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September 26, 2019 / weavingschool

Weaving and Felting in Atlanta

This past weekend, I was invited by my long term Atlanta guild, Chattahoochee Handweavers Guild, to do a slide presentation and workshop. I had a blast visiting with friends and being inspired by all a big city has to offer. The “weaving for felting” workshop requires folks to rethink every weaving rule and learn how to shingle wool. This group had never even heard the term “shingle” but they jumped right in and never looked back. The results were spectacular.

August 15, 2019 / weavingschool

Thoughts on Natural Dyes

I’ll have to admit, I never really “got” the use of using extracts for natural dyes. After all, wasn’t part of the lure of natural dyeing going out in the woods and finding the dye materials. Well, all that went by the wayside when I took a class from Donna Brown (link to her garden project) at Shakerag Workshops this summer. First of all, somebody did go out and pick and process the actual dye materials, it just wasn’t me swatting misquotes and trudging through tall grasses. I even sent my granddaughter out to pick Queen Ann’s Lace for one of the many dye pots I did the rest of the summer because I guess I’m just a little older that I was when I started this adventure in the 1970 and 80s. But most importantly, natural dye extracts can be thickened and used to make beautiful art cloth by stamping, painting, or silk screening.  Combined with the ability to change the color of the cloth by changing the pH using discharging and darkening agents, the possibilities are ever expanding. Now I have stacks of yardage and yarns to keep me busy this winter when the plant materials have died back and the water in the three season workroom has been turned off before the first freeze.
Here is a small sampling of what I’ve done so far.

June 19, 2019 / weavingschool

Weaving at Little Middle Folk School

For one amazing week every summer the John C Campbell Folk School opens its studios to kids. The work they do is always outstanding. I’m lucky enough to introduce weaving to rising 7th grade through high school aged students to the traditional way cloth has been made for thousands of years. Kids in the morning session wind half the ends for a 5 yard warp, sley it in the reed, then the afternoon kids wind the other half and fill in the spaces. The color combinations they come up with are unique and surprising. Somehow it all works out and there is never an ugly combination. We thread straight draws the next day with a little help from the “weaving fairies” after class. By Wednesday, the shuttles are flying across the colorful warps with all the color and texture to be found in the Folk School’s massive yarn closet. Finally the kids understand what and why they “suffered” for the first two days. After plain weave comes twill and the weavings become complex and even more beautiful. Friday is project of your choice day to be made with two yards of hand woven cloth.

June 7, 2019 / weavingschool

Showing Off

Weekend classes at John C Campbell Folk School are always a whirlwind of activity, hardly time for taking a deep breath. Even so, the Folk School always inspires great works and we even took time to show off a few of the many felted items we created.

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April 18, 2019 / weavingschool

Connecting Four

Ever play Connect Four as a kid or with your grandchild? I just finished a whirlwind of four weekends in a row of out of town fiber art events, exhausting but worth every minute of it. Weaving and felting connects all of them thus the title. Sharing my passions with enthusiastic students, networking and reconnecting with other fiber artists, and of course always learning connect them all as well.
First was a wearable art fashion show at the Five Points Museum in Cleveland, TN
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Second, a weekend weaving class at John C. Campbell Folk School


Third, Fiber Forum at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg teaching the combination weaving/felting class.


Fourth, Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival


They are all my favorites, each venue unique and all connected by a love of fiber arts.

 

 

April 10, 2019 / weavingschool

Rebecca’s Research

Rebecca'sResearch copyMy eldest daughter collected 6000 bottles of bugs for PHD research in the 1990s.  She is no doubt an expert in her field, but she never got back to doing more research on this set of bugs and they’ve been stored ever since. I’ve been contemplating projects for them for several years. Just the vast quantity of the tiny jars begs for an instillation piece. When the call for the Arts in the Airport exhibit for the Knoxville, TN airport came up, the theme was University of Tennessee. Research is such an important part of any university that it seemed appropriate to use a few of the 6000 in an entry. I’m happy to say, it was accepted.

Here is my artist statement:
For “Rebecca’s Research” I have lovingly encased one one-hundredth of my daughter’s PhD research collection in a felted mountain landscape reminiscent of where she does her research.  She is a research scientist and like all women in science her story is all too typical, so I was taken aback but not surprised when I told her about this project that she asked if I’d included the bottles with her sweat, blood, and tears in it.

 

March 31, 2019 / weavingschool

Family Magic

 

Folks, both teachers and students, frequently refer to John C. Campbell Folk School as “magical.” Despite the long hours of preparation beforehand and studio hours during the workshop, I’ve always thought the same. I even looked forward to this weekend’s class as a vacation. The weekend met that goal and even had a bonus I hadn’t expected. Because the Folk School allows small class sizes, I was able to work with my two students on a one on one basis; very helpful when learning some of the more labor-intensive complicated crafts. It reminded of the times growing up when our grandmother would come for summer visits and teach us girls to knit and crochet. I think now I can add “like family” to my descriptions of the Folk School as magical.IMG_9769S