Belated Thanks • The Meaning of Textiles • Beloved Books • Studio Blues

You can click away now if a digest-y, catch-up kind of posting is not to your taste because here I go with the catch-up digestion . . . (?)

First, I want to (very belatedly) talk about Thanksgiving and the week before.  There are many schools of thought about the holiday, but I welcome a chance in my neurotic, black-glasses brain for a chance to count my blessings . . . and they are myriad.  The week before Thanksgiving we celebrated my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday.  My father-in-law gave a toast that brought us all to tears. It ended with the sentiment that he never thought he would be head-over-heels in love with a 90-year-old woman, but he is.

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This Thanksgiving we had my beautiful daughter with her new Kiwi (New Zealander) husband who we love, and who happens to be a board game enthusiast and a great cook (maybe my daughter took that into account when she said “yes”). We were also joined by my brother and his two fantastic kids who brought some of their Dominican warmth to our cold New England season. My fab son Hardy brought his art school flair and attitude to my staid presentation (he also brought a project that we were able to work on together – a giant, white, fabric snail smoking a cigarette – I didn’t question – I just enjoyed the fiber/fabric problem solving with him). Our German exchange student brought his gleeful, optimistic hunger for new experiences to his first Thanksgiving and turned out to be a pretty amazing strategist in the board game marathons.  He, Hardy, Daniel (new son-in-law), Kevin (nephew) along with Cal (my 13-year-old) were a riot of youthful competitiveness fueled by pie and stuffing. Really A LOT to be thankful for.

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This weekend I was able to go to NYC to see the Interwoven Globe show at the Met.  It is a huge show with printed, woven, resist-dyed, embroidered, painted . . . textiles from around the world. The thing I loved most was the squashing of the notion that globalization is a recent phenom – ha! I also appreciated the descriptions of the cultural and trade origins of some of our most familiar textiles such as chintz and toile. Something to see for sure.  Even though I purposely took a tiny bag for the weekend I still came home with a great book:

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I just started reading “Textiles – The Whole Story” by Beverly Gordon on the train home, but her intro is exciting, and she delves deeply into the reason why textiles have been and are critically important to human beings and why the recent “hobby-izing” of the creation of them is wrong. Yes!!

. . . and speaking of books I beg that everyone I know read Andrew Solomon’s “Far From the Tree.” It is a life-changing book that is so smart and humane that it should be required reading. Here is a link to the NYT review of it: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/books/review/far-from-the-tree-by-andrew-solomon.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

Okay – now actual weaving. I don’t now why, but I have been in a blue mood lately in the studio.  I have two gift scarves on two looms in Zephyr, tencel, bamboo and alpaca with a shades-of-blue warp waiting in the wings for the AVL.  Why the blues?

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Maybe because I wove the one below as one of the original gifts, but failed to record my treadling pattern at the beginning so I ended up with an extra repeat on one end of the scarf. (I really want to write DOH! but its time may have passed – sorry Homer.) I do love those dots though!

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Or maybe my “blues” have to do with my studio’s current state of chaos.Loom1

I will sign off from my digestion by saying that the Convergence offerings in RI this summer look SUPER GREAT, and I cannot wait. Also, we completed our WeaveMeet towel challenge with a hilarious exchange in which every participant got fined for not following one rule or another (great boon for our guild coffers!) and I got a coveted shadow weave towel woven by Joy Pond.  Part of the challenge was to blind pick colors and figure out how to make them work.  Joy got a rust red and a eye-watering neon green that would have made me throw in the towel (pun . . .) But she created a great towel that almost gives the impression of wood grain.  I will post a pic in the next post.

Hey – I am thankful for my towel too!

8 thoughts on “Belated Thanks • The Meaning of Textiles • Beloved Books • Studio Blues

  1. Wow, the blue/yellow scarf is gorgeous. Would anyone, but the weaver, count the patterns at the end and does it matter for such a great scarf. By the way I think it was Susan at Thrums blog who said she takes photos of the start so she can refer to it when she reaches the end.

    • Hey Dianne – Good to hear from you!
      Susan is a wise woman, and I always intend to record (on paper or digitally) but then find myself with a couple of turns on the cloth beam. I guess that total transportation is both my weaving joy and sorrow. How is it going in NZ? My daughter just sent some beautiful pics from Dunedin.

      • So I practiced what I preached, couldn’t see the photo properly anyway then made a mistake at the END of the next placement! Can’t win.
        Glorious sunny day here but I think rain was forecast for Dunedin.

  2. Hi Elizabeth,
    I love the yellow and blue scarf! I’m reminded of your comments in the class this last summer about how hard it is to use yellow. This is a great use of it! Brilliant, as usual.
    Thanks for the recommendation on the show at the Met. Can’t wait to see it.

    • Hey Virginia,
      Great to hear from you. I hope you have had time to do some weaving of your own in the interstices between working with your students. How has it been going? Any DefDW?
      I really loved the Met show in a unexpected way. The textiles are fairly familiar and (horrors) not that interesting to me by themselves. But that is because they are so familiar in many ways. What is really interesting is the story of how they were created and how they disseminated throughout the world – and how many of them are samples of the original items that have since been mass produced . . . A lot of food for thought. I would love to hear what you think.

      • Thanks, Elizabeth. I’m looking at your scarf again and realizing it is GREEN, not yellow. Oh well….sorry. I just knitted (?) a yellow and blue hat which is pretty happy, so I was projecting, I’m afraid.
        Happy Holidays! And yes, many, many blessings to be grateful for, to celebrate and to share.

  3. I’m so glad to hear about Beverly Gordon’s book. Her shaker textile arts book was so good, I’ve remembered it lo these many years. Also, I just looked up Textiles-the Whole Story, and discovered she’s taught at UW in Madison, right next to where I live Wisconsin. She read at a bookstore in Spring Green last year! Well, she’s probably retired now and moved back to the UK. I’d like to hear her. Her Shaker book is wonderful. I read it before I learned to weave.

  4. Hey Susan,
    Thanks for the tip on the Shaker book. (are New Years’ gifts a tradition?) I love the shaker aesthetic, and relished seeing some of the archived textiles in the Hancock Shaker Village collection a couple of years ago . . . so a book, particularly by my new hero B. Gordon , would be just the thing! Thanks for the comment

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