A Good kind of retreat: Vermont 2017

I just returned home from a fabulous retreat at Good Commons in Plymouth, Vermont. We had eleven devoted tapestry weavers gather there for five days of weaving.

We met at Good Commons, a retreat center in central Vermont. This is the second year I've held a tapestry retreat at Good Commons and we greatly enjoyed the marvelous food and venue.

Our focus was tapestry design with some talk about materials use and line in tapestry.

Elizabeth Shoeman brought some of her tapestries. These birch tapestries are wonderful.

We had many good discussions about tapestry and design.

And a lot of weaving was done.

Bonni was working on how to make a reflection in water.

Bhakti Ziek came by to visit.

Bhakti brought some examples of her weaving and explained how the jacquard structure works. Bhakti is a prolific and talented multi-shaft weaver and does much of her work on TC-1 looms.

Chris and Eric concentrating...

Eric's value/gradation study below and the beginning of a new piece inspired by the colors in a glass of beer (Vermont has some good ones!).

I do seem to present this value study a lot (continued thanks to Beth Ferrier for the idea of putting the hue inside the grayscale) but it is a fun way to see whether you are able to see value. The idea is that if you look at the weaving in black and white, the center colors will be the same value as the surrounding gray and thus will disappear. The highly saturated colors are the ones that will fool you every time.

Value study by Bonni.

Lorilla starting a new piece and Elizabeth working on a sample for a tapestry she'll weave in her studio.

Audrey worked on this image of the face of a reporter. She intentionally distorted the ear as a comment on the importance of listening. She also did a great job of simplifying the photograph and breaking the image down into just a few colors.

Becki wove this whole piece during the retreat. She was inspired by her trips to Guatemala. I loved how she was able to simplify some of the patterns in the clothing and the images in her mind to create a cohesive weaving... and that she designed and wove it in three days!

Sally working on a cartoon I really liked taken from a cancelled postage stamp. She weaves from the back, I assume because she is an online student of mine and she likes it!

Talking about different kinds of tapestry yarn and where to get ones with various qualities.

Robin was working on sampling ideas from a photo of a path and grass. She found some great combinations of technique and yarn to depict various parts of the image and I am excited to see how the final piece comes out.

Elizabeth also was working on sampling for a much bigger tapestry she will weave in her own studio. Her piece is about fire and ice.

And it wasn't all work. There was an evening around the campfire while another group watched the Silvia Heyden movie. And a few of us enjoyed the Good Commons hot tub every night (no photos as promised!).

Emily can make a mean s'more.

The gnomes were spotted cavorting in a tree in the yard.

The food at Good Commons is always excellent. Tesha Buss, owner and chef, made this amazing angel food cake which was gluten free (yay for me!). It was decorated by her trusty assistant Michelle. I might have had two pieces.

Back two rows: Becki, Chris, Lorilla, Eric, Sally, Elizabeth, Diane, Audrey. Front row: Rebecca, Bonni, Robin. Not pictured: Carol.

And this is what teaching and travel does to me. I was just "closing my eyes" in a convenient chair in Toadstool Bookshop in Keene, NH that last night before we flew back home. Notice I did have enough energy to pick out some books before I took a little nap.