Saturday, October 28, 2017

Savoring SAFF 2017

One of the best events of the year is SAFF.  Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair is one of my favorite things.  I love seeing my fiber friends, like Peggy and Kristen.  Not to mention fiber superstars like Gale Zucker.

I love Peggy's t-shirt, "What up my knittahs."

SAFF started in 1991 in Winston-Salem, NC and grows bigger each year.  I have only missed one year in all those years and had a good excuse, major surgery.

Somethings don't change, beautiful yarns and a desire to knit all the things.

The fleece show is hard to resist even if your house is filled with bags of fiber.

Beth Smith judged the fleece show this year and managed to entertain and teach me something!

Fleece face plant!

Today I took a class with Carin Engen, a felter (pictured above) who recently moved to WNC from California.

Some of Carin's samples.

Teaching sample illustrating the ways different silks respond to felting.

This piece is the one Carin is pictured wearing.  I love the look of "bricks of silk and wool as mortar."

This is a classmate's piece, laid out with the silk scarf, thin wisps of 19 micron merino and the design "tiles" of silk.

Rolling, rolling, rolling 450 times.

Checking to see if felting is progressing and making sure netting is not sticking to the scarf. 

The big reveal.

This is my scarf, there is still some work to do.  First it needs to dry then some embroidery and beads.  This was a fun class and I enjoyed playing with the silk remnants and wool.  Carin is so knowledgeable and laidback that she created a fun no stress zone for us.

Tomorrow, we return to SAFF for a final day of catching up with old friends, meeting new ones and sharing our passion for all things fiber.  Thanks to all the volunteers who organize this festival every year. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Beauty in the Break - kintsugi

The  fifteenth century Japanese art of kintsugi involves a philosophy not of replacement, but of awe, reverence, and restoration. The gold-filled cracks of a once-broken item are a testament to its history, adding to its character and value.

This has been a valuable and persistent thought for me.  If I can embrace and honor my own brokenness,  my heart opens to see and value your cracks as part of your beautiful history.  I love that tapestry weaving gives me a way to focus on this concept and represent it artistically.

Because of the slow, meditative nature of tapestry weaving, I gave myself time to explore the cracks and experience filling in the space with gold thread.  Other than a rough idea of fractured old pottery aggrandized with gold, the image developed on the loom.  The warp is linen and the weft threads are rustic wool and linen singles from treasured Sylvia Heyden and Martha Matthew stashes.  I wove it on my Cactus Flower loom at 10 ends per inch.

Beauty in the Break, finished October 18, 2017.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Holding Space; Beyond the Basics

Taking tapestry classes is one of my favorite things and Tommye Scanlon is one of my favorite tapestry weavers.  I admire her work and love having the opportunity to take another class with her.  The Triangle Weavers Guild brought Tommye in for a Beyond the Basics class.

The Triangle Fiber Arts Center is a great venue for classes. 

Happy tapestry weavers!

Friday, day one we discussed looms, warping and setting tips.

Tommye has dozens of woven samples to illustrate different techniques.

This sample was woven to demonstrate the use of blending with complementary colors.

Decreasing, increasing, hills and valleys oh my.

Saturday, day two involved specific techniques, attaching the cartoon and inking the warp.

Tommye talks about her design process.

One on one assistance with hands on by Tommye.

My yarns and sampling progress.  You may remember these yarns from here.  I dyed them ages ago for a project entitled Holding Space.  I have been waiting for a clear vision of how to weave this piece. My inspiration is the fabric scrap pictured below.

Holding Space is to walk along side someone, be present without judgement or one's own agenda or ego.  When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.
What is most amazing for me is that in August of 2016, my interest in holding space was related to a dear friend undergoing challenging treatment for cancer.  I wanted to be a support and not presume to know what were the right choices for her.
The yarns and fabric remained to be used and I continued to endeavor to hold space and be present for those struggling in my life.  December 2016 my sister had a tragic accident and endured three weeks of intensive care.  The opportunity to be present, make decisions against self interest and love unconditionally were abundant. Holding Space for my sister and then for myself after her death was all encompassing.  I am ready to weave this tapestry now.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Ode to Goldenrod

they rise in a stiff sweetness, in the pure peace of giving one's gold away.

~Mary Oliver

The scientific name for goldenrod is Solidago which means "to make whole."  This weekend involved experimentation with dyeing wool with freshly gathered goldenrod.

Norsk Fjord Fiber vevgarn Frid is imported from Hiilesvag Ullvarefabrikk, a fifth generation spinnery on the west coast of Norway.  This is my favorite yarn for tapestry.  It comes in multiple natural shades of natural grey and white, which made for fun dyeing possibilities. 

Dear hubs was alarmed when I explained my plan to gather goldenrod along the highway.  He decided adult supervision was required.

3.25 pounds of goldenrod.

After washing all the yarn in Synthrapol, I mordanted it.  Some in alum (4 tbsp in 4 gallons of water) and some in iron (2 tbsp in 4 gallons).  

After mordanting and rinsing the yarn the goldenrod was placed in a large enamel pot and covered with water.  The pot was brought to just under a boil (about 200 degrees) and simmered for one hour.  I removed the goldenrod and divided the liquid between two pots.  The iron mordanted yarn was placed in one pot and turned dark olive green immediately.  The alum mordanted yarn was placed in the other pot and began turning yellow.

The yarns to the far left were the iron mordant and all the yellows were the alum mordant.

All in all a successful experiment with goldenrod.  I tied some skeins before dyeing and played with ikat as well.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

BIC Report

I may need to explain a bit.  My sister, Janet and I made a commitment to one another.  It was over breakfast at First Watch in Deerfield Beach in August 2016.  We each had dreams that we were procrastinating pursuing.  Janet was a writer and as most writers had trouble dedicating time to write without distraction.  I am an aspiring tapestry weaver with exactly the same problem.

One of my favorite authors Anne Lamott when asked about waiting for inspiration said no writer waits for inspiration.  You sit down and do what it takes to "keep your big fabulous butt in the chair " and write.  I shared this with Janet and we decided to commit to being accountability partners, calling each other weekly with a butt in chair or BIC report.  Her goal was a writing submission and mine was to enter a tapestry in a juried show.

We faithfully did our BIC reports and reviewed the ways we kept ourselves from spending time writing and weaving.  We encouraged and chastised each other.  Janet died on January 17, 2017 and I spent a lot of time after her death reading her writing.  I read two of her poems at her memorial service. 

Time for me to do a BIC report.

Tonight I submitted my submission for a juried show.  artspace in Raleigh Fine Contemporary Craft call for submissions closes tomorrow.  I hold no illusions about my skills or experience as a tapestry weaver.  I am still learning and growing as an artist, but it is time to be bold.  Keep my butt in the chair, put my work out there and make my sister proud.

 My Artist Statement
I have had a life long love for all things fiber. Wool, silk and linen have been my medium and spinning wheels and looms my tools. I discovered tapestry weaving three years ago.

Almost immediately, wedge weave captured my attention. This ancient Navajo technique allows the weaver to transcend the vertical warp and horizontal weft by weaving on the diagonal. The distortion of the selvedges and the ability to allow the colors and shapes to develop intuitively at the loom appeal to me. It is a departure from the structured grid of life. Tapestry weaving is slow, meditative and an anchor in rough waters.

My Submissions

How Green is My Valley - Peters Valley
Tapestry Weaving

14" x 11" x 1.5"


Year Completed:

Primary Discipline:
Fiber Art

Art in Public Places:

This wedge weave tapestry serves as my touchstone for a wonderful week at Peters Valley School of Craft this summer. The verdant greens of the Delaware Water Gap, the ditch lilies, the rustic buildings and the bright red of a cardinal winging by. I fell in love with wedge weave and the valley.

American Rhetoric
Tapestry Weaving
14" x 6" x 1.5"
Year Completed:
Primary Discipline:
Fiber Art
Art in Public Places:
I have been overwhelmed by the American political scene, the distortion, the acrimony and fractured sense of who we are and where we are headed. Using the natural distortion of wedge weave tapestry and hand dyed and space dyed yarns helped me capture my discomfort.

The application required a cv, an artist statement  and photos.  All the info emphasizes professional photos.  Gulp, not in the budget.  Application completed, entry payment made.  Probably the most momentous part of this is referring to myself as an artist.  Moving forward and keeping my butt in the chair.
Copyright 2017 Western States Art Federation.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dyeing to Dye

Today was a beautiful North Carolina day, cool breezes, cloudless sky and sunshine.  Too beautiful to be inside weaving or doing chores.  A perfect day to fire up the indigo pot.  I purchased a huge lot of rug yarn on Ravelry with the intent to play with some natural dyes.
Nice natural wool
I also had some tapestry yarns in white, gray, yellow and a funky green.
The first two skeins are wrapped with plastic for an experiment in space dyeing.

I am pleased with the variety of greens and blues I achieved.
Fresh from the vat.

Not a total success, there was some bleeding under the plastic.

Ready to sample.  The intervals of wrapping were varied, more blue on the right.
Interesting striping in this sample wedge.
I am currently working on a design for my second wedge weave.  Deciding on the dimension is giving me pause right now.  I am more comfortable with the small format but want to go big.