Monday, January 23, 2023

Finish and Exhibit that Piece! My Seminar at Convergence 2022

Back in July I gave a Seminar with the Handweavers Guild of America Convergence Conference called "Finish and Exhibit that Piece!"

Room set up at Knoxville, Convergence 2022

Here was my seminar description with HGA: 

As a fiber artist I tend to work with a concept and do not think about how a piece is going to be presented or issues I may run into in hanging or putting the finished work together. This problem can often be solved by considering this at the beginning of the design process but there are usually plenty of bumps along the way. This seminar focuses on the importance of finishing and hanging decisions, touches on photographing work for entering shows and encourages fiber artists and hobbyists to get their work out there!

Leaf Me Alone prep to hang the piece

Before the conference I had the time to reach out to my seminar attendees to see what level of interest everyone had in the 3 main things I planned on discussing: 

1) Finish work (sewing, hand work, edging solutions)

2) Ways of hanging pieces and tools/materials to create hanging structures

3) Photographing/basic editing, what to look for in photos

All of my attendees were interested primarily in the first 2 so I didn't work on getting into photographing. Lucky me because the finishing process is much more fun to delve into. I try to make each of my talks, lectures, seminars different. I grow and learn so what I have to share grows along with me. I have a base talk that I work off of for the big key points but I always tweak my discussions the week (or day) before. I think I left photographing out besides pointing out why it's important and different ways jury processes can view photos.

Hook and loop with flatstock for hanging There and Back Again

My class was really quiet. To the point I was wondering how my attendees were doing. I did finally realize that they were just listening intently and had really great questions once we were moving along. 

I brought samples of molding, plexiglass, and the tools I use to cut and drill. There were also plenty of pieces of my own artwork with varying ways that I have finished and hung them over the years. The good, bad and the ugly. I think it's really important to be transparent about "here's where I started and didn't know what I was doing" "here I am now and it all looks much more professional however I'm open to new ideas and ways of making the finish work even better."

The thing I felt I missed out on was getting to look at some other people's work and discuss the issues they're hung up on. We possibly could have addressed more questions and ideas looking at work other than my own.  I did stay after to talk about some images that an attendee had sent me before the class.  I really love to talk process and help other fiber artists excel. I had also gone through some of the exhibits for the conference the day(s) before my talk and was able to incorporate photos I had taken of works everyone could see in person. I love looking at and discussion creative ways to hang exhibits.

Weavings rolled over paint rollers in plexiglass display pieces 
at an exhibit in Knoxville

I felt like the seminar went well although I could have gone on for much longer. I struggled a bit with getting it dark enough in the room to get the projector images nice and clear but no one complained about that. What I did hear the rest of the conference was how great my talk was. I was stopped in the hall by other attendees telling me they wished they had known about my seminar, a vendor asked what I taught and when I told her she said that she had heard great things about my seminar and that attendees really learned a lot. It reminded me that this really something I needed help with when I started showing my weavings. The best ideas any of us have at the beginning of trying to present textiles of all sorts is to stick it on a dowel rod which isn't the only option (and usually not the best option). 

A bad example: dowel, unfinished edge, loose stitched

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

More Video...Beadworking On The Move


I'm trying to work on posting video. I don't like it, I want to re-do all of them, I hate the sound of my recorded voice...the list goes on. In 2020 it took me 2 hours to put together a five minute video to promote a Fiberside Chat I was doing. 2 hours I could have been weaving. 

I'm getting inspired by others to just post, with mistakes, whatever happens. Video doesn't have to be perfect or edited, just, do it. So the above video has 2 clips. The first is what I thought I was preparing for Instagram, but was too long for....whatever reason. Then it's followed by the actual Instagram post which I somehow managed to make really really short. I really just wanted to try to figure out captions, which, with @WeaverBee's help, I did. 

It's a start, and it's getting me to decide what to work on in the mornings before work and what might be cool to show. I love packing and re-packing beads. This beaded part that I'm packing up in the video only has 2 different beads styles so simplifying the "traveling bead studio" has been really helpful. There's more details on what this part of the weaving is going to be in this blog post.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Weaving off Extra Warp

When I prepare all of my large weavings I always put on extra warp and often have extra weft yarn. Most of my larger weavings take me up to 2 1/2 years to create and in that amount of time design choices I made early on can change or I might want to play with something at the end of the weaving.

Sometimes I get to that extra warp and When I weave in Double Weave Pick Up, it's a plain weave at base. Remembering what twill looks like when the loom is already tied up for it is nice. I do my double weave tie-up as any normal tie-up, 1, 2,3,4. This week I started a very simple twill and just kept going.

I was mesmerized, I had the time and quiet space, I had bobbins of weft to use up. I started day-dreaming of what the fabric was becoming and what I could make out if it. I have a thin strappy satin top that I love the shape of. I could start with something like that....Beaded or loomed straps....who knows. I forget how quickly straight-weaving goes. Still not fast by any means but much quicker than 1/4 of an inch per hour.

Or it could just sit in my stash for years like so many other fabrics. I'm trying not to add projects beyond my focus for new wall/installation pieces. I'm part of a group show this September 2023 and I'm really excited but nervous that I won't have much new work.  Either way it'll be fine, but having a deadline is really helpful for me to get work out of my brain, into the sketchbook and then into reality so I'm using it as a driving force.

*Bonus Content*

I did my first Instagram Live video cutting this piece off the loom. I didn't realize I was recording so I look dumb for the first few seconds 😂. You can find that HERE.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

2022 Review: short and sweet because last year was crazy-good

I usually try to do a review of the previous year for my first blog post but SO MUCH HAPPENED and I've become very content on living in the moment instead of needing to keep track of everything on my Blog and Social Media. 

Leaf Me Alone by Jenny Schu

The main points of my 2022 were:

1) We got engaged and got married, our wedding and honeymoon was awesome

2) I finished Leaf Me Alone (the large version), 

3) I taught a seminar at Convergence with HGA, had my work in a number of exhibits and had a great trip! I made new weaver friends, one in particular is WeaverBee. I had been following her on Instagram then surprised her by trying not to fan-girl in the hotel gym my first morning there. Elizabeth and I clicked and it's already a vibrant friendship.

4) Bryan and I took our first trip based on a large concert; Rammstein's US Stadium Tour in Minneapolis. I have always wanted to take trips based around going to see a show.  I was excited Bryan was game when we booked it in 2021! I started a blog post about it...maybe I'll finish and post it eventually.

5) We've amped up our concert-going significantly. Our honeymoon was Riot Fest in Chicago, which I might get around to finishing that blog post too...

6) I turned 40 and later in the year celebrated 4 years of sobriety. 

7) Got a ton of work done on the garage and door fence in preparation for our backyard wedding. Roof is done and dry, I'm striping out the garage, doors were touched up...

wedding photo by Jena Hovey

A quick scroll through my photos shows lots of cat photos, gardening, painting, concerts, art museums (we saw Nick Cave's Exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art while we were in Chicago!!), doors (I still LOVE my job as a millwork specialist), walks around the city we love and fell in love in, Lansing. 

Life is happy and better than I ever could have guessed it would be at this point in my life.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Distracted by Repairing an Old Favorite

I'm supposed to be finishing my weaving, but, since winter hit I've gotten out a few old favorite pieces of clothing that I've had since the 90's which could use some love. One is the Calvin Klein winter dress coat that has remained perfect for my fit and style. Luckily I wore things a little too big back in high school and many of my tops still fit today. 

The outside of this coat is still in good shape but the inside lining was really torn up. I used to wear those jeans with the metal buttons on the pockets which did a number on long coat linings and bucket seats in cars. I started wearing this coat again much more frequently last year and the tears in the lining has been driving me crazy. It's time for a refresh.

I've been doing small hand stitching repairs on many of Bryan's things but not my own, so I decided to "treat myself" with my own hand-stitched and patched things. I did a clean out pass of the studio and realized I have a significant amount of satin-y fabrics in the stash. One has a wine-themed print that is really lovely, but I haven't wanted to use it for myself since I don't drink anymore. I had purchased a yard of this fabric from Spoonflower for a mask commission and the rest of it has been laying around saying "but look how pretty my print is!" and I tell it "but I don't drink!"... So as a consolation prize it gets to be some pop and flash in the lining of this coat. It'll barely be seen and it gives this patch project some extra flare. 

I think it's great that 90's things are back in style, I have been having fun reviving my past fashion choices. I noticed a few weeks ago that Vans even has a purple suede shoe back which was my first shoe purchase when I started shopping at the mall on my own back in the day. I loved those purple Vans SO much I may need to get the new pair while they're available. Of the shoes I have left in my closet from High School those didn't survive because I wore them so much.  I'm glad this coat stuck around so that I could give it new life!

Friday, December 9, 2022

CCFF Bangle in Fall 2022 Color Fade

This bangle design started with the Capital City Film Festival Design for the 2018 year.  The design is on one of my favorite tee shirts from volunteering for CCFF. The dress that I wore to the Opening Night event was a black and white with similar angles and lines so I had created this bangle to go with it in black and white. The first bangle design can be seen HERE.

I don't often revisit designs but I wanted to play with color fades with black and I needed a break from checkers (just a short break) and this was perfect to go back to.

I had pulled a bunch of colors in late summer and these were some of the delicas that I still had set aside. I really love every color blended together in this variation. The individual seed beads are a mix of metallic, matte, cut, color lined...the coolest ones are a clear green glass with a plum color lining the hole of the beads which give them a really unique effect.

Of course I made some earrings to match and the set is ready to go. It made it's debut at Midnight Madness in Ann Arbor last Friday night and got a few Oooos and Ahhhhs. The Pac-Man Bangle was by far the most frequently picked up piece though. 

I'm going to post the earrings and the bangle for sale in my Website Shop soon also. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Retro Fade Earrings and Bracelet, 2 versions

I picked up a new dress for Brian and Rion's 20th anniversary party so, as usual, I decided to make something to go with it. I was planning on wearing my new John Fluevog Star Trek Boots with the dress, so I tried to shape the tip of the earring to mimic the toe of the boot.* 

I made one large earring and one small. I've been into off-centered things lately. I'm not sure if I'm feeling off-centered or if it's just a way of playing with my designs. I roll with how I'm feeling a lot when I make things, some pieces work and some end up hidden away forever in the studio. I ended up deciding to wear my wedding earrings to the event instead of these!

The bracelet followed the earrings. I wanted to make something large but quickly since it was time-sensitive for an event. I did the bracelet in 2-drop peyote (2 beads at a time instead of my usual one) and I'm not sure it was any faster. 

This is the sort of visual reminder I often leave myself in my camera roll t
o remember how long my pieces take!

Then I liked the bracelet design so much that I made another one with my chosen "Fall 2022" colors. This led to some different earrings than where I started in this process. Creating odd shapes in my beadweaving is usually more tedious than straight lines in my work so I didn't match the original earring design. Instead, I mimicked the bracelet in a smaller pattern for the earrings which created a diamond pattern. The first set got...really big. They measure 3.5 inches long from the tip of the earwire. I knew this bracelet was headed to Angelwood Gallery so I made a slightly more "normal" sized earring set and am keeping the very long pair in my personal stock. Which means you can still purchase them off of my website HERE.

The bracelet and slightly shorter earrings can be found at the Angelwood Gallery in Grand Rapids, Ohio (if they haven't already sold).

The fuchsia and black version of this set will be available during Midnight Madness at Bløm Meadworks in Ann Arbor on December 2nd from 5-11pm.

*On a personal note, I love that Star Trek and Fluevog came together to make a beautiful boot. I ordered the boots on preorder when Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was airing. Every time there was a closeup of the boot on the show I would go "there's my boots!" Which I plan on continuing to do because, lets face it, costuming is 75% of the reason I even watch TV.

Finish and Exhibit that Piece! My Seminar at Convergence 2022

Back in July I gave a Seminar with the Handweavers Guild of America Convergence Conference called "Finish and Exhibit that Piece!"...