Belated, Besotted and Begladdened
I have been planning to post something since I got back from teaching at Arrowmont in mid-April, and am just getting to it. I am sorry to be late because it was a truly wonderful experience. While New England was still under the grey-brown, chilly thumb of a winter that wouldn’t let go, my great traveling buddy, Mary Lou and I headed south and watched the landscape change from brown to pale yellow-green to really trippy vivid green in the Smokies. We made a stop at Luray Caverns in Virginia to stretch our legs . . . I see fabric everywhere!!!The conference was one of the best I’ve been to. The weather was warm but not too, the company was stellar and the atmosphere of the conference was very laid back, friendly while being well-organized and smooth as silk. Getting to Arrowmont left me gobsmacked. We had to drive through what could only be called the “Vegas” of the southeast while seeing stunning natural beauty all around us in the distant Great Smoky Mountains.
Above is the view from our hotel the night before the conference. You can see the misty mountains beyond the closely packed hotels and businesses.
Arrowmont is right in downtown Gatlinburg (a bustling, touristy town) but is a gorgeous, rustic, haven tucked back and filled with high quality arts and crafts studios and practitioners. I met weaving super stars like Kay Faulkner and Alice Schlein (who act like regular people!!) and a host of wonderful, creative, funny fiber fiends. My class was wonderful, the students were energetic, super smart, talented weavers who took the “deflected DW” ball and ran with it.
The company throughout was great and ML and I had some fun. Below Mary Lou is demonstrating what would happen to any fiber criminals . . . luckily everyone behaved!When we got back home (after 13 hours on the road) I had almost a week at home alone to try to catch up on all the work that had piled up while I was working (playing) with my friends because my husband and youngest were away in the UK. I was the happy recipient of a week of quiet time (NO COOKING!!) and some lovely Scottish yarn on their return (see rigid heddle scarf below). I jumped right into working on an editing project for Storey Publishing that involved working out quite a few projects on the rigid heddle loom. Because I was crunched for time, Mary Lou designed and wove the wee house on the left in the picture below (her first rigid heddle project!!) and then I got the rest of the warp to mess around on. It takes a village . . . I also got busy working on more samples for a class I am teaching for NEWS in July. Some samples below from a some wonderful drafts (Lynn Tedder’s and Ena Marsten’s ) that I got from an old Weavers Magazine. And of course I have to include some Dimity from the vast collection of drafts that Ute Bargmann has so effortfully and cleverly curated. The sample below is from the Tandy Hersh woven in 20/2 wool. Although I may have to revisit because when I compare Ute’s sample to mine I see a problem with my horizontal ridges . . . I just spoke to Ute and not only did I get the draft wrong (horizontals are missing a pick or two . . . ) but it is NOT from the Lena Dancy manuscript, but a Tandy Hersh draft (Thanks Ute!!!).So that is all the “belated” news . . . as for the besotted . . . I recently met (introduced by Laurie Autio) Bhakti Ziek, a stellar weaver who has been weaving art for many years and has recently been in the weaving news for an installation called Stardust at Princeton University. Link to lovliness: http://www.bhaktiziek.com/project/stardust-a-princeton-university-commission/ Her work is meticulous, weaverly and artistic – hard combo to beat!
And finally to get to the “begladdened” part – I was sent a link by Gwen Steege, a weaver, and editor at Storey Publishing (I want to sing her praises too – how come there are so many smart, kind, creative people among the fiberistas?) from Ravelry about a new surge of interest and creativity among the rigid heddle weavers: https://blog.etsy.com/en/2015/learn-to-weave-tips-and-advice-from-etsy-experts/ This combined with my recent experiences of meeting Alice Schlein and Bhakti Ziek (mavens of multishaft) both of whom are stepping into the world of “simple looms”, and the recent fiber art shows at ICA in Boston and the Museum of Arts and Design (Pathmakers – Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today) makes me think that there really is a cultural impulse to embrace weaving anew, re-open the doors of the art world to weavers and fiber artists and perhaps attract the huge numbers of knitters, gardeners, spinners and crafters who have avoided weaving as too rigid. (Ironic if the rigid heddle attracts weavers who want less rigid weaving:)) Here’s hoping!