Friday, July 21, 2023

Moving a Macomber Loom; Meet Beatrice

Beatrice all moved in and put together

Well, I wasn't planning on purchasing a new-to-me loom in 2023, but here we are.  Sherri (my now-retired fibers professor) brought up that Anne (another fiber artist who was weaving with me at University of Michigan's Art School way back when) was wanting to sell her 16-harness Macomber loom and I should purchase it. Sherri has brought it up every time we've gotten together over the past year or two. I figured that it would be much more expensive than I was able to afford, but I wanted to be able to tell Sherri I had at least talked to Anne about it. 

Anne wanted to sell it to me at-cost that she paid for it back in 2002, she's taken immaculate care of storing it and it needed a good home. This loom new, with all the extras, bells and whistles she sent along with it would be over 10K and she made me an offer I'd be silly not to take. 

Bryan next to loom as I took it as far apart as possible

Bryan and I went over for a lunch visit and to take a look at the loom, make sure it would (barely) fit in my studio and start planning on how to move it.  No matter how we shifted it, it wasn't going to fit into my Explorer without taking it apart further than I was comfortable with. I took off all the beams, and we packed up what we could to lighten the load for the big moving day. I started thinking of a name for my new loom other than "the Beast" which kept turning into Beatrice in my mind, which is one of my favorite Shakespeare characters. So she was named.

Delilah moved out

I was going to pick it up sooner than later but then the box truck at work was out for repair and I got COVID the week we had planned. The Universe must have know I needed the extra time anyway. In the meantime, about a month and a half, I finished weaving the warp I had going on Delilah, made a rental reservation for the box truck from work, attempted to clean my studio (ha!), moved furniture to make a loom-path through the house. Two nights before the move I bought shoulder harness moving straps and we moved Delilah into the garage...

These shoulder harness straps are amazing. Moving really big heavy things sucks, but this product really made it suck less. For two in-ok-shape 41 year olds we were tired but surprised that it didn't hurt more. We tested the straps before the big moving day with Delilah so I could see what else we might have to move around for the loom-path. Delilah's second back beam is sectional beam which was really the hard part of not taking her beams off, the pointy metal spikes threatened to catch on walls and furniture but we made it out. 

Loom strapped to box truck, 
(we needed to pick up some OSB too, might as well get it while its easy)

For moving truck rental we found it less expensive to rent the box truck from Home Depot because they charge by the hour whereas UHaul charges a flat "daily rate" rate but then has an additional per-mile cost. We were driving to and from Ann Arbor and the mileage was going to be more than double the cost of what Home Depot charges. The box truck was extra large for the loom, but it's the only truck that has a ramp and no way were we lifting this upwards onto a truck bed!

We had to take a break at this point, 
I was getting sore, tired and crabby

Moving  Beatrice in the house was not the same as moving Delilah out. The 16-harness castle plus extra width for this beast of a loom made it juuuust wide enough that it was a struggle to get it through the back 32-inch storm door and then it stuck on the exterior door. I had to take the back door off of the frame (the hinge pins refused to budge for me) and the studio door off the hinges.

Second place we got stuck in the alcove

I was hoping that we would be able to walk her in place in a normal position, but the alcove before the studio was too tight to turn her around. Beatrice is 70 inches wide (longest side) and Delilah was only 48 inches we backed into the dining room, secured more of the moving parts that I was concerned about and lifted her on her side, repositioned the moving straps and shuffled her in. Beatrice just fits in the space with my mess of shelves all around. I can still move around her, but it's much tighter than with Delilah.

Tied up more and on her side

We got her moved in to the studio and I then waited until my next day off to put her all back together. I found that the beams had been in the wrong places, a spring was stretched wrong, some of it was not making sense and, thanks to google, I happened upon a blog that discussed Macomber looms specifically. Macomber Looms and Me turned out to be a help getting Beatrice put back together correctly.

It's taken me a while to adjust to her size, honestly it's been a bit intimidating. I should be working on a new sample for my "anger piece" but the desire to play with some more complex weave structures is really what I want to be doing so I've wound a warp to play with an undulating twill pattern. Undulating twill was the first thing that came to mind of what I could weave with more harnesses, and it was waking me up in the middle of the night with the need to sort out pattern drafts. I'm so excited to be warping something more complex than usual! 

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Midwest Weavers Conference Awards & Updates

One of the things I always find interesting is that if I don't provide a photo of some of my work hanging how I intended it, it sometimes gets hung differently.  "She Can't See the Forest Through the Trees" is one that travels best if I group the middle panel of beaded strips together on its hanging rod.  I then spread it out for display.  When I went to see it hung, they were all still grouped in the middle. I didn't mind it too much but I did find myself fixing it on my second visit to the exhibits area. 

"Leaf Me Alone" had the leaf panel hung in the middle of the back woven piece, which I left. I liked having it shown a little differently. 

I was notified after I got home that I won 3 awards: 1st Place and People's Choice for Leaf Me Alone and 3rd place for Neon Gypsy Leaf Bracelet. I'm always very honored to be awarded, and thank you to the conference and attendees for the votes and awards. One of my favorite things about exhibiting is when other conference members meet me and put my name along with the work they saw and their face lights up, "oh! you're Jenny!?" Su wanted to "pick my brain" about my Forest Through the Trees piece (that I still brought for the Leader's Exhibit even though I wasn't teaching). I had a lot of great questions and conversations about my work. So much so that I need to check and make sure I'm not talking too much or boring someone because I do love to talk about my artwork. Once I check myself I'm reminded that I'm among people who also love to do what I do, so really we are all here for a week of full fiber emergence.

Neon gypsy leaf bracelet, with the hands, and the fabric...
(there's a lot going on here, that's all I have to say about how this is displayed.)

The only thing that stings a bit  was "do you teach?" or "I'd love to take a class from you" and then I mention that I had 2 classes for this conference but they were both cancelled due to low enrollment. It's helping me learn that there's a disconnect between my class offerings and people knowing the kind of work I do with the techniques I want to teach. I can't exactly put a leaf panel that took me months or years to finish along side a class description for the Russian Leaf class I teach because most people only finish 2-4 leaves in a 6 hour class. I mentioned this while talking to Sarah and John. John suggested that a lot of instructors put their larger work with their headshot. Either in the background or a photo of the work connected to the headshot. I love this idea, so now I need new headshots. 

I'm behind on blogging...well, I feel like I'm behind on everything. I've been struggling getting back to a regular routine and what I want to work on next vs what I "should" be working on. I'm really inspired and want to play with a create ALL THE THINGS. I recently posted a video on Instragram rattling on about this particular artist's dilemma which I then stuck up on YouTube if you want to check it out:

(I recorded this as we were getting ready to go to a punk-ska show)

I just got back to brushing up on circular warping my inkle loom and tablet weaving.  I've also decided to play with weaving undulating twill now that my new loom is set up and ready to weave on. 

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...