Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Convergence Knoxville 2021: Exhibits with my work

I had no idea where to start with my posts about Convergence this year so I'm breaking posts down into subjects that I'm able to organize better.  This post is about my work shown in 3 of the Exhibits at HGA.

The drive down to Knoxville from Lansing was blue skies and fluffy clouds the whole way!

Convergence is just that, Fiber Art people from all over the world (mostly US and Canada) meet in a city chosen by HGA and we take over their Convention Center, Hotels, Classrooms, Galleries, and anywhere that will exhibit, show fiber work, or let us sit and weave/knit/spin/meet.  HGA themselves host a number of Juried Exhibits along with the local guild exhibits and often local galleries present something fiber-themed. We Converge together and you can tell where your people are by their name tags and the fact that 90% of them are wearing some sort of beautiful handwoven scarf around in July.

Even the Marriott where I was staying had great artwork throughout.

It didn't really hit me completely until I was there telling other convergence attendees that I had pieces in 3 of HGA's exhibits. That's the most I've ever had shown at once at a Convergence Conference, so that's really exciting for me. They were all from the same series: Leaf Me Alone.

I'll be honest, this Leaf Me Alone theme began with my divorce, or need to get divorced back in 2013/2014. With the pandemic, being left alone rose to another level and it became Leaf Me Alone's time to shine. Introverts like myself and Bryan were really cozy not having to do anything but go to work and come home and do our thing. I didn't realized how much I felt being pressured to be busy and social all of the time, pandemic-time was a much-needed reset. I had started making masks during that quiet and the Leaf Me Alone Mask became an obvious, somewhat time-sensitive art piece. It was accepted into the Small Expressions Exhibit.

I had an older, smaller version of Leaf Me Alone (2) in the Leader's Exhibit.  I had shown it at the Michigan League of Handweaver's Conference a few years ago when Cameron Taylor-Brown with the juror. She commented that these smaller ones (10in W x 14.5 L) looked like maquettes, which is true... I do think my word pieces translate much better on a large scale. I also love that word she used, maquette. I had warped for these small Leaf Me Alone pieces to get back in the groove of double weave pickup, and I did have Small Expressions on the brain when I started them. I still have 1 more small one to finish.

Last but definitely not least... Leaf Me Alone (the large version) came into being at the beginning of this year. It's really part of the larger word pieces that I'm picking away at and a sister piece to She Can't See the Forest through the Trees. I was so happy to have this not only finished to submit this year, but it also won an Honorable Mention.  I went to the juror's talk and she said that she felt this piece was "relaxing" which I hadn't really heard of my work before, but I'll take it.

This is also the first time I've won an award exhibiting with HGA, I'm never sure I'll win an award, there are so many amazing weavers and fiber artists in HGA!  I am so honored just to be showing with them.

I started my first full day in Knoxville meeting with Clara who I know from the Lansing Weaver's Guild and has since moved to Florida, it was so good to catch up with her while we perused the exhibits at the Knoxville Convention Center. 


I was going to blog more about the various exhibits and a few of my favorite pieces that I took quick photos of but I started to feel too overwhelmed and will never get these posted if I overthink it. Maybe I'll get to that, maybe I won't, I have a lot going on this year.

Other post subjects on my time at Convergence will hopefully be coming: 
Finish and Exhibit that Piece! (the seminar I presented)
Leader Booth/Sales (and all the awesome people I met)

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

2022 Spring/Summer Beaded Jewelry

I've had this bag of beads pulled since the beginning of April but I wasn't feeling like making jewelry for quite a while.  Then I had a baby shower to go to that I got to dress up for and made a new earring design for it. From there someone posted a cute photo of herself wearing a pair of earrings that she had purchased from me and it seemed to have lit the spark to get back to making some jewelry. 

I pulled out the bag of bead colors that have been sitting in my studio and went to work. First making some earrings...


Then I really wanted to play with stripes like I have been on the garage, so the above bracelet happened...

And I got carried away with leaves for a necklace:

The corals and greens are reminding me of past sets from Spring 2015. There were a lot of pinks used back with that grouping which I've apparently replaced with bright purple and lavender. I actually cannot get enough of this matte lavender tiny seed bead.  

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the above lavender crystal earrings but experimentation can easily move into other ideas so who knows where these could go.

I've been beading more than I guess I thought I had been. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Second Knit Crop Top: Black and White Stripes

I am so behind on blog updates, I swear, I'm still creating! As we plan for our dressy punk wedding I keep thinking of things I can make to wear to concerts coming up like Rammstein, ska shows and Riot Fest (our honeymoon) so I decided to try a black and white stripe crop-top.  I got it done just in time for the Kill Lincoln, JER, Dissidente concert in Grand Rapids at the beginning of this month.  

Bryan and I both happened to have Friday off before his birthday and it just happened that there was a ska concert in Grand Rapids.  It's almost like it was my birthday, I promise that I gave him other options of things we could do and left it wide open, he picked the ska show. <3  We switched up our usual dinner spot and I introduced him to The Electric Cheetah which I had apparently forgot existed as it's not as close to the music venue as our usual spot, Luna. Bryan rolled a Yahtzee on the second roll and got his Yahtzee dinner for free, plus a birthday cookie. Ultimately things kept turning up Bryan around his birthday so it was a good week for us.

Back to the newly knit crop top; it held up great through skanking, jumping, dancing, sweating. I knit up My Secret Little Crop last year in a more vintage look and wore it all last summer. Being a crop top it still has air flow so it doesn't feel too heavy even though it kind-of is for warm-weather application. I usually don't think of wearing knits like this in the summer, but I'm learning it's all about the shape and styling at the end of the day. I've thrown a lot of "do's" and "don't" of fashion out the window over the years but nowadays I think I'm just dumping all the rules out and setting them on fire.


I really love this crop top pattern by Jessie Maed Designs.  She has a ton of cute patterns and you should check them out if you're a knitter. I kind-of want to start another summer top but I have way too many projects going right now. Also, thank you to Sally for passing along her late mother's stash to me, I'm finding ways to use it while I practice and improve my knitting.  This stripe top is 100% her mother's stash yarn.


Currently most of my free time has been outside working on our gardens (weeding lots!) and picking away at the very time-consuming paint-job that I'm doing on the garage. I'm just realizing that the garden along the door-privacy-fence is filling in in the way I always dreamed of being able to have a decorative garden. So I guess I'm pretty ok at gardening. The garage paint job is satisfying my need to play with colors in the same way that the door fence and my beadwork does. At the end of the day it's really neat to see how the way I design translates into each other. 



Saturday, May 28, 2022

MLH 21st Biennial Exhibit at LowellArt Gallery

It's starting to feel like I'm getting back into my old pre-pandemic-groove. Art-wise at least. Everything else in my life seems to be changing but submitting work to exhibits, going to receptions, seeing my weaver-friends feels a bit more like what normal was.  

On Thursday Bryan and I went to The LowellArts Gallery for the opening reception of the Michigan League of Handweavers 21st Biennial  Exhibition. What a beautiful space they have over there!  This show is always great sampling of what the Michigan fiber arts community has to offer.  I didn't get many photos. I'm really working on being more present with less having my phone out. 

I was pleasantly surprised when the awards were announced that I had received an honorable mention for my Evil Eye Bangle. Thank you Barbra Bushey for the award!

Also thank you Helen for purchasing the necklace that I entered. She already has a number of my pieces so I know the Copper Daphne Necklace will be going to a good home when this show is over. 

I'm reminded and humbled that even though I'm not currently producing a ton of my usual artwork, I still have just enough in rotation to feel like I'm staying relevant and keeping my art career going despite my full-time day job, my big personal yard projects and getting ready for our wedding. Life is busy but very very good. 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Spike Stripe Earrings

Lately I feel like I've been knitting more than beading, but when I was between 2 dresses for a baby shower I decided to come up with a new earring design that would work for them. Both dresses have stripes. I have been searching the internet for spike and punk designs a LOT while getting wedding ideas so I figured it was time to try my hand at a large spike drop.  


This isn't a great photo put it shows the rainbow 
sheen in the white beads a bit better.


The black and white dress is the one I ended up wearing, it's been a while since I've worn it and it was fun to have these as a new matching piece of jewelry.


I've never really had a good piece of jewelry to match the other dress which is navy with white and orange-red stripes.  It's been really hard to find a real navy seed bead in the past and Miyuki seed beads has this wonderful deep navy color now.


Between these earrings and someone posting a selfie on social media wearing an older earring design I've been inspired to get into my jewelry pieces again. I have some fun new bead colors that are calling to me now that the weather is turning warm and bright with our gardens.

Monday, May 9, 2022

My First Toe-up Socks, Maybe My Last

Sock knitting. I've recently decided to make the switch to smaller needles (1's) which made my tight cast-on even more problematic.  I spent a lot of time talking to my friends Jenn and Sarah about different ways to get my cast-on looser, I've watched "stretchy" cast-on YouTube videos....nothing seems to be helping. Everything I stitch is so darn tight. 

I noticed that when I cast-off it tends to be a little looser or at least a little stretchier, so, I decided at 20 pairs of socks it was time to learn how to knit socks from the toe-up rather than from the top down. I found knitting from the toe-up to be very different, maybe even awkward. I completely understand the  reasons why some prefer it... but... it didn't help my problem. Moving down to size 1 needles is really the issue here (beyond my tight knitting). I also, finally, have the hang of knitting socks from the top-down, 20 pairs of practice will do that.  I can change, but this is a relaxation-thing so I don't really want to change how I'm knitting socks.  I keep socks as small, portable projects to keep my hands busy during meetings, to find some calm on my lunch break and while I find a little down-time while waiting in a line. I dream of one day having a sock drawer full of hand-knit socks for myself and Bryan. 

Now I can at least say that I've tried it and compared top-down to toe-up sock knitting. I will also mention that the difference between the slipped stitch heel vs picking up the stitch heel is very noticeable to me and I prefer the look of the heel shaping on my top-downs.  

As for my too-tight-cast-on issue, I decided to cast-on with my #2 needles and knit 1 round, then switch to the #1's.  I think this is going to work for me, I'm well into my 22nd pair of socks (to go with a pair of leather platform Converse for this summer). 

I keep saying no more projects but I may have started sampling for another crop-top. Apparently I'm thinking ahead to summer concerts and honeymoon/RiotFest outfits.


Sunday, May 1, 2022

#MyBeadingYear How it's Going

At the beginning of this year I made sure to talk about how I try to make very loose plans and goals because I'm so hard on myself when I don't finish things "in time" or "fast enough" so I only hoped to get my current weaving off the loom this year, maybe finished. 

How's that going? 

I stitch a little on the beaded netting which will be the weaving's edge (this portion of the project sits in a 9mm case by the couch for evenings in front of the TV). I haven't been weaving a whole lot since it's been getting nice enough to work outside but I did notice that I'm just past half-way on "Is There a Thing to Which Brings Us Less Joy Yet We Devote More Time."  I've been feeling like I may be playing "yarn chicken" but at the end I'm sure I'll have enough rayon in the colors I had dyed.  Trying to match a dye years later never really works and I designed this so that the "Wi-Fi" pick-up design is repeated on the beginning and ending of the piece.


I'm also beading some ideas for wedding stuff. Lets face it, wedding planning if going to be the big part of my summer which will force me to finish the garage, reroof the shed, cleanup and add-to the door fence and get our gardens under control. My beading has turned to jewelry with spikes and leopard print for bridesmaid ideas; fishnet is also becoming more prominent in my styling process.

I am falling madly in love with the spikes that Swarovski offers. The bangles and dress details are really giving me that dressy-punk look that we're looking for.

So wish me luck on playing yarn chicken this year and getting all the beading done for our upcoming nuptials!

Convergence Knoxville 2021: Exhibits with my work

I had no idea where to start with my posts about  Convergence this year so I'm breaking posts down into subjects that I'm able to or...