Where to Begin…

I feel like I’ve been away for a year!  So much has happened!  So this blog doesn’t top out at 2000 words, I’ll probably do it in 2 or 3 parts.

BriannaLucetStarting with last Wednesday, my lovely talented daughter with the pink hair, gave a presentation to the Jockey Hollow Guild on braiding with the lucet.  I couldn’t get her to hold still long enough for any decent photos, and then I got too into helping people with their braids to take a group shot, but here is a slightly blurry photo of Brianna holding two different types of Lucets.  The Y and the Lyre.  Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, and we sold a number of the Lucets we had purchased last summer from woodworker Wayne Grove.

Side bar: Bri turns 17 tomorrow.  She is focused on her driving test, which is also tomorrow.  We all hope she passes her test, no one wants to be around a 17 year old who just failed their driving test, so we are all crossing our fingers she’ll do just fine.  She is a good driver, and I’m looking forward to her being a little more independent.  Meanwhile, she is working on so many different things, it makes me look like a slug!

BjornBearInkleShe showed her latest Inkle Loom band, a collar and leash for her new dog named Bjorn (Norwegian for Bear), at the guild show and tell.  She heard you could do an alphabet on the inkle loom, I directed her to an article in Handwoven Magazine,  May/June 1999, about weaving an alphabet.  So she looked up the article in my vast archives, and figured it out.  I love the way she just dives in.

She also has been watching one of our guild members crochet.  She sits next to Cathie at the meetings, Cathie is as creative as Brianna is, and the two of them always have their heads together.  Cathie crochets, and Bri has been dying to learn, and I haven’t had five minutes to teach her.

So Bri got tired of waiting for me, and last night, after taking a Vivarin to keep her awake to finish her psych paper, which she finished, but the Vivarin hadn’t worn off (Vivarin is straight caffeine), she tried to figure out how to crochet based on what she remembered BriannaCrochetfrom watching Cathie.  But she couldn’t figure out how to start.  This is where I’m so jealous of this generation of kids, who have never known a life where you couldn’t get an instant answer on the internet.  So she Googled how to crochet a scarf, and got a photographic tutorial, and when she came down in the morning, she had already crocheted about 4 inches of single crochet from yarn we picked up the other day at Michael’s Craft Shop (like I don’t have enough in the studio…)

I did however, teach her how to do a double crochet, which goes a lot faster and will make a scarf more pliable.  She immediKennethColeVestately ripped out what she had done and started over in double crochet.  Bri loves fat variegated acrylic  knitting yarn for finger weaving, another of her skills, so that’s what’s in her stash.  It is fun to have separate mother and daughter stashes…

I promised a photo of one of the vests I picked up in Atlantic City last month, or was it last week?  Here is the Kenneth Cole vest, I loved the styling and the details.

VestClassOn Friday morning, I headed into Newark to the museum, to teach a two day class on making a vest.  I was thrilled when I got there to find out I already knew everyone in the class, they all had taken classes with me before, or I knew them from my guild, and we had a lot of fun together.  One of the students had a family commitment the second day of the class, so I only have photos of three.

The vests need finishing, and  a lot of handwork, but they are really pretty and so individual.


Vest3The fabrics ranged from handwoven, to upholstery tapestry, to light weight Indian cotton.  And one of the students used the selvedge of the upholstery tapestry to make a fringe-y effect on the bands.

InkleClassOn Sunday, I returned to the museum, to teach a one day class in Inkle Loom Weaving.  I had four students, an easy class, and I already knew two of them.  They made some really pretty bands, and we had a lot of fun.


I’m missing a photo of the fourth band, a really pretty one, and I’ve emailed Dolly to see if she can get me a photo.  Dolly is a felter, I met her at the Felter’s Fling a couple of years ago.  It is great to see the cross over of fiber disciplines, felters can use Inkle Woven bands as handles for felted bags, and all sorts of trims.  I CompCelebrationBagCompCelebrationBagDetailfelted this bag after attending the Fling, and combined Ultrasuede with an inkle woven band for the handles.  I love the dancing woman pin I purchased from one of my favorite craftswomen, Cheryl Olney, who goes by the name of Louise’s Daughter.  I called the bag, “Celebration Bag”.

Thursday through Saturday night, we raced over to County College of Morris,  after I finished teaching each day, to attend the evening performances of their fall musical, “Once on this Island”.  I’ll post about that tomorrow, since I worked on some of the costumes for the show, as soon as I can get the photos from my husband, who took about 500 images during two of the performances.  And then there was the guild meeting today where we all learned how to twine a mat.  Stay tuned…

Paperwork: Love it or hate it?

I am choking in paperwork.  There seems to be an inordinate amount of show applications due by October 1, along with the proposals for the American Sewing Guild conference.  My inbox is overflowing and all the bills are due on Thursday.  I had all the banking to do from my trip last week, and my work from the summer shows is starting to return, one of the pieces from the Small Expressions exhibition sold, and I had to ship that out this morning.

I spent the afternoon, trying to decide what images to send to a major exhibit here in NJ.  It is a show I’ve never gotten into, sponsored by the NJ State Council on the Arts, but in reality, I may have only applied a couple times in my whole career.  For the first time in my life as an artist, not just a clothing designer/handweaver, I feel like I have a strong body of work to actually use for the application.  Except I’ve already applied to two shows last week, for the same time frame, and apparently it is a big no no to use the same work for more than one application, because if the worst happens, and both shows accept the same piece, you can’t write them and say, sorry, I’m sending it to someone else.  There is gallery exhibition etiquette here, and I’m new at this game.  So I spent about 3 hours on the application, trying to figure out how to navigate this one, after driving to Bergen County with my husband for a field trip.

I got one of my pieces accepted to the Art Center of Northern NJ’s 18th National Juried Show.  I posted the show, which runs October 11-November 2, in my events calendar, in the widget on the right. The drop off for the work was today, and I invited my husband to come along for the ride.  He was born and raised in Bergen County, and I thought it would be fun to drive around the area and see what’s changed.  Change is an understatement.  I enjoyed his stories, of shooting troubles as a lineman for the phone company, where there were serious breaks in the phone lines, one on Christmas eve, where he stopped at a tree seller, and threw a Christmas tree in the back of the phone company truck on the way home to his mom’s, and hanging over a stream trying to repair a line hit by a backhoe, as a thunderstorm hit.  Funny the things we remember, vividly.  It was a lovely afternoon.

I ran into Nisha Drinkard at the Panera where we stopped for lunch, former fiber department head at William Paterson University.  We chatted for awhile.  And having just gone to the Peters Valley 38th annual craft fair yesterday, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to other fiber artists, and how they are fairing in this poor economy.  I’m always amazed at how upbeat artist’s are, and how resourceful they can be, and how they aren’t afraid to reinvent themselves.

So, back to the paperwork.  I haven’t decided if I really hate paperwork, or I am challenged by it and am really good at it.  It is a love/hate relationship, but the bottom line is, I can’t teach if I don’t write proposals, and I can’t get my work into shows if I don’t fill out entry forms and applications, and I can’t stay in my house if I don’t pay my mortgage and utility bills, all of which are due within the week.  So, whether I love it or hate it, it all still has to be done.

Which is why I took a break for what my weaving buddy Sally calls, a weaving snack.  While I was at Sievers last week, I stayed in the teacher’s cottage, which is full of lovely things that other instructors have done and donated to decorate the house.  (Note to self: I really need to make something to send to them for the house…)  On one of the end tables was a beautiful mat made from inkle loom strips,  five in each direction, plaited together and stitched around the edges.  Simple enough.  I don’t know who made the one on the table at Sievers, but I thought it was a great thing to do in about 15 minutes with a finished inkle band.  God knows I have enough of them.

So I pulled a 1″ wide inkle band out of the bin, and I chopped it into 10 6″ sections.  Then I went hunting for my macramé board, the one I’ve had around the studio since 1977.Craft_Showcase

Sidebar:  After I graduated with a degree in fine arts, in 1977, I went to work for a retail chain of mall stores, called the Craft Showcase, owned by Cole National Corp.  It was the only experience I’ve ever had working in corporate America.  And that was quite enough.  The stupidity of some of the mandates from corporate headquarters, like change every price tag in the store to read .99, instead of .00.  We had to drop one cent on the price of every item in the store, thousands of items, and when we finally finished the job, headquarters decided we had to change them all back.  I still remember stupid stuff like that.

I did enjoy the job, I taught classes in calligraphy, stained glass, macramé (which you will recall was the technique du jour in the 70’s), along with needlework, fine art techniques, and anything else that came along where we had to promote the products and teach students how to make stuff.  I was responsible for making sure the ceramic owl eyes were always in stock, making a macramé owl plant hanger was the most popular class.  And I did all the window and wall displays.  I learned a lot from that job, and I picked up a lot of things while I worked there, which still exist in my studio and come in handy.  Like my macramé board. With the $2. price tag on it.

Of course I had to go looking in my daughter’s room.  When things are missing from my studio, I can usually find them there.

cut_pinSo I plaited the 10 1″ strips of inkle weaving together, and pinned them carefully.

stitch_matI went to the sewing machine, and stitched around the perimeter, with a shallow zig-zag.

trim_matThen I trimmed the raw edges to 3/8″.  With a long pin, I carefully pulled the weft threads up to the stitching line, creating even fringe all around the edge of the mat.

And here is the final mat!


OK, so I should be working on the proposals.  But this was fun, and I got a much needed break!BjornLR

And here is a great shot of the new dog, Bjorn, that my husband took the day they brought the dog home.  He has the sweetest face.