Parties and Prep…

It is of course a holiday kind of weekend, but it is also countdown to leaving for another conference.  So in between the parties and fireworks, I’m trying to fit in the last minute prep, printing handouts, going over my notes and speeches, and getting my daughter her last minute items before she leaves for summer camp tomorrow morning.

Yesterday I went to central Jersey to a wonderful party, I will say that the weather this weekend has been glorious.  Warm, breezy and dry.  It doesn’t get any better than this.  I’ve known my friends Karen and Geoff since 1980, when I met them at a craft fair.  They were selling stained glass and I was of course selling my weaving.  We hit it off and have been friends for almost 30 years.  They still sell the most incredible glass, under the name of Sunflower Glass  Studio, and their parties are always full of interesting creative people and awesome food.  Another couple, Sy and Lisa, have been friends for almost that long, we attended their wedding and our children are close in age.  They make leather bags under the name of Maple Leather Company.  And I met Nancy, an amazing woman, who works as a real estate agent by day, and for her creative life, she works in print and film.  There were myriad discussions of life as an artist, the struggle we all have of staying fresh in our work, and earning enough money to keep on doing what we love to do.

loomToday I warped one of my small inkle looms, can’t teach a class in inkle weaving with an empty loom!  Fortunately they are very quick to warp, I made it up as I went along, and had this idea of adding a fat, supplemental warp, that wouldn’t actually be woven in, just float in and out as required.  So I just passed it over the top of the warp threads, and then figured out later how to weave it in.  This should be interesting…

bandThe actual band is gorgeous.  I used some of the leftover spools of warp from the Design Challenge Project I’ve talked about ad nauseum…

The color will move through the length of the band.  I carefully started and stopped similar colors in specific design areas.  You can get a feel for that in the photo above.  Meanwhile, I got the idea of crossing the supplemental warps on bungeetop as I wove the band, and that’s kind of cool.  The hardest part was keeping the warps out of the way when they drop under the band, so I ran to the garage and found a miniature bungee cord, and I just clip the cords out of the way while I weave.  up

When I bring the supplemental warps back on top, they just float up there out of the way, very convenient.

Meanwhile, I printed about 60 monographs for handouts, and worked on the binding, more to print tomorrow, but my daughter needed some last minute errands, and decided that she can’t go to brisummer camp unless she dyes her hair fuschia.  So that was going on in the bathroom, and then of course, the chartreuse yellow nails complete the look.  Gotta love her!  My daughter loves color as much as I do, though I stick to dyeing wool in the crock pot and weaving with it.

Today’s crock pot color is a red grape color…

Off to the fireworks…

Dreary Day #37

Well it seems like it anyway.  The headlines of the newspapers talk about how much rain we have had for how many days straight.  It starts out promising in the morning, but by mid afternoon, thunderstorms, dreary rain, what else can one do but stay inside and play?  🙂

This was a great day for just laying low, and doing a mindless but necessary project.  My goal now is the conference next week, I leave for the New England Weavers Seminar in Massachusetts on Wednesday.  And I’m teaching an unusually large number of very different seminars, all needing specific prep.  There is the Inkle Weaving class, and though I will have students rent looms from WEBS , they may not have enough, and I need fifteen anyway for the following weekend when I teach a class down at the Jersey Shore for the Shore Guild.  So my daughter helped me out with that one.  She is quite the assembler…  Now they are all lined up across two of my looms, like little soldiers looms2waiting for active duty.

looms1Meanwhile, the crock pot is still going.  I gave up drying anything outside, and found two lovely pans that would keep my floor neat and avoid using all my bath towels.  So I’ve got a lovely green cooking in the pot, and the blue and a pinky taupe color are drying on the floor.  The burgundy from Monday is finally dry and in a bag.  I tried carding a little bit of the burgundy color and it is a really nice fleece.  I think it is a Corriedale cross.wool crock

While all that was happening, I worked on the Photographing your Work Seminar, and in this particular version, workshop participants are sending images of their work ahead so I can load them into PowerPoint and then critique the images after the main presentation.  I have a great group of images to work with, but they all had to be sized and popped into the PowerPoint slides.  So that’s finished.

I’m also giving another Color and Inspiration Seminar, like I did in Iowa last Saturday.  All those little quills of yarnmess I dumped on the table for the students to play with, are in a horrid jumble and really needed to be rewound onto the quills and refilled.  Students added to the pile, and those little reelings needed to be put onto quills as well.  I use to just carry a suitcase full of little balls of yarn, but those got just as unruly and it was a huge waste of space in my precious luggage allowance, so I got the idea a couple of years ago to wind off yarn onto bobbins.  There are too many to waste my plastic shuttle bobbins, though a fair windingamount of my plastic bobbins were in the bags.  I really needed to empty them.  I started by making paper quills from business card stock, but it was my daughter who came up with the idea of drinking straws.  They slipped perfectly on my small shank Swedish Bobbin Winder, and weigh almost nothing.  I’m all for weighing almost nothing…

So I sat today, for a number of hours, untangling, rewinding, tidyrefilling, and organizing a massive mess of yarn, carefully onto skinny plastic drinking straws, and turned the above disaster into this lovely organized bag of color.  I still have another bag to go, but tasks like this are what make my mind still and my creativity soar.  It’s like refolding fabrics neatly on a shelf, organizing fat quarters by color, or sorting buttons.  This is meditation for fiber enthusiasts.

In addition, I finally got to vacuum my poor house.  I seriously thought about bringing in the heavy artillary, a rake, but my old vacuum did the job, and I filled a vacuum bag with all the debris, tracked in crud from all the drenched blossoms and tree detritus, tracked yarns and threads from my studio, and general dust.  I’m a bit grateful we no longer have a dog, that would have really added to the mix.  Then I would have definitely voted for the rake…

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.

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…