Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dyeing to Start my Next Doubleweave Pick-Up


I think maybe my dye process is a little different than most.  I'm starting in on another large double weave pick up piece.  I'm well-into finishing the cartoon in Photoshop for it. I wound off a bunch of skeins of rayon and started rolling colors around in my head.


I think initially I was going to have a black/grey side of this piece, but I'm really sick of weaving and dyeing black since it's the weft color of the yardage that I'm finishing weaving off my loom.  So I decided on a Green for one warp and Blue for the other warp.  I started dyeing.


I didn't have a particular green or blue in mind.  I really like to take a step back from any particular shade and see what turns out.  If I'm not happy with the first batch, I keep dyeing.  Darker colors are usually what I lean towards anyway so adding color is never an issue for me.


I stopped earlier than I thought on the green, it is a bright leaf-color with some turquoise-blue properties that I'm really enjoying.  I just finished the blue yesterday.  I've been really drawn to dark teal lately so I pushed more towards that colorway.


I'm happy with the blue today so I will begin the ball-winding once I get a PowerPoint finished!  


I'm so excited, I already set up the living room.

 And if you want to see what it feels like to wind a ton of balls of yarn, you should check out Rebecca's video:
(This makes me want to make fiber-videos...maybe once I'm back from Japan...)

AND last night, despite being rather tired, we did a window push.  I needed tools out of one of the upstairs rooms so I could safely pack.  We finished the windows in my office and even got the curtains up.  I'm very pleased this morning.



Monday, July 28, 2014

Convergence 2014: Rebecca's Seminar, Tear Down and a Very Late dinner



I began my last day at Convergence Conference with Rebecca Mezoff's seminar on "Creating Without Pain."  I've had some aches and weird things going on with the increasing number of hours I spend beading/weaving/dyeing.  She had some great examples of how to fix things that weavers are doing wrong, and the big take-away for me is to remember to get up and stretch every 25 minutes. I can sit and bead for hours.  I get so wrapped up in my work, I need to break and stretch, it'd probably help with a number of things.  She has some great stretches for hands, arms and upper body!

I then had a quick lunch with Inga Marie and she introduced me to Suzi Ballenger from the eTextiles Lounge.

I really wanted to see both the Complex Weaver's Exhibit and also the tapestry exhibits that were part of the American Tapestry Alliance conference which overlapped Convergence.  When I looked at the map, the Complex Weaver's was a bit of a walk, had I realized that I was over there the day before I would have made it, but really, my feet were killing me by now (I did not bring substantial shoes, packing my hiking sandals next time!)  The ATA exhibit were closer so I headed that way.

I really enjoyed their small-format unjuried show, I really enjoy tapestry and weaving it, so the small-format was inspiring with the broad spectrum that artists work with tapestry.


(I couldn't help but fall in love with the tarantula)


(I had to photograph the text weavings for sure! Since text is a focus for me right now)

(The first I've seen of a small weaving of Rebecca's, I love how she utilized text for this)
This is the Best of Show for the juried tapestry exhibit and it is stunning.  Rebecca has much better photos and if you want to see more tapestry, check out THIS blog post of her's.

Vendor hall tear down

I had been trying to catch up to Elaine all week, and when I finally nailed her down I ended up helping HGA tear down and box their booth.  I, myself, wasn't there all week, but thank you thank you thank you to all the ladies that I met at tear down for all the hard work you do to make Convergence happen.  I held off to have a very late dinner with them until they were done with the rest of the office-type stuff and I packed my own box for the hotel to Fed-Ex home for me.

A drink was in order.
(This one wasn't mine, 
but I loved how the lemon peel was ribboned into the glass.)

Summary: I love Convergence, but I'm now on fiber art overload, I want to create more and more things, but I need to try to stay focused.  Last week and this week are about packing to teach at the Michigan League of Handweaver's 3-Day Workshops, and my Porcupine Mountains Residency and our trip to Japan.  I literally have 3 piles started.  I'm still somewhat distracted though, I wanted to have my dining room back, so I finished the last sanding and finishing of the craigslist table: 

My dad managed to surprise my mom for her birthday:
(Happy Belated Birthday Mom!)

(panorama of the hayloft of the barn I grew up in)

We went on our annual tubing trip with friends....and got back to work on Sunday when we got home.  I've started boxing up my tapestry yarn for the Porkies and wondering what to pack as far as food since I'll have no electricity or running water.  I mean, I will, but not at the cabin I get to stay in for two weeks.

I'm glad to be getting the last of Convergence posting off my plate before I forget what I did there! 







Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Convergence 2014: Breakfast CERF+, Tagging Along with Tapestry Weavers @ RISD Museum, Meeting of Internet Connections

Craig Nutt in his space suit

My Friday morning started off with a great talk about being covered in case of a studio disaster.  Craig did a great job of making it entertaining with comparing it to unexpected alien incidences, ie. "Alien spacecrafts can cause serious property damage."  It was really informative and although I don't live in an area where we get hurricanes, flash-floods, tornados and random combustion, there's a lot that can STILL go wrong (including alien abduction).
Craig works for CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund) which is a resource for Artists.  He showed us a lot of informative video clips and gave us some great resources, but also drilled into my head that Homeowners Insurance does not cover for anything business-related. Yikes.
After breakfast and thanking Craig for his talk, I again wandered down to my hotel lobby to decide what to go see and ran into Rebecca again.  I asked to tag along with her, Cornelia and Lyn to RISD's Museum of Art, so we began our trek up-hill. 

(Lyn, Cornelia, Rebecca walking through the park)

Dale Chihuly's work never gets old to me

(Have you seen Disney's Frozen yet? this reminds me of that hall of artwork in one of the songs)

Myself and Rebecca: Selfie

They were on the hunt for a pizza place that serves Vegan and Gluten Free which was really delicious. There I learned that Lyn Hart was the weaver that woven the full sized Condor Tapestry at the Grand Canyon!  I'm sure I caught it on Rebecca's blog or something, but Lyn's work is phenomenal.  Check out her Condor coming off the loom HERE.  I'm just so excited to be around so many amazing tapestry weavers.  I'm glad that my Porcupine Mountains Residency is coming up, I'll be back on to some tapestry weaving while I'm there.


I split off to take a look at some of the shops around the pizza place and took a long walk by the capitol back to the hotel. Look at the clouds! Every day I was in Providence looked like this. I lucked out by missing the beginning of the week downpours.

So as I was talking with Rebecca, I mentioned Mandy Pedigo, and Rebecca said that she was her assistant, so through some tweeting we met up at the HGA General meeting.  Mandy and I have chatted a little bit via Twitter about my Double Weave Pick-up Video, which she told me was helpful to look at when she was trying to figure it out herself.  I also had the chance to meet two other fiber art students, one who is moving to Ypsilanti to go to the Fiber program at Eastern Michigan University.

Next thing I knew Inga Marie Carmel was tweeting at me about my piece in the show.  We have only been in contact online through Lynne Bruning and her eTextiles Lounge. I told her I was in the lobby and we met up, then chatted for a long while at the AVL reception. We tried to hit the hot tub, but alas, it was broken the entire time.  :(  WE made plans to do lunch the next day and she'd introduce me to Suzi Ballenger, another eTextiles person that I only know from the interwebs.

(AVL Reception at the hotel)

(AVL program on a laptop)

I have to say that the AVL Little Weaver Looms were enticing. Sometimes I think that I have enough things that I need to weave on my Macomber right now with 6 shafts and I can still add 4 more shafts to my loom.  And then I look at the complex weaver's guild and think "wouldn't it be nice to have 32 shafts to do 3 different patterns in triple-weave pick-up..."  I think I know what shaft-envy feels like now.

After the HGA general meeting and the Rep Rally I think I need to pick up the book for the weaving COE (Certificate of Excellence) first and maybe start picking away at that. Both Inga Marie (goes by Marie) and Rep-Organizer Barbara Nelson told me that they learned a lot from doing even part of the COE. So that's another book to put on my list.... COE before AVL loom. Focus.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Convergence 2014: Day 1.5 and an unexpected bangle sale

I had every intention  of blogging more frequently while I was in Providence this past week, but every time I sat down in my hotel lobby (where they had better wireless) to get some HGA tweets out and start to blog, I ended up talking to weavers.  Which is fantastic. I love meeting more weavers.
So I'm just going to attempt a re-cap over the next week.

Wednesday:
Packing and preparing for Convergence is best described for me as waiting for christmas morning.  I can barely get to sleep I'm so excited.  However, Delta quashed my excitement and canceled my morning flight, switching me to a later one which, if all goes well, will give me an hour to get to registration from the airport, and then check in at the hotel to drop my bags, wash up and get to the dinner before the fashion show.  I'd been frazzled since my 5:50 AM phone call telling me the flight was cancelled.

All was well when I got in a shower and finally wandered down to the lobby to walk over for dinner, I found weavers,  including Suanne, the current HGA president, so I sat at her table with a group of people including Robyn Spady and a number of ladies I hadn't met before.  It was nice to have a real meal and then get in a long line with weavers attending the fashion show.
























This is only my second Convergence Conference but I think that the fashion show this year was fabulous and far better than 2012.  It was on a runway-style set up which really helped us all see the pieces on the models better.  In Long Beach it was more of a theater set-up.  The pieces in this show were stunning.  I was unable to get a good photo of the show with my phone so I'm skipping that.

I was ready for a glass of wine after a long day of travel so I popped into the hotel lobby for one and found Rebecca Mezoff.  She's been one of my go-to's for questions about teaching workshops (which I am slowly getting in to).  We chat back and forth on our blogs and she is really on top of her newsletter, which reminds me to do mine sometimes so it's been great this week to hang out in person.  She introduced me to her roommate and tapestry weaver Cornelia Theimer Gardella who was also a student of James Koehler.  Cornelia was also teaching at Convergence and has some beautiful wok on her website.  After some visiting I turned in.

If you ever stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Providence, get an even-numbered room.  My room faced the street and although I'm used to street noise, Providence apparently likes to play their hip-hop and rap music really really loud, which bounces off the buildings into the odd-numbered rooms (I was in #307).  My issue was that they were always songs I didn't know, but I liked, so I'd stay up listening to the music going by....

Thursday:
The Featured Speaker was Rosanne Somerson, President of RISD.  Her talk was about "critical making" with really intelligent explanations about despite the technology that we have at our fingertips, it's in human nature to make with our hands, create, and understand how things are made, and the difference between slapping something together versus understanding quality work. I was raised with a lot of this, from learning how to make things at home with my parents renovating an old house, but I never thought that there were students coming in to art school who have never used duct tape before!  I love that RISD is committed to keeping the hands-on making in the art-process as everything is on the edge of going digital (I still can't draw on a computer, tablet, etc, it doesn't feel real).


I'm adding to my long list of books I should read "The Art of Critical Making" by Rosanne Somerson (Editor), Mara Hermano (Editor), John Maeda (Foreword).  


My first seminar was "Are you sitting comfortably?" with Walter Turpening.  He makes custom benches for weaving and spinning based on your loom and your measurements.  I have been having more and more issues with aches and pains as I've been weaving and beading many more hours per week, so I'm looking into what I need to adjust in my daily practices.  It was pretty enlightening just how bad we are all sitting, not just for weaving, but also at desks and chair heights, etc.

At the Fashion Show the previous evening I met a local fashion stylist, Lisa Shorr.  Myself and another weaver were helping her identify fiber techniques on the runway, which was really fun. She was presenting a scarf-tying workshop at the Vendor hall so I popped in and Cornelia joined me:

(Now I know how to do this bow style scarf, easier than you'd think
I didn't get this weaver's name that Lisa is using for the demo)

I also (finally) purchased an "official" HGA Badge Holder.  I have a bunch of flare to add to it from Long Beach Convergence 2012, and I visited my piece that was hanging in the All Media Exhibit hall "She Can't See the Forest Through the Trees" which. considering the space they had, they did a good job of hanging it.  Sandra said she'd try to get me a photo of how it was hung.  They used 3 S-hooks with a coated wire threaded through the copper pipe, layering the pipes just off of one another, so it still created some layering/depth to the piece.  The lighting in the ballroom was awful (nothing you can do about that!), so as dark as my piece was, it wasn't too flattering.  However, I'm just happy to have it in the show, and I got a lot of positive feedback from it.


My first mission after I was settled into the conference was to go find a place to get Oysters.  The taxi driver that picked me up from the airport told me to go to the Providence Oyster Bar which was a little ways away from the hotel, but a cute little area of Providence past the pineapple archway on Federal Hill. 



Yay Oysters! So I ended up staying a little longer than I had planned, but I was having such a great time beading and talking to the locals.  Everyone that I met in Providence was just so wonderful and helpful.  So I ended up chatting with a couple that works for Hartford Insurance and Kenna kept on trying on the bangle that I was wearing, and wanted to talk about having me make one, etc.  I'm really backed up on my larger work and I told her that I literally ripped off a price tag before I put it on today if she wanted that one.  
The wonderful world of technology "yes, I can take a credit card" makes things easy.  I gave her a discount and they bought me a glass of wine.  I need to send her a follow-up this week too.  I have had that particular Original Dream Bangle for a while and I'm so glad to see it go to a good home!

(Original Dream Bangle, there's only 4 of them made, and I have the first
having moved on to other designs, I doubt there will be any other unless they're commissions)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Past Beadwork: Bead Embroidered Hair Combs

Sometimes I do bead embroidery, not very often, but lately while talking to some brides I've brought up the hair combs that I have made in the past.  They were made so far in my past that I don't have any images of them to reference on the internet.  So here's a little run down of some hair combs that I made and I still really like.

Layne's Hair Comb

Layne is a hairdresser that I have known since elementary school.  She initially thought she wanted beaded shoes, but she decided that she'd rather have hair combs for her and her bridesmaids (sisters).  I think it was an excellent choice, shoes get trashed at weddings (particularly outdoor ones) and that's a lot of beadwork to get dirty.


Smaller bridesmaid hair combs


Heidi wanted 2 hair combs with a long silk veil attached.  I made the veil with snaps so that she could wear the combs individually also.  the below comb had a match so that it fit on either side of her hairdo.  I'm particularly fond of gold, so I was excited to do a white and gold design for this commission.


In the same lines of hair pieces I also made Heidi's daughter's hair clip for her baptism.  The baby hair clip was much tinier with the smallest beads I can peyote stitch with, I blogged about it this winter HERE.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Michigan League of Handweavers 3-Day Beadweaving Class (Registration Closes July 20)

It has come to my attention that a more detailed look at the beadweaving class that I am teaching at the Michigan League of Handweavers 3 Day Workshops may be in order.  I'm terrible at writing descriptions, however I've been getting a lot of compliments on the way I write my blog.

My plans for this workshop are as follows:

Day 1:  Teach the beaded Russian Leaf stitch.  This stitch as a few twists and turns in it, so I usually do 1 day for two leaves, or, a pair of earrings if you like.

(Russian Leaf Earrings)

Day 2:  Teach how to close up the leaf into a pod as you bead it.  Pods give a completely different structure than the leaf, they can be much more 3 dimensional.  After the pod, I want students to start thinking about a bracelet or other sort of large project that we can put together.


Day 3: Compile larger piece.  I'll be suggesting a bracelet, but I always encourage students to get creative, so if you want to make something else, lets work on it.  The third day we will discuss finishing techniques and also how stitch leaves and pods together to get the shape you want.

(Bracelet, pendant, pod earrings)

I am a very hands-on teacher.  Every one of my students tend to be at different levels and I try to get around to everyone equally, addressing different issues. Some background in beading (particularly peyote stitch) is helpful, but this being a three day class we'll have plenty of time to nail this stitch down.  I do have a supplies list to send when you sign up (by July 20th!), mostly I'm encouraging people to bring what beads they already have, maybe a color combination that they like. I will have some supplies for purchase, but bringing your own will be helpful for this long of a class.  I don't carry a whole lot of extra stock around for teaching at this point.

Beginner's Beadweaving class at Interlochen

I taught my second beadweaving class at Interlochen a week ago.  It was a three person class, but we decided to make it go since the adult programing at Interlochen is getting up and running. Also, I love to teach new beaders and get them hooked.  


Peyote stitch is what I like to start brand new beaders on.  This class was in two-drop peyote making a bracelet.  You can make a pretty wide bracelet with two drop peyote in a fair amount of time.  One of the comments in this class was that once you get it going, it's really simple.  It's the start that's always a little difficult with peyote stitch, but I always find it satisfying to be able to whip out something beaded as a short project myself. 

Kathy (below) isn't a brand new beader, but I'm glad she learned this stitch before taking my three day workshop with the Michigan League of Handweavers for Russian Leaf stitch, it'll help her grasp the stitch a little quicker. (Registration for the MLH Russian Leaf class closes on July 20, 2014)


I make quite a few of these two-drop bracelets when I'm playing with color or how beads work together. The below bracelet we used just what this student had already had on-hand. They're cheaper beads, so they're not as consistently shaped to fit together, but it still gives this bracelet a nice look.


Although I suggest a higher end seed bead for my classes, I can pretty much help you work with anything!

Greys and Gold with a Teal tint Tonal Arrow Bangle and Earrings

I originally was going to stick with greys and gold on this arrow bangle variation but the teal metallic beads jumped out at me when I ...