Going Home…

And I’m home.  It has been a challenging, wonderful, inspirational four months, I’ve met so many wonderful people, saw some incredible things, reconnected with old friends, taught some pretty terrific students, and the support along the way has been absolutely critical.  A huge thank you to all who put me up, put up with me, who picked me up at airports and restaurants, who made my life manageable, and who cheered me on from the sidelines.  It is all a fitting end to a well done year.

My last stop was Wisconsin Handweavers, a quick in and out, direct flight to Milwaukee, and though my plane was a couple hours delayed getting in, we still had time to hit the Milwaukee Art Museum to see what treasures we could find.  I adore art museums, I’ve been able to see so many this year, not just on the road.  The week before I left my daughter and I spent a Saturday at the Newark Museum, and saw the Kimono as Fashion exhibit.  The entire museum has been updated, renovated, and though I worked in it teaching in the arts workshop for many years, I didn’t recognize much.  It is fresh and interesting, with exciting mini collections from all over the world.  The Kimono exhibit was worth the trip just by itself.

So my lovely hostess Paula took me to the Milwaukee Art Museum, the one with the famous gull wings that open to the sun. 

I’ve been there a few times, but this museum has also been renovated, it was fresh, with wonderful collections and the current exhibit was really unusual.  The website description says it all

Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America explores the projects of over 40 designers who advocated for playfulness and whimsy within their creations for corporations, domestic interiors, and children. The exhibition presents play as a serious form of inspiration, experimentation, and problem solving. In midcentury America, such playful design occurred against the backdrop of a booming consumer market and as a counterbalance to Cold War–era anxiety. Furniture, toys, textiles, films, posters, ceramics are among the objects featured.

It was an eclectic collection of stuff from the middle of the last century, a lot of Eames designs, and curiously, or sadly, I’m not sure which, I found myself wandering around thinking, “We had that in our kitchen growing up, or I played with that, or I remember that!”  It was very eerie to see your childhood in a museum.  That said, there were treasures to be found and I came around a corner and saw this…

Wow, just wow.  This is a rug designed for ALCOA, Aluminum Company of America, woven by Marianne Strengell in 1957 for an ad showing the new aluminum fibers.  A copy of the ad was also featured.  I have used metallic fibers throughout my weaving career, and I haven’t ever given them a thought, that prior to 1957, they were not a thing.  This was a gorgeous textile, beautifully preserved, and worth the trip to the museum.

Paula and I wandered through the permanent collections.  I came across this Georgia O’Keeffe I had never seen before.

And I saw a few works by Gabrielle Münter, a German artist that has only recently come across my radar, there are a couple of her works in the Neue Gallerie of German and Austrian Art in NYC.  This was painted in 1912.

And there is an exhibit of Haitian Art, and I fell in love with this painting, which I took a picture of and made it my wallpaper on my computer.  It is by Jasmin Joseph and was painted in 1958.

And then I did a two day workshop.  I will say that hands down this was the best workshop space ever provided by a guild, at least for this particular workshop.  I had four tables to lay out my newly numbered and ordered patterns and though there were a couple minors errors, this all went swimmingly well.  So thank you to all who complained over the last year about how tough it was to keep everything straight, I seemed to have solved all the problems in one fell swoop!  This is a great two day workshop for a guild, called Custom Fit and Fabulous, and we even had time to explore sewing with handwoven fabric and things you need to know to sew the garments together.

Saturday I gave a lecture on Color and Inspiration to the main guild, and there must have been 100 people in the audience.  I even had beloved friends come down from Washington Island, and there were a number of my Sievers students as well.  I got a photo of Crystal, LuAnn (in a short sleeve version of a Daryl Jacket) and Cindy, all wearing stuff they made in my class or as a result of my class.

One of the cool perks of what I do is the interesting people I get to stay with.  Husbands of weavers are just the best.  Paula’s husband was just one of the most interesting people I’ve ever come across, (although the geologist with the succulent collection in Northern California is a pretty close second), Andy has traveled to the most amazing places like Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, places I wouldn’t ever imagine people travel to on purpose, and taken gorgeous photos.  We spent hours pouring over his vast collection of books, not only of photography, but mostly botanical illustrations and illustrators.  We both love a good botanical illustrator, and I told him  about Mindy Lighthipe, who was a former weaver in the 1980’s, and he immediately bought a book she wrote on botanical illustration, Amazon delivered it the next day, and he turned me on to Margaret Mee, whom I had never heard of, but immediately bought the book and it was waiting on my doorstep when I returned.  

And so, my trip home was uneventful except for the 150 MPH tailwind which got me to Newark from MKE in less than an hour and a half.  Gotta love tailwinds…

And that threw me back into instant reality.  Right before I left my daughter did this…

Which has been declared a total loss.  So I’m down a car, which isn’t actually a terrible thing, since I had three after my husband died.  She still can’t afford her own, so at least I have something for her to drive. 

Monday I drove to CT to the annual Threads Magazine Holiday Party, it was great to see everyone, and I was thrilled to have an office party to attend, I’ve worked for myself since 1979, and never had an office holiday party, this is my third one at the magazine and I feel like family.  And I spent some time talking to Pamela Leggett, a fabulous designer, her patterns are mostly for knits,  author and frequent contributor to Threads Magazine, and she gave me some insight to creating digital versions of my patterns.  So I’m mulling that over in my head.  It is far down on the to do list, but it is at least on the list…

The ice maker on the brand new refrigerator failed after the first week, so now that has been replaced. The gas stove people have been here and I’ve put a deposit on replacing my wood stove with a gas one. That should happen towards the end of January once all the permits are in.  I’ve been to the eye doctor and ordered new glasses.  And the towel run is off the loom, washed and ready for hemming.  That’s tomorrow.  And today I started planning my next article, this one for Heddlecraft Magazine.  This one will require a lot of loom sampling…

It never ends, and I wouldn’t have it any other way… stay tuned…

Loose Ends

Just a quick post (if that’s ever possible from me) to tidy up some unfinished business.

First off, I got a wonderful surprise yesterday afternoon when Jerri Shankler, one of my guild mates from the Jockey Hollow Weavers Guild, stopped by to deliver the yardage she wove for me from the yarn she got from me for the Potpourri Exchange.  I love the fabric, and the random warp across the width.  She added a few of her own yarns, like the burgundy stripe, and though the crackle structure wasn’t obvious most of the time, the fabric had a texture and dimension that made it just a bit more interesting than if it had been plain weave.  Jerri and I both agreed that this whole Potpourri Exchange we participated in was a great skill stretching experience, and of course Brianna was there, squealing with delight, as only a 17 year old can do, and asking if we could do this whole experience again!  I told her I’d be happy to give her yarns and tell her to come up with something any time she wants!

So now I have another four yards of handwoven yardage to look at and mull over and figure out what to make from it, the hand is weighty and I’m seeing a jacket here…

Meanwhile, my haul from the Saturday dye day in Central Jersey continues to dry.  The scarves are fun, and the skeins turned out bright and colorful and again, I’ll be thinking about fun stuff to do with them.  And one of the 10 yard warps still hadn’t completely dried, so I photographed the two that have, and can I say I love the palette?  Everyone has their own color preferences, but this one is unusual for me, it was riskier with so much orange, and the effect of the pale melon against the lavender is really lovely, at least I think so, and after all, this is all about me, and if I’m happy, then that’s all that counts!  And once it is woven, it will look entirely different, so stay tuned.  Lots of weaving and sewing to come once my schedule from hell ends around mid-October.

I’m heading out shortly for a weekend getaway (yes I know it is still only Wednesday).  My baby sister turns 50, and my middle sister and I are heading to the Catskills with her, where she has a cabin in the mountains, for a little R&R and quality sister time.  The actual party is Saturday, and I’ll have to return Friday afternoon for a concert in Newark, my husband got us tickets for the James Taylor/Carol King event, and then head back up on Saturday, but all the festivities should be over by Sunday when my husband gets back on a plane for another two weeks in Saudi Arabia.  I’m hoping the home gods are a bit more cooperative this time around.  I’ll be working frantically trying to finalize everything for Convergence and teach a four day fiber boot camp at the Newark Museum.  Though the timing is bad, I really do enjoy teaching this class, every three hours students learn a new fiber technique, spinning, dyeing, felting, weaving, braiding, great if you want to enter into the world of fiber and need a crash course!  I’ve stocked up on green and blue Kool-Aid for dyeing (those colors are really hard to get) and I’ve got lots of fleece and a fresh supply of needle felting needles.  If you live in the north Jersey area and are free the week starting July 5th, come play with us at the Museum.

And one final note, I’ve updated my Inkle Loom Weaving monograph to include some of the additional advanced techniques I recently taught in South Jersey.  Now included are supplemental warps and a unit on 1:1 Name Draft.  The monograph is now $20.  If you already own a copy of the monograph, don’t despair, I’m offering an Advanced Supplement to add the missing information.  This monograph costs $3.00 plus $3.50 shipping (I know the shipping is excessive, but the computer figures it out that way.  The real cost of the monograph is actually $5. so I figure what you are really paying is $5. for the monograph, and $1.50 for the shipping).  Anyway, if you are interested in purchasing the advanced supplement, remember I’ll be in hiding in the Catskills until Sunday, so orders won’t go out before Monday.

Happy Summer!  It’s officially here!


I’m home now, having safely returned from Monterey, VA, where, in spite of actually being paid to teach, I had a wonderful restful, restorative week with two women whom I adore.  Both creative spirits, felters, not weavers, but both interested in using their skills to create art clothing, and it was a pleasure to work with both of them.

The flight home was a bit frustrating, though I’ve had much worse experiences, I was anxious to get home, since I hadn’t seen my husband in almost a month.  We were to fly in 10 minutes apart.  Sadly it wasn’t meant to be, he made it in, and then a line of severe thunderstorms moved in, over the mid-Atlantic region, and our plane had to turn around and land back in Richmond.  We waited out the storm, and finally got clearance to return to Newark, where I battled lines and angry New Yorkers, and traffic, and delays, and I exhaled slowly and remembered that this is home and I really do love to live in the metropolitan NY area.  Mostly…

I took some lovely photos, and I hope to refer back to this blog periodically to remind myself of this lovely get-away, in this lovely mountain town, in lovely western Virginia.  Did I mention it was lovely?  From the sunrise in the morning, tea on the porch before walking into town for Evelyn’s egg, bacon and cheese croissant, across the street from the studio.

There were dinner parties in the evening, Lisa’s friends joined us or invited us to dinner, each night I got to share in some of the wonderful stories of small town life.  They write books on this kind of stuff.  Everyone was so gentle, so friendly, so helpful, and I feel like I have a new family there.  We visited Deborah in her home further up the mountain, isolated, and full of the sounds of the tree frogs, and the birds.  She cooked us an excellent meal, including fresh garden pea croistini, and cold avocado soup.  I wanted to live on her porch.  The view was incredible.  (And then the rational part of me took over and all I could think was, who cuts that lawn?)

Gisela and Lisa worked hard, we all did, Gisela created patterns for simple garments, we did two and three muslins before we got them right, fine tuning the fit, so she can use the basic shapes as templates for her lovely nuno felt.

Lisa got a bit sidetracked on one of her muslins, and dug out some felt scraps, and veered off onto an adventure that netted this amazing vest.  She worked furiously to finish it so she could wear it to the final dinner party at Deborah’s.

We talked at great length about turning this into an annual retreat.  There was a lot of interest from the local residents of the town, in joining the class, there were quilters, and those interested in making garments, and we are looking at dates in May of 2011.  Once a decision is made, I’ll post the dates in my schedule on my website, and consider joining us on this retreat next year, for a Wearable Extravaganza.  We will more than likely be limiting the class to 8, and Lisa has an entire house available for lodging, which from what I understand will be included in the cost of the retreat.  There is so much to see and do in the area, I wished I’d had a few extra days to play tourist.  As it turned out, I settled for lunch time wanderings in the local craft shops and galleries.  Of course I did my best to support the local economy.  And Hap’s Sweet Potato Fries are the best!

I’m still unpacking, but I managed to get through the stack of mail.  One media mail package intrigued me, I didn’t recognize the return address.  I did one of those, “Gee, wonder what I ordered?”

I couldn’t believe it when I pulled out of the envelope three Award Certificates.  My Frosted Florals Dress took first place at the Fiber Celebration 2010 exhibit sponsored by the Northern Colorado Weavers Guild, held in the Tointon Gallery for the Visual Arts, Greeley, CO . There were some photos of the exhibit posted on the internet, though I didn’t see my dress in any of the photos.  There was a monetary award with the first place certificate, and then to my incredible surprise, there was another certificate under it, for second place (with another monetary award) in the functional division for my Celebration Bag.  I’m really thrilled to get this award, since I had entered that bag in the Convergence Tampa Bay Functional exhibit and it wasn’t accepted.  And so it goes…

The final award of the three turned out to be the Halcyon Yarns Award, no mention of the criteria, but with it came a book on Collapse Weave by Anne Field, creating three-dimensional cloth.  I already have the book on my shelf, but I’m sure one of my guilds could use it in their library, or I’ll start a library collection for my daughter…  Maybe this is a sign from the universe that I have to actually open the book and experiment with the structures…

So now, I have mapped out a strategy for preparing for two very intensive workshops, one at the Newark Museum, a fiber boot camp, no experience necessary, just four days of all kinds of fiber techniques, great for fiber artist wannabes, and of course, the unwieldy Convergence, where I’ll be entertaining more than 230 students in six seminars and a day long workshop.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a little overwhelmed…  So the next couple of weeks, interspersed with some family events and getaways, will be all about printing, prep, packing, and preparing for both of these events.  Oh, and there is my Weavezine column to write…  But first, a trip to Jerry’s Art supply in search of a 24″ spiral bound notebook so I can use the spiral ring in my Rest in Peace faculty piece…  Stay tuned…


Brochures are out for the Newark Museum, Sievers and more!

If you live in the Northern NJ/New York area, and are free Tuesday afternoons, starting March 23, I’ll be teaching an eight week class called Jumpstart Your Sewing Skills at the Newark Museum Arts Workshop.  Here are the particulars:

Jumpstart Your Sewing Skills
with Daryl Lancaster
Is the sewing machine in your closet covered with dust bunnies? Have you
spent a fortune on alterations lately? Is your closet packed with clothing that
is slightly outdated, that maybe needs altering, but is too good to give away?
Then now is the time to dust off that machine and get re-acquainted. This
course is structured to meet individual needs and help with everything from
simple alterations to full garment make-overs. Learn to sew clothes from
scratch or tailor for that special elegant touch. Machines provided (if you don’t have one); course
limited to eight. All levels
Eight Tuesdays, March 23 – May 11, 1 – 4 pm
Member: $189, Non-member: $210 Materials: $10

If you are looking for a summer vacation in August, come to Sievers Fiber School on the lovely Washington Island off the northern coast of Wisconsin, or come to Harrisville Designs in beautiful New Hampshire, both locations are wonderful for escaping the heat of the summer.

Shadow_PlayLGSievers Fiber School: A Wearable Extravaganza (August 29-September 3) – Class Fee $ 380

Daryl Lancaster Wrap your body in clothing from your own hands.  This is a terrific class for those wanting to learn to fit and sew clothing from their own handwoven, hand-printed, dyed, quilted, felted, commercial or other special fabrics, as well as those more experienced students wanting more polished and professional results.  You will construct a basic unlined jacket with pre-washed fabric you bring to class, custom-fit to yourself, while learning all sorts of inspiring techniques to make your clothing reflect your creativity.  You can expect to gain confidence in your garment construction skills, no matter what level, and will learn to work with your chosen fabric.  Daryl’s goal is to have participants look at sewing as a creative process.  Skills will be taught using samples, handouts, storyboards, Power-Point presentations and demonstrations.  A supply list will be sent to you prior to class.  Materials fee of $35 includes twill tape, interfacing, pattern paper and extensive bound notebook.  (Repeating students who have already made the jacket may opt to make a pieced vest or bring their own pattern/s.)  Sewing machine in good working order and some minimal basic sewing skills required.  A limited number of sewing machines are available to rent for class use.  For all levels.

Harrisville Designs: A Wearable Extravaganza (August 16-20) – Class Fee $ 435

Daryl Lancaster Wrap your body in clothing from your own hands. This is a terrific class for those wanting to learn to fit and sew clothing from their handwoven, hand printed, dyed, quilted, felted or other special fabric, as well as for those more experienced students wanting polished and professional results. Students will construct a basic unlined jacket, from their own fabric, custom fit to themselves while learning all sorts of inspiring techniques to make their garments reflect their creativity. This class is designed to teach creativity and technique. Students who have already made a jacket with me in any other class may opt to bring their own patterns and agenda.

As I travel around, I have lots of requests for the jacket class, and this is a great opportunity to make my classic jacket, or even better, if you have already made my  basic jacket anywhere else in the country, you are welcome to come and bring your own patterns, fabric (it isn’t necessary to be a handweaver to take advantage of any of my classes listed here) and work on your own agenda!

Must be the full moon…

What a bizarre day, I never left my desk, stuff just kept coming in faster than I could take care of it.  I had high hopes of working on more of the hot mats/mug mats, but alas, the universe, or the full moon, or whatever forces were causing a cosmic redirect, I was stuck in front of a glowing screen all day.  Now I’m not saying this wasn’t a positive thing.  I got the best news today.  If you followed my blog back in the end of September, I worked hard for a couple of weeks, reworking all of my lectures/workshops to make them more appropriate for the sewing community instead of the handweaving community.  I had been asked to submit proposals for the American Sewing Guild Conference in Atlanta next August.  It is a market I’d dearly love to be more connected with, after all, I am a sewer (sorry, I’ll never get use to the new PC word ‘sewist’) and I weave to have something to sew.

Anyway, I spend lots of time writing proposals, entering exhibitions, and doing the waiting game once I package everything together and send it off.  Sometimes I even forget I entered or submitted, which is probably not a bad way to handle the stress of waiting.  Today in my inbox, I got a “Congratulations, you’ve been accepted to teach…” letter from the American Sewing Guild, and they want me to teach 4 classes at their 2010 conference in Atlanta.  Can I tell you how excited I am?

On top of that, I just finished most of the final details for the April 2011 Ontario Canada provincial conference.  I will be teaching there, and giving one of the keynote addresses.  That’s been in the works since last summer.  I spent a good deal of time today, coincidentally, on the phone with a woman from Ontario, who found me searching the internet, and wanted to know more about my monographs on sewing, I had trouble realizing that she just found me on the internet, completely independently from the Ontario conference and Convergence in Albuquerque, where I’m also teaching next July, the booklet just became available for that.  Anyway, the woman was lovely to chat with, and towards the end of the conversation, she had me convinced that I need to look down the road a bit to one of my next goals, and bring it up further on the to do list.  That would be turning my monographs into DVD’s.  I bought the camera equipment last year, to be able to film the Step by Step process.  I’ve been looking at some of the sewing videos out there, and haven’t seen anything I really thought would work for how I would want my DVD’s to read.  The woman from Ontario encouraged me to pick up David Coffin’s DVD on shirtmaking.  She raved about it, and so of course, I immediately clicked on my trusty Amazon.com account and stuck it in my shopping cart, along with his book/DVD on making pants.  I’ll let you know what I think.  Always love an excuse to buy books on Amazon.

Speaking of books, my neighbor/friend is a media center specialist for a neighboring High School, and her school’s book club was sponsoring a fund raising event at a local Barnes and Noble.  Again, not to pass up a chance to just hang around in a book store all evening, I managed to dump a couple of hundred dollars, mostly on books for my daughter, she is seriously into Manga, but I did pick up a couple of movies I’ve had on my Amazon wish list for awhile.  I love the movie genre that takes a close look at a creative genius, uncovers their pain, their obsessions, their muses, and their passions.  I got a copy of Pollock with Ed Harris, and Goya’s Ghosts with Natalie Portman.  I also picked up Frida, with Salma Hayek.  I’ll let you know what I think of them once I’ve viewed them.

I cruised through the bargain book section of Barnes and Noble, and found a couple of little treasures, Maureen Dowd’s Are Men Necessary?  First, I love Maureen Dowd, she is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times.  And secondly, how could you go wrong with the title? The book is a snarky look at feminism and the collision of the sexes.  The reviews are all over the place, so for $5.98 for the hard cover, I’m game.  I’ll let you know.

I also picked up Julia Cameron’s memoir, Floor Sample.  It had a dress form on the front cover. Julia Cameron wrote the well respected creativity book called “The Artist’s Way”, which has been on my shelf forever.  Again, the reviews are all over the place, but I thought it was worth picking up for $5.98 for the hardcover.

I mentioned that the latest issue of Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot came in yesterday, finally, I was probably the last to get my copy.  In it is the brochure for the HGA’s conference in Albuquerque next July, called Convergence.  Since I am teaching, I get to participate in early registration, but I couldn’t really do that until my magazine came in.  And come in it did!  All four copies.  I am all over the place in this magazine.  Which is why I got four copies!  I have a book review starting on page 9, a photograph of my piece The Spouse, on page 20, from the Small Expressions exhibit, and my article starting on page 31, the second installment of a three part series on the Designer’s Challenge from the Tampa Bay Convergence in 2008.  I ripped the Albuquerque conference brochure out of the middle of the magazine, and started to look through all the offerings.  It isn’t hard for me to fill out the registration, since I am teaching in every time slot, I don’t get to pick anything, but the tours before the conference look wonderful.  So wonderful that I booked two tickets for the Georgia O’Keefe Ghost Ranch tour and I’m dragging along my husband.

So, the bottom line here, is my next summer is pretty set, I’ll be on the road more than I’ll be home.  With two 5 day classes in August, at Sievers and at Harrisville in NH, along with the ASG conference in Atlanta and Convergence, and a 4 day class in fiber basics called Fiber Boot Camp at the Newark Museum in NJ, it doesn’t look like it will be much of a summer!  I’ve also got to write up proposals for two conferences for the summer of 2011.  Can you see my eyes rolling around in my head?  It is hard to follow the “One Day at a Time” way of thinking, when you are writing proposals for 2011, and 2009 isn’t even finished.  Oh the life of an artist…

All of the scheduled events I’ve mentioned above can be found with contact information on my website.

Art ConnectionsOh, and I almost forgot, the invitations for Art Connections 6 at the George Segal Gallery at Montclair State University are out, I will have two pieces in the show.  The opening reception is January 17, 2010 from 2-5 pm if you are in the north Jersey area.  The show runs from January 17 – February 13, 2010

Stay tuned…