Monday, April 18, 2011

Report on Road Trip--Part I

Myra Serrins in her studio
Natural Dyes 1 by Bhakti Ziek on left
Woven Dyed Piece by Myra Serrins on right

My road trip to Maryland/Washington DC area was so chock full of experiences that I will have to report on it in several posts. I stopped the first night with my friends Myra and Marty--just in time to go to Myra's yoga class. She is the teacher--and a really good one too. I didn't like yoga when I did it in the 70s, and I didn't like it recently when I tried a class here, but I actually enjoyed working with Myra. It definitely felt like the perfect antidote to hours of sitting in the car. I was pleased to see a couple of my weavings hanging in their house. Natural Dyes 1 is shown above, left. I wove it in New Mexico, and the warp was ikat dyed using natural dyes. Myra is a serious committed artist (my favorite type) who works in several medium, including weaving. I love the depth of black in her weaving on the right. If you click on the image it will open in a separate window and you can see the details of it better.

Blossoms Two Ways

I left piles of snow and no traffic, but the snow was gone by lower Vermont. By the time I reached Webs in north central Massachusetts my hands hurt from gripping the steering wheel with tension. I tried to remember Mark's suggestion--just stay in your lane and you will be okay. You would never know from my fear of traffic that I am a New Yorker. The first day was the worst--then I calmed down. (And I did manage to make it home safely, so I guess everything in terms of driving went well.) The trees had fresh small leaves in Massachusetts, there was green grass in upper New Jersey, and flowering trees in Maryland. I had to go and meet Spring, since she hasn't shown up here yet.

Since I mentioned Webs, I might as well tell you that I was so disappointed with the yarn that is available for weavers these days. I needed some black novelty yarn, a boucle or something like that, and they had one shelf with some variegated yarn on cones, and nothing else. I ended up buying a few balls of expensive knitting yarn to try it, but....I really miss Irene and Cooper Kenworthy in Providence.

Tied-Weave Study Group on left
Chris Spangler, Lanna Ray and Caroline Harlow on the right

Chris Spangler and her husband were my next hosts. A group of fantastic weavers were meeting at her house on Friday for their Tied-Weave Study Group. I don't think that is the actual name, but this year they are studying Tied-Weaves. Bonnie Inouye (second from left on sofa) was the moderator. I can name all of the people (Joyce Keister, Bonnie Inouye, Mary Pflueger, and Janet Stollnitz are on the sofa, left to right; Lanna Ray, Fern Grapin, Anna Byrd Mays, Chris Spangler, Caroline Harlow, and Larry Novak are standing, left to right) and I am sure if you are a weaver you know many of them too. If you click HERE you will go to the Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery Members' Page, and you can see work by Joyce, Janet and Larry and many of the other people who took my workshops this week.

Everyone brought food (you know how I love pot lucks) and I was entranced by Lanna's asparagus tart. It was a Martha Stewart recipe so of course it was beautiful. She shared the recipe and I am going to make it tomorrow for Mark's birthday.

Chris Spanger at her TC-1
Weaving by Chris Spangler with detail at the bottom

Chris has a TC-1 loom like mine, except she has six modules so she can weave at 45 epi at full loom width (28"). When she upgraded from four to six modules, she also purchased the new vacuum pump which has the capacity of running eight modules. She has both the vacuum and the air compressor in her garage, so weaving is much quieter than my set up. When I arrived, we photographed her recent weaving (shown above on the right, with a detail at the bottom) so I had the image on my camera to share with you. It is really beautiful. I don't have the exact measurements but I think it is about 7 feet high. The detail shows you how she pixelated the image so close up it is very abstract but from a distance it focuses into a landscape. She wove double weave with four wefts and has enormous color variation and nuance in the work. Chris has a new blog, and you can go to it by clicking HERE.

I have been very lucky in my ownership of a TC-1 loom, and now I am even luckier, because Chris had her former vacuum pump in the hallway and wanted to get rid of it. She offered it outright, but I felt an exchange was necessary--so she now owns one of my small weavings and I now own two vacuum pumps. That means I am one giant step closer to being able to upgrade my loom to more modules. If you want to learn more about the history of the TC-1, click HERE to go to a recent entry on the TC-2 Blog.

So I had a very auspicious beginning of my trip and when I went to give my lecture and teach the first workshop the next day for The Potomac Fiber Arts Guild, I already knew the names of 8 participants.

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