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Monday, August 31, 2009

Too much ado about nothing.

Today has been a day of mythic almost Biblical proportions. I did get a tad bit of weaving done, but here's what I wove for the week-anyway. I am going to have to really make tracks when I get home to keep up with Kathy and Tommye so that I can finish by the end of September. We seem to have been visited by flood, fire(or almost fire), havoc, and mayhem. Of course, It's all because I am leaving tomorrow morning. To mix metaphors sort of the day before I leave is always like a visit to the Mad Hatter's tea party. I wish i could be the Mad Hatter and not Alice. She's always confused while the Mad Hatter doesn't care if he is confused or not-whole different state of mind and personal universe. Pat supplied the flood with a broken washer that let go in the middle of the night and flooded her down stairs. Living in ancient houses can be so much fun. We had the same thing happen the week we moved into our old house. Fortunately we hadn't unpacked all of the way. I can so sympathize. We did have her birthday lunch at Boccherini's and managed to talk for the first time in a week or so. It's always so nice to do this with her! The almost fire was because "Someone" tried to help by turning up the heat-so I could finish sooner- on my reducing tomato sauce that has to be done because the ripe tomato crop would rot while I am gone. The "someone" forgot to tell me they were being helpful and I went out my studio leaving it simmering and reducing on the stove while I went out to the studio to work. Talk about run on disaster sentences. Pestilence was supplied by trying to get UPS to pick up a rather large order in a timely fashion. Havoc was supplied by a telephone that wouldn't stop ringing demanding thier orders from today yesterday. Mayhem was created by everyone in general as we all tried to multitask at once. AND, the discovery of the theft of a Hagen loom from the covered patio. Fortunately there was no work or an almost finished tapestry on it. Probably a tweeker looking for metal walking by from the river which turns into homes for the homeless during the summer to the soup kitchen, but of course, ultimately, my fault for leaving it out. I don't mind the missing tomatoes as they walk by, but the loom was a whole other thing. Something not easily replaced.

The good news is I made it into the deep red peony and came to the conclusion that the awful bubble gummy acid pink is going to mellow down into a nice light red. Talk about a colour with a real attitude. The problems I am having with liking and being comfortable with the colour is that it reminds me of some the pinks that Rouault and DeKoonig used that I have never been fond of. The colours in this tapestry are so rich and vibrant-nothing hesitant at all about it. Some may think the design is to small for the format, but it feels right to me. The energy level really seems to mirror the emotions of the gambles we take in our lives.

There was great quote sent to my face page by someone when I was complaining about how slow my weaving was this last week. If you had wanted your art to be fast you would have been a painter. I am not putting it in quotes because I lost it on my face book wall. So, It's sort of right and I can't remember who sent it to me, but I still love it!!!
What is it about August and September that everything seems to be all yellow and orange and purple and burnt looking. Guess I'll break down and see if I can find some zonal Geraniums-At least they are reds. I have been doing some design work for another tapestry. I am beginning to feel that these Geraniums are basically the same shape as hydrangea's. I am wondering if they will mirror each other to closely and create confusion in my design. The geraniums might read as embarrassed hydraneas and the gerniums like ill..so it goes on and on. I am going to use the images that I design for my 20epi and do them at 10epi just for the sake of comparison. I have a five foot wide warp that I think I'll weave about a foot high as an exercises. I find that in my design journal I seemed to fixated on the phrase Time in a bottle. It's from an old Jim Croce song. I also saw the Time Travellers Wife. I think I need to read the book, but it hasn't helped my fixation on time images and words. Will probably show up in my next small format tapestry.
I am going to miss weaving this week. BUT, at least I will be doing something really fun. I am going to Maryland to see my family. It seems like forever since I have seen the Grandchildren-KeeKee, Troy and Spencer. KeeKee just had a birthday and turned 17. WOW-this seems like the opening of a whole new thing a little like an Epiphany- where everything becomes the past from this moment forward.
Sorry all Chene' has to stay and play with Livvie and Jenn again. I know how much you all want to see and meet him, but he's still a little to hyber for a jest ride under the seat in his carrier. People would hate me as I dislike crying children and children throwing temper tantrums on planes. Give him another year of training!

Grandpa's thinking we should maybe get another puppy so that Chene' has someone to play with. Gramma's not so sure. She's doing all of the training. Grandpa spoils. Chene' has a tunnel now. When we get back we will add his jumps to the course. He likes to fake us out by not going through the tunnel. He knows he's being funny, because he sits and waits for a reaction before he runs through the other side.
We are going to tour all of the Lincoln Assassination sites got to Gettysburg while in Maryland. Shane lives about 2 miles from Dr. Mudd's home. Haven't figured out what the fascination of going to battlefields is. So many people died there. They give me the creeps and makes my skin crawl. My Grandmother said that dead things and ghost of the past were best view from a very long distances so that they don't become attached to ones life/self. I know that's part of the reason she left one home and created a new one. I'd rather see a battlefield in papers and diagrams. I am hoping to see Mary Todd-Lincoln's inaugural gown. I have never seen My Great-Great Aunts dress. Every time in the last 37 years that I have gone their it's been down for conservations purposes. Perhaps it will be on display this time! We will be going to the Textile Museum and the Smithsonian Indian museums. Ramona Sakestewa designed a great tapestry curtain that was woven at Kawashima Textile Mills in Japan. It seems to me to be rather odd to have it woven by non-American-non native American tapestry weavers. It's not as big as the biggest Navajo weaving ever done. So what was the problem!! Go figure!
Guess I should go pack. We are leaving at about 3:30 in the morning.
Just a reminder to self that there is no place like home. Everything else is Disneyland. SO-- Disneyland it is for the next week.
Cheers

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Slow dog days of summer


I wish someone would tell me why there are days and weeks when things feel so slow. I feel like I am watching rocks grow. Perhaps, it was because the earth star was slow to weave. It is one of the most difficult images that I have woven. The perspective and depth were difficult to achieve.
I am finally learning the difference between architectonics and shading in tapestry technique. I much prefer the realism of the shading to using technique architectronically such as Lurcat promulgated that tapestry should be!(Yes, I know I left out the silly tailed c symbol that I can't find in this particular program. So get over it.) The style that is used by so many tapestry weavers who taught in the 40's-80' feels dated and not appropriate to what I weave today. I am now half done with so many chances. It's right on schedule.
It all looks very yellow because I didn't turn off the studio lights before I photographed the piece with my flash. I am not sure what I have done, but I can't seem to move the photos around. SO, she said in a huff." guess they will all be dead center."Not quite what i had envisioned, but I am probably the only one who knows they are not where I wanted them to be. Aww-well. Decided it was going to really nag at me so I deleted and started over. Deleting things that didn't work quite right is so satisfying.
I have been several hours trying to build a web page, because I am finally tired of waiting for the other one to be fixed. It's a needful thing!
It is summer and all that implies. The photo of the hoodoos is a picture I took on the way home from Durango. It seems to symbolize exactly how i feel about the last week of weaving. I love the way the hoodoo women seem to be waiting eternally for something to happen. On the other hand maybe they are just doing what I am doing procrastinating hoping the day will end before...

One of the questions I am asked about constantly is what do I weave on. I am a firm a believer that if you weave on a bad loom or one that doesn't tension well you have lost the battle or are very close to loosing the battle of producing a good tapestry. These are my two favourite looms-both Shannock's. They have lasted me so far since I purchased them around 1996. Before that It seemed like a constant battle with the looms I used. A good loom doesn't need to be exspensive or a Shannock. I am now to the point that I really like my copper looms much better because of the painters easel I use to hold them. I have noticed the comfort level of my students that use the easels is also much better. I think there is a lot of agreement that the easel is really a good thing. I have taken 4-5 of the easels to each class for use in the classes i have taught this summer and sold everyone of them. I keep running out of the easels and have to get more for the next class. FFP is definitely going to be selling them. I just received my bulk shipment yesterday. I am also becoming a firm believer that no one should start a beginning student on a loom that doesn't have a tensioning device. I am so sick of hearing newbie weavers tell me that good tension isn't important. That they like having screwed up tapestries, because they don't know what good technique is.They have to fight the loom constantly instead of concentrating on developing good technique.


We took Chene' to the coast yesterday and put him on a 23 foot leash. He loved it. He was completely covered with sand. He could not figure out which was the most fun to haul around seaweed or drift wood. The wind kept bowling him over. He chased kites and seagulls. The seagulls were not impressed with him and attacked. Chene' like a good tactician retreated to behind me. He's so tiny around 5 lbs. Pye out weighs him by 7 lbs. He loves the freedom of roaming in the sand and sliding down the dunes. He can also dig in it, which he can't do at home without completely upsetting Pyewycket. Pye has taught him how to fight with his feet. It is the starangest thing to see a dog attach and slap like a cat.
It rained this morning. Chene' wasn't happy to go walking. Less happy when he had to sit on the wet ground while I attached his leash. Even less happy when he got wet from walking a mile and a half. He absorbs rain like a sponge. I swore I would never be one of those people who dresses up their cute little dog, b-u-t I am thinking that Chene' may need a rain slicker. No boots, though. When we got home he ran into the bathroom and pulled a bath towel onto the floor and would not move from the towel. It took me forever to coax him outdoors and over to the studio. It's amazing how long a Pom. can stay in a snit. He wasn't even happy with his Starbucks cup. He did pull his Oliver gig and demand tuna fish-seconds.(see accompanying photo) He's now sleeping the day away while I procrastinate from doing my weaving.
Have you ever tried to write every weaving trick you know about a subject down? It's amazing how much we just do and don't even thing about it. i have been keeping a weaving journal to try and catch all of those little tricks so that I can write about them. The weaving technique after 30 years has become an extension of my body. I don't even think about it. I remember one of my easatern religion Tao instructors telling me that would happen back in the early 70's. I have told my students that it would happen. That the technique would become so internalized that you don't need to think about. i have finally figured it out that the old master in the Zen of Archery was right. It finally just happens. One weaves with the eyes closed in the minds eye. Still doesn't help with getting it down in writing though! I think this blog may be making feeling a little narcisstic and definitely older.





Monday, August 17, 2009

Ugly needful colour week begins



Well that was fun I just finished my blog and I managed to get my Internet server not to work and delete it, before I could post it. So I am starting over. I am just about a little less then half done with So Many Chances. I am getting ready to add the earth star-fossilized ammonites an early relative of the nautilus and a deep red/purple peony under the bio hazard symbol. I have been working with my lest favourite colours-puke and lime greens, yellows and pinkish colours. We talked about ones choice of ugly colours in my class in Durango. Everyone had a different sense for what their uglies were/are. I think that part of the reason maybe all of the reason one learns to use the uglies is that sometimes they are needed to tell a story. What would be the impact of a biological hazards symbol if it were done in baby blues and pinks. I have always loved the design with the green center. My grandmother used to put it on my moccasins and occasionally on gingham checked blouses that she made for me.

Marge's Penguin's are now finished, framed, and gifted to her Granddaughter. She has begun working on St Michael's we had to find a picture in the historical archives that showed what the church looked like in 40's. the town a round it has really changed. the church looks almost claustiphophic now pinched in between buildings and street. Marge's cartoon has trees and mountains much more visible then they are now. I think that Marge has decided she has a lot more weaving in her and is in a hurry to finish it all. She has decided to work on a second piece on a loom that fits in her purse. Her intention is to work on it where ever she is including church. It's a yellowish sand dune with magenta overtones and a lavender border. I have no idea where she found the picture. So, I will hold my breath and hope. She's trying the netting bobbin's that wee generously given to me for her by class members in Durango. They seem to snag on everything. Marge wants to continue to try and use them until she determines if it is just her old fingers or she doesn't like them. I thin I still prefer my bobbins and the techniques I can do when I manipulate the bobbins in chines' and melanges.
Well, that was fun i discovered how to post my blog before it was finished. I wonder if the hot studio is making problems with the computers again. Couldn't possibly be my fumble fingers-could it?
I now have a facebook page. I am not sure that I like it. Can one get rid of it or does it follow one around forever like a leach or attached ghost. Seems to fill up with all sorts of stuff that I wish wasn't there. I had no idea that people played games on them or just goofed off. I think I prefer my blog even more then I did. I am not sure why I need facebook after seeing the entries that have landed on my wall and the people who have wanted to become members of my page.
Guess I better go build more window sills and work on the tile in the bathroom. It's that time of day. 8 more sills to go.



Chine' working on stay. 3 months ago. His hair is now 6 inches longer.


This all for now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This and that again!

In the last 2.5 weeks since I updated this blog so many things have happened. Some great, some sad, much of very wonderful and sometimes overwhelming. Of course, very little of it has been weaving on my piece or perhaps in time it all does have to with my weaving.

I redid my handouts for my Colour and Movement workshop that I presented in durango. I had over 400 slides to do put into Power Point-not as bad as it sounds because a third of those were in two animations that take less then 1.5 minutes to show. It's a relief to know that the outline of the book works. Now all I have to do is finish the warping book with Pat and finish Colour Movement in Tapestry. It's a relief I never have to deal with slides again for these lectures and all the mishaps that can happen with slide trays.

My class in Durango at IWC was interesting, fascinating and wonderful to teach. I was able to put more faces to people I have dialogued with for years on the tapestry list. Durango is beautiful, but the altitude is a little too high for comfort for my comfort, but I woould go back in a heartbeat. I am used to moving and walking fast. It was hard to slow down enough to speak or get anywhere very fast. Many of the students I taught this week were extremely good tapestry weavers. Several of my students won prizes in Fiber Celebrated 2009- Rebecca Metzloff, Lynn Hart and Barbara Schwarz. I won an ATA a ward for one of my pieces in the show.

An incredible thing happened I have never won anything. I did this time. I won a huge basket of yarn books and tools thanks to several people in my class. I had asked that they just take the money and give it to the people in charge of the raffle because I never win, but wanted to donate to the scholarship fund and didn't have the time or the energy to walk over to the SW study building. Lynn and cohorts-thank you one and all-took the time to go through the baskets to make sure there were no cameliad fibers and put my raffle tickets in the proper place and I won!! Thank the Gods I wasn't flying! I would have had to ship or pay for the basket.So thank the afflebathcans and camelheads to mention a few of the many mangled words in the class. You all know who you are that helped me along with the mangles.

Lynn, I thought of another way to do the rib structure on the saguaro-do reverse double weft interlock so it's ridge structure and reverse ridging shows on the front of the tapestry.
Spencer and I had incredible experiences. The silver work was all over the place. I learned so much. I have decided to design a silver bracelet watch band. I am so enthused about getting back to my torch and silver. I saw some beautifully ornate watch bands and was able to study how the watch was attached to the band.
I would love to have been able to bring home another pet. This Velociraptor looked like he might make a good watch dog. Mesa Verde and the Anasazi ruins were pretty spectacular-even if they were to high to walk down to in the heat and altitude.
Tomorrow i see Marge and now I have another new student- Dee-who will be joining us. Marge finished her piece and is now doing a tapestry of Saint Michael's in Sitka. We searched for historical photos to base the tapestry on. Marge wanted the Church and area surrounding the church to look the way she remembered it in the 40's. The cartoon has the church and the trees on the mountains in the background poking through the snow. We haven't decided how we will weave the clapboard sides.

I leave for Maryland/DC on the first of September. I have from now to then to weave. This is the slowest time of the year for FFP, which is fine/great for me and my plans to weave. This time I will finish the piece I emant to finish a month ago.

While i was gone the temperature was 108 officially and 110 at my Dad's small weather station in Portland. A little too much for old cats and older people. For those of you who know my cats. Captain Jack died of old age. We all knew it was coming. It was still a shock not to hear his rumbling purr when we got home. He was a 20 year old Maine Coon that never met a person who didn't love him or he them. Pye is devastated and is continually looking for Jack. She hates to be alone. We will probably sometime this winter and after I had some time to miss Captain Jack get another Maine Coon. They are lovable and large.
My new garden turned into a jungle. I maybe should have cut the compost with a little pit of dirt. I ahve never seen such tall tomatoes with so many bloosoms. It makes me feel like I walked into a sci-fi novel.

I fell in love with hoodoo's while I was traveling. Actually, I didn't know what they were until after Lynn and an old Navajo women I met in a restaurant in Cortez told me about them. From then on every time I would see a hoodoo I would see people and totems. It got to the point it was really spooky-maybe not spooky put connected to some thing which Idon't know what is. One of the nicest things that happened on the trip was to be able to really see things that i have been studying for years from pictures, books and lectures. One of the ways we choose where and what we would see was often chosen from books and novels that Spencer and I had read. Spencer wanted to see the places that the outlaws, Indians, Zane Grey and all hung out in his readings. Some of the places I wanted to see had been described in novels, paintings, and historical text that i had read over the years.
And of course, I took hundreds of pictures to use as colour studies when I weave.
Enuff for now. I am going to go weave.
By the way Marge. The pictures I took of your Penguins turned out great. I just remembered why I can't find my camera. I left it on your bookcase.
Cheers and all,
kathe