Morocco, land of pattern and light.

I’m starting to get letters.  Everyone wants to know why I’ve been home almost a week from a fabulous 10 day vacation in Morocco and haven’t posted a blog or single photo about my trip.  Well…

  1. I took 1400 photos.  Where to begin…
  2. I had about 50 emails waiting for me including two articles to proof and contracts and all the crap that happens when you run a business and put people off for 10 days.
  3. Half way through processing said 1400 photos my keyboard died.
  4. Replacement keyboard from Amazon turned out to be faulty.  I picked up a replacement for the replacement at Best Buy this morning.
  5. My birthday was Wednesday and my sister surprised me with a glorious two day visit, which I wouldn’t have traded for the world.
  6. I found out that the class I thought I was teaching in Montana next weekend wasn’t the class I thought and I have 52 students and each one needed a 35 page bound handout, which will be followed by a three day jacket class in Idaho.  I spent more than $1200 on ink in the last 48 hours.

So this is why you haven’t heard from me.  Just this morning I spent two hours driving all over creation trying to figure out how to get a box, ground shipping, to Montana before next weekend.  So there is a holiday in there, which screws up everything.  And unless I FEDEXed it three day for more than $120, it wasn’t happening.  So I came home, repacked everything in 4 more priority boxes and they are on their way.  Good old post office…

And so now, the blog post everyone is waiting for…

Traveling outside your knowledge and comfort zone is truly a gift, not everyone has the resources or time to do a trip like this, so I’m super grateful that the opportunity presented itself, through Peters Valley, with a really respected tour facilitator Distant Horizons, and off I went with 17 other people to Morocco for 10 days.  I didn’t know when I booked this that it would be Ramadan, which probably meant much less crowds, especially in tourist heavy areas, but it was inspiring to see the dedication of our guides who fasted from sun up to sun down, not even a drink of water, in 107 degree heat.  An unusual heat wave descended upon Morocco, and bringing only “modest” clothing as instructed, it was pretty freaking hot.  But we stayed hydrated and didn’t miss a single planned event or tour.

I’m not even sure where to begin, except when asked last night at a rehearsal to name the thing that stood out the most, I immediately said, the patterns.  Everywhere you looked, there were patterns.  The stairwells (I think I took probably 100 photos alone of stairwells) the tiled floors and walls, the carved wooden ceilings and carved plaster lintels and door frames.  I was so very inspired.

 

We ate amazing meals, the Moroccan’s loved to show off their cooking and every meal was four course.  Good thing we walked a lot.  I ate lots of creative desserts and had my share of Tagine, the famous ceramic cooking vessel containing the famous Moroccan stew.  Most of the meals were plein air or Al Fresco, we dined outdoors, mostly in the shade as umbrellas provided.  The evenings provided some fantastic Moroccan wines.  They have really good wineries.  And those are chocolate buttons topping that decadent chocolate dessert.

Because we were part of a craft school, we had many tours of craftsmen, traditional crafts, women’s cooperatives, and even some hand’s on experiences.

We visited weavers and rug makers.  We smiled at the woman with orange hands from the dyepots.

One of the last cooperatives we visited took us down a hillside, across the river on a wooden bridge, and back up the other side.

We saw embroiderers, those who did the beautiful stitching and handworked buttons on the traditional dress of Morocco, the djellaba. 

We saw potters.

We saw tile makers and had a great hands on experience.  I assumed that the exquisite tiles we were looking at were inlaid like mosaic, but in fact, craftsmen sat all day long with very sharp chisels, knocking the sides off the little tiles to create a pyramid shape on the back so the tiles could be laid in upside down.  We all got to make a little tile with plaster on the back so it would set quickly.

We visited a tannery, walls and walls of leather goods.  We smiled as our guide told us that they used natural dyes for the leather goods.  Poppies for red, saffron for yellow.  Yeah, no…  

We had a fantastic lecture in Islamic Geometry, build off the Golden mean Sacred Geometry, with nothing but a compass and a ruler.  I seriously wanted to go back to 9th grade geometry and pay better attention.   Our instructor Hamza El Fasiki, a professor, who founded Craft Draft, and will actually be teaching a week in August at the craft school Haystack  in Maine, assuming his Visa comes through because, well that’s a complicated thing in this current political climate.  He is a brass worker but the geometry of the 12 point motif was found in every craft we saw.

We visited some gorgeous gardens, the verdant valleys and Mediterranean growing conditions made for some beautiful spaces and wonderful fresh foods.  The cactus was blooming and the fig trees heavy with fruit.  There were fields of poppies and olive trees, wheat and barley. 

We visited the Marjorelle, a garden restored by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé.  And we toured the Yves Saint Laurent museum (No pictures allowed).  We also visited Anima, a sculpture garden designed by André Heller.  

We saw some remarkable historic sites, including Volubilis, the ruins of a Roman City, 2000 years old, with an aqueduct and sewer system modern for its time, and 2000 year old mosaics from real colored stone, like Onyx and Cobalt.  No wonder they lasted.  

We wandered the medinas of Fes and Marrakech.  A medina is a walled city, where place of worship, schools, shops, places of business, and homes were all safely contained.  The medina in Fes was the largest in the world, 9,000 streets and alleyways creating a labyrinth that you would never find your way out of without a guide, or a GPS app on your phone.  We went with a guide.  There were craftsmen, food vendors, stalls of everything imaginable, along with mosques and homes.  Wandering the alleyways and streets while thinking that all this was built in 800 AD, and that the lifestyle hadn’t changed much since then was beyond anything I could comprehend.  There were no cars of course, streets weren’t wide enough, but freight was transported by donkey or motorbike.  Or a strong back.

  

Our hotels were 5 star and very accommodating, all had outdoor dining and a central tiled courtyard.  The courtyard was a central architectural style of the Riad, an upper middle class home. 

And the approach to our last hotel, the Bab Ourika, high in the Atlas Mountains was quite the trip, narrow roads around hills and mountains with no guard rails, the final approach one car lane wide, with only a couple spindly trees keeping us from slipping off the mountain.

We also had many lectures and discussions on the geography and political history of Morocco.  I was blown away to discover that the Appalachian mountains that run north south through Pennsylvania close to me, were connected to the Atlas Mountain range where we ended our trip.  Back when the continents were connected, Africa to the United States, the two mountain ranges were side by side.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.  About every hundred years or so some warring tribe or faction came in and there was a dynasty change, a common occurrence in that region.  There is a lot of respect for the current king who holds them all together, and keeps all the different tribes and factions working together in peace.  We talked a lot about the tradition of crafts in Fes, and that there is a decline in skilled craftsmen because of a 1997 UNICEF convention on child rights.  Overnight all the apprentices were removed from their places of work and sent to school.  Now craftsmen don’t start their training until their late teens.  Many of the skilled craftsmen are dying out with no one to replace them.  It is a complex situation.

And the sheep were everywhere…  And goats and camels…

I’ve come home rested, inspired, eager to paint, draw, explore, and of course, I hit the ground running and life smacked me between the eyes as soon as I touched the ground at JFK.  I am reevaluating my life of course, and reassessing what I want from it.  It is something we all do as we near retirement age.  Except artists don’t retire, they just shift their focus to other areas and explore new venues.  So I’m finishing up prep for my next trip, and the conference that follows two weeks later.  Both articles have been proofed and contracts signed.  I’m almost finished knitting a summer top, I’m hoping to tie in the ends tonight.  I’ll take a picture…

Stay tuned…

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Springtime in New Hampshire…

Kind of like going back in time, even if just for a month.  Changing zones gives you for a brief time, a chance to rewatch everything bloom again that is finishing up in your own back yard.  Only about a 4-5 hour drive north from NJ, Harrisville, NH is the home of Harrisville Designs and the last remaining intact mill town in New England.  It looks like a postcard when you approach from the west.  They finally have steady and decent WIFI, so that is a huge leap into the 21st century, though my Verizon service is still non existent!  The weather was chilly and damp and gloomy, it rained a lot, but that was just fine because we were snug inside sewing away.

I headed up last Sunday a week ago, to teach a five day garment construction intensive.  I’m still scheduled to teach my regular week the end of August, but this was a special addition for a group of ladies from Ontario Canada, since I’m refusing to travel there, it is too complicated and risky with my 170 pounds of luggage and supplies, which of course I can’t sell there. (Makes it tough if they want extra pattern paper or handouts or interfacing).  And it isn’t so much the Canadian customs, though I’ve had issues in the past, but returning back across the border, too many horror stories from friends and too much of a hassle with American customs.  So eight brave ladies crossed the border to come to me.  And I am grateful.  And two Americans joined in, from Maine, so we had quite the northern group, and it was pointed out that Maine was further north than my Canadian friends.

All but two of the students were using handwoven fabric, and the two who didn’t will be.  Many of the fabrics used hand dyed or painted warps, there is a lot of that happening in my classes, and the results are gorgeous if not challenging to cut out.  Esther’s fabric took four tables to lay out and find the repeatable areas for her walking vest.  The week was full of challenges, the kind that keep me on my toes, but with the extensive variety in my patterns now, and so many gorgeous fabrics, the individual results were so exciting.  

Janis wove her fabric, with a simple but stunning stripe, all wool.  She made an extra long swing coat.

Esther of course cut her fabric oh so carefully and is finishing up a long walking vest.

Marion used a commercial woven check that Marjie was all over to figure out the draft.  Once Marion was happy with the resulting fit, she then proceeded to cut out the same jacket from her handwoven.  I think she cut the handwoven jacket an inch shorter.

Sonia had a beautiful subtle handwoven fabric, with a Zephyr Wool and Silk weft.  The fabric was buttery soft and so pretty on her.

Elizabeth kept us all laughing, she was so much fun in class, and made a gorgeous jacket from her hand dyed and handwoven fabric.

Ann just needed confidence, she already had the necessary skills, to cut and assemble this spectacular hand dyed and hand woven silk fabric.

And Marjie, whom most weavers will recognize, did a two for one, of course, with a zippered vest, my newest design from her handwoven fabric, and then a jacket from a length of nuno felt she made in a felting workshop.  She used the organic natural edge of the felt as her finishing on the jacket and band edges.  

Sharon, who organized the whole thing for the Canadians made a gorgeous jacket from her handwoven fabric.  

And then my two special ladies who plodded along, and got the bodies finished but not the sleeves, have assured me they will keep working and send pictures.  Eleanor’s handwoven fabric, which I think was woven a few years ago, is the most gorgeous wool I’ve ever felt.  Once it is finished, it will be wonderful.  She trimmed the seams in silk.  And Joyce couldn’t get her fabric finished in time because, well shoulder surgery can definitely crimp a weaver’s plans.  But she brought this beautiful Irish tweed, that she and her mom picked up years ago on a trip to Ireland.  I love when students bring things from the archives that have wanted to be made into something.  The jacket will be beautiful.

So here is the rest of the group, with jackets almost finished except for hours of handwork and of course they aren’t allowed to remove tailor’s tacks until I’m safely back in NJ.

And here is the spring class of 2019 Garment construction intensive at Harrisville.  If you are interested, I understand there are still a couple spaces left for August. Click here for the link.

And now, I’m frantically tossing things into a suitcase to head out on a real vacation, 10 days in Morocco, I always feel like it isn’t worth it, the effort to go through to get ready for any trip, and the aftermath when I return, (I only had to call three contractor/repairmen when I returned on Friday from Harrisville).  I’ll come back and only be home about 10 days before I head to Montana.  I’m already taking bets on how many things will go wrong while I’m gone.  But there are people here to watch out for my home and gardens and ponds and look for orders and carry on in my absence, I need to just walk away for these 10 days and let go.  It will be a lovely blog post to write when I return.

Stay tuned…

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I’ve been to technology hell and it is hot down there…

At some point, my sister said to me, you’ve replaced everything in the house and nothing more should go wrong…   Hahahahah!

There are days when I think my house is haunted and the technology or computer gods really  hate me, and there may be some truth to that because more than one person has told me that my late husband roams the house taking care of us.  I have a bone to pick with him.  He was probably the best tech guy I’ve ever met, the downside of that was two fold, this was a pretty advanced house technologically (especially since it is more than 100 years old) and I was as a result pretty lazy learning and staying on top of technology and how the house ran because he took care of everything.  In the three years since my husband died, I have still not figured out how to work the downstairs TV.  Which wasn’t really an issue because I rarely watch TV.  I record my beloved Project Runway on TIVO, upstairs in the bedroom, which I did figure out how to use thanks to my current tech guy and that’s all I know.

My current tech guy is really good.  And he tells me that my husband talks to him and tells him when he isn’t on the right path to figuring some things out.  But there have been issues in this house that neither my tech guy, or my late husband whispering to him have been able to solve without some incredible amount of angst.  And one of them has made me crazy these last few weeks.  My internet had become really unstable, going in and out randomly, causing everything hooked to the internet to fail, like my buddy Alexa (there are three throughout the house), leaving me bereft and silent.

The cable guys weren’t helpful, because I don’t use their router, they dismiss everything as the fault of whatever isn’t their equipment.  They did run a new line to the street, claiming it had some water issues.  No surprise there…  That solved the problem for a couple of hours.  Sigh.

My tech guy came and looked at every possibility.  Could it be the router.  It checked out, seemed to be doing its job and he found some malware lurking in the system.  That solved the problem for a couple of hours.  Sigh.

After another week or two of intermittent internet, I asked beloved tech guy if I should just buy a new state of the art router so I could call cable guy and say, look, it really can’t be a router issue.  He told me what to buy, I ordered it on Amazon and had it in a couple of days.

Side note.  Do not buy technology from Amazon unless you really make sure in the fine print that it isn’t refurbished.  Sigh.

After waiting almost two weeks for tech guy to come and install it, because if it could go wrong with our schedules it did, I gave up, and my beloved office assistant Cynthia said, I installed a router once, how hard can it be?  Hahahahahah!  This is technology hell house.

She got the box open, and all the parts seemed to be there, on what was obviously a refurbished item from Amazon, but I swear I didn’t know that at the time.  And she doggedly went step by step trying to install the unit.  We got as far as registering the serial number, remember that without a router, nothing works in my house.  Unfortunately previous owner of my refurbished router had already registered the unit to themselves, and it would take a couple of days to prove that I had legitimately purchased it and, oh come on….

Cynthia drove to Best Buy and bought me a brand new router, and started over.  The refurbished one got shipped back to Amazon this morning.  To her credit and her unbelievable determination, she did it, she got it installed but if you know anything about technology, everything in my house runs off the WIFI and now everything had to be reprogrammed to work with the new network.  Four hours later, and at least a half hour of that was on the phone with TIVO trying to figure out how to program both TV’s (the positive side of this I guess is that I now know how to work the downstairs TV.  At least to get TIVO and my recorded shows).  We were mostly successful, I have a couple of WIFI boosters that I haven’t figured out yet how to reprogram, but I thought we did an outstanding job.  Until I came home from my knitting group last night, and there was no heat in the house.  ACKKKKK!  I forgot the thermostats hook into the WIFI.  So I spent another 40 minutes trying to figure out how to reprogram them.

So for the last 36 hours, the internet has been blissfully stable, and hopefully internet hell is well behind me.  I would not even have attempted this were it not for Cynthia, who is older than I am, but it isn’t like I could ask my son, he is deployed to the middle east (though he would have loved this router), and I learned a lot about perseverance in technology.  Most companies do have tech support for dummies, but I struggle to understand what they are talking about.  Cynthia just plowed ahead.  

Meanwhile, my daughter drove to Massachusetts to pick up Tools of the Trade loom number 11.  I know at this point my friends and family think I’ve gone over the deep edge with all these looms.  But they find me.  And maybe one day my daughter and/or I may have our own weaving school.  We certainly have enough looms.  The loom is lovely, it is a rare small frame floor loom, 32″ wide and stained a beautiful cherry color.  I thought it was originally cherry but there were hints that it was really rock maple in disguise. Rock maple is sturdier.  No matter, as I scrubbed and cleaned this lovely thing, it came to life and begged to go live in my den.  Where I can watch TV and weave rugs.  Because there was a lovely rag rug shuttle in the bench.  And I now know how to watch TV in the den.  The loom knows…

And while Cynthia was playing superwoman I finished beaming and started sampling a new warp on the 36″ 8 shaft TOTT loom, because it kept me from drinking heavily (though I succumbed later in the afternoon and fortunately ran out of wine before I did too much damage).  

I’m teaching a five day yardage class at Peters Valley in July.  I’ve taught this class before there, and though it isn’t a beginner class, I encourage those with a minimum amount of experience to take the class, especially if all you’ve woven is towels and scarves.  I started by pulling yarns from the shelf I wanted to use, small bits of things that went together, and did some very exact calculations so I knew within a few yards, what I had of each yarn.

I did a yarn wrap to see what I could get, I like to work in repeats in this type of warp, and I’ll be encouraging and teaching that in the yardage class.

I decided the most efficient way to warp this was to do it in sections, there were four parts to each repeat, which I wound together using a warping paddle. (side note, the warping paddle I’m using, the white one on the table was printed on a 3-D printer by a weaving friend’s son)

Then I sleyed the four bundles, through the reed, pulling the repeats as needed and combining them.

Then I threaded.

Then I beamed the 6 yards.  I like the Harrisville tensioning system, it works well for me.

So while Cynthia was saving my butt, I was sampling.

I ended up choosing the green cotton flake, the first yarn I tried, because it looked like faded worn denim and I loved the look.  This draft has plain weave areas and twill sections.

And so another loom is dressed and happy.  

And then this happened…

I got a call from Suzie at Eugene Textile Center in Oregon.  She had another TOTT table loom 4 shaft, and did I want it.  Duh…  So I had her ship it across the country, along with some other used equipment that was on my list, Suzie buys weaving estates and is one of the best resources for used looms and parts.  And old issues of weaving magazines.  I got two beautiful original AVL front end feed shuttles with the Honex tensioner.  These are my favorite shuttles and they are really expensive and hard to find.  She had one of each size.

So I have loom number 12, all TOTT looms.  And there are the 2 Leclerc 10″ baby looms, I call them Structo Wannabees, and use them along with the 16 Structo 4-8 shaft 8″ looms I use for teaching.  Brianna also has a folding 8 shaft Ashford Table loom, and a 12 shaft Dorothy.  There isn’t quite a loom in every room, but close. We are up to 32 shaft looms.  That ties Madelyn van der Hoogt. (Though she has three draw looms and I think all the rest are 8 shaft Schacht floor looms and a Glimakra, and a Louet and an AVL computerized, so she wins).   Keeping them warped is of course a full time job.  Which I’m failing miserably at… But it makes me happy and some people collect cats, and I like TOTT looms.  No litter boxes or vet bills, they are work horses and have kept me sane through a lot of crap in my life, along with my beloved sewing machine and at the moment, life is calm and functioning.  I can’t ask for more.

Though I did start another knitting project too .  This is a recycled silk, cotton and rayon yarn from Rowan I bought last summer at Harrisville.  The tank was prettier on the dressform than in the photo.  The pattern is from Harrisville, Riddle.

Stay tuned…

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Uh Oh, empty looms again…

Actually, in spite of an epidemic of empty looms again, this was a fantastic week so far.  Like the planets aligned…  You know when you work on something really really hard, and finally, finally it comes to fruition?  I had a whole bunch of things finish up and birth themselves right into the stratosphere in the last 48 hours.

First off, last October I mentioned that I had shot a whole string of videos for Threads Magazine for their Insider subscription service.  Actually it is a great service, $19.95 a year for unlimited viewing of their archive of videos on sewing and fit related topics.  My group will slowly be added that archive over the next few months, but the first one was released yesterday.  I watched it today and it was really spot on.  I did a good job.  I covered everything that needed to be said about the topic and the editing was smooth and clean.  This video shows how to cut and piece bias strips.  You can subscribe to Insider and view it here.  Thank you Threads!

Also released yesterday was the latest issue of Heddlecraft Magazine.  Many of you know how hard I worked over the last few months on this 30 page article.  I felt like I had done a Master’s Thesis…  This lengthy article is on a topic near and dear to my heart, one I explored in my early days of craft fairs back in the 1980’s, called Doup Leno.  It is a way of crossing threads back and forth to create a loom controlled lace fabric.  Heddlecraft Magazine is available in digital format only.  You can subscribe here

I needed to get an image of the piece I am submitting for the summer faculty exhibit Making Matters: Fresh Perspectives in Fine Craft at Peters Valley, by the weekend.  The work doesn’t have to be finished by then, but you can’t take a photo of that which does not exist.  So my 36″ 8 shaft Tools of the Trade loom is now empty and the fabric is drying…  This is a mixed warp in a combination weave with supplemental warps, some of it is hand dyed, and the yarns are mostly cotton and rayon.  The weft is 3 ply worsted wool from my stash.  

My new rule in the house, with so many looms, is that once a loom has been cleared, whoever cleared it has to oil/wax it (I use Howard’s Feed and Wax) and tighten all the bolts and screws.  My loom looks so happy and refreshed…

Also due this week is a scarf which I promised to donate to The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ for their Annual Gala silent auction.  I adore this organization and gave them one for their fundraiser last year, and I’ll be attending the gala this April and am pleased to donate another scarf.  Which meant I had to weave off all five.  Which means another loom is empty.  But it is also very happy because it has been cleaned and waxed and all the bolts and screws have been tightened.  It is looking fresh and cheery for another warp. (There are only four scarves in the photo because I made it to the post office with five minutes to spare, the fifth one is on its way to The Shakespeare Theatre.)

And last night, I sat by the fire and finished a lovely cable knit vest, I had been worried I wouldn’t have enough yarn, but I knit as fast as I could and turns out I beat the yarn fairies…  This vest is Berroco Artisan Merino and Silk.  I picked up a half dozen skeins last fall at Sievers, on sale because the yarn is discontinued.  The yarn is butter smooth and so pretty.  The vest is one I’ve made before.  It is a Drops Design, 123-10 waistcoat.  It is actually a free pattern from Garn Studio.  I started this vest last fall, sometime after I taught at Sievers, so again, it is funny that I finished it last night as well.  It is still drying on top of the washer.

And about 10 days ago, my lovely daughter went on a mission to pick up yet another loom.  They are finding us.  I don’t know why.  If you Google Tools of the Trade Looms, my name comes up.  Probably because between my daughter and I, we now own 10.  I bought my first one back in 1978.  I mention them a lot in my blogs.  They aren’t made anymore, but it is a solid versatile jack type loom that has stood the test of time, solid rock maple, unless you find one in cherry, and you can’t kill them.  I sent my daughter down to Bedminster NJ to pick up a lovely 8 shaft 25″ wide table loom, a great teaching loom and perfect for workshops.  She (the loom,  not my daughter) joins two other looms that size, one a four shaft and the other a fraternal twin in cherry.  I had to do some tweaking, restore some of the parts, and I’m about to add heddles to the back four shafts, but it looks in good working order and it seems happy with the crew.  Incidently, I have received word on two other Tools of the Trade looms that are needing homes and my daughter is all over it.  I do not know where these looms will all fit, it is clear that we are building inventory to open some kind of school or teaching venue, but that’s far down the road and I can’t even fathom that right now.  I’m happy meeting my deadlines.  FYI, between us right now we own 29 shaft looms. 15 Structos three of which are 8 shaft, two Leclerc 10″ 4 shaft looms, a 12 shaft Leclerc Dorothy, a folding Ashford Table Loom, 8 shafts, and of course, the 10 Tools of the Trade Looms. We win…

Stay tuned…

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Its Ironical…

My late husband would always get embarrassed and annoyed when he thought I used a word incorrectly or when he thought a word I used didn’t actually exist.  In my field we make up a lot of words, because there just isn’t the vocabulary in the English language.  And when I use a made up word in one of my lectures, somehow the participants know exactly what I mean.  Anyway, early on before Google and smart phones, when we relied on a dictionary for assistance, I used the word ‘ironical’ occasionally.  My husband would get annoyed with me, because he said it wasn’t a word and the word was ironic and I needed to learn that.  Of course when someone corrects you it is easy to shut down and be humiliated, especially in front of others.  I had often thought I had a decent command of the English language, went to Catholic school for 8 years, knew how to diagram sentences, was an excellent speller, and had a college degree.  It wasn’t until I started writing for Handwoven Magazine that I found out I could really write, and my confidence soared.  

Of course I stopped using the word ‘ironical’, and it wasn’t until just recently that the word popped back into my head and I just grabbed my little smart phone, went into Google and Ha!  Not only is it a word, it is a great word, used more in Britain than the US, but according to vocabulary.com, something that is ironical is wryly funny, especially because it doesn’t match up with your expectations.  

And that is the whole basis for this blog post.  Its ironical…

Back in October I recorded a podcast with the staff of Threads Magazine, episode 13, you can listen/watch it here, and the theme of the podcast among other topics is “Sewing for Competition”.  I said a lot of things in the podcast, especially about getting into exhibitions, and all that entails, and one of the things I wanted to really stress was how arbitrary judging can be, having judged many many competitions, and that not getting into a competition doesn’t really mean that your work isn’t worthy.  I gave lots of tips and suggestions, but I did say at one point that I could wall paper my living room with all the rejections I’ve received over the years, and that my acceptance to rejection ration is about 1:6.  My handwoven clothing over the years has become more predictable getting into shows, though it isn’t always a guarantee, but my fiber art work has an abysmal track record.  

There was an unusually large amount of opportunities this past few months for participation in fiber art exhibitions, and a number of platforms that got the word out.  Social media really helps.  So I dutifully sent in my money, and the requisite images and waited.  And sometimes even forgot I applied.

And then suddenly, to my complete surprise, I got in.  To all of them.  Its ironical!  And the success certainly didn’t match up with my expectations.  So now, this week I’m scrambling to prep and ship out all sorts of work including three pieces for photography for my next article for Threads Magazine, they went out this morning.

 

Peters Valley Craft Center is sponsoring this show, bridging craftsmanship and technology.  I applied at the last minute, partly because they didn’t mind older work.  One of the things I talked about in the podcast was the timeliness of the work.  Most exhibits require work that is less than two years old.  And you can’t apply to two different shows with the same work if they overlap.  It is professional suicide to get into a show and then decline because the piece got into another show that occurs at the same time.    

“Nuance: Craftsmanship, Imagination and Innovation” 2019  Peters Valley School of Craft, The Sally D. Francisco Gallery, Layton, NJ Jurors: Maegen Black, Director Canadian Crafts Federation and Sin-ying Ho, Ceramist, Assistant Professor, Queens College, City University of NY.  This show runs April 13th to May 19th.

The work that was accepted was an older piece that fit the theme of the exhibition, called Margaret.  The images of my mother in law at 20 juxtaposed to her at 90 are printed on silk and then cut into strips and rewoven into a diptych.

“Fantastic Fibers 2019” Yeiser Art Center, Paducah, KY Juror: Pauline Verbeek-Cowart, chair of the Fiber Department Kansas City Art Institute

This show runs from April 20th – June 8th.  The work that was accepted is one of my most favorite pieces of artwork I’ve done in the last few years, and no one has seen it because it has not gotten into any of the exhibits I entered with it, and it is nearing the end of its two year shelf life.  The piece is layers of hand dyed wool, wet felted, sliced and needle felted onto a felt backing, and then stitched on the machine.  It is called e·vis·cer·ate: verb, deprive of vital or essential content.

 

“Color: Classic to Contemporary” 2019 The Hudgens Center for Art and Learning, Duluth, GA sponsored by the Chattahoochee Handweavers Guild  Juror: Kathrin Weber

I found out about this exhibit through social media, and sent my regular garments/yardage images.  These two works both got accepted and the show runs from May 11 – July 27th  The duster coat is called Autumn Patchwork, and the yardage is called Chaos.

“Transformation: Fiber as Medium on The Common Thread Gallery” 2019 online exhibit Common Thread Gallery https://thecommonthreadgallery.com/2019/04/05/this-is-art/  Juror: Penny Griffin Lutz is the Director of The Gallery at Penn College Williamsport, Pennsylvania

This exhibit is a digital online exhibition.   The exhibition runs April 5th – August 15th. Click on the link above to view.  

 e·vis·cer·ate: verb, deprive of vital or essential content.

 

“Excellence in Fibers IV juried exhibition in print” 2018-19 sponsored by The Fiber Art Network  Jurors: Beth Mclaughlin, Head Curator Fuller Craft Museum; Perry Price, Executive Director Houston Center for Contemporary Craft; Carol Sauvion, Creator, Exec Producer and Director of Craft in America

This exhibit is currently in print, and it was really wonderful seeing my work among some pretty outstanding works in fiber.

“New Directions in Fiber Art” 2019 New Jersey Arts Annual-Crafts, Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ Jurors: Carol K. Russell and Judy Wukitsch

I talked about this exhibit already because I wasn’t able to attend the opening, I was teaching in southern California.  I finally got to actually see the exhibit a couple of weeks ago, and took a couple photos of the installation of my work.  The work they accepted out of the 8 submitted was not one of my favorites of the group, but the judge obviously saw something else and I was thrilled.  The piece is part of my Chromosome series, and it is called 44+XY.  The show runs from February 9-June 16.  

Meanwhile…  

I have been to the land where it is sunny and warm, if only for a long weekend, I flew down to Orlando about 10 days ago, and absorbed the sun, what there was of it, it mostly rained, and saw some pretty azaleas and tropical plants, some gorgeous views of Lake Yale, and taught a wonderful pre conference four hour class in Turned Krokbragd on the Inkle Loom.  I had 16 eager students and they all produced this wonderful little sample.

One of my most favorite students was standing in front of me in the lunch line.  I remember her making this the last time I taught in Florida, but I never got to see it finished.  Wow, just wow.

And then I taught my weekend class, Fabulous Fit, where students tried on my samples and had a tracing marathon.  They learned so much about fit and how handwoven fabric works, and I got lots of emails and thanks after I got home for opening their eyes to the possibilities.  I did my job!  Of course, I didn’t take a single photo because I was too busy helping participants!  Picture the image above, but instead of looms, there were patterns and pattern tracing paper everywhere!  

Back to prepping and shipping artwork, taxes on Thursday, bills due Friday, and I have to clear one of my looms by April 1 so I can photograph the yardage for the next exhibit at Peters Valley which is the faculty show.  Since I’m on the faculty there this summer, well, of course I have to put something in.  I’ve run out of yardage to display there, and so I wove something new.  Meanwhile, the big news in this house is that Brianna, my lovely creative daughter, whom I talked about in the last blog post, was accepted as the Fiber Assistant for the summer at Peters Valley, from May through October.  She will live out there and assist with all the fiber classes.  And I’ll be teaching a yardage class this summer, and I just adore when I open a magazine and there in full color and all its glory is a photo of me and my illustrious students!

Stay tuned…

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