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.

Neon with Muted Greens and Tan Jewelry Multi Loop Checker Earrings and Bangle

Between perusing Pinterest for current color ideas and watching the movie  Poor Things  I had the urge to play more with the neon green-yell...