I’ve seen the future and it’s looking bright…

I’m writing this on the plane, flying home to Newark from an amazing four days in Northern California at the CNCH Conference.  That would be the Conference of Northern California Handweavers for those not in the know…  First, I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be asked to teach at this particular conference.  Eight years ago, I was scheduled to teach at CNCH 2002, and six weeks before the conference, with sold out classes, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I had to cancel a number of teaching commitments that spring, and CNCH was one of them.  Eight years went by without another invitation, and I always felt bad that I never had the opportunity to make up for having to cancel.

I taught four classes at the conference this past weekend, Friday morning I had a large group for my Photographing your Work seminar, followed by a class called Warp Fast, a seminar on warping techniques that involve methods using multiple threads, paddle warping, sectional warping, and using an AVL warping mill.  I had a very large class for that seminar, and I got a lot of very positive feedback after both classes, which always makes me feel good, that I’ve inspired and encouraged others with new information and sometimes a new perspective.  Friday night was of course, the fashion show.  Always a conference favorite, I had a front row seat, which I appreciated, since I would be giving the technical critique of the garments on Sunday morning.  I had spent Thursday afternoon previewing the garments as they came in, so I had a chance to look up inside, check construction details and techniques.

I had already sensed that there was something different about this conference, a different energy and enthusiasm I haven’t felt at a fiber conference in a very long time.  The conference committee was doing an exceptional job, the facility, the Santa Clara Conference Center, attached to our hotel, the Hyatt, so we never had to leave the building, was first class, my classroom perfect for my needs, all my classes in one room, and the food at the Hyatt restaurants, outstanding and very reasonable.

So my weaving buddy, great friend and roommate Robyn Spady and I sat up front for the fashion show, and what a treat.  I found the garments to be largely in one of two groups.  There were a number of lovely jackets, beautifully tailored, made from exquisite handwoven, sometimes handspun and handdyed fabrics, and the makers of the garments, or their friends modeled them on stage.  They were so proud of what they had done, and celebrated the moment.  The show opened with the wedding ensemble, the year long undertaking of relatively new handweaver Tien Chiu, who has painstakingly documented every thread woven and every stitch taken on her  blog.

Then came the rectangles.  A large percentage of the garments were quite the throw back to the 60’s and 70’s when handwoven clothing was a series of pieced together rectangles.  Yet, there wasn’t a single bog jacket, that Bronze Age shape made from a couple of strategically place rectangles, based on the garments found in highly acidic boggy ground water.  When I started making handwoven clothing in the late 1970’s the yarns available for the average handweaver were nothing like the yarns available today.  Colors were classic, understated, and dyed more for rug weaving and tapestry than clothing.  As a matter of fact, my art school,  where I first learned to weave, had bins of rug yarn, and carpet warp for our use, and not much else.  The first garment I ever wove was from a coarse wool, and it was actually a modified bog jacket.

Note:  this photo, of a garment I did in 1976 represents how NOT to take a photo of your work!

Fast forward some thirty years and the yarns available to the average handweaver would blow your mind.  We have the knitters to thank for that, and the brave spinners out there who have taken handspinning to a new level, spinning with the most amazing fibers that didn’t exist in the 1970’s, (like bamboo mixed with Angelina and soy silk) and the rectangles that are coming out of small simple looms are anything but classic.  I’ve known that the knitting community has found handweaving and is embracing it with an excitement and an enthusiasm never before seen, but I hadn’t actually seen this phenomenon in action.  Armed with the Knitter’s loom from Ashford, or the Rigid Heddle loom from Schacht, and some incredible yarn, in unbelievable color combinations, these new weavers  are  single handedly resurrecting the craft of handweaving, and taking it to levels I could have never imagined.  And by young women half my age with pink hair wearing lime green hand knit socks they very competently knit themselves.

I don’t know if there is a Project Runway influence here as well, but the rectangular shapes of the garments that came parading across the runway were not the shapes of yore…  I’m going under the assumption that since home ec is not part of the current curriculum in most schools in the US, that these amazingly talented young women are learning fashion skills somewhere else.  The influence is pretty clear, since the rectangular clothing up on that stage was thoughtfully draped over someone’s body (a dressform?) and folded and tucked and seamed, stitched and embellished into some extremely creative clothing.

Alas, I have no pictures.  I’m hoping the CNCH website will eventually provide some shots of the fashion show, but trust me to say that I was SOOOOO excited by what was in front of me.  And in many of my classes, including the Saturday workshop on making a jacket pattern, there were numerous new weavers, first time conference attendees, and some amazing enthusiasm.  The torch has been passed. And to my complete delight, the aging handweaving community seems to have opened its arms and embraced the new blood and the new creativity that has blown in like a fresh breath of air.

Keep in mind that this is California.  In my travels, every new trend seems to originate here.  It will probably take some time to make it across the country, but even in my discussions with the  HGA Convergence Albuquerque committee, an international weaving conference happening in July of 2010, registrations have gone beyond all expectations.  I have seen the future for handweaving and it is very very bright indeed.

Saturday night’s keynote address was given by Syne Mitchell.  I first met Syne probably five years ago, a  30 something former Microsoft programmer with a very young son, she took my class in making a pieced vest in Seattle.  Syne was a new weaver, coming from the knitting world with a huge background in technology.  It didn’t take her long to find a need, and Syne jumped right in there to fill it.  In a few short years, she has united the global handweaving community, connected them to the knitting community, and turned the fiber world upside down with her podcasts called Weavecast, (I’m episode 26) and her online weaving magazine Weavezine. ( I have agreed to  write a monthly column on handwoven garments for Weavezine, stay tuned for that.)  Weavecast has been listened to on six of the seven continents, still waiting for Antarctica to come on board.  Syne gave a keynote that brought the global sources of handweaving found on the internet into the laps of everyone in the room.  She showed the conference attendees what could be found with just a few keystrokes and a couple of URL’s.  Online weaving publications, like Handwoven Weaving Weekly from Interweave Press; handweaving.net, developed by software engineer Kris Bruland with over 60,000 weaving drafts; Weavolution, an online global community of handweavers, blogs, and resources and information have revolutionized how we think, create, and interact with each other.  Syne ended her keynote with some weaving karaoke that you had to be there to see, and she had the audience laughing with her through the entire address.

Keep in mind that this conference is right in the middle of Silicon Valley, and it isn’t just the 20 something pink haired knitters turned weavers armed with a drop spindle that are revolutionizing the handweaving community.  Sunday night, after the conference was over, I went out to dinner with Syne and Tien Chiu, of wedding dress fame, and Tien’s significant other.  I’ve always been one of the youngest of the handweaving community, having been trained in college and shortly after making a career of handweaving, but now, in my mid 50’s, I sat back listening to the discussions at the dinner table over Pad Thai and Ginger Chicken, about solenoids and dobby’s and software and 24 shaft looms, by two technologically savy women and a non weaving soon to be spouse of a weaver, and saw that the technologically trained programmers and software and web developers have not only found handweaving, but are running forward with the available technology at a speed that has left me in the dust.  Tien is a web developer so it isn’t a surprise that she began her journey into handweaving finding a medium that would challenge and satisfy her amazing brain and blog about the journey so that others around the globe have followed the creation of the wedding dress, every intimate detail of it.  Syne, Tien, and others like them are taking handweaving to places I never thought possible.  It is all so very exciting, and I feel oddly enough like I’ve simultaneously gone back to my roots while feeling like I’m peering in the window of something truly wonderful and I want to come in and play too.

I do know how to spin, quite well actually, and I had a real desire to dust off my spinning wheel and find my drop spindle, and try some of that wonderful colorful stuff available at the conference.  I only had an hour or so to wander through the vast displays in the vendor hall, but I did manage to pick up some beautiful silk/mohair roving to spin, hand dyed in gorgeous purple and orange shades by Red Fish Dye Works, and in the back corner of the vendor hall, at the booth next to the pen with three alpacas, I bought the first fleece from Montana, a baby Alpaca, and I’m going to start spinning some yarn.    It was hard not to get caught up in the new enthusiasm of the future of handweaving, and to my great delight, in addition to all of the wonderful things to spin and weave and knit available at the conference, there was a Janome sewing machine dealer who was doing quite the brisk business selling sewing machines.  I heard more than one person telling me about retiring that old Singer from 1940 and moving on to something that would inspire creativity and get them sewing again.  Along with the rebirth of handweaving is the potential for a rebirth in the sewing world as well.  Which makes my heart sing, since I keep a foot in both worlds.  I weave cloth, to sew into clothing, and suddenly the possibilities have exploded and I couldn’t be happier.  I have seen the future and it is indeed bright.

This morning, I had breakfast with Nancy Weber, one of the key organizers of the conference, and she showed me the “conference scarf”, woven by a committee of weavers, as a gift for all the organizers.  It was based on my weaving buddy and guild mate Sally Orgren’s article in Handwoven Magazine, Nov/Dec 2008,  on eight shaft and four shaft dimity.  Can I say they were exquisite?  The colors were hand dyed, and can I say I coveted one?  I have a loom, I have tencel, and I have that issue of Handwoven Magazine.  In addition, the table runner across the breakfast table in Nancy’s home was woven from self patterning sock yarn.  Who knew?  The beautiful ikat effects were just yarn that was engineered to pattern a pair of socks.  My head is spinning with possibilities.  These are perfect projects to put on all my baby Structo looms.  Can you tell it was a mind blowing weekend?  So now I’m heading back to NJ, on my last leg of the trip, sitting in first class, with my wine, and thinking that life is really good.  And the future is very bright indeed…

Almost home…

I am writing this on the plane, winging my way back to the east coast, after an exhausting but remarkable 7 guild tour in four states in just over four weeks.  It seems like just a dream that this time last month I was just finishing up in Southern California, on my way to Arizona, and this last stop in Missouri, in the middle of America’s heartland, brought a very special closure to a very special trip.

I love what I do, I fly to all sorts of places in the United States, and occasionally Canada, and I meet so many different people, all devoted to creating something with their hands, and I meet the people who love them, daughters, sons, husbands, and occasionally wives.  I meet many folks who are retired from one part of their lives, who have recreated themselves again in another.  I get the privilege of staying with some of these wonderful people, who open their homes and their kitchens and their bottles of wine to me, and we share a little bit of each other’s stories, and I can’t imagine my life being nearly as full if I didn’t have this opportunity to travel.

This trip ended with an address to the Columbia Weavers and Spinners, and to my delight, they let me pick the topic.  So I chose my standard keynote address, which is my story, as it parallels the work from my hands, and from my loom; the two intertwine, warp meeting weft.  I love telling this story, because when I am finished, I am flooded by audience members who come up to me and tell me small pieces of their stories, that have unfolded as I told mine.  We all have a story, and I always feel privileged when I am able to tell mine, and have someone listen, and then share theirs.

AtWorkcolumbiaGuildVestsOn Sunday, the guild members worked feverishly to finish up their vests in the two day vest class, sewing machines were chugging along, and I ran from student to student trouble shooting where I could, and helping to make each vest turn into a personal statement for each of them.  It was great that eight of the eleven students came wearing their vests at the Tuesday night guild meeting, even though there were still quite a few pins, and unfinished handwork.  BonnieFeltedVestAnd I took a photo of Bonnie’s vest, since she was the lone felter in the group, and I am always thrilled when I have a felter in a group of handweavers because the end result is so organic and freeform.  Bonnie’s vest, coupled with the silky teal shirt, looked like she was swimming in a coral reef.

My hostess Mary Jane endured a lot having me stay with her, because I arrived last Friday evening, with the beginnings of a cold.  She provided many boxes of tissues and many bowls of hot soup, fresh bread, and a comfortable room where I could disappear and recover.  I hate when I am on the road and I get sick.  But I was lucky to have some down time on this trip, and I was able to curl up with my laptop, or a good book, and take some time to recover.  I did go to Facebook as often as I could, since the news from home was grim, a weekend storm caused severe flooding in my town, we lost one of our maple trees in the back yard, which took out the chain link fence on the side of the back yard, preventing the dog from using the yard until my husband got out there with the chain saw.  I saw photos of homes surrounded by water, landmarks I recognized from home with parking lots filled with water, and my son’s friend and another friend’s father, canoeing down the road using brooms for paddles.  I am sad for the devastation and for those still evacuated from their homes and their lives.  I was safe in the middle of the country, but my heart was heavy for those who couldn’t escape.

The highlight of my trip, was a dinner with Amy D. Preckshot, who is a member of the Columbia Weavers and Spinners Guild.  Amy is a special person and a testament to the spirit of the handweaver.  Amy is in her mid 90’s, and has a 24 shaft Toika loom visible from the parking lot in her apartment in a retirement facility.  I want to grow old and be just like Amy.  Most handweavers will recognize Amy’s work, if you have seen an ad for Webs Yarn Store, recently, you’ve seen Amy’s work.  The inside cover of the current issue of Handwoven Magazine features two of Amy’s giraffes in the Webs ad.  Amy is known for her clever handwoven stuff animals, and has written a book called, “Weaving a Zoo”, describing the animals and how to make them, and they are the first thing to sell at the annual guild sale.  My hostess Mary Jane had a collection that spanned years.  Amy graciously let me take some pictures of her whimsical animals.  She was planning the next one, I hear she is working on a red fox. Amy told me that I praised her garment in the fashion show when I did the technical critique at Convergence in Grand Rapids in 2006, and that she never forgot that experience. She hadn’t identified herself in the audience, so I never knew Amy was connected to the work I was critiquing.  She is an accomplished tailor, years of training behind her, and I was privileged to reconnect with her, and meet however briefly on the crossroads of our journeys.  I hope our paths cross again.

AmysAnimals5AmysAnimals4AmysAnimals3AmysAnimals2AmysAnimals1

So I am winging my way home, only to turn around in Newark airport and meet up with the rest of my family and head south to the Carolina’s for my son Eric’s graduation from boot camp Friday.  More than likely I’ll need another box of tissues to get me through graduation, I know I’ll not be able to get through that ceremony without shedding a few tears.  Stay tuned…

Severe Weather Alert…

The little stop sign with the exclamation point in the lower right hand corner of my Firefox Internet screen on my computer has been staring at me all day, with dire warnings of the impending nor’easter on its way up the coast.  I’m checking the predictions, sort of, every once in awhile, largely because we have tickets to the Baltimore Consort at the Cloisters in northern Manhattan tomorrow afternoon, when the storm is suppose to hit, but I’m not paying too much attention, because weather patterns are unpredictable around here, they make better headlines than true predictions.  At the moment, there is a 3-6″ prediction of snow for our area, which by Jersey standards is pretty nothing, if it turns out to be more like 3″.  An hour south of us, there is a prediction of 6-12″.  But the winds are suppose to be fierce, so weather patterns can shift a few miles and come in faster or slower, and the whole prediction ends up causing a lot of eye rolling and unnecessary panic.  Nevertheless, I sent my son out to pick up a couple of things at the grocery store, that we desperately needed, like half and half, because you can’t have coffee in this house without half and half, and he came back to report that the grocery store was mobbed, and shelves are being cleaned off like there was a severe famine on its way up the coast.

computerSo, I decided to spend the day, keeping an eye loosely on the radar, in my pajamas, in front of my computer, researching colors for next spring.  Sounded like a good antidote to stupid headlines and dreary bleak weather.  I have a couple of favorite sites, Design-Options, and Pantone, both have information about colors for the upcoming seasons, and I get an idea of the general direction of the trends.  Not that it is that important, but I’m always curious, and sometimes I YouTubeget inspired by a particular palette.  I found a very cool You Tube Video on the Pantone site, and I watched it about 8 times, sitting with my little fan of Color-aid papers, getting a feel for the combinations.  If you watch the video, which talks about how the colors are forecasted, make sure the sound on your computer is on, the adjectives the narrator uses are important, but comical at times, like the Thesaurus was brought out and dusted off.  There were some great phrases like “subtly sumptuous”, “halcyon days”, tapestries of experience”, “adaptive attitude”, and “symbiosis of hues”.  I particularly liked, “inventive integrity” and “soul searching and sustainability…”

I have a large block of Color-aid papers, there are 314 colors in all, and I lopped off the top one inch of each paper and put them on a screw post, so I would have an easy reference for playing around, while maintaining the paper order.  Each of the papers in the full set has a code on the back that helps identify the color.  So I watched the video, and pulled palettes that I thought I’d enjoy dyeing, I’ll spend more time this weekend tweaking and narrowing down, but I had a good start.  Also, ProChem, where I buy my MX Fiber Reactive dyes, has a PDF on their website that gives the Pantone colors for Spring of 2010, with directions for how to dye each color.  How handy is that!

ColorAidPalettesAnd I spent the day just playing with color.  I outlined the eight palettes as I interpreted them from the Pantone site, comparing them to the Spring 2010 colors from Design-Options, and I cut little Color-aid chips, and played around with arrangements.

This is the sort of thing I would do twice a year for Handwoven Magazine when I use to do the articles for them on Color and Fabric Forecasting.  I’ve heard during my travels, how many mourn the loss of the column, but the reality is, the column was costly to produce and you the reader can easily with a handy computer and your own block of Color-aid papers, do your own search and experiment.  Google “Colors Spring 2010” and see what you get…

Now that I have a bunch of potential palettes in front of me, I started looking at space dyed skeins I had laying around the studio, to get a feel for narrower palettes and more monochromatic possibilities, and largely this was just fun to see the palettes next to yarn. The skeins are from Cherry Tree Hill and they are a funky novelty knitting yarn.  I think these were from the batch of novelties I picked up last summer at the Midwest Conference.

Palette1Palette2Palette3Palette7I may be housebound this weekend, but I have a bunch of white warps, and a cabinet full of dyes, and I can crank up the wood stove to keep the room temp about 70 degrees for curing, and I can have a colorful weekend in spite of the frightful weather outside!

9/11

This is a hard day for New Yorkers.  For the rest of the nation as well, but especially for New Yorkers.  We mustn’t forget, we can’t forget.  It is raining steadily here, from a nor’easter hitting the Atlantic coast, unlike this day eight years ago, where the day bloomed gloriously, blue sky, cool dry air, the most perfect day.  I had been offered the job as Features Editor for Handwoven Magazine that day, eight years ago, and as the days unfolded, my emails to Madelyn van der Hoogt, editor in chief of Handwoven Magazine from Interweave Press, netted this letter to the editor, written September 12, 2001.  It appeared in the following issue of Handwoven Magazine.

I live approximately 20 miles from ground zero. I put my children on their respective school buses and sat down with my morning coffee. My husband called to tell me to turn on the television and my life, and the lives of all my fellow countrymen were in that instant changed forever. I watched in horror as a second plane crashed into the symbol of the free world, a structure built to stand up to bombs, earthquakes, even a 747 direct hit. Within the hour, the World Trade Center towers were a twisted pile of ash and debris. All of us will remember this date for the rest of our lives, where we were at the exact moment we heard the news, the powerlessness, anger, and fear that gripped a nation who never thought it could happen here. I turned the television off, I couldn’t watch anymore. I went into my studio, my hair still in hot rollers; I had a class to teach at the university, in about four hours. I am a professor of fine arts in the fiber department at Montclair State University, an artist, and a handweaver. I sat down at my loom and began to weave. Although the structure I was weaving, an 8 shaft shadow weave, was complex, I blindly, numbly, and mechanically, treadled the sequence, threw the shuttle, and found my mind wandering back to the devastation occurring just over the river. How many friends, community members, parents of my children’s friends were in those buildings? I called my mother. We cried together, we watched as the horror of the day unfolded. Over the next few days I watched with grief, fear, anger, uncertainly, my whole world crumble like the dust of the mighty structures that stood like a beacon to the abilities of mankind.

I wandered aimlessly in my studio, unable to motivate myself to create, weave, sew, suddenly all of it seemed so pointless. I sat at the computer and began to write. Fiber is a slow medium for self expression. I am a fiber artist, my pieces take upwards of 6 months to complete. I was to teach a class that day to a new fresh group of university art students, mostly educators, and the first lesson was in two element plaiting. Basic under/over… We use newspaper strips. We make mats, vessels, enclosed forms. Over/under… I couldn’t face a class, I knew they couldn’t concentrate; most of the roads in this part of New Jersey were either closed or clogged anyway. The university cancelled the class.

WTCPlaitedLRWhat is the role of the artist in a society that is grieving the loss of its countrymen and basic freedoms? I kept asking myself, since, it is the artists who record the events, question, criticize, and document the emotions of a nation. I am an artist and a weaver. It was a simple gesture, but for me a profoundly cathartic one when I went to the computer, printed two identical photographs of my children standing atop the South Tower of the World Trade Center less than three weeks ago. They had never been and I wanted to share New York with them. I sliced the two photographs into horizontal and vertical elements and wove, in a simple over/under pattern, the two photographs back together. Because of the process of the interlacement, the images have an eerie offset quality. I made sure my children’s faces were whole and readable, and the rest of the photo, the World Trade Center became shaky and unreadable. It was a small gesture. I shared the piece with my students on Friday. A different class, we had already met once. We cried, we shared, we talked about the role of the artist in our society, the role of the art educator helping students too young to write, who can’t express themselves any other way but through art. It was a very healing experience. As I thought about those elements passing over and under each other, the most simple of interlacements, the most basic tool of the weaver, I thought about how each of us must find a way to heal, to share, to communicate, and to move forward. I will go back to my loom; I will find comfort in the gentle rhythm of the shuttle. I will sit at the sewing machine again. Work will come from my hands again. I feel centered and strong and very, very grateful.

-Daryl Lancaster

September 12, 2001

Earlier this year, I wove this image using the technique I’ve been playing with  for the last two years, an inlay technique, stripping treated silk fabric, printed with an image, and reweaving it back together again.  I believe I wrote about this piece in an earlier blog.  The piece is titled

“Remembering: On Top of the World”

TopOfTheWorldLGTopOfTheWorldDetailLG

Day 2 in MA…

The weather is getting warmer here, more like summer.  But there was a lot of commenting at breakfast at the almost record low this morning of 48 degrees.

firstaidI got my classroom  set up for the all day Inkle Weaving class, and welcomed 17 students.  We dove right in, and by lunch time almost all were ready to weave.  One of my favorite New England Weavers, who is originally from England, lesliefootis Leslie who proudly informed me she was 18 months shy of 90!  She was happily working on her inkle loom when she said to me, “I wonder if there is a first aid station on campus?”  I sort of looked a bit panicked, and she very gently said, in her lovely British accent, “Well I sort of fell off the curb this morning, and I’m afraid my foot is swelling up.”  I looked down at the very badly swollen purple ankle, bulging out of her sandals, and we all jumped into action.  Someone had an ice pack in a cooler, I pushed it into one of my little handwoven bag samples, with the inkle trim handle, and wrapped it around her foot while someone called campus security.  Bless her, she wanted to stay and finish the class.  They whisked her off to the hospital, and three x-rays later, on a pair of crutches, Louise came back to class by 2pm with her badly sprained ankle all wrapped up, and continued the class.  We weavers all have our priorities…  We laughed about it tonight at the fashion show, she said her friends wanted to come pick her up and she said no, she still had to take another of my classes…

I had been told by friends that Smith College has an amazing Art Museum right on campus.  They weren’t kidding.  Imagine my shock when I walked around the walls and saw a Georgia o’Keefe, paintings by Edward Hopper, Max Ernst, Diego Rivera, Ben Shahn, Robert Motherwell, and Willem De Kooning.  And a wonderful sculpture by Louise Nevelson.  I had never seen any of these particular pieces before in an other exhibits so that was a real treat.  What a treasure.  And in the lower gallery, there was an installation by Brooklyn artist and Smith alumni Lesley Dill.  To say this artist’s work was powerful would be an understatement, her materials are largely found, and her voice huge.  Take a look at some of her images on the website of the George Adams Gallery.  And if you Google her name, there are lots of photos of images of her work available.

Lively dinner conversation, I meet such interesting wonderful people at these conferences, many who share their stories with me, especially since I bared my soul at my keynote address.  Then it was off to the informal fashion show, followed by the formal fashion show, followed by the announcing of awards.

marjoriewheelerbackThe informal fashion show was a treat, and one of the garments modeled was a great variation on the “Daryl Jacket”, the pattern I use for teaching my garment construction workshops.  Marjorie Wheeler modeled her jacket, she made the bias yoke in the front and back, the fabric is all handwoven, and she looked so happy in the jacket.

The final garment in the informal fashion show, was actually not a garment, but a guild exchange from the Mainely Weavers.  They paraded in a clothesline stretched from one end of the chapel to the other (odd place for a fashion show), and all the members displayed their miniature kimonos, made from what I understood to be three folded kimonoshandwoven towels, based on an Erica de Ruiter article in Handwoven Magazine, which I believe they said was Nov/Dec 2007.  I did a search on Interweave Presses’ index, and I think this is the article, though I’d have to confirm it when I get home. What a great idea for a guild exchange!

Three Towels or One Wall Hanging—
or Both! (de Ruiter, Erica).
ND07:56–57

The fashion show itself was wonderful, they always are, I don’t have photos, but as a judge, I can’t tell you how differently a garment looks when it is on the person who made it and coming down the runway, or in this case, the church aisle.  So many of my comments during the judging would have been different had I seen the garment on the real body it was designed for.  Looking at a garment on a table, or trying to try it on the body it doesn’t fit, doesn’t do justice to the garment or the maker.  I’m looking foward to judging the Michigan Conference fashion show because I will get to see the garments on the runway before I make my final selections.  Finally!

Oh, and the weaver/designer of that lovely plaid jacket I modeled in the previous post was done by Sharon Baker Kelley.  I didn’t know the piece was Sharon’s until tonight, and obviously I couldn’t say yesterday that we had given it the ‘judges’ choice’ award!  Congratulations Sharon!