Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A New Twist on an Old Design

So, I've fallen in love with this fantastic Mongolian cashmere that I found, as you may have noticed... And I'm also still really intrigued with shadow-weave (most of my bamboo scarves that I made over the past year have been in various shadow-weave structures). I did play around with using the cashmere as the weft in some mixed-twill scarves, and liked that, but I really do enjoy designing/weaving shadow-weave a lot more than just twill. (Who knew I'd ever find a structure that would keep me this occupied!)

So, I decided to give a mixed warp of Bambu7 and the 2-ply cashmere a whirl... I normally sett my Bambu7 at 16 epi (a little loose, perhaps, but I like to give the yarn room to move when I wash it), so that's where I started.

There it is, going into the sink to soak! The black yarn is the cashmere, and I used a couple shades of Bambu as the lighter blues and greys (hard to tell in this photo). It came out nicely after the wash (it's air drying at the moment) and now I'm warping another one to sett at 20 epi instead of 16, just to see how it turns out. I'll keep you posted!

It's fun to be back to weaving a little bit after the busyness of last week... we have Open Studios at WAS this Saturday, but I have nothing, basically, to sell! Eeks! Ah well, it's always nice just to chat with the people that come through, and get some work done, too.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Handmade Christmas Presents

So, I've been meaning to post a couple of things that I bought from various artists on Etsy for Christmas...

Love this belt buckle from Etsy seller Metalogical (bought it for Carlos):

The whole idea of actually forging something in this day and age really caught my fancy. And Carlos likes it too!

Another present for Carlos - a t-shirt with a graphic of a Puerto Rican petroglyph of the Coqui (Carlos used to fall asleep listening to Coquis when he was a little guy):

This shirt is from Etsy seller AmaAmo - I was soooo impressed with her packaging and service. She's a newbie on Etsy but she is just incredibly professional.

And, finally, for me:

Hooray! A ring from TreAnelli that I've been wanting forever! I've been wearing it every day, middle finger of my right hand - that's one of the really nice things about Etsy, you can get something like a ring in whatever size you need, generally.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

Kind of a dark photo, but you get the idea, right? We got about two FEET of snow over the weekend. Crazy.

The kids stayed in, for the most part (painting in the kitchen, here, Bella paints practically every day, but this was Conall's first time - so happy he didn't eat any of the paint!).

I decorate the mantel in our living room differently every year. This year, it's little origami trees - I made one and then couldn't stop. Kind of like chips. Or ski runs.

Carlos and I were up far too late last night wrapping presents... I still have to bake cookies and start crescent rolls for the trip to Ginga's (my Mum's) house, plus we're seeing the Nutcracker today at noon - I have a feeling I won't be sleeping much tonight, either. At least there are no complicated toys to assemble this year! (Best toy of the year, IMO - a Harrisville Easy Weaver loom for Ms. B. I even bought Liz Gipson's Weaving Made Easy for her.)

Merry Christmas to everybody! If you're somebody who normally gets a card from us and haven't gotten it, it's because I'm hopelessly lame and haven't sent them out, I'm sorry. I'm hoping to get some out for the New Year - but, in the meantime, I hope you have a lovely holiday!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Well, I do believe we are going to have a White Christmas this year!

We got about 10 - 12" last night (still flurrying a little now), of fluffy white, nice snow. How pretty!

The kids are having fun, though Conall isn't too sure of the deep stuff.

Trying to get the driveway cleared out - we're thinking of doing some cross country skiing this afternoon, probably during Conall's nap (we have a big sled/poulk that Carlos made to pull the kids along behind whoever is skiing, but Conall doesn't want to sit in it, though he did last year).

I was thinking of dragging everybody up to Pat's Peak in New Hampshire tomorrow to get Bella's seasonal rental skis and maybe ski a little, but I've just heard that we're getting another storm tomorrow! And we're right where the weather changes in our region - Boston is supposed to just get maybe a couple inches, but we're just into the zone that is supposed to get anywhere from 5" - 10" *more* tomorrow. Crazy.

Hopefully the weather will hold on Wednesday... We're attempting the Nutcracker again, lol. We got completely stuck in a HUGE traffic jam on Thursday night trying to get in to Boston and Bella completely fell asleep, so we didn't actually see it. Argh! I managed to get more tickets for Christmas Eve, though, and it starts at noon, so no chance she'll fall asleep this time! (Learned my - VERY expensive - lesson!)

I love winter. I know I'm nuts, but I really love winter and snow....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Over the Holiday Rush?

I can't seem to relax this week. I'm shipping out my last custom order this morning...

(It's an Ms and os bamboo scarf in shades of brown - had a hard time photographing it, the weather has not been cooperating lately!) I've had a busy week on Etsy and at the studio (Open Studios for the last two weekends means that my house is a complete wreck), but I think things should calm down now for a couple weeks.

But I keep feeling like I'm forgetting something.

Oh yeah! The Christmas tree!

LOL. We're really late this year. But I figure that's one week or so less of keeping Conall from trying to pull it over. And house cleaning, Christmas cards, wrapping presents (which I actually have managed to buy, amazing), weaving a couple scarves for some nieces, the Nutcracker tonight (Bella's first trip to see the Boston Ballet), Conall's second birthday is just two weeks after Christmas...

So I'm working on spending a day doing not very much today. My Mum will arrive this afternoon to go to the Ballet with Bella and I, there's a big snow storm on the way for tomorrow, I'm making slow cooker beef stew for dinner, and I'm thinking of making some little origami Christmas trees to decorate the fireplace mantle. I hope everybody is having a similarly relaxing day!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ice Storm! And Handwoven

Good grief. If you're not in New England, you probably don't know, but Massachusetts/Southern New Hampshire were hit with a HUGE ice storm Thursday night/yesterday. We lost power for the whole day yesterday - got it back around 9pm, I think. We spent the night in a hotel - it was supposed to get down to about 19 last night - too cold to spend the night in a house without heat! (And little man Conall is sick, too, to make things more complicated.) It looks like Worcester is a huge mess, yikes... (one of my brothers lives there - another lives a bit south of Worcester and didn't get any ice!).

On the bright side of things, the latest issue of Handwoven magazine arrived yesterday, and my ruffley scarves are in it! Hooray!

This was a fun project, I actually got a lot of input from Madelyn van der Hoogt on it. The scarves started out like this:

And, after a lot of back and forth, ended up like this:

(The photos in Handwoven are so good!!) The project scarf is actually in the berry colorway, like the little one above, but I didn't have a chance to take pictures of it, I was weaving right up to the deadline, it actually went into the mail still damp, lol! (After my dear little son got into the laundry room, pushed buttons on the washing machine and sent it - the berry one - through the wash a third time - ahhhh! LOL! It shrank a bit more than I expected, needless to say. This child, I'm tellin' ya...)

Anyway, it was such a fun project! And the Dragon Tales yarn is just so gorgeously colored, it's hard to go wrong with it...

Well, here's hoping today gets back to normal. I theoretically have Open Studios, and I also have a couple of cashmere scarves to send out to Etsy customers, goodness. Time to get going!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Open Studios Coming Up!

So, did everyone go shopping on Friday? I'm actually pretty proud of us for *not* going out shopping, lol... We did buy some outdoor Christmas lights and put them up, though, so that was fun. It even flurried here a little bit on Sunday (didn't stick though, rats).

And I sold the sister to my cashmere scarf that I posted about earlier. Barely got it listed on Etsy, and now it's off to Chicago...

Love that cashmere... I've got two with navy stripes in the works (too dreary to take good photos, waiting for some sun), and have some on my loom with yellow in the stripe that are looking pretty cool, too. I'm pleased - and they're fast to weave, since they're twill (my shadow-weave bamboo scarves take two shuttles, so they're a little slower). I'm hoping to warp and weave a couple more sets of the variegated rayon scarves as well. All this because we've got the Holiday Open Studios coming up at Western Avenue over the next two weekends - Saturday and Sunday both weekends, from noon - 5pm.

And, finally, I'll be delivering five pieces to a new shop in Chelmsford, hopefully today - one of the WAS artists is opening a shop about five minutes away from our house! How fun! (We live near the center of our town, it's nice to be able to walk to the library, the grocery store, etc.) Even better, her shop is *right* along the new bike path that is being built through Chelmsford (as part of the Rails to Trails network, very excited to have it here). So, while I wouldn't exactly recommend biking while wearing a scarf, it will be great exposure for her shop...

(Oh - and I'm about halfway through New Moon, the second book in the Twilight series... Jacob has definitely taken a turn for the grumpier, but I still like him better than Edward, lol! I thought I was going to finish the book yesterday, but I was good and went to the studio to weave, instead...)

Saturday, November 29, 2008


OK, so this is completely off-topic...

I'm finally getting around to reading the Twilight series (no, I haven't seen the movie, I probably won't.) I've finished the first book and have started the second (New Moon) - and I am enjoying it. It's schlock, but it's enjoyable schlock, if that makes sense. (I really enjoy indulging in this sort of escapism sometimes.) Very readable, generally quickly paced (dragged a little in the middle when it was just about the two of them being happy together - that's never particularly compelling reading, is it? lol!), and she makes the Olympic Peninsula sound wonderfully lush.

But, I have to say - and I can picture all the teenage girls out there wailing in disbelief - Edward (the male protagonist/vampire) annoys the HECK out of me. LOL!! Yes, yes, I get that he's stunningly beautiful in that cold, alabaster way, and noble and such, but, good lord, is he ever morose and boring. And Bella (the female protagonist, not my daughter, lol) is alarmingly calflike and moonstruck around him. Just what I always like to see - an otherwise interesting woman that becomes complete brainless mush around the guy she's in love with (that's heavy sarcasm, there).

So, at the risk of spoiling the story line a little bit - I'm really hoping that when (I'm assuming that won't be an "if" but I haven't gotten that far yet) Edward comes back that she'll keep a bit more of her backbone/wits about her. I'm also really REALLY hoping that she'll eventually chose Jacob (minor character in the first novel, may or may not be a werewolf, I haven't found out yet) over poopyhead Edward.

Of course, I may be projecting, here. One of my very loveliest friends in college was a whole heck of a lot like Jacob - 6' 4", gorgeous mahogany skin, long, dark hair (my college friend is Navajo), incredibly intelligent, just plain nice, generous and always upbeat - just the kind of guy you'd hope for your daughter to choose. C'mon, Bella Swan, smarten up!

Any other opinions out there? Am I in the complete minority by liking Jacob better than Edward? Or does that just mean I'm old? It will be interesting to see how the characters develop, at any rate!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Oh my. I splurged and got a bunch of skeins of cashmere yarn...

I used it as the weft in a couple of twill scarves - that's bamboo in the warp - and, oh my, they turned out so soft and snuggly, I love them! I actually wound all of my bobbins by hand as I was weaving, if you can believe it, lol, just because the cashmere yarn feels soooooo good. I could spend the day petting the stuff!

Not much else going on. My berry pie scarf is in a very nice berry-themed treasury on Etsy, that's always nice! (Click on that link to see it.) Thanks to Karen Garner (the curator) for including me in it!

It's raining cats and dogs here today, but Stowe (Vermont), at least, seems to be getting snow, hooray! Can't wait to hit the slopes! Soon. Still have to get Bella fitted for seasonal rental equipment, but I'm looking forward to it - it will be so much easier this year now that Conall is walking! (Kept worrying about him wanting to crawl around the ski lodges last year, not a good place for a little guy, but he'll be fine this year.)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Colorful Weekend...

Our family bid farewell to a very beloved friend this weekend...

Mr. SkiingWeaver's purple car has gone to a new home! (That's little man Conall on his "bike" next to it...) The poor thing has been sitting in our garage for about three years, not working, until my brother Andy decided to adopt it and do the little fix-ups it needed to get back on the road.

I suppose it's a little silly to be sentimental about a car, but it was Carlos' first-ever car (bought when he graduated from college) and we drove it all over the Southwest when we lived in Austin. Many fond memories of road-tripping in the purple car to Taos to ski, or off to explore Mesa Verde and Telluride... But, it's good to see it out and about again instead of gathering dust (literally) in our garage.

I was obviously having a hard time concentrating on actually *weaving* at the studio this weekend....

But at least I finally painted my studio door! This is the inside view, looking out to the corridor - the door frame is a dark chocolate brown, the door itself is teal, and on the outside there's a border on the wall of the same purple as the pillar in the studio.

So, not particularly productive on the weaving front, but I still feel like I got something accomplished. We're having Open Studios the first two weekends of December (Saturday and Sunday both weekends), and I was really wanting to paint over the boring grey on my door, and get some color out in the hall, too... I have very little inventory for those Open Studios - eeks! - but I'm working on kind of letting go of the stress and just going with what I'll be able to get done before then... I've sold a whole heck of a lot of work already this fall, so it's ok if I don't sell much more... Or so I keep telling myself!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spinning again - and a Drumlin

So, I spun a bit again on Sunday, how fun. Here's the results of my second ever attempt:

Ha! How fun! I'm really enjoying it, and it was a nice little reward/break after threading a new warp on my loom at my studio...

Sold yet another piece today:

It's tencel and variegated rayon from Dragon Tale yarns - I used this same colorway for my project that is going to be published in the upcoming January/February issue of Handwoven. (The directions will be for a different colorway, though...)

And, finally, while downloading photos from my camera today, I found this one that I took about ten days ago - we were on a little trip down to Lancaster to buy some apples and stopped by the drumlin there (it's preservation land now, and it's lovely). Aren't drumlins neat? (Click here to read about them on Wiki if you don't know what I'm talking about!) (Yes, I admit it, I'm a bit of a geology nerd.)

Hard to capture the shape of it, this one might do a little better...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Spinning! And Weavers' Guild of Boston Sale

Can you believe how completely lame I am about blogging lately? I guess when things get hectic, this is one of the low-priority items for me, sad to say...

At any rate, in fiber news, two exciting things happened today. First, I learned how to spin! Really, really badly! But I think I may be hooked. I took a beginning spinning class at the Fiber Loft in Harvard, Mass., got my knuckles good and bloody learning how to card fleece and spun some really lumpy yarn on a Louet S10. Which came home with me after the class. (No, I didn't buy it, I'm just renting it for the month to try to get the hang of this a little better. I'll definitely look for one with two treadles when I buy a wheel...) The teacher said I took to it like a duck takes to water, but I think I'm going to need a lot of practice before I get usable yarn (I'm picky).

So much fun, and my respect for the fantastic handspinners on Etsy has gone through the roof. Like lovely Ms. Maple of North Star Alpacas - wow, how on earth does she get her handspun so beautifully even??

I mean, look at that! Wow. (And click on it to buy it!) I bow to a master...

The other bit of fun fiber news was that the Weavers' Guild of Boston annual sale was this week, Thursday evening through this afternoon. I just popped down to Weston to pick up my unsold items - and found out I sold 12 pieces! (Half of the items I brought to them.) I'm most pleased! My etsy shop and studio are going to be pretty darn bare again, and the holiday open studios at Western Avenue Studios are still coming up, gulp!

No wonder I haven't been blogging much lately... I'm off to make the rounds and read some of my favorite blogs, I feel like I haven't visited anyone in ages! I'm sorry!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Anniversary and Another Loom?

Happy Anniversary to us! Carlos actually had to remind me this morning, how lame am I? (Work has been completely insane for him and I'm stressed about finding time to weave and take care of the kids, and the date just completely slipped my mind...)

We were married on October 6, 2000 - although we were together for so long before we got around to getting married (nearly six years) (good grief, we're going on 14 years together!), the wedding was almost an afterthought. We were all about the honeymoon, anyway (three weeks in Spain!), the wedding was more for our families than for us.

There he is, our very own Big Papi. (This was taken outside of the Palais du Papes in Avignon, France, just about two years ago on the nose - Ms. B certainly has gotten bigger since then!)

And there he is on our honeymoon in Segovia, Spain, in October 2000. Fewer grey hairs then! (Kids will do that to you, won't they?)

And, in weaving news, I think I may have stumbled across a new (to me) loom... Uh-oh. A used 40" AVL 16-shaft compu-dobby with two sectional warp beams, six reeds, spool rack/tension box (no idea how to use these, lol, but I'll learn, I'm sure!), electric bobbin winder, ball winder and a very good price... Oh my. I'm hoping to go see it in action when the work craziness dies down for Carlos after this weekend.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Apple Picking Trip in New England

Bella and I went on her nursery school's annual apple picking field trip yesterday. Kind of a misty, cool day - a real switch from last year, when it was blazing hot.

Drew is prepared... (Bella thinks he's wicked funny.)

Yum! Though, while we were picking apples, the mosquitoes were out in force - we need a good frost to kill those little suckers off.

Some fall color for niece Timothea, who is missing it while living in the U.K. It's just getting started here...
Classic New England stone wall.

They had a little farm area for the kids to run around in, too, after we picked apples.

Comparing pumpkins with her friend Regan...

Neat. If we ever have a farm, she can handle the tractor-driving duties. :)

A really fun trip, and it certainly makes it feel like fall!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Second Day of Open Studios - Wow Am I Tired

Phew, nothing quite like being "on" for two days in a row, I was really drooping by the time 5pm rolled around yesterday at WAS. I thought the foot traffic was a little lighter, but I still managed to sell two more scarves (despite the sparse look of my display racks - they really do sell better when they have company), and I wrote my first-ever wholesale order (six scarves, to be delivered on November 1st).

So, all in all, a very, very successful weekend! Man, though, I don't know how people on the art/craft show circuit do it. I feel like I could sleep for a week. But I get to do it all over again this coming Saturday for our normal First Saturday Open Studios. Here's hoping I can get a couple of pieces finished before then - my racks are looking pretty sadly bare.

The other fun aspect of the weekend was having my little loom set up with a play warp for people to try weaving on. A surprising number of people gave it a whirl - mostly kids, but some grown-ups, too. I had a huge amount of fun explaining a little bit and then watching them try.

It's interesting how you can kind of read how much information people want - some people just want to throw the shuttle, make a mess, and have fun with it for a couple minutes, others want to learn a little bit more about what makes good cloth. Also interesting to see that sometimes thinking too much about things bogs people down - some of the best novice weavers were kids that listened just enough but then didn't worry about things too much and actually managed to have a reasonably even beat and non-wonky selvedges. The whole experience made me realize that I might really enjoy teaching, some time down the line (enough on my plate at the moment!).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Open Studios - Holy Smokes!


So today was the first day of the Lowell-wide Open Studios - it was a rainy but not particularly cold day today, so I was really unsure of how well I'd do... Happily, I was an early bird today (setting up my small loom with warp for people to try weaving on), and I sold several scarves before the Open Studios even officially started at 11am.

(A pretty bad picture of my inventory in my studio before Open Studios actually started.)

All in all, I sold TEN scarves! Wowzers! Five of them never even made it into my Etsy shop - including all three scarves from the Not for the Faint of Heart warp (loved weaving those, such fun colors)...

Turns out I only took photos of *one* of these completed scarves - whoopsie...

Another lesson I learned today - I need to come up with some kind of code to write down on receipts so that I know who bought which scarf. I know which scarves sold, but mostly just be default, not to due to any kind of competent book-keeping on my part.

So, all in all, a very successful day. No idea if the success will continue in to tomorrow - my racks are starting to look a little sparse, I need to rearrange things a bit. And boy do I need to weave more!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weaver's Guild of Boston

Goodness, I meant to post about this a while ago - we had our first Guild meeting of the year a couple of Wednesdays ago now. Always nice to catch up a little bit with people - and I'm finally starting to get to know some of the people there. (I'm pretty shy in social situations, not that great at putting myself forward, so it's nice to be getting a bit more comfortable with this lovely group of weavers...)

It doesn't hurt that I volunteered to be an officer of sorts - I'm the Yearbook Assistant this year, and will take editing the whole thing next year. Not a hugely terrible job, but you have to be comfortable with computers. A nice side bonus is that I got to install the Guild's copy of Pagemaker on my computer.

The afternoon speaker was the very engaging Patricia Palson - a former Guild member who now lives the weaving life full time, selling at various high-end craft shows throughout the year - including Paradise City, coming up. (I really, really want to do this show.)

I so want to be her when I grow up! Not sure if I'll ever get to the point of sewing jackets like she does (I loathe my sewing machine, and I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual), but I would love perhaps to expand into custom yardage, and create fabric for people that are on speaking terms with their sewing machines... Maybe someday. For now, my plate is quite full enough. (Stressing out this week - Open Studios, plus a custom order, plus the project for Handwoven, I've bitten off more than I can chew, I fear.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lowell Open Studios - Coming Up!

Goodness, I can't believe it, but it's almost time for the Lowell-wide Open Studios - this Saturday and Sunday, from 11am - 5pm each day. Check out this link for a list of participating artists!

I'm actually going to bring my little loom over to the studio, warp it up with some 8/2 cotton that I have lying around, print out some treadling patterns, and let people have a go at weaving. It'll be interesting to see what kind of fabric results!

So, things are pretty crazy/hectic, trying to get things off various looms, finished, tagged, etc. To say nothing about cleaning up my studio, rearranging things a bit - I still haven't painted my studio door! Completely lame. But I have been weaving...

And I made some good progress this morning on a custom piece, which is always satisfying...

My lovely yummy toffee scarf has found a new home!

I engaged in a bit of bartering for it with my absolutely fab friend Eve who has a studio down the hall from me (La Sal Mountains Studio) and will be getting a really lovely piece of glass artwork made by her in return for a lucky relative's Christmas present - shhh, don't tell!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy People Dancing

Oh my gosh. My fantastic niece, Timothea sent me this link today:


(It's a video on the Astronomy Picture of the day website).

I'm too lazy to figure out how to embed video in blogspot, so, run, don't walk, and watch it! I'm serious. It completely made my day. I bawled like a baby. Stuff like this (almost) restores my faith in humanity.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Busy Season?

Fall is in the air in New England... (Though, of course, as I write this, a warm front is coming through, bringing heavily humid air with it, yucko.) The leaves are already starting to change a little bit - kind of early this year, but not surprising after a very cool August.

We had Open Studios at Western Avenue Studios on Saturday September 6, and I swear if was the hottest day of the summer, it was horrible. Humid, rainy, everybody was sweating - not a great environment to sell scarves in!

But, when I got home, I discovered that a very lovely customer had purchased this scarf:

from my Etsy store. Excellent.

I shipped it off to her last Monday morning and then got a lovely note from her saying that her husband had appropriated it as soon as it arrived and could i please make another one for him? Even more excellent! so, I'll be making one in more manly colors (black, greys, blues) as soon as I can manage to finish weaving this warp:

I am seriously thinking of calling this series of scarves Not For the Faint of Heart or something like that. The colors are a lot of fun - black, purple, deep red, orange and bright pink in the warp, mostly purple and black in the weft with stripes of orange, red and pink at each end and in the middle. Yeah, it's colorful.

Apparently, I'm in the mood to work with bright colors. Does anyone else get those moods? I try to kind of balance out my color schemes for my store and studio, but sometimes i just a hankering to mix, say, orange and pink and make my eyes pop a little. And other days I prefer working with more serene color combinations...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Long Summer Hiatus

I can't believe it has been so long since I posted... Life got pretty crazy there for a while, and I lost my motivation for blogging, as well, though not my motivation for weaving. Never that!

To sum up about Convergence - it was a whole heck of a lot of fun. The second two classes that I took were about color theory - no pictures, really, to post, but they were good classes, and kind of confirmed for me that I do better than I think I do with the color stuff... In the first, we did a series of exercises with hues (setting up a grey scale and then choosing colors from a huge amount of color chips to go with each hue on the scale - a great exercise, and, I found, a lot easier when I just went with my gut and *didn't* use the little grey scale finder that the teacher gave to us). In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have signed up for two classes on color theory - they were both very good, and either one on it's own would have been sufficient (the teacher for the second one, Ruby Leslie, brought a huge amount of her very fun samples with her to illustrate how colors work together - also fantastic!).

Those colors work together, I think, at least in real life... The scarf is a little more warm than this picture shows. Kind of toffee-ish. Yum. (This is one of my old standby patterns, made in Bambu7 from Silk City.)

The exhibits were amazing - I didn't get to see as many off-campus as I would have wished, including, I'm ashamed to admit it, missing Kathy Roig's piece in the Weave and Resist exhibit (wah! lame!). But the exhibits that were in the Conference center were a lot of fun to explore... And the yardage exhibit took the cake. They hung the pieces from the center of a rotunda in the conference center - really gorgeous, so you could get the full impact of them length of cloth, or go up to the second floor and see them up close.

I've been playing with some really yummy variegated yarn that I found at Convergence lately:

I am actually going to be working on a project using this yarn for Handwoven Magazine very soon! More of the yarn is on it's way, courtesy of Earth Guild's Dragon Tale Yarn. I'm very excited about this - the design is based on the ruffled scarves that I've posted here before, and, hopefully, the project will turn out as Madelyn van der Hoogt and I hope it will and it will get published... Fingers crossed!

In family news, Ms. B started preschool today...

Who is that big girl? Goodness. (Took this picture a week or so ago, actually.) And Mr. Conall is growing like a weed...

Who is that big guy?? These pjs are a riot - I didn't realize it when I bought them, but all the little animals on them actually glow in the dark. He glows all night long. Hooray for Carters!

At any rate, for anyone who has actually been wondering - sorry about the long break, I hopefully it won't happen again. And very many thanks to anyone taking the time to read this now, after all this time... I hope all is well with all of you!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Convergence - Part Two (Classes)

Good grief, so sorry about the delay to those who were looking for more posts about Convergence. I managed to get a lovely kidney infection and landed in the hospital last Wednesday with a 104.9 degree temperature after running low-grade fevers since last Saturday evening. (I kept thinking I was going to recover and it kept coming back!)

At any rate, I'm up to my eyeballs in lovely antibiotics and am feeling mostly human again, so I thought I'd post about the first couple classes I took at Convergence.

To keep this post from getting hugely long, I thought I would break up my classes into two groups of two. As you'll be able to tell, I lean towards more theory based seminars, rather than classes that teach a particular technique (I learn very well from books and actually really enjoy doing the research and learning and experimenting with various structures, techniques, etc.)

First up, The Art of Business - How to Approach Galleries, taught by Kate Anderson who used to be the director of the Duane Reede Gallery. She gave lots of good advice about what galleries look for in artists (for example - maturity of vision, consistent style, originality, whether the work is sellable, and whether it is comparable in vision/pricepoint with other work in the gallery), and how to put together a professional marketing package to send to galleries you are interested in. Kate did a wonderful job in letting us - the students - direct the discussion, and was very encouraging of questions/concerns, etc. The discussion covered a wide range of marketing-oriented topics from taking decent photographs of your work to how to put together a good C.V. I'm nowhere near the point of being ready to approach galleries yet, but I'm hoping I will be in a couple of years, so this was all very useful information.

Interestingly enough, she did make a comment in passing about Etsy when one of the other folks mentioned it - as I've been hearing quite a bit lately, it seems one needs to be cautious about mentioning Etsy in a fine art or fine craft context. On the one hand, a gallery obviously wouldn't appreciate the competition. On the other, I got the distinct impression that - how to put this delicately? That Etsy can be viewed as unprofessional/low-end, which is such a huge shame. I mean, I know there's a lot of not-too-wonderful stuff on Etsy, but there are some artists there that just blow my socks off as well - the trouble being finding the latter... But, that's a whole other - huge - topic.

The second class I took was called "Complex Pleating" and was taught by Joan Michaels Paque. Do yourself a favor and trot right over to her Flickr account and check out her fiber, paper and mixed media art, she's really very amazing. Seriously, go now!

(See what I mean?? This is from Joan's Flickr account - wowzers!)

When I first walked in, I almost walked back out, it wasn't what I was expecting from the looks of the samples on the tables at the front of the room. But boy am I ever glad I stayed! Joan was a bit disorganized, but charmingly so, and the whole topic is just fascinating - I think that she just has so much knowledge to try to instill that it's overwhelming to try to squish it into a little seminar.

I also have the feeling that if I had been able to attend her three day workshop "Experience and Explore Kinetic Dimensional Weaving, Pleat Folds and Tessellations" I would have absolutely loved it as well. I'm jealous of the people that did attend it. I'll just have to hope that I have another chance in the future (three more days away from home at this point would have been cruel and unusual punishment for poor Mr. SkiingWeaver).

Mostly what she showed us was her work with folding paper, but the mind boggles with possibilities in applying this to textiles, in my opinion...

The top piece, in orange, is actually made from fabric - the pleats and creases are ironed right in so that the fabric retains the shape. The bottom, white piece, is paper. Isn't it a great shape??

Paper again.

I absolutely fell in love with this little piece. Figured out how to make it and everything - if anybody noticed a dark-haired woman sitting at various tables in the Convention Center between classes obsessively folding graph paper (took a while to work out the angles to that it would curve enough when I did it myself) - that was me! And then I was coloring on graph paper and folding it to work out design possibilities...

Now that I've done the Convergence thing, I really, really wish I had signed up for more classes! I followed various peoples' advice (probably for the first time ever, lol) and only signed up for four classes, thinking I'd be overwhelmed with the exhibits, vendor hall, etc. I should have known myself well enough to know that four wasn't nearly enough. (I hate to say it but I'm really not much of a shopper, so I didn't spend a lot of time in the vendor hall...) When I think of those two empty afternoon slots that could have been filled with more learning, well, phooey.

But that's also a comment on the quality of the classes I took - I thought each of them was fantastic! Wonderfully friendly teachers, interesting classmates, very well done.

So, for my next post, I'll talk about my final two classes, which were on Color Theory - both very different, but both excellent as well.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Convergence - Part One (Tampa)

I think I've been avoiding posting about Convergence. Probably because there is *so* much to talk about that I don't even really know where to begin...

So, I'll just begin with talking a little bit about Tampa. And then the classes I took. And, finally, some of the absolutely fantastic work (and some less than fantastic work - eeks) that I saw there. So, the easiest first - a bit about the little corner of Tampa that I was in for the Conference.

The Tampa Convention Center, where Convergence was held:

Palm tress are interesting beasties, aren't they?

Here's the view from my hotel room (I stayed at the Westin Harbor Island):

And, to get to the Conference Center, I took a short walk over the bridge...

One of the days, during lunch time, I poked around a bit in the business district of Tampa. It was sooooo HOT. Unbelievable, actually - mid-90s and crazy humid. I could never, ever live in a climate like that, I'd melt. (Made me remember one of the reasons why I was so gung-ho to move away from Texas all those years ago, Irish girls from New England literally cannot take the heat!)

Carlos (Mr. SkiingWeaver) says it sounds a lot like Puerto Rico in the summer, which makes sense.

Very neat fountain, reflected in a building. What completely cracked me up were these guys:

Check him out! Isn't he neat?? I kept seeing them meandering around downtown. I'm sure to Tampa/Florida people he's just like a pigeon, but I still thought he was pretty cool. Crazy tourist lady taking pictures of the pigeons. LOL (Is it an ibis? I'm not sure!) Hey, warm climate people take pictures of snow after all...

I took the trolley out to Ybor City (an older neighborhood, it used to be full of Cuban cigar factories), but didn't take any pictures - it's mostly restaurants and college bars now with just a few interesting shops thrown in, so it was a little disappointing. I was hoping for a little bit more of an ethnic vibe, but, no dice, rats. (To be fair, I am a tough customer - I lived in Mexico City for six weeks one summer, and we've spent a lot of time in Spain, too...)

OK, now that I've gotten started, I'll keep going. Stay tuned, I'll post about the classes that I took next (they were quite good - and now I wish I had signed up for more of them!).