Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A New Sense of Place

I have been away for a while from this blog.  In the last few months we have been preparing for and executing a big move across the country.  Our new address is Bainbridge Island.  I will miss our farm, but it is very interesting living this close to the "ocean", okay we are really by the Sound, but it is salty.  I look every day hoping to spot the orcas that call this area home, but so far, I haven't seen them.

Our house is still in major disarray.  I keep reminding myself it took 5 guys two days to pack everything up, so I can't expect it unpacked so quickly when it is mainly I am doing most of the unpacking myself (although my son did unpack all of his room, and my husband helped with the kitchen).  Also I am a slow unpacker, as I unpack, let it sit, then try to figure out where it should live.

My studio is the darkest room in the house with really no views and no natural light, so we are going to have to work to change that, but it will take time.  Hopefully I can at least get a little light in there to weave by, but we will see.  It may be that I knit for a while before weaving.  In the meantime, painting is on top of my list.  I am going to go up and paint my daughter's room today, so we can then get her unpacked and set up.

Here are just a few views of the Sound that I have been admiring over the past few weeks.





Here, the view of Seattle is obscured by fog, but sunlight lights up a portion of the sound.




A beautiful sunrise over Seattle.


 Yet another sunny winter day in Seattle with views of the Cascades.  We kept hearing that we would have nothing but grey skies all winter, but we have had many days of partial sun.  Today the sunrise was beautiful, and the sun is shining on my back and the dogs are snoozing in patches of sunlight that have lit up our house.  We have had some grey days, but not every day is grey, many days are grey except for 2 or 3 hours of sun mostly in the afternoon.   I love looking at the ever changing views of the water.  I feel that a series of small tapestries documenting the light changes over the sound and Seattle might be called for.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer Shows

The summer is midway through, and I haven't really gotten any weaving done.  My son and I have been building a table, and I have been doing some knitting in preparation for the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier in October.  I just find that having my house in a chaotic mess makes it hard to weave, but maybe I am just looking for an excuse.  However, this week, the floors are being laid, and the installer has almost half the floor done in my studio.  I am hoping to have my loom and all my supplies back in the studio by Wed. of next week.  I will need to do some touchup on the paint, but I am looking forward to having my studio back in order.

In the meantime, Joan Griffin sent a snapshot of our group's tapestries from Untitled/Unjuried at Convergence.  However, we did title our group's theme which was Virginia Blues.




I finally was able to go to a Tapestry Alliance show.  We were on vacation in San Diego and I was able to attend a show for the first time.  It was a beautiful show.  I was not able to take photographs, although I did sneak one of Joan's tapestry to show her the installation.  It looked beautiful.  Rebeccca Mezoff has several of the photos on her blog you can look at.  I really enjoyed the show and the kids enjoyed the ability to go through and pick their favorite tapestry and vote for it.


Visions Art Museum is a lovely little quilt and textile arts museum in an old military base that has been refurbished.  Despite our many trips to San Diego to see my inlaws, we have never gone down to this part of town near the airport.  The buildings are filled with art studios and restaurants.  We had some very good Japanese food there, and then went to the museum.  The staff were very nice and fun to talk with.  

Just a plea, one of the women there told me there is a debate about whether or not to host another ATB at the museum because despite the fact that Visions says it is a quilt AND textile museum, most of their members are quilters.  There is a debate about whether the tapestries are too different from quilts and whether it has been good for the mission of the museum to host the show.  The woman I spoke with says she has very much enjoyed seeing the tapestries and that it has brought many new people to the museum.  I want to encourage all of you to write to the museum to encourage them to host ATB again.  To make it easy, here is the email address of the executive director Beth Smith, beth@visionsartmuseum.org   I know that the Dairy Barn is also hosting the show and they are also primarily a quilting venue.  Please let Visions know we appreciate their venue and would love to see ATB there again.  If you are in the Southern California region please visit!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Weaving Amidst the Chaos

We had a pipe burst January 25th.  Since then, we had dry wall and floors ripped out, baseboards taken out, and half of our belongings are stacked in bedrooms, bookshelves, and floors.  My studio is stacked in piles in the kitchen, the hallway, my sewing room, the bedroom.  My loom sits in the floor in the living room, which isn't all bad, since I have plenty of room.  However, things are just a mess.  Finally, this week after lots of wrangling with the insurance company, getting lots of quotes from contractors, and finalizing numbers with the insurance company we are getting the drywall repaired.  Who knows when the flooring will be in....


But, I am trying to weave amidst the chaos.  Happliy, the tapestry seems no worse the wear for having the loom dragged down the hallway.  I am making slow progress on my peony tapestry while listening to Jane Eyre on CraftLit.




Monday, April 14, 2014

Weaving to the Last Minute

My children's spring break started March 28th, but we were leaving for Rome, Italy on March 26th, so I HAD to have my small tapestry finished for the ATA Unjuried show by then.  I wove like crazy, but life kept creeping into my weaving time.  I had agreed to substitute teach for a week, which turned into more days as snow days and closed airports delayed the regular teacher, plus I had children home sick with the flu and more snow days.  It was a very snowy winter here.  So much so, that during the last snow the kids didn't even want to get out to go sledding.

Anyway, I did finish at 1 am on March 25th, packed up the tapestry and got it ready to mail.  I wanted to sew eel grass onto the tapestry.  But the silk grass I made from the silk I had on hand did not work. I think the tapestry works without it, but I will be putting it on later to go with my series of fish.  I have at least two more tapestries I want to weave that include kelp leaves, now I will need to weave at least one or two more that will involve eel grass.

I have learned through this weaving process that eel grass, like so many other things in our environment, are under stress.  Eel grass provides cover for the baby fish that populate the Chesapeake and Atlantic Oceans, including bluefish which are what my tapestry portray.  Here is a glimpse.  I hope you will be able to see it in Rhode Island.


I did get this mailed on the way to the airport.  We found a postoffice just a couple of miles from the airport.  It will appear with the Central Virginia Tapestry Group's group them of Virginia Blues.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Further Progress

I have made a bit of progress on my small tapestry.  I decided to weave the bluefish as they would be seen from underwater, just a bit like shadows passing in the distance.  I have approximately 6 1/2 inches finished on a 10 inch tapestry.




I will be making eel grass leaves from silk organza to sew onto the tapestry.  Here is one of the photographs I used for inspiration.




The fish in this photograph are not bluefish, but I did learn that bluefish are often seen near the eel grass and can use it as a nursery.

One thing that has really helped me crank on my weaving for this tapestry has been Craftlit.  I have to say that I did not know about this service until I read My Lift is But a Tapestry's blog post.  What fun it is to listen to a book while weaving.  I have tried this before with books on cd, but never found any at the library that I actually liked listening to.  I LOVE Heather Ordover's podcasts.  I have been listening to Jane Eyre, a book that I love and haven't read since I was a teenager.   It is fun to return to the book and listen to Heather's comments on the book, the Bronte's, and life in general.  If you haven't tried them, go on over to Craftlit and check it out.  They have a lot of classics on podcasts and also interviews of knitters and others which you can skip if you are not interested, but I have learned all kinds of interesting things through the interviews, such as why you want to use Eucalon to wash your knits and lingerie with.

Now, back to Jane Eyre and weaving....

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Back to Weaving

After a snowy week that included a kid with the flu, then having the whole house come down with it in a range of severity from mild to severe, all are back to work and school and I must get back to weaving if I am to finish my piece for Convergence.  The snow is still with us and we got another light dusting last night, but it is melting more quickly now that the temperatures are going up into the 50's today.

In the meantime, I will share a couple of shots of the snow.  Here is my little snow muppie (a very Muppet-like, not so little 70 pound Spinone Italiano) Giallo in her element in the snow.  She is standing in the footpath we dug to get to the barn to feed horses.





Now for weaving,  I have decided to stay in the theme of fish.  At the last convergence I sent a piece I wove with a rockfish and kelp leaves.  Because our tapestry group chose the theme Virginia Blues, and I wanted to stick with the theme of fish, I decided to look for fish that were native to the state and that swam among grasses.  I dithered between bluegill and bluefish, but decided on a school of bluefish as seen through eel grass.  I since learned that eel grass is being threatened in the Chesapeake  Bay.  I also learned that it is a very important part of the Bay ecosystem in that it is a nursery for fish such as the bluegill.

Here is my start to the tapestry.  




What I see when I look at the photo, which I suspected, is that the tail is WAY too dark.  I am going to take the weaving out of the fish and work on it.  I do want them to be kind of shadow-like in the background, but they are too dark currently.

In the meantime, have a lovely day and just remember, come August when it is close to 100 degrees with 95% humidity, we will look back with fondness on these snowy winter days!  (The snow I can take, it is the swampy mud that follows that I am not so keen on.)





Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Help Needed! Moving a Loom

During all the very VERY cold weather we have been having, the pipes to our laundry room froze.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that a few years ago we renovated our 1967 ranch house, opening it up and getting rid of painted faux paneling and covering up the old black industrial type tile on the floor with beautiful bamboo flooring and painting everything a lovely MOMA white (yes, we used the same color as MOMA in NYC).  Well, I went to take my daughter to art class and pick up my son from school at 4, and everything was fine, and at 6 when we got back there was water flowing out the back door.  We had a burst pipe in the ceiling of our laundry room.  I panicked, we finally got the water shut off, my 13 year old son stepped up to the crisis and ran to the barn and came back with a large push broom and swept 2 inches of water out of the house (who knew so much water could come from one small pipe?) , and I called the plumber and the insurance company.

Now what?  After a week and a half, the house is dried out, and 1/3 of our flooring is torn out.  Which leads me to my request for help.  The flooring in my studio is totaled.  They pulled out the worst, but it will have to be replaced.  I moved my loom so they could get the worst of it out, but now I have to empty my studio.


My question is this.  I have a Macomber loom with two tapestries on it.   One is finished and one is 1/3 of the way done.  I cannot get the loom through the door without folding it up which is going to seriously release the tension.  Is it possible for me to move the loom without losing the unfinished tapestry on the loom?  Has anyone done this?  Got any tips?  I am not sure where I will be moving the loom since most of the floors in the main spaces of the house are going to be replaced, but first I need to get it out of the studio.

I would appreciate any insights or thoughts.