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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Keeping it simple and real!

Large Shannock
half done
It always amazes me how easy it is to cling to something that is no longer useful or does needs to be part of one’s life. Sometimes it’s hard to give up the security blanket of having it around-just in case.  I woke up a couple of mornings ago very early before the traffic and anticipation of trying to stuff too much into a day and realized I no longer needed or wanted my 6.5 Shannock- a probable epiphany  a long time coming on my part. I love the loom and its workings. It’s one of the first 20 wooden Shannock looms that were made. It has history! It has beautiful wood and beautiful engineering.  The loom is not the problem. I am not giving up tapestry, if I don’t use it or have it.  I am moving on and doing what I really want to concentrate on for the rest of my weaving career. I can still teach large format, but it will no longer be a weaving goal that always simmers in the back of mid and ask when. Well, of course, also teaching, writing and silver smithing-just doing.  I am out of love and out of the wanting to do large format tapestry
last Sweet WIlliams of the season
AND, finally, there are enough exhibits and people that will appreciate the small format work. I don’t need to do larger tapestries to stay in the “game”. I no longer care about the game. I am at an age where I probably have 10- 20 years or more of weaving left to do. I have already done 36 years.
I am what I am. No apologizes needed.  It’s a beautiful loom and I am doing it a disservice not weaving on it.   Perhaps, I am doing myself an even greater disservice by not focusing on what I really want to do. With it in the studio I feel guilty not weaving on it.  The loom is an icon of past realities. It really is time to downsize the size of my looms, but not my life goals.
I have  decided what I really want are 2-3 more Mirrix’s in different sizes. Which the sale of my Shannock will provide.

new cartoon that will be
10 inches 5 or 7 inches
 I have finally realized that what I really like about doing large format work is working with someone else on their loom. Some of the  best times that I have had weaving were sharing a bench with Shelley and working on large pieces with her. So with that one caveat on large format  it’s time to move on and make space and peace within my thought processes. I no longer think large format. We are talking about 6 feet square and bigger. When I think about working large format-10 wpi etc at any size,  I spend all of my time thinking that I need to reweave the piece at 20 epi and no larger than 2-3 feet square in sewing thread.  I have just spent the summer realizing  and trying to think through the process that the large piece on the loom needs to be about 2 feet rather than 4 x 6 feet to make me happy. I am no longer willing to invest 6 months to a year on a piece that I would be happier with at less than two feet and half the scale. So I am going to sale the Shannock for 4000.00- to be hauled out and packaged by the new owner  and may it bring them peace and contentment, but they still have to move it out of my studio.  There is just no way that my friends and I could handle getting it out of here and neither would I ask. Buy the Mirrix’s with treadles that define what I really need and want to do. Not look back to the maybe’s, might have, should have, or could have because they no longer define my designs or thought processes. It feels really good to know what I really want to do and not worry about working in large format-anymore.
acid eaten photo shopped
rose- part of new cartoon
 The trouble with  an epiphany is they have to be implemented which always leads to more work and more journaling. I am taking the first steps by reorganizing my weaving and design space. The large Shannock is no longer  a cog in the design process.  I am now trying to decide if I need to make the cartoon/ maquette smaller that I had blown up  to 6x4 feet . It is now 14 inches by 24 inches, which might not be a bad size. It was meant to be woven the first time around at  6 foot by 4 feet.  My main concern is the feathers in the wings of time. The weaving of the feathers was thought out at 10 epi and three times as large.  What are the concessions I will need to make in downsizing the woven structures. A corner I want to change back from what I would have woven at a larger format.

But first I need to finish 2 pieces by November 30th and another by the end of January.

yellow tomatoes that should be ripe by now
On another note-In my last issue of American Crafts there is an article called the Cult of Simplicity by Akkiko Busch. It explains the difference between being simple and appearing simple. I am so tired of being told that tapestry technique should be dumbed down for the masses-DIY’s. To quote” 

Akkiko Busch from the Cult of simplicity.

“It's human nature to try to reduce what is complicated to something we can under­stand and live with. But it would be a mis­take to believe that complex things really are simple. Just as there is a difference between making something efficient, clear and operable and just dumbing it down. Observing complexity, acknowledging it, respecting it and then finding a way to manage it generally leads to the more desir­able outcome. ..
Chinese Kesi woven at around 60 epi
At a time when the cult of simplicity is ever tantalizing, it is increasingly possible for those outside the field to romanticize the handmade object as an icon of the sim­ple life. But craft tradition has always been more about appearing simple than being simple: DIYers who go into crafts for its anti-consumer message find that making one of something can have the same complexity as making many; studio craftspeople often find themselves working at an intricate in­tersection of conceptual content, material skill and an appreciation for ambiguity. Which is why this seems to be the time for those engaged with craft to show how their •work is, in fact, a process effacing, rather than avoiding, complexity…” end of quote.

Chene's New friend-since
 he found it wants to keep it
    I am glad someone has finally defined and synthesized what has been causing me major frustrations with the way I see and deal with the new world that is so different then what anyone could have imagined 50 or 60 years ago.  I still come from an age before…Reading I, Robot  by Issac Asimov was considered to be our future and the future is nothing like Asimov imagined.  The computer I am typing on is a good example of just that-miniaturization did it in.

Churro skeins-Now what-so beautiful
Diane K. sent me some beautiful churro roving and yarn. I am not a spinner,but I do felt occasionally. How can one not with Pat Spark as a business partner and best friend. BUT, I more then like the samples of  churro tapestry yarns. I wish they were a little thinner because I would love to do bobbin blending with them on a small tapestry.   I think I am love with  the  feel and workability of the churro roving.  The roving looks like it will felt pretty hard. I have only worked with merino which is very soft and wears easily.  Just like I would never walk on a wool tapestry rug made of merino. Maybe, I’ll even do some shibori arashi with the felted churro. I think it’s time I made another pair of moccasins. It’s been awhile. I spent the first 10 years wearing moccasins and or oxfords depending on the weather to school.  My toes no longer like to be rubbed by the tops of my store bought leather shoes  and cross trainers. It’s too  cold in the studio during the winter to go barefoot-my preference in the studio. I once made a pair of Apache dance boots out of felt with leather bottoms. I think I want them a tad lower toped and closer to my ankles though. More like a Kiowa boot. I will use leather bottoms and have my orthotic sewn to the leather. It rains a lot in Oregon so it will take a lot of snow seal to make the bottoms water proof. I am unwilling to do it the traditional way-no time/no inclination to process leather.  The best leather  for bottoms comes from a leather  surrounding smoke holes in a tipi or as my Grandmother did it over firebox in her wood stove. I’ll bead at least part of them and maybe needle felt part with my Grandmother’s design. Who knows maybe I’ll add a few tinglers just for the joy of hearing them while I weave with my treadles.. .The more I think about it the more I like this idea.  
Apache Boots copied from a picture of Geronimo
Shorter style I am going to make with dyed felted Churro

The description I wrote for the last pair of moccasins that I made. It’s hard to believe this is from a show that was in 1996.

Dance Boots for the Between
Dance Boots for the between
detail of boots
Hand made wool felt, Shibori arashi (pole resist dyed), leather soles from a well loved pair of handmade moccasins, with dance tinglers (made from tobacco plug lids often used not for smoking or chewing but for gifts to the spirits) and silver thimbles (traditional tinglers are a sign of wealth and skill) created from a pattern for apache boots that would have been traditionally made from leather not felt. The moccasin style is one of several styles made by Todd-Hooker’s Grandmother for her to wear as a child and young adult.  Silver tingles are a necessity on dance and party regalia for sound, beautiful movement.  Whispers and rhythm for snagging, shawl, and butterfly dances which were never attended because of a religion and fear of discovery.  These boots were made for dancing in and out for places and people that are and were somewhere between cultures. None of the techniques, styles or materials would have been combined together in any of the three represented cultures. So the dance boots are for the betweens.
Chene' dismounts from favourite drinking spot

summer drinks
I finally reframed the icon I painted
carved and gilded. I love the background
etching. I'll probably use it again!

non ripe tomatoes-
Maybe green tomato juice
This has been a confusing couple of weeks. So I have been doing a lot of journaling. I needed to reassess my goals and where I am going and if I am headed in the right direction. I haven’t set the goals parts-yet-because too many important people in my life are choosing to be in inbetween places. I find that I really do need goals, good time management, and the discipline of stated goals and direction.  Life is just too short for anything else. Lately, it hasn’t been working that way because of too many outside responsibilities and reacting to others instead of acting for myself and my goals. Very few of the goals that I wanted to accomplish in a non rain season have  been done.  It looks to me after the last couple of days that winter and fall are very close and many of the sunny time goals will have to wait until next year and dryness. Even my garden of tomatoes and peppers have decided to take a vacation and not ripen this year. Summer is gone. Summer and all that it entailed and  promised.  is gone and I feel cheated. That acknowledged it is time to move towards the promise of fall and winter and good comfy things like lots of rain and wind.
Creeting card Spencer gave me after a particular disappointing day
Pretty much sums up the summer!


Sue Schwarz said...

I do read your blog and love that you share your art with us. I have one little critique though. I have been studying for years and writing Icons. My teacher really gets upset if we say we have painted it. I still have trouble with the writing those lovely icons, but humor him, so I thought I would pass that comment along to you also. The Icon is wonderful, by the way. Love all the gilding.

K Spoering said...

I, too, am trying to rid my life of unused things. One of them is a four-harness floor loom that I haven' used in years. It was a special surprise gift from my husband, though, and my first loom, so it has sentimental value. That doesn't really justify the space it takes up, but I just can't part with it yet. I keep thinking I'll warp a blanket for the grandkids to work on when they come.

Kathe Todd-Hooker said...

Because my icon painting was secular and the icons I painted aren't blessed, it's okay for me to say I copied them. I am aware of the painter not being the painter, but the vessel threw which the painting flows. My teacher was Adrian Advam a Romania national whose family had painted icons for centuries, but had turned to secular painting under communism. I took the classes and did the painting to learn about the direction-not the religious iconography. I love working with metals and gilding as a avocation. There are many things that I have learned since I painted this and now would do it in metal work and only a little carving.

Kathe Todd-Hooker said...

Don't part with it, yet. It will break your heart if you get rid of it before you are ready. There will be a thousand what if's...You might try rag rugs for the grandkids to weave. They are not such a time commitment. My youngest son loved to weave rag rug samples for me when he was in Jr. high. I think it appealed to his liking of mechanical computerese thinking.
I am ready!

Kathe Todd-Hooker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.