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).

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!