There is something very interesting about spending time at the ocean. Not that I was at the ocean last week. I wasn't. But I was in Los Angeles and San Diego teaching tapestry. I only had time for a few brief glimpses of the Pacific, but knowing it was right over there was somehow very interesting... being at the edge of the continent and all.
My second workshop was in Vista, CA at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum. I'm not sure what I expected of the place, but it certainly wasn't what I found. I was so confused when I pulled into the property that I just pulled over in disbelief. There were big hunks of metal all over the place. Many buildings with more hunks of metal (engines, trains, tractors, trucks...) peeking out of them. But it just didn't look like a place I would find any weavers.
A nice guild member rescued me and I followed her car to the back of the property where there was a huge barn with this sign:
This definitely looked like the right place. The barn was amazing. Sure, the wind was fierce and even chilly, but the contents of the place made everything else irrelevant. They have so many looms spanning the last couple hundred years. Almost all are in working order.
I was fascinated by this jacquard loom.
This particular loom did not appear to be operational. It was built in the 1920's with the jacquard mechanism added in the 1960's. Here is a detail of the cards.
The guild that works in the Weaver's Barn is the Palomar Handweaver's Guild. The workshop I was teaching those three days was Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry. There were some great things that came out of the workshop, especially considering most of the class had either not woven tapestry before or was fairly new at it.
Wednesday night I drove through the mountains to Palm Springs. I am a desert girl. What I love about the ocean is the horizon, not the beach. The desert provides that horizon all the time. I took the back road through the mountains. I will admit that I did this partly because I was pretty sure I could find this:
In Palm Springs I taught a one-day introduction to tapestry class called Tapestry Answers for the Desert Weavers and Spinners guild. This class has a lot of information and I find it challenging to get people excited about tapestry, let them experiment a little bit, but still give them some solid information about what tapestry is and how to get into it, all in six short hours.
Half the class came with Brittany looms. I had never seen one until the day before (that Weaver's Barn in Vista of course had a Brittany). They are beautiful looms though I found the shedding device really clunky. Beautiful, yes. But clunky to use. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that there was a way to increase the tension on the warp with a set of fairly well hidden screws near the top. Allen wrench required.
Then there was this "loom". The price couldn't be beat! And in my opinion, this $1.79 picture frame worked better than the rigid heddle looms. (Don't yell at me if you're a rigid heddle weaver. They're amazing little looms, they just aren't great for tapestry and this class didn't change my mind about that!)
It turned out to be a pretty good week. I doubt I'll ever schedule three workshops in a row without any rest days again, but I was happy to see a lot of southern California.
From Palm Springs, I headed to the desert... a place I do love a great deal, despite this: