Friday, February 23, 2007

Late February

I'm counting down the days to the end of winter now. I do this every year. I don't mind more snow. I love snow in early March. What I don't want is temperatures lower than 30 and please, please, PLEASE no more wind unless the temperature is over 40F. The wind has been so violent lately and I'm so worn out from it.

My older son has an early March birthday. Out of his (almost) 23 birthdays, I'd say 20 of them have been white, and he was born during a wild snow storm when about 12 inches of snow fell in just a few hours accompanied by thunder and lightning! What a night. March is e e cummings to me: the poem about the balloon man and the word "mudluscious." What an image!

I am just finishing a three day workshop with Nadine Sanders, the singing weaver, who is well known for advancing the Theo Moorman technique. Maybe "advancing" is not the right word. She is certainly passing along the knowledge of the technique and she has done some interesting things that Theo Moorman did not do. Imagine being in a weaving workshop, busy as a bee at your loom, and having your instructor sing to you and play the violin for you. She even sang her good bye to us today. If you get the chance to study with her, grab it! We had too big a group in this workshop, and three people did not get their looms warped for weaving until the last day of the class, and yet Nadine sailed through these hurdles with grace and even a helpful, caring disposition.

I want to talk about my project, but it doesn't seem appropriate since I my camera is on the other side of the country now with my husband skiing in Utah. How about if I just say go check out Nadine's website:

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I spent the weekend weaving and crocheting, trying to escape some things that are weighing quite heavy on my mind. I am not in the best frame of mind these days, and the weather is not helping! Last winter I wove a small tapestry that was not particularly successful. The image was dawn in the desert, and the original image comes from a book my son gave me that has beautiful photographs of earth's landscapes from many vantage points. This desert scene spoke to me on some non-verbal level. The image was so powerful (alas, mine is not!) and spoke to me of creation, and of something else. The idea that no matter what man does to this environment, it will be undone in a mere day. The winds in this desert erase all trace of us. Everyday is a new creation in the desert, and not in the "greeting card" sense.

I've been reading a good deal of Carl Sagan in the past few months. Dragons of Eden, Cosmos, and have just learned that his wife has published some of his lectures in a book titled The Varieties of Scientific Experience. I believe it will address his very reverent views on religion, for which he is labled an atheist. But getting back to deserts, I found some moving photographs on Sue Lawtry's blog, as well as her insightful comments:

“Here there isn’t a single trace of man’s presence… The wind shapes the landscape as it likes. It is an unchanging landscape which is constantly changing.”
Gerard Lanux

Wind on desert sand; water on coastal sand… the rhythmic passing of time.
I am guessing that every single one of the resulting undulating patterns is different. Like every grain of sand, every star, every pass of weft over warp, every found stone on a beach… all the same, all different. (Ref blog entries: Nov 15 2005 “notes for the day” and Nov17.)

Desert breeze, beach tide: both erase the marks of our passing, our presence merely tolerated.
It is the order of things here… to be rendered as ghosts in the landscape.

Desert sands. Photograph Sue Lawty - Click to enlarge Desert sands. Photograph Sue Lawty - Click to enlarge Desert sands. Photograph Sue Lawty - Click to enlarge Desert sands. Photograph Sue Lawty - Click to enlarge Desert sands. Photograph Sue Lawty - Click to enlarge Desert sands. Photograph Sue Lawty - Click to enlarge

I have only just discovered it, but I will be visiting it regularly.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Bitterly Cold

What's it like in other parts of the country right now? Here it is just ridiculously cold. We've got brilliant sunshine that is so deceptive to the frigid conditions. The snow is so hard you can walk right on top of it and not sink in. It's 14F degrees this morning, but the wind chill makes it feel like 5. We've had temperatures like this for a week now! We've had so much wind for so long, I think it's been more than a year with unusually high winds. Are the windy places of the world even windier, or did we get some of their wind so that they are now milder? I'd love to know that.

My Korean art teacher believes that wind is caused by anger. Initially that may sound absurd, but high and low pressures have to originate somehow. I know I show my ignorance of science here, and I shouldn't go down paths where I have no knowledge. Anger causing wind is just such a powerful image. There is certainly no shortage of anger anywhere.

When we get to the last few really hot weeks of summer we call those days the "dog days." We need a name for these last few weeks of interminable winter. I don't think we can use the word "days" since winter is more about "nights." Someone please think of something! "The teetering on the edge of death nights of winter," "the way beyond the pale nights of winter," "the nights when hell just might freeze over," "the Boreal nights of winter"...etc.

So here's a picture of my garden, a deceptively peacful winter scene. It's hard to tell that the wind is blowing at least 25 mph and the temperature is only 14F!

I'm heading down to my studio to weave and hopefully not hear the wind howling.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Weaving Shoes!

I belong to quite a few Yahoo lists, and I can become quite involved in searching for some product that someone posts. Most recently there was a discussion on WeaveTech about shoes for weaving. One woman was traveling to Boston and found these shoes: Well, I HAD to have a pair, didn't I? It was so hard to choose!I ended up choosing a pattern called "Metro Retro," but there were at least four other patterns that tempted me! I know I will have to order at least one other pair in the future since the choices are just too fun!

I did wear these in public once (because they'd just arrived and I couldn't resist), but from now on they will be "indoors only" so they won't scratch the treadles on any of my looms.

So here's what I'm weaving while wearing these shoes. These are dishtowels. The pattern is a color and weave technique, a real "no brainer" from the Yarn Barn catalog. I am using two threads together of both tan/greys and reds. The two reds are one 8/2 unmercerized cotton in deep burgundy and one brigther red in 22/2 cottolin. The tan/greys are one thread of 8/2 unmercerized grey and one thread of natural linen colored cottolin. Hopefully these towels will have good absorbency! I am weaving the last towel now.

This first picture shows the cloth beam at the back of my AVL with the warp (behind the harnesses) above it. The next picture is at the front of the loom where I'm weaving:


15 Feb. 2007

The wild weather of this strange winter, and the fact that I have entered my sixth decade, conspire to make me examine my choices lately. I have been a hand knitter for over 40 years and a handweaver for over 30 years. In 2001, I began some experiments with tapestry. After adding spinning and tentatively trying some dyeing over 10 years ago now, I wonder where I am going with these fiber technniques. At this point I know that I cannot be a master in all these avenues, but I have no idea which direction to take. The wild winds that have blown throughout this winter, and my own internal storms have me rooted to a single spot, cautious about moving in any direction. So, instead of finishing a number of projects that are blowing about in the storm, I've decided to start a blog. What am I thinking??

Some weavers on the Yahoo list "Tapestry 2005" have been sharing their blogs, with the result that I now give in to the urge to join them!