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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
3 UZ078 copy.jpg

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.


June 9, 2017 / weavingschool

Workshop for Knox Makers

The Knox Makers meet in an unassuming building but lots of amazing things happen there. The building houses makers spaces with plenty of high and low tech supplies and a large room for meetings and workshops. If you are not familiar with what maker spaces do, be sure to check them out. I took an arduino class here recently. Last week I presented a slide show on wearable technology to the regular Tuesday night meet up, then did a follow up workshop on stitching with conductive thread.


May 22, 2017 / weavingschool

Meeting the Challenge

Los Angeles ladies are up for any challenge. In our (what is now low tech) world, adding electronics to fiber art works is a strange and new thing, but 15 ladies, members of Wearable Arts Connection (and some with joint membership in Surface Art Association) got their foot in the door of electronic textiles. We started with one of the oldest processes, wet felting, by making a nuno felted scarf. The warm California sun dried the pieces over lunch then we added an led light by stitching a circuit with conductive yarn. From scrolling the art work on their web pages it is clear that the ladies are already creating beautiful pieces. I can’t wait to see what they do next.


Loading supplies into a members house. A great location for an outdoor workshop on a beautiful sunny day.

May 21, 2017 / weavingschool

Wearable Arts Connection

Members in line for show and tell.

LaLa Land is a great place to do a workshop. So much to see and do here. The cactus in full bloom and different smells of plants than we have in East Tennessee greeted me while walking through the botanical gardens in Clairmont when I first arrived – a wonderful way to get jet lag behind me.
I’m working with the creative ladies of the Wearable Art Connection who are open to all things new. Yesterday I presented a slide show combining the newest technologies available to sewers with the ancient technologies still in use in the countries I’ve been lucky enough to visit. I shared my journey into this new world and encouraged them to get started on their own path.
Today we will get our hands wet in the felting process then stitch on some lights for an extra bit of glamour.