge (assistant); Donna Anthony, Kat Nicholas, Monica Brown, Daniel Garver, Lew Greenwald, Joshua Kovarik, Rachel Qualliotine, Nikki Curry, Haley Toelle, Morgan Elkins, Jacqueline Sullivan
There are 12 people in the images above but Janie Woodbridge, pictured at top, was my assistant, and together we launched the 11 new weavers shown below. Classes at places like Penland self-select, and I am sure that teachers each think they have the perfect class with the right students, and perhaps each class feels like the best one you have ever taught, but I know for a fact that Janie and I made a perfect team for the perfect class and together we launched eleven new weavers into the world. A couple of the students had woven a bit before, but they still qualified as beginners and I think we can safely include them in this launch.

Student Work:
Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Work by Jacqueline Sullivan (pulled threads, detail of pulled threads, brocaded picnic; 4-shaft structure study by Haley Toelle; shaped ground for woven necklaces by Rachel Qualliotine; work by Joshua Kovarik (ombre undulating twills, double corduroy on loom, undulating twills)
Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Undulating Twills by Donna Anthony; work by Nikki Curry (block twills with areas of stuffed double weave, double weave pocket shown on the loom; brocaded elements in plain weave); work by Monica Brown (woven shibori cloth and dyed woven shibori sample; brocaded garden); twill sampler by Lew Greenwald and Lew weaving class scarf for auction
Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Turned twills by Daniel Garver; tapestry by Morgan Elkins; plain weave blocks by Janie Woodbridge; Bhakti Ziek removing her plain weave linen cloth; work by Kat Nicholas (double weave; twill blocks; clasped weft scarf)
Book woven by Haley Toelle in spider weave (deflected warps and wefts)
Almost immediately each student found their own path. This was a group that grasped the principles of weave so quickly that I had to abandon any thought of a plan, and just let each of them lead the way. You can see from the images above that they explored a huge variety of woven possibilities--twills, overshot, monk's belt, huck lace, block weaves, double corduroy, double weave, tapestry, clasped wefts, woven shibori, deflected warps and wefts, pulled thread plain weave, and shaped plain weave. There was more, and of course there were color and material studies along with the structural research. Clean selvedges were not stressed but they all wove long lengths with straight edges. This class had all winners. And watching them, I was the biggest winner of them all. I love weaving--everyone who knows me knows how enthusiastic I can get about the process of weaving--but these new weavers made me love weaving even more.

Visitors & Excersions:
Amanda Thatch, coordinator of fibers, and one of her ikat weavings below 
We packed so much into two weeks. The studio was in excellent condition thanks to the work of Amanda Thatch and her summer intern, Audrey Schroeder. Amanda also accepted my invitiation to talk to the class about her own work in weaving. I wanted the class to be exposed to as many ways of approaching weaving as possible, and Amanda's wonderful ikats were a great introduction into how dye and structure can work together.

Catharine Ellis showing piles of her woven shibori fabric which she dyed with natural dyes
Catharine Ellis lives in the region and has been instrumental in helping the textile area of Penland for many years. I met her years ago in the 80s when I was at Penland and have admired everything she has done ever since. She came with bundles of woven shibori, another way that dye and structure can interact, and filled the table with inspiration. Her book, Woven Shibori, is going to be re-released soon with all new images and the dye portion has been rewritten and deals with natural dyes. One of the students, Monica Brown, also lives in this area and she is an herbalist, so it was a perfect introduction for her to meet Catharine and try woven shibori.

Alice Schlein visited the class and wowed everyone with her handwoven jacquards and books
Our third visitors were my good friend and co-author of The Woven Pixel, Alice Schlein, and her wonderful immensely curious photographer husband, Bruce Schlein. Time with them is never enough, but I will take what is given. Alice can bring me to tears with what she knows about weaving, and how she shares it with others. She is smart, funny, and kind. Alice and Bruce are really engaged in life and everything it offers. Everyone was lucky to meet them and see the cloth and books that Alice brought with her. Not just the books she has written, but the books she is handmaking and covering with her own cloth.

I didn't get pictures of the afternoon visit we had by Susan Morgan Leveille but it was quite a treat. Susan is the great niece of Miss Lucy Morgan, and everyone who goes to Penland knows about Miss Lucy. Susan had some clothing with her that Miss Lucy had woven and worn. Now that was a true piece of Penland history. One student, Donna Anthony, was the one student who contacted me ahead of time saying she had taken two classes before but felt she could benefit from the class--and I encouraged her to sign up and that I would work with her at her level, as long as she understood that rank beginners needed more help the first days than others. Donna came into the studio one afternoon saying she had just bumped into her first teacher--who turned out to be Susan!

Our class spent one evening before dinner with Edwina Bringle hearing stories about the early 60s at Penland and the transition from Miss Lucy's times to today. I loved sitting there looking at my students and thinking that we were the current moment in this long history. Is anything more perfect than sitting on the deep porch of Craft House drinking wine and listening to old Penland stories?

We also were invited to a short visit to the archives by Penland's archivist, Carey Hedlund. Among the things that Carey showed us were some samples woven by Miss Lucy Morgan as well as an old shuttle, that showed the patina of use and love, that might have been used by Miss Lucy. 

Details of looms at Valdese Weavers
Penland is located in an area that used to be full of textile mills. Lucky for us Valdese Weavers is still going strong and Janie knew someone who works there. I had toured the facilities many years ago with another Penland class when I was still teaching full-time and had former students who worked there. Turns out I still have a former student who is a designer there. It is incredibly gratifying to walk into a professional office full of cloth that is in production and designed by someone who studied with you. And I love touring textile mills. Big electronic looms are awesome. I couldn't take pictures of fabrics in production but I think the details of looms above show you some of the beauty of a mill. I know the students as excited about the visit as I was. Cloth is so ubiquitous and most people don't think about the ingenuity that has gone into the technology of producing it today. Also, having woven on looms themselves for a week, the students knew the foreign language being thrown at them--warp and weft and pick and fill and twill and selvedge and harness and more.

Picnic after mill visit--happy and exhausted
Finished Work:
Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Some of the finished work--Kat Nicholas with her clasped weft scarf; Daniel Garver holding his exquisite twill fabric; Janie Woodbridge offering Bhakti the scarf she wove (lucky me!!); Rachel Qualliotine modeling one of her woven necklaces; Joshua Kovarik tired by triumphant after a night of weaving his double corduroy rug; Jackie Sullivan modeling the poncho she team wove with Monica Brown and Dan Garver; Morgan Elkins radiently wearing her new scarf; Donna Anthony showing me her monk's belt fabric that I wish I could say I wove; Kat Nicholas hidden by her twill block fabric; Nikki Curry beaming as brighly as her overshot cloth.
Monica Brown, Daniel Garver and Jackie Sullivan teamed together to design, weave and sew this poncho, that they will continue to share. Penland really makes connections.
Cleaning up the studio on July 17th before putting up finished work at Northlight
It has taken me weeks to cull through the hundreds of images I took at Penland and try to eliminate them down for this post. Even so, it is long. How do you distill a time warp into a blog post? It was two weeks where time was so compressed that at the end of the two weeks you felt like you were saying goodby to people you had known your whole life. It felt like two weeks that really changed lives. I know it brought a very needed reinvestment of energy into my life. I often talk about being exiled in Vermont--but I left feeling appreciated and relevant. I left with renewed respect for weaving and its importance in people's lives. I left with hope for the future. I left very much feeling present. To paraphrase something I heard someone say the other day, it did wonders for my zen. 

Final Exhibition:
Ceramics by Robin Ziek made in Kip O'Krongly's class
Shots of the weavers putting up their work at the final Northlight exhibition
Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Holbrook Newman who taught yoga (thank you Holbrook for creating a space of trust) pointing out the print work she did this session; Lisa Grey, one of my close friends, who assisted Jason Pollen, another great friend, in upstairs textiles (thank you Lisa for quiet walks home to our rooms and sitting quietly in the dark talking); Audrey Schroeder, intern in textiles this summer who was the honorary participant in the studio

No one wanted to say goodby, and setting up the work at Northlight meant goodby for some of us (I left right after lunch, some people left from the show). But watching these students work together hanging each others work, making sure everyone was shown properly, really made me happy. I was grateful for all the wonderful people I met during these two weeks--people not shown in these images. I was grateful for time spent with my sister, Robin, who took Kip O'Krongly's ceramic class this session. I was grateful for the trust I found in Holbrook Newman's yoga class and for my student Rachel Qualliotine who also teaches yoga and who kept at me until I finally attended a yoga session (and went from paranoia to trust). I was grateful for each of the 11 students who took my workshop. And I was grateful for Janie Woodbridge who took my class at Belinda Rose's place in Scotland last summer and was the most supportive assistant anyone could have asked for. 
Janie Woodbridge, Kat Nicholas, Haley Toelle beaming at final exhibit
Me (Bhakti Ziek) and Janie Woodbridge proudly showing all the work the weavers accomplished this session
So I am filled with good memories and very optimistic about the future of weaving and the young people who will carry it into the future. When I think of Penland, this is the image that comes to me--with gratitude:

Left to Right, Standing then Kneeling: Haley Toelle, Donna Anthony, Bhakti Ziek, Joshua Kovarik, Morgan Elkins, Jackie Sullivan, Nikki Curry, Lew Greenwald, Dan Garver, Rachel Qualliotine, Monica Brown, Kat Nicholas, Janie Woodbridge

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July Already!

Bhakti Ziek preparing her Mirrix Loom
It's July already and I never got to post in June. So much for my intentions to be a regular blogger. But here I am today, preparing my Mirrix loom so I can take it to Penland with me. I leave on Sunday and have a full class of beginning weavers. Some people have expressed "sympathy" to me about teaching beginners but it is my choice. I could have proposed anything for my workshop but I want to work with new weavers. I hope to entice them to begin a journey that goes on for years.

Two tencel scarves woven by Bhakti Ziek in June 2015
I plan to start my students with 8/2 tencel and weave scarves (or table runners or just plain cloth). If someone wants to work with other yarn, that is fine--I see my role as explaining and demystifying the process of weaving on a floor loom. I wove the scarves above because I didn't know whether I prefered 24 epi or 30 epi for this yarn. Guess what--after washing and ironing I still don't know. At least the students will have physical examples to touch to help them make their choices.

Detail on top shows the two sides of scarf woven as a 1/3 twill (so reverse is a 3/1 twill)--there are changes of structure woven in stripes but always 1/3 tie-up; bottom shows the other scarf, woven as a 2/2 twill, with the weft color sequence forming a plaid (both sides of this scarf are the same); scarves woven by Bhakti Ziek, June 2015
Alpaca and silk scarf woven as a deflected double weave, by Bhakti Ziek
Here is an image of the second deflected double weave scarf I made using alpaca from Wild Hair Alpacas and silk from Henry's Attic. I was really pleased with the results and look forward to more exploration of this structure with those yarns. I sent this scarf and the other alpaca scarves out to Colorado to the store at Wild Hair Alpacas. They are having several open houses this summer and fall, so check their website for more information.

Third tapestry sampler woven by Bhakti Ziek for the online course taught by Rebecca Mezoff
I am continuing with Rebecca Mezoff's tapestry class online. This is my third sampler, which concludes the end of part two. There is another part to go--which makes me happy. I still have to finish the three studies--sew in the ends, that kind of thing. The instructions are in part three, along with learning to work with cartoons and weave shapes. I am going to do another study though of what we covered in parts one and two before proceeding with the rest. That's what I am doing in the first image--preparing the warp for another study that will probably be blocks and stripes, hatching and interlocks, demi-duites and floating bars. Rebecca has a video showing work by many artists using these processes and I am in awe of their skillfulness and creativity. Most of them are quite intricate narratives, which of course is a great tapestry tradition, but I am feeling very minimal these days and I think squares and color are going to be enough for me for now.

Demi-duites in top form are very neat on the face of the tapestry, but a mess on the back; detail of tapestry weaving by Bhakti Ziek, woven as a study in the online course taught by Rebecca Mezoff
Mark Goodwin preparing walls of Chandler Gallery, to hang Sisyphus, a seven panel weaving by Bhakti Ziek
There is another opportunity to see my seven panel weaving Sisyphus! The current show at Chandler Gallery in Randolph, curated by Rebbie Carleton, is called Creative Cosmos. It is up through September 7th. There will be a reception for the artists on August 8 from 6-8:30 pm and earlier that day, at 4:30 pm, the artists will talk about their work. My wonderful husband, Mark Goodwin, once again helped me hang my work. Okay--he did all the work and I watched.

Three panels from the seven panel weaving, Sisyphus, by Bhakti Ziek, 2015. Each panel is 28"w x 88.5"h, silk, cotton, metallic yarns, handwoven satin damask, hand woven on TC1 looms
Mark Goodwin's studio, June 2015
I will get home from Penland the night before Mark has an opening of new work at BigTown Gallery on July 18th. Perfect timing. His work and paintings by James McGarrell will be up from July 15-September 6, 2015. Meanwhile if you haven't seen the Viva Cuba! exhibit that is showing there now, it is not to be missed.