California Finale

I’m sitting in the Ontario, California airport.  The ticket counter doesn’t even open for another couple hours.  I have a flight to Houston at 1am.  So I have a long wait.  But no matter.  I love airports actually.  I am anonymous, I can sit and read, sleep, play with my laptop, and be alone.  Which after five days at a whirlwind intense conference, I desperately need.

This was an amazing experience, in so many ways.  I got a major creative infusion, and shared so much with so many old and new friends, I got some much needed creative feedback, and am able to make a bank deposit again after so many months of not teaching.  All five days of my seminars and workshops were great.  The students enthusiastic, and easy to work with.  Very Californian!  The weather was refreshing after leaving Newark right after a snow storm.  Not too hot, but warm enough in the sun to eat outside.  I had some amazing food, and got to know my roommate, Judy Ness, wonderful person, and superb rug weaver.  I love meeting new people, getting to know them, sharing a room, turns out she does yoga in the morning like me, we both celebrated the sunrise, noting that our room in the Marriott faced east.  We would wander off in the early mornings for breakfast, and on Saturday morning, finding our favorite place closed on weekends, we found a Coffee Bean, where we got a bite, listening to a young guy on an acoustic guitar playing Led Zeppelin.  It was an interesting California experience.

eggplantgreensartichokesOn the way back from our breakfast, in the middle of the street, vendors were setting up their booths with fresh produce, fruits and vegetables, for a weekly farmers market.  For someone who recently left NJ in the snow, this was a feast of color, texture and some amazing shapes I’ve never seen. I’ve changed the wallpaper on my desk top to be this splash of green and red in the fresh lettuces on display.  The eggplants were a gorgeous color, on the aqua color tablecloth, and I can see using the color combination in a new piece.  I love artichokes, and I’ve never seen artichokes this big.

runway1runway2finalebackstageSaturday’s class was on photographing your work.  Students sent in their images ahead of time, and after the three hour presentation I did on what to do and what not to do, plus all the technical information, we sat around critiquing their images.  All of us learned a lot, and appreciated each other’s feedback.

I finished up the class, and raced over to the convention center for the fashion show rehearsal.  I have attended many many conference fashion shows, and I will say, hands down, the Association of Southern California Handweavers puts on the best one of all.  The level of talent is huge, and the coordination and organizing of the show is always excellent.  And what I love about this particular show, is that the weavers and fiber artists themselves do the modeling.  Having a professional model in your work is nice, but seeing the person who made the work, wearing something from their hands, presents the complete package.  These women and men were thoroughly enjoying themselves, and though I spent most of the show backstage waiting for my entrance, the crowd from what I could hear was thrilled with the production.

My turn came about 3/4 of the way through the show, and the blinding runway lights notwithstanding, the cheering supportive audience made it clear, the dress I worked so hard on was a hit.  I blogged about this dress, all through January and February, I called it Frosted Florals, and I felt great in the dress, it was all worth it.  My roommate did her best shooting photos of me from her seat in the audience, and she captured the moment well.  Later she snuck backstage to get an additional photo of me in the dress.

Sunday morning started really early, with the time change, and the early morning coffee with keynote speaker John Marshall, I know John, we have taught together at many conferences, but I’ve oddly never heard him speak, and he was terrific.  He said a lot of things that I’ve never thought about, talked a lot about color literacy, seeing in three dimension, which I do, and I found, as tired as I was, I hung on every word.

My final seminar was teaching inkle weaving for about 15 students.  They brought some challenging looms, and it was a group effort to get everyone warped up, but they stuck with it, and produced some beautiful bands, many of them advancing to pick-up techniques by the afternoon.

I was packed up by five, and waiting with my feet up for my ride to the airport.  It was an exhausting week.  Now I’ll just curl up with my Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum novel, great airport reading, and wait for the ticket agent so I can check my 140 pounds of luggage.  It was a great week, but I sure will be glad to get home.

California Day Three

groupYippee!  Everyone finished their jackets, except for a few hours of handwork, and I’ve never been so proud of a class.  They all posed for a group shot and  and all the jackets are beautiful.  Carl was the one male in the class and his black jacket is fabulous.  The structure was a blue on black diamond pattern.

The keynote speaker tonight was Loretta Oliver, a wonderful weaver/feltmaker.  She showed some beautiful work, talked about her creative adventures, and left us all inspired.  Then it was Shop ’till you drop at the vendor hall.  I was able to find a shallow damask boat shuttle from Glimakra, Thanks Sally for the recommendation.

Preparing for California

bindingI haven’t been on  the road for awhile, so I am sort of not in the traveling mind set.  I leave for the Southern California Handweaving Conference on March 3rd, so about 10 days before I pack and head out, I have to have a final head count of students for each class, and then print the handouts.  Then I have to print some of my monographs as well and of course, plenty of interfacings, and whatever other product I carry that would be appropriate for that particular class.  All of it has to be shipped ahead well enough in advance to ensure it will be waiting when I get there.  It is a two-three day job, depending on how many students, how many classes, and how much product I think I’ll need.  So yesterday I cranked up my beloved HP Laser Color printer with a duplexer for double sided printing, and went through about four reams of paper.  So today, I had the really fun task (she says with a slight degree of sarcasm) of binding all the handouts/monographs with my newest comb binding machine.  I wear them out every couple of years, and I recently had to replace mine, so I splurged and bought an electric. Even with the electric, it is still a tedious task.

interfacingOnce I bound the huge stack of handouts (I printed 18 books  each for the Inkle Weaving class and the Photographing your Work class) and a dozen books for the jacket class, I then started rolling out my industrial bolts of interfacings.  I use two different interfacings for the jackets, both in black and white, a lot depends on the type of fabric students bring, one is the fusible knit tricot, and the other is an inserted texturized weft fusible that I adore, that I had to scour the country to get when HTCW discontinued their Textured Weft Product, and I found it but had to buy 200 yard bolts.  So I lift these babies onto the cutting table and chop off two yards at a time and package them for resale. All of it has to be shipped tomorrow with the bolt of pattern paper, and the Inkle looms, since they don’t fit in the suitcase.

So that was my day.  Tedious, but part of the job.  The highlight was my sushi lunch with my Thursday Philosophy Club.  We have the best Sushi restaurant in NJ within walking distance of my house.  Kim Sushi.  Love it.

And my daughter had an asthma attack at school, I swear it is the air quality there, I brought her inhaler in, and eventually all was well.  And when I picked her up around dinner time from the HS musical rehearsal, I let her drive home.  She has her permit, and I will say, I didn’t have white knuckles this time when we arrived in the driveway.  She is improving…