Wednesday, May 26, 2021

News from my Studio…


 This was in our local paper a few days ago. I had not seen it and was a bit confused when neighbors told me they’d seen my name in the paper. I was really pleased to have a piece selected for this exhibit! The Handweavers Guild of America has posted images of the exhibit already on their Facebook page, if you’d like to see it.  The exhibit begins in Washington state, and will travel for a year. My small tapestry that is to be included is below.

‘Peace’.  5x7 inches

I was also notified this past week that my tapestry, ‘Graffiti,’ was chosen as best of show in an online, all media exhibit with the theme of Text in Art. The exhibit, Context, can be viewed at https://www.art-fluent.com/context.




In addition, this past week I finally got the ‘Yin/Yang’ tapestry ready to hang. This tapestry is of our two cats, Poe and Ringo. They have been our companions and family during the past year of isolation. We adopted them together, and they are best friends and best foes. They are, however, very different in temperament, Poe being an explorer and doer, and Ringo being his audience to see how things turn out, before joining Poe’s mischief. When they laid together on the living room rug, they reminded my of the yin/yang symbol, and that in turn seemed to define their relationship and personalities. Right now, the tapestry is hanging in our dining room, and they have both given it various signs of approval.








Friday, May 14, 2021

Birth of a Tapestry!

 Poe, who has to be involved November, 2020

Just before the Pandemic began, we adopted two kittens. Throughout the shutdowns and isolations, they have been our constant companions. They are very sociable, with each other and with us. Poe, especially, follows one of us constantly, and wants to 'help' as much as he can. So a cat perch had to be moved into the studio, to keep Poe from using the loom as his gym equipment. The tapestry on the loom here is of the two cats; constant companions of each other, yet very different in personalities. 

  Ringo, who is content to observe


 Close to the end!  March, 2021

  Cutting Off!  April 16, 2021



After the tapestry was cut from the loom, with a private 'Cutting Off' celebration, including only myself, Poe and Ringo, the finishing work had to begin. With my supervisor close by, I cut all the long weft ends down to about 1 inch, then blocked it (see https://kspoeringtapestries.blogspot.com/2008/03/walk-like-egyptian.html for my blocking process.) 


 

A Celebration is in order!

At this point, the tapestry is pinned out, and covered, on the dining table. I'll begin the lining and prepping to hang process today. The two subjects of the tapestry are very drawn to it, as they have been my studio assistants through the entire process. They are, however, actively discouraged from claiming it as their own!


Discouragement not always successful




With my loom empty, I am continuing to sketch almost daily. Here is yesterday's quick little sketchbook page, a watercolor sketch of some lovely flowers from my husband for our anniversary. If you get the ATA news magazine, Tapestry Topics, you may have read my article about how important daily creativity is to me, especially in difficult times.

As always, thank you for visiting me here!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Moving forward, but slowly.... very slowly


 While much of America is ‘getting back to normal’ and getting out and about because the pandemic is ‘over,’ I am still much more comfortable staying in my shell a bit longer. Because the pandemic is, of course, NOT over! Even though many, including myself, are now vaccinated, many more are not. And, until the number of cases and deaths stops climbing, the virus is still here, changing and growing stronger. I also confess that I did not find the isolation as difficult as I thought it would be. I believe doing without things and activities and demands that I had believed to be important has been good for me. It has taught me that there is more that I don’t need than I realized, and I do not miss those things and demands at all.

I continue to stay in my smaller orbit, working in my studio, seeing a few vaccinated friends outside, and still wearing a mask when I go to the grocery store. This will all be over someday, but, surprisingly, I find I am not in a rush. As an introvert, my little woven web has been comfortable enough, and I find that I am more comfortable in it that I am in the larger, much more complex 'out there' filled with so many others who are not as careful as I have been.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Some sketches to celebrate Spring!


My sketchbook, and the western Colorado weather, is saying it is Spring! I suspect it will be a short-lived spring, jumping much too quickly into summer, as it is already 80+* here this Easter weekend, the first weekend of April. My daffodils are already finished blooming and have been removed from the bulb bed. The tulips are beginning to join the hyacinths in replacing them.



Resurrection Sunday is tomorrow. When my sons were young, it was common for it to snow on Easter morning, making the bunny have to hide eggs and treats indoors. This year, it is supposed to be 84 degrees tomorrow, causing concern that the chocolate eggs the bunny hides might melt before being found!




This morning (Saturday) I am working in my garden, planting things that I'd normally wait several more weeks to plant. But the forecast for the future is encouraging me to join my neighbors and take the risk. Our apricot tree is in full bloom, so a late freeze would see us without any fruit (like last summer.) However, we are in what has been determined to be 'Extreme Drought' conditions, with high temperatures, no moisture to speak of all winter, and the fire season a fear ahead for us all.

I'll not worry about those things today, though. I am thinking of blooming flowers; the buds on my lilac bushes are huge, and my roses already have buds, as well. I'm putting some summer bulbs in today, as a pair of doves make their fragile nest nearby, with Poe and Ringo keeping close eyes on them through the open screen door. It is Spring. We are totally vaccinated. He is Risen. Things indeed that need to be celebrated!

 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Women of the Arts Week


This past week, a group of illustrators issued a challenge on Instagram to get to know, and to illustrate, 7 women artists whose work is amazing, but not well known. The first one was Niki de Saint Phalle, a French-American sculptor, painter, and film maker who is best known for her giant mosaic sculptures of women, called 'Nanas.' Like all of the other artists, she worked for women's rights and racial equality throughout her life and in her work.

 

The second artist was a Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. She is still working, and openly confronts issues that bring attention to mental health. Her philosophy is that she is just one red dot among many other dots, and polka dots are common in her work. She is also a performance artist, and creates amazing infinity rooms. While her work fascinates me, she is perhaps the one I had most difficulty sketching and relating to.


I loved the work of the third artist, Hilma af Klint. She was creating abstract art before Wassily Kandinsky, who is credited with creating the 'first abstract art.' After losing a sister at a young age, she became a spiritualist, believing that her work came through her from the spiritual realm. She was a contemporary of Arthur Conan Doyle (though she was Swedish, and he was British,) who was also a spiritualist. Before her death, Hilma af Klint sealed her artwork, allowing it to be opened only after she had been dead for 20 years. When it was opened, the number of works, and the size of many of them, was astounding... and stunning!


Tamara de Lempicka was born in Poland, but worked mostly in France and the US, painting Art Deco portraits of the wealthy and famous, and stylized nudes. Her work was some I recognized. I sketched her portrait in her style, in Procreate.


Perhaps the sketch I had the most fun creating is the one I did of Faith Ringgold, who has for many years been one of my favorite artist/illustrators! I identify with her as a fiber artist, as she creates the most wonderful art quilts, which are then often used to illustrate children's books. To create her portrait, I wanted to use fabric, but didn't have time to quilt, so I took photos of some of the fabric in my 'stash,' and 'quilted' it digitally.


Spanish Surrealist painter and creator, Maruja Mallo, was a contemporary of Salvador Dali. The Surrealist movement is not my favorite art era, though I really do like some of Ms. Mallo's work. I chose to sketch her in my own style in my sketchbook, using colored pencils, with her painting 'La Sorpresa del Trigo' (the Surprise of the Wheat) behind her.


The final artist of the week was Augusta Savage,  a sculptor, an educator, and a huge influence in the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance movement. Augusta battled sexism, racism, and religious and family discouragement throughout her life and career. She is best known for a large sculpture called "the Harp," or also "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Shown in my sketch, it is of a line of singers, held in a hand, to form a harp. Because she could not afford to have it bronzed, it was destroyed after being exhibited in the 1939 New York World's Fair. Ms. Savage claims her legacy to be the work of her many students, and a scholarship in her name continues to encourage young sculptors.



I confess that I feel very satisfied to have learned about and sketched all seven of these women artists this past week. I began the week thinking I would 'maybe' sketch one or two of them, but each woman's work, or her life story, compelled me to honor her in the only way I knew how: to make her a part of my own art.









Wednesday, February 3, 2021

A Series Doesn't Have to be Serious!

I have always loved working in a series. If you go to my website Gallery page, you'll see that I have done a number of tapestry series. Working in a series, one thing just seems to easily lead to the next! I wrote more about working in a series here, if you are interested or curious about why I love working this way.


As a "cat mom" myself, I've been doing a little series of sketches of 'cat moms' this week. I love how the women look so in love, and the cats look, well, maybe tolerant at best. I know cats. They love us on their own terms, not on ours. But these little sketches in my sketchbook are amusing me, and giving me a few minutes of play, over my morning coffee.



 

I have also been trying to catch up with a bit of business work recently, along with some studio cleaning and organization. Finding a few small tapestries stuck here and there, I updated my Etsy shop. This particular tapestry was the first small tapestry I ever made! I was reminded of her when a lot of women, including me, put on our pearls on Inauguration Day to celebrate our first woman Vice President. If you see something on Etsy that feels like it was created just for you, but find the price unmanageable, please email me or contact me by leaving a message. I truly want my work to find homes.


And finally, I am still weaving this tapestry, but the end of the cartoon is now in sight. This tapestry actually is a part of a series that began with the Graffiti Tapestry. What makes them a series is more evident to me, as the weaver, than it will be to the viewer. All of the tapestries in this 'series' are woven with very small abstract bits of color, which come together to create the image. That is actually how all tapestries are woven, but in these pieces, I want those small abstract bits to be visible.

This 'series' of days just keeps going on and on for us. Yesterday was Groundhog Day in the US, but the last year has felt like every day is groundhog day (as in the movie.) I hope you are finding positive and comforting ways to cope. And I hope we will all soon find access to the vaccines that will help us move beyond this pandemic!



Sunday, December 13, 2020

Shopping for Tapestry Books?


I know the season of giving is coming, but it is also the season of 'getting,' to some extent. If you don't know what to ask for, or if you choose to 'gift' yourself (as I have done,) there are three new tapestry books on the market that are worthy of your consideration. (Actually, there are a couple more new ones  that I haven't yet received - Are you listening, Santa?)

If you are a beginning tapestry weaver, or if you are wanting to learn the basics of tapestry weaving, look for Rebecca Mezoff's book,  The Art of Tapestry Weaving.  It builds techniques one on the other, like weft on weft, each clearly explained and shown in photos. As a self-taught weaver, this book would have been VERY welcome a number of years ago! It will be a classic text for those of you who are visual learners.


If you are a tapestry weaver, or are working in any art medium, and are wanting to consider how inspiration becomes a work of art, I highly recommend Tommye Scanlin's book, The Nature of Things. Tommye is inspired by Nature, as most artists are, but her journey from inspiration to art can apply to any artist's walk. The book is filled with images, not only of Tommye's beautiful tapestries, but of the photos and sketches that inspire the works. The essay-like discussions are like a personal visit with a professional artist who is very willing to share. I read this book from cover to cover, and I know I will read it again.


And finally, if you, like me, are missing going to exhibits of beautiful tapestries by many artists, Micala Sidore's book, The Art is the Cloth, is like going to a huge tapestry exhibit, that spans distance and time, with photos of over 300 tapestries from the 12th through the 21st century.  Micala was inspired to create the book as well as curating an exhibit of the same name. I had two tapestries in the exhibit (shown below) and the second small one is included in the book. (Both tapestries sold in the exhibit.) I pick this book up like 'inspirational dessert,' to treat myself when I feel the need for a treat. And who doesn't need to be treated this year?!

"Dama con Mangos"  24x36"

"Grace"  8x10"


As tapestry enthusiasts, we are very blessed by the contributions and inspirations these books can give us. Thank you so much, Rebecca, Tommye, and Micala for gifting us with your words, and your experience!