Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friends from The Netherlands

Mark, Anne Mieke Kooper and Hugo Poelstra at BigTown Gallery

We have had a wonderful week with our friends, Anne Mieke Kooper and Hugo Poelstra, from Amsterdam. Anne Mieke and Hugo have visited us in every place we have lived since 1984 except two places. We met when Anne Mieke and I were both working for Jack Lenor Larsen in NYC in 1984. It was fun sitting around last night comparing our Philadelphia artists' loft spaces, our Brooklyn apartments, the NM straw bale, and our present Victorian beauty. Each had their own good points and we concluded that we are happy to have experienced them all. We share a love of art, and went to see the current Wood Show at BigTown Gallery in Rochester. It is a good exhibition, and looking at the space, they felt it is going to be a good venue for our work. Hugo was a city planner for Amsterdam, at one point in charge of bicycle traffic planning, so of course we went next door to Green Mountain Bikes. The owner, Doon, was so helpful and informative (when was the last time I owned a bicycle? I think 1979 in Lawrence, KS). We will probably get one for Mark in the near future, then one for me, after I try his and if I like it.

I just added a few more images to my Picasa web album of available weavings. I have a closet upstairs where everything is stored, and while I was in Indiana, Mark taped, spackled, and painted it so it is now the perfect storage space for important items. I plan to take digital images of all the weavings so I have a complete record of what is available. It seems easier than trying to get digital images made from slides. Below is one of the weavings I just added, Lampasso for Fra Angelico. There isn't that much written about lampas (we have a good chapter in The Woven Pixel), but John Becker wrote about it in Pattern and Loom. That book, published in 1986, almost went out of print as quickly as it came on the market, and currently used copies sell for exorbitant prices. I was one of the lucky people who bought a copy in 1987. Today Wendy Weiss sent me a link to a site where Donald Wagner has posted the book so people can have it as a free download. Click here to get it. It should be in every weaver's library (as should be The Woven Pixel).

Lampasso for Fra Angelico by Bhakti Ziek

While I am pointing out other web sites, I thought I would send you to the MAIWA post about the unfortunate decision by the Canadian government to deny Ashoke Chatterjee permission to come to a MAIWA symposium. In response, MAIWA organized a video conference, which shows both their commitment to artisans associated with their organization, as well as their ingenuity. A few years ago I had the pleasure of speaking at one of their symposiums, and I left with admiration for everyone involved with MAIWA, as well as envy for the population that lives near them in Vancouver and can attend their fabulous events.

It's so nice to go down to breakfast and see Anne Mieke and Hugo at our table drinking tea (coffee comes later), but I almost missed them the other day because my new alarm clock, the roofers, didn't go off. They are almost done, as you can see below, but had to go somewhere else that morning. We had a fierce rain yesterday, sort of a proofing of the roof--everything dry inside.

Two views of house with its new metal roof

Mark putting up new shingles on dormers

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Colloquy 2009 and a Visit to New Harmony

Images from Colloquy 2009

I had a wonderful week in Indiana, first at Colloquy, then visiting Laura Foster Nicholson in New Harmony. The gathering at St. Meinrad's Guest House has been happening each year for about 14 years, and is a continuation of the gathering that used to happen in Mineral Springs, WI at Ken Colwell's place, The Looms. I was not the only new comer this year, but most of the participants have known each other for years, and this is like a yearly family reunion. Everyone was welcoming and enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about looms and weaving. My talks were well received, and I was able to hear some presentations by others. Brother Kim, who organized the event with the help of Kathy O'Neal (seen above wearing her lovely deflected double cloth scarf), is such a lively person it was hard to get images of him not in motion. He brought a group of us to the Abbey to see some of the vestments. They include some amazing velvets, embroideries, and contemporary woven and constructed garments. I was getting confused between labels such as chasuble and cope, and just focused on the cloth. Brother Kim has woven and sewn some of the garments he showed us, and Murlea Everson, one of the participants, weaves the Bettencourt Collection for Meyer-Vogelpohl.
Seeing some of the vestments at St. Meinrad's Archabby

While we were looking at vestments, some of the others were setting up a three-shaft loom in Brother Kim's studio. His studio has a range of looms that include a computerized dobby and a drawloom. I think visits to other artist's studios are one of my favorite things to do. I also love listening to people talk about their research, especially when they are excited about it. I got to hear Teena Tuenga make a presentation on the weaving she has done exploring color and weave, using parameters presented by George Best during a previous Colloquy. Her presentation really explained why these people gather each year--for friendship, yes--but because they encourage and inspire each other to explore their interests in weaving further. I felt very honored to be asked to talk to them, and to be able to share Colloquy 2009 with them. Plus I feel like I have a dozen new friends.

Brother Kim's weaving studio

Teena Tuenga making a presentation of her research

New Harmony is close to St. Meinrads, so my friend Laura Nicholson, who lives there, came to get me and we had our own form of reunion and textile inspiring discussions. I visited her two years ago, and seriously considering moving there, and once again I found this small modern community built on the memory and ruins of a Utopian community quite fascinating. Main Street, where Laura has her LFN Textile Studio, could be main street in almost any small town USA, except Docey Lewis has her design studio right across the street from Laura's--and how many main streets can boast two brilliant textile designers? When you visit the Harmonist buildings, the Visitors Center/Atheneum is a Richard Meier building, and the Roofless Church is a Philip Johnson building. So you see homage to both the past and the present sitting side by side.

Images of New Harmony, IN

Of course, for me, Laura's studio is the most interesting place in New Harmony. The New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art is housed in the same building and all the works in the current print exhibition are shown on their current webpage. Below you see Laura standing in front of her edition of 20 pin cases (I bought two--one for me and one for a friend). You can also see her in her studio. She didn't really want me to take that picture but I love the activity that so clearly shows on her table. She is a force of creativity, and definitely one of my heroes. I also came home with one of her eye sachets--she said I should put it on my eyes and it will help me relax and sleep (it is full of flax and lavender, I think)--but really just looking at it is a feast for my eyes and will bring me much happiness. You can see all the souvenirs I came home with in the final picture. Interesting that Kathy O'Neal gave me an old ribbon loom shuttle (from Henry Riehl and Sons of Philadelphia) and then I bought my most recent additions to my LFN ribbon collection. I never make anything with these ribbons, just keep amassing them--I want one of every design--and always I bring them to show students. Aren't they beautiful?

Laura Foster Nicholson in front of her printed pin case on left and with her ribbons on right

Souvenirs of my trip include LFN ribbons and a ribbon shuttle

Friday, October 9, 2009

Peak Leaves

We have passed peak leaves here in Vermont, though everywhere you look it is still pretty. I have been reading books on peak oil over the last few months, and it is much more fun to think and talk about peak leaves. About peak oil, I just want to hide my head in a pile of leaves and ignore it, but that would not be fair to the future generations (being optimistic here and assuming generations). I have no answers to the dilemma of what to do, but am sure that living in a town where I don't have to use my car every day is on the right track. If nothing else, walking my dog and taking pictures, and thinking about my weaving, about what I want to weave, brings me back from despair. In this moment ("be here now") everything is perfect. The daily changes of the red leaf pathway, turning dusty brown but still lots of color, brings my attention to the moment.

In preparation for one of the lectures I hope to do at Colloquy, I prepared this image of slices from this morning. If I weave it I will call it Leaf Walk. Just now, I worked through all the steps of going from image to weaving. Below the initial collage you see the same image reduced to 10 colors--which is what I will need to do if I am weaving a weft-backed cloth with four wefts (wefts 1-4 alone, 1&2, 1&3, 1&4, 2&3, 2&4, 3&4 add up to 10 color possibilities). I will do a live demo of my process for Colloquy, but wanted to run through it first so I don't forget steps. I don't know how many of the attendees own The Woven Pixel, but the process is well-documented there.

Potential weaving design

Yesterday Mark and I had studio visits by Anni MacKay, owner of BigTown Gallery in Rochester, VT. She is going to put my work into her Holiday Show that runs November 25-January 31. I am thrilled!! I think she has the best gallery in Vermont. Rochester is a small town--it is where I went to pick berries for my jam this summer--and it surprised us to discover her wonderful gallery when we were exploring the area in summer of 2007. We always stop and see the exhibits, and always are impressed with the quality of work she shows. It will be an honor to have my work shown there. She is also interested in figuring out something with Mark for a future show. Mark says I am his biggest fan--but that is just because I get to see all his work. If more people saw it, I know he would have a big following. After Anni's visit, I felt more hopeful about Mark and I as artists and our future in Vermont. I was wondering if I had already passed peak art--but now I can say, not yet.

Mark Goodwin in his studio with Anni MacKay of BigTown Gallery

Works on Paper by Mark Goodwin

Works on Paper by Mark Goodwin

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Double Rainbow

Images from Sheep & Wool Festival, Tunbridge, VT

Mark and I went to the Sheep & Wool Festival at the Tunbridge Fair Grounds on Sunday. First we saw Jim McRae give a demo on sheep shearing, then attended Sheep 101--a very informative lecture by Chet Parsons. We visited all the animals, looked at all the vendors, and, of course, ate some food. The day before we had rain, but this was a perfect fall day.

That evening our friend Chris Allen-Wickler came in from Crafts at Rhinebeck, where she was selling the T-shirts she and Roger make. If you follow my blog, you saw Chris and her eldest daughter Zoe here in the summer, when they came to see me in Chicago. Besides t-shirts, Chris runs a program for children to learn animation called The Art Space in Traverse City, MI, and both her girls are award-winning animators. Her good news was that Zoe has been selected to go to India in November to report on a children's film festival in Hydrabad. I don't have children but I feel so proud of my friends' children and their accomplishments.

Are you suppose to wish on a rainbow? I remember something about a pot of gold--maybe a double rainbow is like double happiness. It was a glorious one that filled the sky the other day. Perfect back drop for portraits.
Chris Allen-Wickler on left, Bhakti Ziek on right, double rainbow/double happiness

Of course Chris' visit was the occasion for delicious meals and get-togethers. She had a 16 hour drive home on Tuesday, so I had to cancel the planned dinner, but Marianne and Liz came for breakfast instead. Here we are, smiling and happy; another mini-Cranbrook reunion. Even when we don't see each other for years (Mark and Chris hadn't seen each other for almost 20 years), there is such ease because of the force of those experiences in graduate school--for us as well as our partners. Naturally I tried to talk Chris into moving to Vermont. When her husband Roger visited us in New Mexico, we tried to get him to consider moving with us to Vermont too. I guess we have to get both of them together to work on them here.

Four Friends--Marianne, Liz (bottom row); Chris, Bhakti (top row)

December at end of our wood pile

I had to check Chris' car as she left, to make sure our cats and dog hadn't jumped in with her. She is such a loving person, and our animals didn't want to leave her side.

Yurt, full image and detail, weaving by Bhakti Ziek

Just in case you forgot, or I forget, I am still a weaver. Probably won't get to the loom again until end of October, but am doing things related. Today I put some work up to show someone who is making a studio visit tomorrow to see my work and Mark's. I don't want to say to much--don't want to jinx it--but I am putting some effort into trying to get my work seen again. Also, still preparing the presentations for Colloquy. I leave Sunday and look forward to this gathering of weavers.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fall Days

I made a little leaf bouquet for myself today. I just can't resist these red leaves. I have been sitting in front of the computer for days making a powerpoint presentation of my own work to give next week at Colloquy. Up until now I have resisted doing this talk with digital images, but my slide projector has bitten the dust and none of my recent work is recorded as slides, so I have to get up-to-date with a digital presentation. I suppose this is one of the reasons I left academia--I just couldn't bare converting my thousands of slides into digital presentations for studio lectures.

It turns out it is kind of fun making the collages of images in Photoshop and so I made a few for this blog. The fall colors are beautiful and inspiring. Where I collected those leaves above there is an area that is pure pink and red and when I walk my dog there I think I am in a movie by Kurosawa.

Driving and taking these pictures I kept thinking, what a beautiful cliche. I guess cliche is right, it is predictable--curving road showing perspective--but when it is encountered in person, in life, it still is amazing--amazing at each curve. I just can't get enough of fall back east.

We are having our roof redone by Brookfield Roofing. You can see Vernon Camp, the owner, putting down the first metal on the left, and the progression to almost finished with one side on the right. On the ground, Vern is really tall, but up on the roof the sense of perspective changes. He and his men are like mountain goats, and watching them makes me think I could just run up that roof. But in fact, I tried to climb the ladder the other day to reach Mark when he was painting, and I couldn't make it all the way up. Well, I could, but I didn't. Maybe I couldn't.

Brookfield Roofing working on our roof

Here is a better picture of the colors we have chosen for our house: two tones of gray--on the dormer only. My mother-in-law is following this blog, so sometimes I put in things for her. Carole lives near Phoenix and she wrote us that it was cooling down--96 degrees. It has already snowed in some parts of Vermont. Luckily not in Randolph yet, but I am bundled up in a blanket as I write.