Need a dye class?

I have had many students ask me lately when I am teaching in 2013. I have some classes in the works, not to mention the online class I'll be launching this year. It looks like I will be teaching in New Hampshire this summer for sure and probably somewhere in Colorado. I am still searching for a New Mexico venue if anyone has any requests...  Those dates will all get worked out in good time.

In the meantime, for those of you who have asked me about whether I teach dyeing, consider a class coming up very soon at Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center. Cornelia Theimer Gardella weaves wonderful tapestries and is also a master dyer. She is teaching a dye class March 1-3 based on Itten's color star and incorporating a lot of color theory. I really recommend her if you want to start dyeing your own tapestry yarn. Sign up quickly! She doesn't take many students and March 1 is right around the corner. Look at this link on the EVFAC site with a description of the class and a great bio of Conni. And even if you don't want to take the class, click on the link because the tapestry pictured there is stunning.

Cornelia Theimer Gardella, Tomorrow II, 32 x 51 inches; hand-dyed wool tapestry
Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center: Phone number is (505) 747-3577

Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center: keeping the doors open...

Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center (EVFAC) is an important place.  In this northern New Mexico valley, it represents a place where people can go to learn a craft, buy supplies, or teach.  They have been there for me in warp emergencies, knitting needle situations, a spinning wheel crisis, and yarn-supply predicaments.  They have offered up their reference library and evening lecture series, free spinning Saturdays and knitting get-togethers... And in this recession they are struggling to keep the doors open.  It is an organization that has served this community for many years and has managed to expand significantly in the last decade.

EVFAC has a large collection of looms and weaving equipment they use for teaching classes, or you can rent them to do your own project.  They have a wide variety of teachers including people like Jason Collingwood, Jennifer Moore, Karen Martinez, Beatrice Maestas Sandoval, Irene Smith, Robin Reider, James Koehler, Connie Enzmann-Forneris, Diane Bowman, Lisa Trujillo, Ted Hallman, and many many more.  They also have a dye studio and offer other kinds of fiber and artistic classes (see their class schedule on their website).  They support a kids fiber camp in the summer and are teaming up with Northern New Mexico College to offer traditional Rio Grande weaving classes this fall.

They have a great library for members.

And offer frequent lectures and informational events.
Cornelia Theimer Gardella talking about one of her tapestries at EVFAC, April 2011: L to R--Janet Austin, Pamela Topham, Terry Olson, Conni Gardella, Karen Chiu, Joyce Hayes
They showcase work of their members including this wall which was hung for a contemporary tapestry tour of the area in April 2011.
Contemporary tapestry work of Cindy Dworzak and Evelyn Campbell
I didn't really know how I could help the center survive until my partner suggested I teach a class there and donate the proceeds to EVFAC.  So now it is scheduled.  I'll be teaching Color Gradation for Tapestry September 16-18.  See the link with class description HERE.  All of the class fees will go to the center.  I'll also be showing some slide presentations including one about the Bauhaus project I completed with the late James Koehler and Cornelia Theimer Gardella in 2010.

They have shows of members work.  The current show is by Andrea Ortiz.
Traditional tapestry by Andrea Ortiz
There are quilts and clothing as well as felted pieces and baskets.

Here is the magnificent naturally dyed yarn of Liesel Orend (which you can buy!)

And they have a studio space in the back where you can rent space for your loom (or rent a loom too!) and have your own spot to work.

EVFAC has a great newsletter.  You can view it HERE.  In it you'll find all the scheduled events as well as equipment for sale and information about shows and other happenings.  And if you live in some other part of the country, consider a trip to beautiful New Mexico to take a fiber class.  Espanola is at the heart of a rich tradition of fiber art and within striking distance of both Taos and Santa Fe.

It is summer!  
Go and take a class (consider taking mine! September is beautiful in New Mexico)
or stop by with your knitting and sit on the couch and meet some new fiber friends
or go to one of Jen's spinning Saturdays and pick up some new tips from a master
order some yarn for a project or buy some they have in stock
check out their gallery or enter your own piece to show there
participate in their Ghost Ranch shows
above all, become a member.

Archival or not?

Wow.  It has been a day.  I learned some things today.  Here they are in no particular order:
1.  If you live in northern NM and do home health care, take a vacation from the Friday before to the Monday after Holy Week.  There is a reason they schedule spring break for the kids then.  I had five (that is 5!) no-shows or cancellations today.  I had 5 kids scheduled.  That is 100%... worst day ever in terms of seeing kids.  Remind me to go hiking in Utah next year between Palm Sunday and Easter.  I decided after about the 3rd cancellation that next Friday, which is Good Friday, which I had decided to work, was now a holiday.  I think that is smart.
2.  NM is windy in the spring no matter what.  The kids at the charter school were doing an easter egg hunt and a little kid just got decapitated by a blown door.
3.  Stopping in at the fiber arts center (EVFAC) is always a good way to spend a half an hour when you've just spent your morning standing outside people's houses knocking on doors that don't open.  You can look at the new yarn, chat with the ladies who work there, and maybe have a few moments to sit on the couch and breathe.  This is what I found while sitting on that couch.

From Tapestry Topics (the newsletter of the ATA), Summer 2006, "The Cycle" by Lany Eila.
"...Suddenly I realized that perhaps the medium of tapestry itself is an apt metaphor for our perilous lives.  We spend extravagant quantities of time and energy carefully planning and weaving our lives and work, tucking in the stray threads, guarding against possible dangers, making it all to last--archival.  And yet we are constructing these lives and tapestries from inherently fragile materials; in the former, with bodies and relationships, in the latter, with hair, plant fiber, and color."  She was writing about a piece she did called "The Cycle" in response to catastrophies in her life and the world.

I have spent so much energy in my life making sure the pieces fit together snugly--sewing in the ends so to speak.  And too much time guarding against possible dangers.  My work life is structured and scheduled to the minute.  It is the only way I have found to make enough money in 3 days a week to allow me to weave the rest of the week.  There are days when my meticulous planning pays off and the day goes smoothly.  Then there are days like today.  Can I learn not to make my life so archival?  Probably...  Would that include more chocolate and trips to the hot springs?  We can hope!

I have been designing work lately that seems risky and far from the tapestry I learned in my traditional northern NM teaching.  I have stalled a little at getting any of this work beyond the design table.  It seems so fragile and from some place so far inside me that I am not sure I want it to see the bright light of day.  I am afraid both of what the piece might reveal about me and the possibility that I may never be able to go back
 to what is safe and "acceptable."  Of course, in time, I will move forward.  If we don't grow we grow bored and empty.  It is the waiting for that courage to kick in that is difficult.

Fuller Lodge Show

I am a member of the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center.  I can't say enough good things about this organization.  The people who work there are amazingly helpful and the variety of classes and services for weavers and other fiber people are wonderful.  I think the fact that a place like this exists at all in a small town like Espanola is a miracle.  If you're ever in the area, go and visit. EVFAC has a couple shows a year and I think this is the first time for them to have a show at Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos.  I haven't been to Fuller Lodge yet, but I'm going tonight for the opening.  Fuller Lodge has a website where they actually post photos of the work.  Unfortunately the photos aren't fabulous, but I think the fact that they do this for their shows, which go up frequently, is quite amazing.  The website is www.artfulnm.org.  Click on the EVFAC exhibit link.  The pieces I submitted to this show are old ones for me.  I like the piece with two panels and the large green circles the best.  That piece is called Meridians and it hung at my sister's wedding at Quarai (an old ruined adobe church south of Albuquerque).  The newer pieces I have I am saving for some juried shows and for the Bauhaus show which may hang before the end of this calendar year.  So it will be odd to go to a show where I have work hanging that I don't really connect with that much any more, but I suppose that happens for most artists at some point.  I feel like I have moved so far beyond those pieces that I'll have trouble talking about them.

Here is a photo which I am including mostly to mark my progress.  This is the piece that I'm weaving at James Koehler's studio and I realize that you can't tell what it is at all yet, but I just want to remind myself that I am making progress!  When that tape
 measure says 48 inches I'll be really happy.  :)  It says just over 14 if you can't read that.

And I went hiking last Saturday north of Taos at Cebolla Mesa.  It was hot down on the Rio Grande river.  There were pasque flowers
 out along the trail (at least I think this is what these flowers are... I'm not a botanist though and could just be really wrong).  Last night we got a couple inches of snow and the school I work at on Fridays was cancelled.  I never tire of getting snow days as an adult... reminds me of the glee of getting them as a child (oh so very infrequently in Gallup, NM).