Saturday, April 23, 2011

Report on Road Trip--Part II


Friday afternoon, after the study group left, Chris Spangler and I went into D.C. to the Textile Museum. They were just mounting their exhibition Green, so we couldn't see everything, but we did manage to get glimpses. One work in the exhibition is a Safavid embroidery dated 16th/17th century that I feel is an old friend. I first saw it in a show that originated at that museum called Woven from the Soul, Spun from the Heart, curated by Carol Biers. I used to give a slide lecture on Safavid textiles, and always included this delightful narrative about Yusuf and Zulaykha. Another piece we enjoyed seeing was a woven leaf by Emily DuBois. I like that the show is a mix of contemporary and historical textiles.

The next morning I gave a talk on my work to The Potomac Fiber Arts Guild. With the names of people I had met the day before fresh in my mind, my sister Robin in the audience, and several people that I have met before also in the audience, I immediately felt rapport with this group. They were very receptive to my stories, and afterwards, honestly, I felt high with excitement and appreciation. One of the people who came up afterwards to introduce themselves was Claudia Segal, shown below with me. Claudia is one of the co-founders of Weavolution, an online gathering place and forum for textiles. My co-author of The Woven Pixel, Alice Schlein, did an online class for them recently. It looks like it will become an important resource for our field, and maybe in the future Claudia and I will figure out something interesting for me to offer on their site.

Don't you think the picture below is interesting? It looks like I have a halo--only it is rectangular instead of circular. Now what does that mean?

Bhakti Ziek (left) and Claudia Segal (right) of Weavolution

I taught two classes for the Potomac Guild. Saturday was an afternoon workshop on using Photoshop for fiber design. Instead of focusing on weaving, I introduced some skills that could be used by anyone in terms of imagery and various fiber processes. We covered making repeats, and modifying colors, and some basic tools and filters. Even though there were many different programs in use (various versions of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, as well as Mac versus PC) we mostly managed to stay on the same page.

Dinner with Chris and Ann Sanderoff-Walker was not only wonderful because it was authentic Indian food (and I had the most delicious masala dosa), but because Ann and I had spent days together in Santa Fe in 2006 in a workshop that I taught that was the model for the workshop that I was giving for the next two days. Ann has many skills (sewer, weaver, quilter) and this trip I was happy to see her work in several places.

I didn't get any photographs of the Photoshop workshop, but I did take a few during the two day workshop on design for fibers. There were 21 people in the workshop, and they were all bright spirited, confident and engaged--so it was easy to learn and remember their names. We did a number of exercises, though I felt they were already had strong bases to their work and probably the workshop was more about community and the fun of working side by side than any profound insights into making work. We did spend a significant part of the workshop looking and discussing work by each participant. Again, I was struck by the ability of these women to talk about the work in ways that were helpful to each other, focusing on questions that were asked, and giving serious consideration to their answers. To me, this is what a gathering should be about. It is why I still feel so close to my graduate school colleagues. I do hope some of the people in this group will continue to gather for kind, serious discussions of work, that encourage and help each other to grow as expressive artists.

Workshop participants from the Potomac Fiber Arts Guild.
In the center is a compilation of two exercises done in the workshop.

At the end of the day, my sister Robin Ziek, who happens to work in Rockville (check out the Catalog of Historic Buildings she created for the City of Rockville), where the workshop took place, met me and took me to her house. She has the ideal urban farm. Five acres with sheep and chickens and just at the end of the road is bumper to bumper traffic heading here and there. It was great to have a few days with my sister and her family. I will complete this travelog soon.

Robin Ziek with her dog Cody

Robin's sheep

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