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September 10, 2018 / weavingschool

It’s been a year – already


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It’s been just over a year since the end of the Clothesline project. As expected, I was happy to see the end of the project and I haven’t thought about it much since. I’m still taking random pictures of clotheslines when I travel and get excited about adding them to my stash of pictures.
Watching the textiles deteriorate over time was sad if not depressing. Another thing I was expecting. It had been a sad year as I wrote in the artist statement, and moving on can be difficult.
After this year’s “Farm Camp”, a yearly camp I do with my granddaughter and her longtime friends, I watch the fairy houses they build go back to nature over the following year. Some make it most of the way until the next camp. As the kids have gotten older, they are entering high school this year, they’ve graduated to larger structural dwellings. This year I gave them a couple of mats I’d found while cleaning the storage space getting ready for camp. They proved to be the perfect flowing for the structure. I debated rolling them for next time or some gigantic felt project yet to be determined, but so far in keeping with the clearing clutter I’ve left them to weather.
I did a more cheerful project for this year’s Rangsit exhibit – what it takes to make 100 of something, playing with the idea of making multiples of crafts/art for sale. I’ve never met a professional artist who didn’t opine on wanting to make their own art.
So thanks for reading my ramblings, which is just what this is. Perhaps there is some lesson to be learned from all this, I’ll check back next year and see.

July 17, 2018 / weavingschool

Need a housewife?

Everyone needs a housewife. You know, that person who does the chores, cooks the meals, does the wash.  In the18th and 19th century both men and women carried portable sewing kits called a “housewife.” So here is my version. It won’t vacuum my rugs, but making it was a fun way to combine several skills. The wonderful texture of the case comes from the “weaving for felting” process that I’m working on new samples for a class I’ll be teaching at Southeast Fiber Forum April 4 – 7. Yes, that’s a long time from now, but there are so many variations on this process, I could easily sample from now till the conference. On the inside, I used scraps from other nuno felting projects, a finger braiding technique my grandmother taught me, and squares I wove on the Weave-It loom I’ve had for sixty years. Blanket stitch runs around the boarder. The tie was a quick knit on my knitting machine. I even get to show off those new scissors I got in Uzbekistan, a button from Mexico, a favorite wooden needle holder. Try your own from your favorite leftovers from other projects. You’ll end up with a convenient sewing kit with your own personal story.


May 16, 2018 / weavingschool

Life’s Bundles

On Saturday, I presented my Electronic Textile talk as part of the Current Passion monthly meeting at South East Fiber Arts Alliance in Atlanta, Ga. Part of the keynote presentation talks about the Bundles project I did in conjunction with the Clothesline show. These ladies participated by choosing a bundle and writing words about what the bundle reminded them of. They got to keep the bundle, and I kept their responses.



May 2, 2018 / weavingschool

Eye Candy

Eye candy pretty much sums up the month of April for me.
First a fiber arts tour of Uzbekistan with all their bold warp ikats, labor intensive embroidery, delicious breads among many others.
Then making beads and bags at the Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival.
Fashion shows ruled.

Margilan, Uzbekistan
Yodgorlik Silk Factory, Youth Fashion Show
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Smoky Mountain Fiber Arts Festival

Townsend, TN

January 22, 2018 / weavingschool

Making Multiples

I spent this morning setting up for the opening of my exhibit at Rangsit University in Bangkok, Thailand. Here is the opening statement. Pictures of the exhibit and workshop for the fashion design department will follow as they happen.


I’m often asked if I sell my work. Usually I reply that selling requires making multiples of similar items, a task I don’t care to take on. But developing a new class or learning a new skill takes time, patience, and practice.

I set out to make 100 wet felted flowers while contemplating production work and how one becomes an expert. During the three and a half days it took to make the flowers, I concentrated on the process and the idea of variations on a theme. In the end, one hundred seemed just the starting place in a journey toward becoming an expert on the simple task of making felt flowers.

In researching the idea of multiples for this year’s show, I came across a large number of knitted strands that I made randomly over time. Little did I realize how many I had accumulated. In a play on the never-ending discussion about what makes art, I included fifty of the strands elevated from an accumulation of “stuff” to be viewed as “art”.

The accumulated 4745 daily weavings I’ve made since 2005 are in great contrast to the other multiples. Each was made methodically one at a time over many years with the only intent being to make something everyday.

I chose to display these projects together; 100 flowers pinned to a board like specimens in a museum, 50 knitted lengths of yarn I found in my stash of experiments, and two years of daily weavings bound as a book, to ask the viewer to think about the path they choose to become an expert.

January 5, 2018 / weavingschool

Busy November

1BoxClassRecently I took a class at the John C. Campbell Folk School on medieval box making. It wasn’t easy to put it mildly. The boxes had an inner and outer box that had to fit precisely. Then the outside was covered with leather. As with any new class, it opened up a whole new thought process.
I’ve been contemplating the amount of work it takes to become an expert. My daughter stored her PHD thesis project at our house. It consists of 6000, yes 6000 is correct, bottles of bugs but after 20 years she’s moved onto other things. I’ve been wanting to make them into an art project. It raises more questions than answers. As a starting place, I made a box to hold ten of them. At first glance they look like perfume or spice bottles. But take one out and the bugs are revealed.  It’s a fun idea but hardly makes a dent in the number of bottles or ideas.

1TabletWeavingThe week after Thanksgiving was a bonus return to the Folk School when I was the assistant instructor to Angela Schneider in her card weaving class. It was on my “make one of everything” list so I felt confident. I understand handling yarns without tangling, know knot tying, tensioning, and a few other weavers tricks, but Angela’s depth of knowledge of the process was exemplary and now I’m itching to get my hands on some cards.

1KarenBillsA third opportunity came on the weekend when I helped a friend with her needle felting class at the Appalachian Arts Crafts Center in Norris, TN. The students had so much fun creating owls that I couldn’t help but move needle felting up on the list.


June 23, 2017 / weavingschool

Rainy Week at Little/Middle

It has rained all week at Little Middle Folk School at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. But my brilliant and talented weaving students have easily drowned out the sound of the rain with the regular sounds of the loom clacking and beating weft into place. The colors they choose outshine even the sunniest of days.