Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Weaving Mix and Match

There is so much stuff going on here that I’m on a roller coaster that vacillates from highs of excitement to lows of panic when I think major things are falling through the cracks and I’m certain I cannot keep up!

The highs:  Archie’s blog is finally up!  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for months.  I have wanted to share some of the many photos and some excerpts from his writings. It just doesn’t feel right to have access to all this incredible stuff and not share it, ‘share the love,’ so to speak, throughout the process.  Meanwhile, others have contacted me that they have things to share as well!  That’s exactly what I was hoping! I installed a counter yesterday (should have done it from the beginning, a week ago) and found that there were 70 visitors in less than 24 hours!  Boy, do I love looking at that counter!

The Lows: none of the lows are bad things.  In fact, they are all wonderful things!  It’s just too much all at one time, and I’m certain I will lose track of some important bit no matter how many ‘notes to self’ I write!

I have tapestry work to do.  At the other end of my medieval lady’s head I’ve started my ‘talking pears,’ or ‘pair of pears,’ which is a Wednesday group project.  Various. 3.24.2010 006

This is the cartoon.




Next week I will participate in a workshop at the Jockey Hollow Weavers’ Guild, which meant I needed to warp a floor loom by the end of today.  The instructor is Ruby Leslie from Vermont, and the class is “50 Ways to Weave Your Color.”  I really enjoyed warping my Baby Wolf. I love to warp floor looms!  It’s very zen to me and feels as good as doing yoga!  On the flip side, I don’t like throwing the shuttle so much.  I’d like to dress looms and have someone else weave the cloth for me.Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 003

If you click on this to magnify it, you’ll get an idea of how well Ruby blended colors for this warp! It’s an 8S straight draw with a tie up for weaving lozenge shapes.

Ruby Leslie workshop 042010 006

Who doesn’t love a freshly dressed loom?  All the potential for beautiful cloth lies ahead, and none of the tedium of throwing the shuttle has dampened the excitement!

Oh, and there was another bonus to taking this workshop.  I needed the reed that is currently on my AVL!  In order to get it I had to weave off the last part of a warp I’d made for a minister’s stole a year and a half ago!  I had added a scarf to the length of that warp, and I just couldn’t throw the shuttle any longer, even with a good book on my ipod.  Needing that reed did the trick.  Photos of the scarf will follow shortly.  I will twist the fringes and wet finish this evening.

With tapestry weaving I have the opposite feeling about warp and weft.  I really don’t care for warping, weaving the header, putting in the soumak.  I only like the weaving.  I’d like to find someone who’d get the loom set up for me so I can just weave.

We leave for a week of sailing tomorrow which is why I had to get both the floor loom and tapestry loom ready by end of today.  When I get back I have three days of classes…a bit too much yinging and yanging for me.  In today’s inbox I got the next version of the ATB8 catalog that must be edited by early next week.  I guess I’ll try to edit while on board. 

Wishing for calm seas and smooth sailing,

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Archie Brennan Project Blog

Almost two years ago, I began transcribing Archie Brennan’s life story which I asked him to write, as well as his many essays and articles written over the course of his 60+ years of weaving tapestries.  He is an excellent record keeper, and going through his files is an exciting adventure!

Wed. Group Kingston openingArchie (Medium)

Several years ago I edited and published a book which took a couple of years to assemble.  The “Archie Project” is considerably larger and is progressing nicely, with about 75 pages of text so far! I am committed to putting together a book about Archie that covers his life story, shares his probing, often humorous, thoughts on many aspects of tapestry weaving in various cultures, and showcases as many of his 450 woven tapestries as space will allow.

The blog is here

Two other Wednesday Groupers are helping with this project!  Barbara Burns is working on creating a retrospective exhibition of Archie’s work, and she and Sarah Doyle and I are also cataloging all of Archie’s photographed works into a catalog raisonne which will be an appendix to the book.  Hopefully, we can also create a DVD of works to be included in the book.  It’s a big project, and we are all volunteers! 

I’m seeking input, in the form of contributions of photos or stories, or advice or connections. Anything at all that you think pertinent to this project will be enthusiastically accepted.  Check out the blog and contact me! 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Guest House

At the Soul Collage meeting last night, my good friend who leads us read a poem by Rumi.  It was a breath of fresh air!  I haven’t had enough poetry lately, and actually hadn’t even thought of this poet in a year or so.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi,
    translation by Coleman Barks

Well, today my lodgers are all very boisterous, happy guests.  They are the spring dwellers.  My son’s photos of his Manhattan neighborhood capture them very well!  …even in New York!

chris spring 2 4.2010chris spring apple tree 4.2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Let the Rivers Clap Their Hands!








This is the cover of the program used for the Diamond Jubilee for Sister Bianca Haglich, who has served in the order of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary for 60 years.

Sr. Bianca is the driving force of a number of weaving groups, and, for me, most notably, the Wacky Weavers which started about 36 years ago.  We are a group of 10 women, many of whom (but not me!) began weaving as students of Sr. Bianca, during her tenure at Marymount College in Tarrytown, NY.  Our Wacky Weavers’ group gets together once a month, except in summer, to teach each other fiber-related techniques.  Over the years the group has witnessed the births, childhood accomplishments, graduations and marriages of our children; the deaths of loved ones; the births of grandchildren.  In recent years some of our monthly meetings have become celebrations of landmark birthdays since we are all advancing in age!

Sr. Bianca created this image for her diamond jubilee since water has played such an important role in the journey of her life.  She was born on the island of Lussin in the Adriatic (now part of Croatia), sailed across the oceans to arrive in New York as an adolescent, and has lived on the shores of the Hudson River for many years now.

Bianca Haglich Eucharist

In this photo Sr. Bianca is standing before her newly installed, large kuultokudos (transparency weave) for the “Mother House” in Bezier, France. 

Bianca is an amazing weaver! As a young woman with many artistic talents, she studied weaving in Finland,  and now she is fluent in so many facets of weaving I couldn’t possibly list them all.  She has taught many, many people to weave and has a beautiful studio in Tarrytown that includes about 20 Toika looms.

Bianca’s studio used to be on the campus of Marymount College and was called “The Center for Fiber Arts.”  Along with college art students she had a diverse following of adults who came to study.  With the closing of Marymount College (bought by Fordham Univ.) she moved her studio to a large, light-filled space on the grounds of her convent, and the studio is now called “The Weaving Center.”

Feb. 2010 003

Sr. Bianca in the library of her studio where the Wacky Weavers helped her celebrate her 82nd birthday in February!





A large segment of Sr. Bianca’s students are Jewish women who come to learn weaving in order to make tallithim(sp?) for their loved ones.  Truly, an ecumenical “Weavers without Borders!”

Saturday, April 10, 2010

So Many Amazing Tapestries!

I was thrilled to learn that the upcoming ATB8 (American Tapestry Biennial 8) will have three venues throughout the US.  I don’t know what they are, but I heard from a good source that one will likely be Lowell, Massachusetts which will mean I can see all these amazing tapestries for real!

I have just finished proofreading the catalog for ATB8 and am astounded by the works!  Four members of the Wednesday Group are in this exhibition, as well as other artists whose works I love! Then there are works from artists I don’t yet know! The catalog is a glorious feast for the eyes, and I’m so glad to have worked on it in the tiniest way.  I cannot imagine what it will be like to see all these pieces hanging together in one gallery space. 

Sixty-four pieces, in fact. Sorry to write about this without being able to show photos…. Chris.forsythia.4.10  

forsythia taken by my son Chris.