I got the biggest treat this week, a call from my favorite fiber buddy of all time, and probably my closest longtime friend, Candiss Cole. Candiss is a handweaver from Sedona, we met around 1980, across the aisle from each other at the Gaithersburg, MD craft fair, and have been the best of friends ever since. My husband gave Candiss away, and I stood for Candiss at her wedding in 2004 to Rodger Footitt, in a tiny little hamlet in northern England called Bagshaw.
Sidebar: I made the dress I’m wearing, and the vest is another long story, I handbeaded it over the course of 9 years, finishing it up for the wedding. Two beads at a time, a labor of love. The ground fabric was a vintage jacquard upholstery fabric, in the color Candiss and I referred to as Starbuck’s Caramel Macchiatto.
Candiss continued to do craft fairs, while after about 10 years, I stopped to have a couple babies and redirect my career. Her work has evolved and she continues to reinvent herself year after year, each time I look at her collection I think, Wow! Candiss, this is the best one yet!
Anyway, Candiss called, she was en route between a fall show in Maryland, and the show in Westchester, NY this weekend. She had a couple of days to “play” and play we did! Her husband headed off to the golf course, and Candiss and I hopped in my car and headed into Manhattan. On my list of wannasee was the textile woven from Golden Orb Spider Silk now on display this month at the American Natural History Museum in NYC.
ONE MILLION WILD SPIDERS FROM MADAGASCAR SUPPLIED SILK FOR RARE TEXTILE ON DISPLAY AT AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
LUSTROUS GOLDEN CLOTH MADE FROM UNDYED SILK TOOK FOUR YEARS AND SOME 80 PEOPLE TO CREATE.
This is an amazing textile, if you can’t make it to NYC to see it, make sure you look at the link from the American Natural History Museum, there is a slide show of details that my poor little camera phone, (yep, the one the dog ate), couldn’t begin to capture. The story is amazing, and I’m glad I slipped in to catch it before it leaves NYC.
Candiss and I had a lovely lunch together, just like old times, chatting about stuff that only Candiss and I can chat about, old friends, who have spent a lifetime together, and then we went on to see the Cezanne exhibit at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, NJ.
First I want to say that the Montclair Art Museum is a lovely old architectural beauty nestled in a residential area of a very wealthy section of Montclair, NJ. It is always a pleasure to venture over there, but alas, I am spoiled, for another 10 minute trip on the bus, I can be at the MET in NYC. So I don’t venture there nearly as often as I would if it were the only game in town.
There has been extensive advertising for the Cezanne exhibit that just opened there, more correctly, the title is Cezanne and American Modernism. More correctly the title should read American Modernism and the Cezanne influence.
There were only a handful of Cezanne paintings and a few of his watercolors and drawings mixed in with well over 80 early paintings of American greats like Marsden Hartley, Man Ray, Max Weber, and Arshile Gorky. The American painters weren’t even exposed to Cezanne until after his death in 1906, when Cezanne’s work first appeared at Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery in 1910, largely in the form of photographs of the paintings and then at subsequent exhibitions including the 1913 armory exhibit. The Montclair exhibition was well done, but I have to say, I kept getting the nagging feeling as I wandered through the paintings, looking at numerous Cezannesque still life’s and nude bathers and impressionistic landscapes, that there is a fine line between “influenced by” and a direct knock off. We struggle with this fine line today in fashion, and I kept thinking that in the artworld, this is almost expected, you learn from imitating the masters. Each of the above mentioned painters went on to create their own vastly different styles, and the early paintings, clearly “influenced” by Cezanne, were sort of a surprise.
Anyway, if you live in the north jersey area, it is a great show, but don’t expect to see a retrospective of Cezanne.
Yesterday Candiss and I met up again, this time at a veritable institution for handweavers, Silk City Fibers.
Sidebar: I live about 15 minutes from Silk City Fibers in Paterson NJ. I’ve had an on again off again relationship with them over the last 25 years, most of my yarns came from them in the 1980’s when I did craft fairs, many from that era remember the old stand-by Contessa, rayon and silk, a staple in most handweaver’s stashes. Silk City Fibers is a wholesaler, which means only those who establish wholesale accounts and buy in large quantity can purchase from them, but there are a number of retailers across the country that carry their lines of yarn, for both knitting and weaving, most know about Bambu 7 and 12. They are Silk City yarns.
I did some color consulting for Silk City Fibers around the time my son was born, (he is almost 20), and I used their yarns heavily in the color forecast column I wrote for Handwoven Magazine for a number of years. They open the warehouse once a month, on the second Saturday of the month I believe (same day as my American Sewing Guild meeting), to handweavers, knitters, and other interested fiber enthusiasts, where they discount their discontinued colors and lines, and offer them for sale. Though I am choking with yarn, and have no need to add to the stash, I jumped at the opportunity to tag along with Candiss and her husband, see Mady, who I’ve known since 1980 ish, and is now probably in charge of everything Silk City, haven’t a clue what her title is, but there were lots of hugs and how are the kids, and how’ve you been kinds of greetings exchanged.
I found some thin rayon rickracky kind of yarn, Skinny Majesty, (I remember the plain old Majesty line, which I still have remnants of floating around on the shelf, twice the diameter of it’s skinnier counterpart), and picked up a few cones to fill in the stash. I also got a number of cones of assorted cottons and rayons that are undyed/unscoured and will really need to get out the dyes and start winding and painting warps soon! I of course haven’t a clue where I’m putting this yarn, but an opportunity is an opportunity and there is always room for one more cone, (or in this case a dozen). In addition, I found a gorgeous fine linen, that I think will work in my adventure with converting my two Structo looms, into one that can weave postcards for my artwork series.
Candiss opened the back of her truck and showed me her latest garments, and like I said earlier, I always feel like, “Candiss, this is your strongest line yet!” Check out her website to get a preview. It was great to see my old friend, and it gave me a wonderful diversion for a couple of days, I’m feeling worn out and burned out, and just want to sleep for a week. Are you surprised? Now I have to focus and get my next article out for Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot. It is dreary and rainy and cold here in NJ today, I’m scheduled for a lunch date, the Thursday Philosophy Club, but I think I’ll crank up the wood stove when I return from lunch. And I really have to scrub every inch of the house because it still smells of the smokey remnants of seriously burned bacon from my son’s cooking adventures while I was out playing yesterday evening. And the dog ate two of the pieces of our expensive chess set on the coffee table this morning, silly me, I heard him chomping but I thought he was eating a bone. Dumb… This dog and I are not friends at the moment…