Monday, September 26, 2011

Of waterdogs and black berries…

Fall is here!images

The rain is back!

The term came to denote the season in 16th century England, a contraction of middle English expressions like "fall of the leaf" and "fall of the year"

  Classes start again. Tomorrow will be the first day of Better Bones and Balance. Can’t believe how badly i have missed that class. It so hard to exercise on my own, but I do.

Nostalgia strikes or is it really?

The leaves are turning colour. So many things not done. So many things ended forever. Autumn always brings a sense of relief. The hot weather is gone. Summer ended. The beginning of the rush to be ready for winter.  School DSC_0038begins and schedules change-not so much anymore now that Spencer is retired. But, Autumn always feels like change.There was a time in my life when summers end meant hours of canning and preserving.

Dad, Grampa and not so happy Chene at Giant Springs overhang.

The term nostalgia describes a yearning for the past, often in idealized form. The word is a learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning "returning home", a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning "pain, ache". It was described as a medical condition, a form of melancholy, in the Early Modern period, and became an important trope* in Romanticism. Liberated from Wikipedia
*a word that I love.

I no longer do this. I have been liberated and no longer have the time or feel the need with home life being just Spencer and I... To be truthful-Something I mostly, slightly, actually, very little regret. I grow a few vegetables, because tomatoes, cukes and peppers never taste the same as the store  “botten”-even when purchased at the farmers market. Makes me me wonder how much of the taste is real and how much the romance of the doing.  Wondering how much is enough  to last through winter and late springs? It was an urgency I inherited from my Grandmother who lived as a subsistence farmer in the Mountains surrounding Blachly. OR for part of her life-the later years.

 Time is viewed differently when you live as your ancestors lived. Her only concession was to build a house that overlooked a valley with old houses covered by Blackberries that made great places to tunnel into and read Amphib194and draw. We only played in them by day because the cougars roamed and screamed too close and thextgranulosaor609newt-rough skined waterdog protectors retreated into the safety of the mud or shapeshifted into something else at night. 

 Of course, we were also required to pick the blackberries, can,bake, dry, make fruit leathers with the berries, dye with the berries, and dig them out of the blackberriesplaces they always seemed to be, but weren’t suppose to be…Check out those thorns. Occasionally, we were set to work dredging blue  Camas and eliminating white Camas from my Grandmothers pastures.DSC_0005 Once we we were old enough and responsible enough to safely dig and separate the two. White Camas is deadly, Blue Camas is edible.We had to wait for them to go to seed, before we could dig Camas. DSC_0017So, that they could replenish what we ate.

220px-Camassia-quamash         Good Blue Camas-edible-right

We picked and dried nasturtium leaves and seeds to substitute for black pepper and pickled fake capers. Then it was time to go 220px-Camassia_cusickii0to the Todd’s and my other Gramma was always so horrified with the deep stains and scratches on our hands, but even worse she hated nut stains from hazelnuts and walnuts that stained our fingers yellow like we had a serious nicotine problem. To her way of thinking Ladies might work and play in the sun, but should always protect themselves so it doesn’t show. Gramma DSC_0013Todd  was always concerned with freckles, but I have never had one in my life- a gift  or a legacy from my other Grandmother-that and copper eyes. She was always threatening that I would get freckles. AND,  so frustrated that I didn’t have any from not doing what I was told and wearing a hat.  Shane seems to haveDSC_0008 inherited all of the freckles with his red hair and light coloured skin.  Would I want to relive these experience? no. My mothers death last month has made things float through my mind to be DSC_0010reexamined and laid to rest-again.

My childhood was often not a pleasant place to be, but It made me what I am and I can truly say I am easy with the past and I have no regrets-now.  The biggest gift from my Mothers side of the family was thinking in symbols and symbolic languages, a firm belief in the unreal and myths and things that are not to be told but hinted at. Not a total loss. DSCN0134 

A piece I had forgotten about that was returned to me from my Mom’s estate. Done sometimes in the early 90’s for a mini textile show at Anger’s  in France that I was in. It’s 5x5inches.

Best of all's-

I have woven constantly for the last two weeks-6-8 hours-a day.DSCN0131  I am a fourth of the way done with my piece. I will weave every day for the next week. It is 19 inches wide. I am at the 7 inch march.Yes it is really going to be at least 24 inches tall- It just needed to be.  I hope to be a third done by the time I leave a week from Thursday. I will be leaving  to teach at EGLWC Conference in Chautauqua, NY. Unfortunately the class at Mirrix Looms didn’t fill. It would have been so much fun weaving with Claudia and all. SO, I won’t have the week in between for Museums and visiting friends. Next time.sigh!


  I thought I would have a Month before going to Albuquerque and teaching at Village Wools. Enough time to get very close to finishing the piece. It will be nice to see Diane and Shelley  and others-again. My plan is to arrive a day or so earlier then my class to do some research and visit friends. Two days in in Santa Fe, Albuquerque the surrounding areas. Yes, I am bringing Chene and Spencer.

 Then “And He” all slows down, but in a good way. I will be weaving as many hours, if not more, but on two pieces, two different formats and two different designers.BUT, instead, I am going to weave on a piece with Shelley Socolofsky- 3 days a week in her “studio” and 3 days a week at home. Shelley and I have woven several pieces together and it is always interesting and mind boggling. She designs and I weave. the last piece we wove together was based on  Fata Morgana  and other things or what between usDSC_0043 we call Kathryn's piece. It was in the Corvallis exhibit of the 4 teachers and their students that she and I were in along with Dee Ford Potter and Rosalie Nielsen this summer. I am so excited the new tapestry includes Rya and is Shaped and it looks to be pretty large. I’ll know a whole lot more about it when I began on Saturday. 

My spare time for the last several weeks has been on finishing my PowerPoint presentation on warping the Mirrix loom for tapestry with a continuous warp. Haven’t quite decided whether to leave it as a slide show or make DSCN0129a brochure or small book showing the way I warp the mirrix. It’s something I get a lot of questions about. It has almost 50 slides and I need two more slides of turning the warp with a tapestry on it around the bottom beam and then it is done.

Chene trying to stay warm and hiding his bad haircut after being felted-accidently.

I am also in my spare samplertime reweaving several samplers that disappeared while I was at the ANWG conference teaching. It’s the first time I have ever had samplers disappear from a class I was teaching. I keep hoping someone accidently picked them up and will return them. SO, I am taking time I don’t really have  reweaving my soumack sampler  and a small sample that illustrates what happens when you unbalance weft bundles. It is a series of hatches done in inch increments with different size weft bundles.

                                                       Gone Missing!

   Please feel guilty enough to drop them in envelope no questions asked and return them to 604 first Avenue East, Albany, Or 97321.                                                               


is beginning to work on another booklet that will be ready for publication by Convergence 2012 at which Pat is teaching. Pat and I had fun choosing a name for it today.

It’s to be called-- 

The Viking’s should’ve. It’s  Pat’s  exploration into using felting, Viking knitting,  felting beads, felt dreads and other things. It’s really  cool. Viking knitting is a interesting metal working process that  is probably relate to nalbinding.  It’s really fun to do and Pat has some really interesting ways to use it with felt. The dreads as in dreadlocks are just plain fun.


Giant Springs on

a sunny day in


Tell Next time!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

And So it begins again…bits and pieces

S0 without thinking I filled my time with-

Busy work  a term for work or assignments that are time consuming, but not useful. It is typically used to refer to school work which is time consuming for students but not educationally valuable, but can also refer to procedures or 3320863-dice-rollingpaperwork in a bureaucracy which is unnecessary. Work that usually appears productive or of intrinsic value but actually only keeps one occupied(condensed Wikipedia steal)

wall·low; wallowing wallowed

/ˈwɒloʊ/  Show Spelled[wol-oh]  verb (used without object) roll about or lie in water, snow, mud, dust, or the like, as for refreshment. live self-indulgently; luxuriate; revel: to wallow in sentimentality and Crypsis. flounder about; move along or proceed clumsily or with difficulty. surge up or billow forth, as smoke or heat: Waves of black smoke wallowed into the room.

So been there -done that.

  It’s been a long couple of weeks and a little more then a month since I have written in this blog.  In some ways longer and in others a million years longer then long. I  managed to circumnavigate the US-mostly. Albany to Gettysburg, PA to Maryland through Texas back to Albany down to Oakland then too Great Falls Montana and back to Albany in less then 3 weeks. I taught at MAFA(a wonderful experience-don’t get me wrong), visited with Kids and Grandkids, My Mother died and we Digital StillCameraattended a 100th birthday party and finally back to my loom. I can’t even begin to count the nuisance trips to Portland. Love visiting with my Dad, but hate the spur of the moment(nuisance) trips because he’s misplaced his cell for the check in calls and I can’t get hold of his other backups an  hour and a half of wondering is a little too long and an hour and a half home wishing things could be different, but how…. So I am working on(?if there are any acceptable-not Dad’s fault but lack of programs?), friends,  and living relatives) longer term solutions. Sounds dismal, but it did have some really great highs along with the really low  lows.

…Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter - bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."
Stephen Crane,
III, Dark Rider and other Lines

It’s been enough that I pulled out my Stephen Crane Dark Riders and Other Lines and reread 111 or 3 to help gain a proper perspective. Once recognized-

once again-It’s time to move on.

One of the things I have been focusing on is my weaving for theDSC_0106 last 2 weeks. I am really excited about is where it is going. I like what I have been doing. It will probably be close to 24 inches tall when I am finished. Amazing what one can weave in two weeks-definitively not busy work-a plus.

          DSC_0104                                                        The piece is 19 inches wide. I am 1/8th of the way done. The warp setting is approx.. 20-22 wpi.  I have redesigned “And he…” and have begun to weave. I have added several more elements a black rose and a Stephen Crane Beastie to reflect what’s been going on in my life. It really is a narrative based on elements of the  past present and future events. I have been working on my little black rider monsters that will be hidden in the piece. It seems like forever since I haveDSC_0105 done any caricatures or cartooning. Actually,  to be truthful, it has been ages. Since my sons were little.  It’s something I always loved doing the little creatures, but somewhere along the way  realism  caught up.  My deadline for finishing is October 28, so that I can enter it into a specific exhibit. If it looks like I w248on’t finish it in time I’ll probably work on a smaller piece-much smaller-in order to finish something for the deadline-perhaps another Chene. I have a photo of him laying on his back that I think I would like to do. This isn’t the one. The one I want to do is of him playing dead dog with his feet and his curls sticking straight up in the air. Of course it was in the other computer that is now being debugged-again.                                                                     

Mirrix Looms

One of the things I am back to and have taken all of the pictures for is a PowerPoint presentation on warping my  mirrix. It’s amazing how many questions there are about warping the Mirrix for tapestry.  I am beginning to put the IMG_0451jpegs in the PowerPoint program and starting to get the labeling correct. It’s very detailed perhaps too detailed. It’s many small steps, but when finished one has a great continuous warp that works really well. It will probably end up being a small booklet. The more I work with my mirrix the more ideas how I have on how to adapt it to make tapestry weaving easier and more practical to the mirrix. I am really excited I am supposed to teach a class at Mirrix Looms the week end After I teach at EGLFC. I hope it fills. If your interested in taking the class contact Elena at Mirrix looms.

Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Conference

I am also really excited about teaching at the Eastern Great Lakes Fiber ConfeDSC_0106rence,Chautauqua, NY. IT’s a class that will be more about design technique and the techniques to make the design happen the way you want them to be.  Much more about designing for tapestry and making the tapestry and tapestry technique come together in a skillfully woven design. I will be teaching how too design for tapestry and incorporating those ideas  needed to design cartoons that are weave able.  The class at last count as 16. It’s a nice sized class for passing around ideas.  Should be a lot of fun. Spencer, Chene and I are driving out. We will be stopping in Montana-Great Falls and Hardin on the way. I am also hoping to see a certain Coptic Enthroned Madonna in Cleveland.


Sometimes I get so lucky. Spencer has an eBay business that specializes in DSC_0090ephemera and other sDSC_0092tuff. Consequently we spend a lot of time at garage sales and flea markets. I go because I am the navigator. A very very important position when you hit between 10 and 30m garage sales in a day.The trick is to get the driver to go the direction he needs to go according to the map. I am convinced it is a guy thing to always go the opposite direction that the navigator dictates.Only  one U-turn and  I really lucked out. We were taking a quick look at the last sale of dismal day   and I found an Afghan war rug and an afghani  Kelim. I began to talk to the proprietor of the sale, who grabbed me as I was leaving and asked if I was interested in more rugs.  I told him yes. He introduced me to his Mother-in-law who is an professor emeritus in textiles at  Oregon State University.. (above is detail of bonnmonstre in the light coloured areas composed of white diamond pulled slits. Pesisan Senneh. Small medallions are crammed weft –blisters.)


She has DSC_0094roomsDSC_0098 full of keDSC_0099lims, Gabbehs, carpets of middle eastern rugs-literally hundreds stacked against walls with piles as tall as I am. I bought DSC_0095several from her and am going back for more.

I was able to purchase 4 soumack kelims and 2 Kelims that contained bonnmonstre and crammed wefts-blisters. I have been spending the last several weeks documenting and studying them.

(next 4 pictures above-Kelim that is composed of plain woven tapestry and soumack.)


Afghan Kelim with long pulled slits and an interesting crenulated border between the pink white and blue vertical stripes. Medallions are crammed weft so that they form a blister or puckering of the surface

DSC_0111Last two pictures- Silk and cotton kelim kneeler-non reversible-front and backDSC_0100. Seems unusual because most of the soumack I have seen, which isn’t much is usually double sided. Does make it easier to study though.


Even more amazing- I have actually been doing a little bit of silversmithing in the form of weaving and studying soumack as it relates to silver. It is an amazingly adaptable technique to silver wire. I have been making cages and beginning to work on.


Love the rainbow- continued for 2 weeks!

Cheers and All,