Monday, September 30, 2013

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast!

Over the weekend, we went up to our mountain cabin to do some pre-winter repairs. It was 'color weekend,' so we expected to see the beautiful golden fall Colorado colors. But the aspen have barely begun to turn gold. Just the tops of some of the trees have turned, and the stand on our property hasn't turned yet at all, though the scrub oak and some of the undergrowth is beginning to have some color.

We planned to work on Friday, and we did a bit of prep work on Thursday afternoon, but Friday we awoke to sleet, which changed quickly to snow. The forecast was for more of the same all day and night, so we packed up and came home. One of the main things we need to do is to repaint the support posts that come out from the front of the cabin; the ones you can see in the photo below that are already coated with snow. They get the brunt of the weather; the very close sun in the summer, and a constant coat of snow in the winter. But we couldn't scrape and paint them when they were wet with snow!

We clearly did not expect such an early winter. Though... our house is being painted, and our painter, who spends much of his time outside watching the weather, told me the other day that it looks to him like we will have an early and long winter. Oh my, but I hope he is wrong! Autumn, please do not leave so soon!

I have spent the past week reorganizing my studio, and moving the 'furniture' (the loom and the easel) to fit new shelf units in. A HUGE mess! I have taken a truck load to Goodwill this morning. And I took a trunk-load of books to a book re-sale shop last week. Yet our house is still full! How did it get this way? I almost never shop, but stuff just seems to 'be here.'

I have to confess that I am a bit reticent to post photos of my studio. Looking on Pinterest the other day for something, I ran across pinned photos of my studio! What a surprise! Fortunately, the photos were from on a 'fairly tidy' day. It makes one more careful to find that people are really looking at what I post here on a whim!

The rest of my morning will be spent in finishing up the cleaning in the half of the studio that I didn't post here today! Then on to my busy Monday afternoon; filled with guitar music (or attempts at music) and practice. Monday is music day for me, with a guitar lesson, then planning and practice for church music, getting home just in time to drop into a comfy chair, wishing for a tasty dinner to just magically appear on my table (which doesn't happen, sadly.) If I were more organized, I'd have something already in the crock pot, but, as I'm not, it will probably be a rotisserie chicken from the market today. 

And that is quite enough to be getting on with on this fall day.....

Isn't it still September?

Saturday, September 28, 2013


My dear blog-readers, because you are my favorites, I am posting this here first. (If none of you want this offer, I will post elsewhere soon.)

I am clearing out my studio. 'Stuff,' delightful as some of it may be, is seriously overwhelming me. So, one of the things I have decided I no longer need, but that somebody may want, is this tall stack of ATA newsletters, going back to almost the very beginning and including almost all of them.

If you would like them, leave me a comment here to let me know. If more than one of you wants them, I'll do a drawing or something to decide where they go. If nobody wants them, I'll post this on the Tapestry List, and if no-one there wants them, I'll probably (sadly) stick them in the recycle bin. The recycle truck comes next Wednesday, so I will decide before then what to do with this lovely and highly educational stack of newsletters that has totally filled a drawer of my filing cabinet for many years!

If, for some reason you cannot leave a comment here (I know some browsers are obstinate that way), send me an email or a note on Facebook.

** Since there seems to be some interest, I'll do a drawing of those who have posted here or on Facebook on Tuesday evening, and will send the newsletters to the 'chosen one' on Wednesday. (no charge, I'll mail it book rate.)

Monday, September 23, 2013

As the World Turns.....

The seasons changed over the weekend. The change of seasons is not always as noticeable as it has been this year; it is usually just a notation on the calendar. But we had a balmy warm day on Saturday, and a wet cool day yesterday, as summer left and autumn came to stay. 

Yesterday I pulled out a sweater for the first time, and put socks on my chilled feet.

At the beginning of last week, our hummingbirds were frantically filling up for their long trip, and I noticed yesterday that I hadn't seen them for a couple of days. The last I saw of them, in fact, was when one hovered at the sitting room window, looking in. Maybe it was a farewell look.

This morning as I awoke, I heard a flock of geese flying overhead, making their happy-to-be-back racket. They are the first I've heard this season. Another seasonal clue.

I think when a season sneaks up on me and the change is not so noticeable, the new season has a chance to set in before I am altogether aware of it. But this seasonal change is so abrupt an ending of one and a beginning of the other that one can't help but be aware of it. That awareness gives me a bit of nostalgia for the season that has left, taking hummingbirds and fresh vine-ripened tomatoes and wind-ruffled curtains and evenings on the porch with it. But it also makes me more aware of the joy of warm socks on chilly feet, the lovely weight of that extra blanket on the cozy bed, the comfort of a handknit scarf around my neck and the delicious switch from iced to hot coffee.

Hello, Autumn! Welcome back! Sooner than I am ready, you will leave, leaving us to the dark cold days of winter. But before that happens, I hope to enjoy you to the fullest! Bring on the spiced cider and colorful crunching leaves. Hang around for a good while, for you are my favorite season of all!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Work is not always what you want it to be...

I would love to tell you that I have been hard at work designing, or better yet weaving, the next calendar tapestry. But I have not been.

I have nonetheless been hard at work. I have all eight tapestries prepared to deliver tomorrow for exhibition. I have photographed them all, including details. I have written an article. I have entered a juried exhibit. I have prepared the  image above to hang, framed, near my work. (I'm hoping it will, if not answer questions, maybe generate some.)

But the biggest job I have been doing is to totally renovate the shelving in my studio. Which means I have emptied (or am emptying) all old shelves, and have emptied the shelves which were FULL of books in the basement, and am painting them and moving them up to my studio, to re-fill with the things that I decide to keep. I am being pretty merciless with what I am getting rid of. The car trunk is full of books to go to a second-hand book shop, or to a free library, or to Goodwill. I am tossing old paintings and things I no longer value. I am tossing some things I still somewhat value, but know that nobody else will value, or want to deal with, when I am no longer around.

These are not my favorite things to do. I hate being in a mess; and this is a BIG mess. But my studio will be better for it, and then I will begin on the next calendar tapestry. I can hardly wait!

ps. The vote is still in progress at the Martha Stewart link on the right, through the end of this week. Thanks to each one of you who have bothered to go there and vote. My vote total so far is very respectable, and maybe Ms. Stewart and her creative staff will take note of what tapestry is! Wouldn't that be a Good Thing?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Calendar tapestries, so far...

This will be the front of a postcard I will be sending out to those I want to come see the exhibit next month, which includes eight Calendar tapestries. Of, course, I'd like you ALL to come see it! But what I really want is to finish the next four tapestries, then find a place to exhibit them all together. If you know of a fiber friendly gallery I can contact to that end, let me know, OK?

I spent this morning getting good photos of the eight completed pieces, including detail shots of each of them. This is the first time I have had them all out together. I have to confess that it actually brought tears to my eyes. I am really proud of these pieces, for a number of reasons. I am proud of the technicality. Having seen a lot of tapestries in my time, I think I can honestly say these are very well woven tapestries. But that is not what brought tears of pride to my eyes. Each one of these tapestries has captured something for me; a moment in time, a feeling about where I live and what I value. Each of them transports me to a time and place. I know these are not things anyone but me will see. But, in my past experience, if that is true for me, then it is usually also true that at least someone will see one of these pieces and will relate to the moment, the time, or the place that I wanted to capture. If I have learned one thing as an artist, it is that I am not really very unique. I love and value what many others love and value. Hopefully, I have just been able to express how I feel and what I wanted to capture in each of these pieces, so you can see it, too.

I have updated my website with all eight of the images. They can be seen here, and you can click there to run a slideshow of the enlarged pieces.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's About Time....

It is about time.... it's about time for the October exhibit. It's about time that I get all the prep work done. It's about time for me to design the next Calendar tapestry; get it out of my head and into a visual format so I can weave it. It's about time for summer to end, and my favorite season of the year to begin. It's about time for it to stop raining.... and who would have EVER thought I'd say that!!

I have been mounting (and remounting) three tapestries this week. I have two done, and just the June one to do tomorrow. I have posted in the past about how these tapestries are mounted, so if you are interested in seeing it again, or if you missed it the first time, you can go here.

The Calendar series tapestries are all about Time, as well. Here is the Artist's Statement I wrote for the exhibit next month:

When I began weaving the Calendar series of tapestries, I had just completed weaving a series of tapestries of the Four Seasons. I realized that those four large tapestries, though each said a lot about the passage of our seasons here in Colorado, did not say everything that I had to say about the passage of time. I have reached an era in my life when the topic of ‘time’ seems to be, well, ‘timely.’ So I decided to approach the topic by exploring each month of the year individually. Each of these tapestries is a very personal statement about the things that are of value to me in my life here in western Colorado. They strive to convey the play of light and shadow, the creatures and beauty that surround and share our spaces, the colors that change with time, and the feelings I have for our place in the larger world. So far, I have these eight tapestries in the series complete, with four more to design and weave.
Designing a tapestry can take a moment or a lifetime. I use photography, computer design, and/or painting at the easel to find an image that I will want to weave. After the design stage  is complete begins the work of weaving. I sit at the loom and pass tiny bits of colorful swedish wool in and through the warp tied on my large upright loom, in a very slow dance of creation. A vertical inch across the tapestry can take 8-10 hours of weaving time, sometimes more. I have to fall in love with an image, and be in love with the medium and the process itself, to be willing to spend the time to create it in a tapestry.

My work ties me to others. It ties me to those in the past; the medieval tapestry weavers and artist-designers of the tapestries I have seen in the Louvre. And it ties me to the rug and blanket weavers of Native American weavers, whose work is done with the same slow process I use. And it ties me to you, the viewer; to those who share the experiences and recognize the stories in the images I weave.

I still prefer the 'artist's statements' that I came up with when I had to do them for the last exhibit at the Art Center. They are here. I especially like the one that says 'I weave, and I weave, and I weave.....' Someday I will be brave enough to turn that in for my statement. Maybe next Time....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


As you can see, I have finished the "June" tapestry! In fact, I just cut it from the loom and it is 'resting,' as am I! My hope was to finish by the end of this week, but the upper third went faster than I had thought it would. Plus, as my mess-of-a-house and my empty pantry will attest, I have done nothing but weave for the past week or two.

I now need to do the finishing work on it, though there are very few slits to sew on this piece. I still need to trim all the weft ends on the back, block it, and mount it. And I still have the "October" tapestry to mount, as well. So it is a good thing that I have finished early! (I also need to get some decent photos of this tapestry. I am amazed at how different each of the in-progress photos look! I take them in the studio with only natural light, and these grey days have not been very cooperative.)

Wow! I still can't believe I got it done today! Sometimes, I just impress the socks off myself!

I believe some porch time is called for....

Monday, September 2, 2013


As I'm working towards the October exhibit of eight of the Calendar tapestries, I finally took the time to get a decent photo of the "October" tapestry. Those of you who have so kindly been voting for me over at the Martha Stewart American Made site (link in sidebar) may have already seen it over there.

This tapestry is the one that most says "Colorado" to me. It is a view I never tire of; looking up at the blindingly golden aspen leaves against the bright blue sky. Those leaves will be changing again soon, and I'm sure that, having now woven this tapestry, I will find them even more beautiful. I have discovered first hand that 'only God can make a tree,' and I can just make a tapestry that is an humble apttempt to capture the beauty of that tree.

I am still frantically weaving on the "June" tapestry, but some truly concerted work could possibly lead to a cutting off at the end of the week. (Fingers crossed - when they aren't weaving.)

Today, in addition to the weaving, I need to update my resume' and write an artist's statement for that exhibit. That will cut into my loom time, but doing those things is one of those 'necessary evils' artists must do occasionally. I guess this truly is Labor Day for me this year!