The photoshoot: making a book

The photoshoot: making a book

Making a book is quite an endeavor. I went into my current book project with little knowledge about the book-making process. I had done the Untangled self-published book so I had some idea that lay-out and having something printed isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. But I’ve never created a 300+ page how-to book before. My eyes have been opened over the last year in sometimes startling ways.

So far I’ve learned these lessons (at least that I’m willing to admit to):

The saga of the tapestry postcard

The saga of the tapestry postcard

The title of my postcard is Waypoints. I’m including photographs here because I don’t think they’re going to make it into the ATA show which is quite disappointing actually… but entirely my fault.

I started this piece forever ago. With the intention of actually finishing it of course. I was planning ahead, sure I’d get it finished and mailed before the end of the summer, determined not to be the last person in the show to mail their card. Partway in I had an idea I liked better for the theme but I was lucky to get this one done, so the new design will have to wait.

I determined, mostly from photographs I took likely with this very blogpost in mind, that my original intention was to finish this piece that is on my biggest copper pipe loom before starting the postcard for the ATA exchange. I do remember looking at this piece, thinking that I didn’t much want to cut it off but neither did I want to finish it (because I still can’t, after a couple years, decide how to do that), so instead I went to the garage and…

Circumnavigating Massachusetts

Circumnavigating Massachusetts

During my New England trip, I had a weekend where I drove completely around the state of Massachusetts. I’ll call it circumnavigation though I think that only applies to boats. We were shooting photos in Harrisville, NH on Friday and I stayed in a hotel on the border of MA that night. From there I headed south of Boston for some time with Sarah Resnick who owns GIST Yarn and Claudia Chase (owner of Mirrix Looms) who made the long drive from her home in New Hampshire.

Harrisville Designs: a yarn company with heart

Harrisville Designs: a yarn company with heart

One of the days of the photoshoot for my upcoming book, the team went to Harrisville Designs in Harrisville, NH. We wanted to get some shots outside the studio that also included some of the yarn and tools that I use in my work and teaching. Since Harrisville is only about two hours from North Adams, MA, it was a feasible day trip. Nick Colony and Sasha DuVerlie were fantastic hosts and we were able to take photographs in many areas of the Harrisville campus including the store, classroom, workshop, and mill. I am sure some of the marvelous photos Mars, the Storey photographer, took will end up in the book.

Tapestry retreat: Vermont 2019

Tapestry retreat: Vermont 2019

My Vermont retreat is always a time full of exploration, good food, and the sense of camaraderie that comes with people staying in the same big house for 5 days. This year was no exception and I enjoyed the five days with another exceptional group of people immensely.

The retreat was about color use in tapestry weaving. This is a huge topic so of course we only scratched at it a bit in the course of 5 days. But many great questions were asked and we played with many potential answers.

I like to start these color retreats by having people look at value. It is one of the most important concepts in design and I find that people disregard it so easily.

Some practice is required

Some practice is required

If you’re in my online classes, you might by now be used to me saying that tapestry weaving takes practice. As adults, I actually think this fact can be a little hard for us to wrap our minds around. Many of us trained for a long time when we were much younger to become good at whatever we spend much of our days doing. We forget that back then, we practiced.

When learning tapestry weaving, we have to understand with our heads how the structures work and we have to teach our hands to manage the physical materials we’re working with.

In college, I trained to be a piano teacher. I knew I was never going to play in Carnegie Hall, nor did I have any desire to be a performer. I loved my pedagogy classes and ended up writing a piano method for preschoolers as a senior honors thesis. In the process of testing that book, I taught a little group of 3 and 4-year-olds to play the piano from my method. I was astounded at how fast these little tykes could gain the physical knowledge of pressing particular keys. They were not, however, so quick at understanding how reading music worked.