Friday, October 21, 2016

Calendar Tapestries Open House

Welcome to my Open House/Studio! Well, it actually was a few days ago, and it was a wonderful success! I had a lovely crowd here! I tried to do a video of the tapestries all hanging in my home to share here, but I just can't get a decent one! Part of the reason is my lack of videography skills, and the other part is that I live in an old Arts and Crafts home, with lots of windows, but they all have deep eaves, so interior lighting is lovely, but difficult to capture in a photograph (to say the least.) I will do a video of all the Calendar Series tapestries when they are on exhibit in a well-lit gallery setting. (Or, more likely, I will have someone more skilled do one for me.)

Anyway, here's a bit of a tour! As you walk in, you first see the "July" tapestry, of my granddaughter, in the entryway.

Hanging in the living room were the Summer and Spring tapestries, plus the two appropriate larger tapestries from the Four Seasons Series. Above the old sofa is the "Summer" tapestry, and the "June" and "August" tapestries.

Above the fireplace are the "March," "April," and "May" tapestries form the Calendar Series. I just couldn't get a decent photo of the "Spring" tapestry, as it was always a bit backlit, where it was hanging.

In the dining room, I hung the winter and fall tapestries. In this photo, you can see the "January" and "February" tapestries, then the large "Winter" tapestry, the "December" tapestry, and the "November" tapestry, which doesn't show up well here, so I've added a closer shot of it below.

The "September" and "October" tapestries were both side-lit, but I have very little wall space, so I had to hang them where I could! They were really both lovely in their spaces, just hard to photograph well.

The "Fall" tapestry hung in the spot in the dining room that I always save for the appropriate Seasons Series tapestry. I almost feel like that one wall was just made for such a tapestry to hang there!

This week I will be taking all the tapestries down off my walls and packing them to take to Kansas, where they will be on exhibit in the NOTO Art Center, in Topeka through the months of November and December. They will be in an invitational traveling exhibit called "Time Warp... and Weft" with the beautiful works of Tommye Scanlin, Janet Austin, Janette Meetze, and Geri Forker. This will coincide with the ATB11 exhibit, in the Mulvane Gallery in Topeka, so if you go see ATB11, be sure to get over to our exhibit, as well! The exhibit will then be in Athens, GA for the summer months. I'm excited!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

You are invited.....

You are invited to an Open Studio
at my home studio 
on Sunday, October 16
1-4 p.m.
to celebrate and share the completion of the 
Calendar and Four Seasons tapestry series,
before they travel on exhibition. 

(If you need address or directions, leave a comment and I'll contact you.)

Friday, September 16, 2016

"I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it! I'm about to lose control and I think I like it ..."

So. My loom is empty. I haven't had an empty loom, with no plans for another tapestry, for a long time, even though I have not been able to work steadily for several years.

I pretty much took a 'sabbatical' last year, while my Mother was facing the end of her life. I had more important things to do than work in the studio. At the same time, my husband retired from his 40-year career. So, more folks around = less solitary studio time. In fact, I finished the last two Calendar Series tapestries in tiny bits of time,  pretty much with the idea in mind that I would probably need to sell my large loom, and retire myself from weaving when the series was complete. I have already made the choice to retire from teaching. It was probably that attitude that has kept any tapestry ideas at bay. I have sketched, but I have not painted, and I have not designed for tapestry. In other words, I have let my creative life shut down (which does make me grumpy, and more.)

But the past week or so, there has been a nagging little image that keeps cropping up in my head. I have stuffed it back into the closet of my mind several times, but it just keeps coming out. And I haven't been able to go into my studio, even to clean it (which I always do after I finish a tapestry.) That empty loom, and the prospect of leaving it empty...... Just couldn't deal with that.

This morning I woke up very early, because that nagging little image jumped out of that closet, and flat out refused to go back in! And I recognized it immediately as a tapestry. And I have to weave it! It's more or less a self-portrait, so who else would weave it?

It has been creating itself in my mind and heart long enough that it took me about 20 minutes to come up with the cartoon and maquette. It has designed itself, while I resisted. I don't think it will weave itself, though. So.... I need to get in there and clean the studio, re-tie the warp on, find the proper yarns, and get busy!

This one is for me. I'm saying that up front. This one. Is for Me!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

An announcement, and another announcement! (And maybe another, for good measure...)

I have been looking forward for a loooong time to making this announcement: My Calendar Series Tapestries, all twelve of them, will finally be shown all together! Not only that, but they will be in the very good company of the diary tapestries of some of my favorite tapestry artists: Tommye Scanlin, Janet Austin, Janette Meetze, and Geri Forkner.

We will be exhibiting together in an exhibit entitled  "Time Warp... and Weft" an Exhibition of Handwoven Tapestries.  The exhibit will begin in the NOTO Art Center, in Topeka, Kansas, for the months of November and December, 2016. It will be at the same time that ATB11 is in the Mulvane Art Center in Topeka, on the campus of my alma mater, Washburn University.  I am pretty excited about having my work shown in the place where I grew up!

Also, I will be having an Open Studio here in Grand Junction on Sunday, October 16th, from 1-4 p.m. so folks here can see all twelve of the tapestries before they leave the area.

And finally, to mark the completion of these twelve pieces, plus the Four Seasons tapestries, I have had a 2017 calendar printed, with images of all the tapestries. I began the Four Seasons series in 2003, and it led into the Calendar series, so I've put a bit of my life into these works! If anyone is interested in the calendar, they'll be available at my Open Studio, and at the "Time Warp... and Weft" exhibit. I'll also have a few for sale on my Etsy shop (link at right.) Or you can contact me (in the comments or on Facebook or Instagram.)

Happy Days.... and Months.... and even Years! Behind us and before us.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

From my sketchbook....

I have been doing small (about 4"x6") sketches almost daily. The half-hour it takes me to do one of these rejuvenates me, so I usually do one in the evening, when I'm too tired to do anything else. All of these, except the hummingbirds, are from photos people have posted on the Sktchy app, for artists to paint and sketch from. At first, I was not sure how I felt about that: it felt like folks were asking for 'free art,' and that artists were too lazy and uncreative to create from their own images. But, as I've been using the app more and more, I have come to enjoy and appreciate sketching from images that I have no personal ties to, and that don't have to please anyone but myself. It is a truly relaxing way to sketch, and, (dare I say it?) it is FUN! I find myself looking forward to my Sktchy time, and I somehow have accumulated 550 'followers' on the app! Sktchy has allowed some of the artists to have their original work (not prints) for sale, including me, so I have a few sketches offered on the link on the right. They are all watercolor and either ink or permanent marker. I seem to have developed a 'style' using those materials.

Anyway, here are some of my sketches from the past several weeks. I have accomplished a few other creative things, but I will post about those things in the next few days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Calendar Series tapestries...

©Kathy Spoering, 2016 Please do not reproduce or share
A huge accomplishment!  Should've had champagne. But I didn't.  (Yet...)

Yesterday I completed a series of 12 tapestries that has taken me eight years to complete (although there was about a year and a half in the midst of that when I was working on a commission.) The creation of these tapestries has involved  journaling, photographing, sketching, painting, digital designing, warping, weaving, blocking and slit-sewing, framing, living, blood, sweat, tears... and joy. In other words, these tapestries represent my life. The images in them are images I live with: the winter scene from my window, the lake I fish in and my dog swims in, the area I live in which produces four distinct seasons and a harvest of plenty.

These tapestries also represent to me things you cannot see. There is woven into them joyful times, when I took time out to be with my grandchildren, as they have grown from toddlers to adolescents during the creation of the series. Sorrow is woven in, as I lost my beautiful mother while weaving the final tapestries. 

The series will finally be exhibited together as a whole. Several of the tapestries have been exhibited separately, but my final goal was to exhibit them together. I will be having an Open Studio showing of them here in October, and then they will be exhibited in my growing up 'home town' of Topeka, Kansas at the NOTO Arts Center, for the months of November and December. The exhibit there, 'Time Warp.... and Weft' will include the weavings of myself and four other artists whose work I truly admire. It will be in conjunction with the American Tapestry Biennial 11, which will hang in the Mulvane Art Center at my alma mater, Washburn University. I am so excited to have these bits of my life go to Kansas, where I still have ties and history.

I will be posting more about the exhibit here soon, so stay tuned....! In the meantime, if you have a flute of the bubbly at hand, celebrate this completion with me! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

This I know about myself:

Yesterday, I was grumpy all day. I woke up in the morning knowing my time was to be spent sewing slits to finish a tapestry. Alright, I will confess it: I HATE sewing slits!! As I weave, I try my best to avoid leaving slits, and I sew the longer ones as I go, but it's not the longer ones that I dislike sewing up, it's all the smaller ones. Hours I can spend, sewing up little slits. I know that I even sew slits that don't necessarily need sewing, because I want my tapestries to last a looooong time.

Anyway, knowing that was my work for the day yesterday (and today, and likely throughout this week and next, as I have two to do) made me exceedingly grumpy. It was the kind of grumpy that I get when I know I will not be doing anything creative that day. Sewing slits is not creative. It is necessary, but like many necessary tasks for art creation (like prepping canvases or winding skeins) it is not creative. It is mindlessly boring.

By the end of the day, I noticed that my husband and the dog were avoiding me. Even I would have preferred to be in another room, away from myself. So I sat down and did a quick sketch in my sketchbook of my grandaughter. That half-hour restored me! Grumpiness cured, joy back in place.

I know this about myself: if I am not able to create, even in a small way, I am not a happy person. The creative urge in me is so strong, it is 'who I am.' It does not matter that I am not creating anything Great, a small sketch will suffice. I just have to be allowed, by myself and by the world, to use that urge on a regular basis, or we all will regret it. Just sayin'........