March weaving growing on TC-1 loom
It is so good to have obligations on the calendar that force me to stop playing computer games and return to the loom. I gave a talk on Saturday morning for the Vermont Weavers Guild, then they came to my house to see the TC-1 loom in action. I also put out most of my ethnographic textile collection in hope that pieces would find new homes (and a few did). Spurred on by the visit, i got busy last week weaving. I always wonder why I have these long breaks, once I return to the loom--because it really is exciting to see the image grow. This weaving is going to be approximately 42 inches wide so the motif that you see developing in the images above will be on the left side of the final weaving. It is one of the drawings I did when i was trying to figure out classification awhile back (remember, the PBS Art 21 series?). I never did decide where I would place myself, but I like the motif and am very pleased how it is working in the cloth. There is a gold metallic weft that is being used both for the ground and for patterning, and my photos are not giving you a clear sense of the simmer and shine of the piece. Maybe when my new camera arrives I will be able to show you it better. And by then, it should have become much longer too.
Two of my studio walls with structural studies hanging
I hung the walls of my studio with the structural studies for the guild to see. I find them very useful myself but have given up on the idea of making them my art work. They are what they are--and that is enough. I see I have different aspirations for the current piece than I do for them. That means I will be very critical of the weaving when it first gets off the loom, and then, hopefully, I will soften with time.
Some of the ethnographic textiles in my collection
After the excitement of the talk, and a house full of weavers, I had a quiet day putting all the textiles back in the containers where I store them. It is almost a ritual, to take them out, try to sell them, remember when and where i bought them--usually directly from their maker--then carefully fold them up and put them away. I wonder if they will end up in some thrift store when I die? I hope not. India, Guatemala, Uzbekistan and Japan are all represented in the fabrics above.
On Monday, Liz and I had a lesson in coiled pots by Holly. We really had a good time. I definitely felt like a grade-school child, awkward and out of control. I had to put my first attempt back in the recycle pile, but my second attempt has possibilities. It is going to be a spoon pot for our wooden spoons and stirrers. It was really informative to work with Holly and see how skilled and joyful she is with the clay. One little pat or pinch by her and our work would shape up.
Holly Walker and Liz Billings making coiled pots
Yesterday Mark and I drove to Pawtucket, RI to pick up two of my weavings that had been in an exhibition at the Slater Mill Gallery, juried by Norma Smayda (center below) and Jody Brown (right below). Andrian Paquette (left below) was kind enough to show us around Slater Mill, which has wonderful old textile equipment that is still running. Andrian demonstrated the narrow tape loom which is shown in the image below. We also saw the renovated studios where classes are taught and meetings are held by a number of guilds. The waterfall outside the mill was really roaring and Andy said the river was about 8 feet higher than normal.
Andrian Paquette, Norma Smayda, and Jody Brown at Slater Mill
Narrow tape loom which is still weaving, see all the dobby bars on the left side of the loom!
After the mill, we went into Providence to see Kristin Crane's handmade books at Craftland. Kristin was a textile designer, before most of the mills in the area closed, then studied graphic design, but she seems to be thriving as a bookmaker and one of the directors of the gallery. She also sells her work on Etsy. I was a bit overwhelmed by the city--pastoral Vermont has changed me. But not so overwhelmed that I couldn't find Whole Foods and immediately spend my lecture fee and then some. I realize I am glad we don't have a store like that near us in Vermont (I think I am sounding like that cliche about New York--you know, the one that ends "but I wouldn't want to live there.")
Kristin Crane holding one of her travel journals in Craftland
I bought the new Abstract Expressionists stamps at the post office the other day. They are so cute that they will really tempt you to send a real letter. All these miniatures of very big paintings. Some of them are huge though in terms of stamps and when I mentioned to the post person that I would have to turn the stamp to get it to fit on my envelope, and was that okay, he said, "It's abstract expressionism. You can turn it any way you want."
New stamps available at the US Post Office