Fiber Celebrated

Fiber Celebration

Fiber Celebration

I had the privilege of jurying a fiber show in Fort Collins this month. The show was Fiber Celebration, a long-standing show run by the Northern Colorado Weavers Guild. This was the show's 42nd year. 

There was a gallery talk on Wednesday along with the awards presentation. This is not a large show and the award list was long. But though it was difficult to choose the awards, it speaks to the dedication of community members and businesses that they continue to donate award money, coupons, and support.

One thing I touched on in my gallery talk was that cloth comes closely on the heels of food in the heirarchy of human needs. Fiber is such a big part of our lives that I think we mostly take it for granted. I think this is at the root of the struggle fiber has had being recognized in the art world. Well, that and the association of fiber with "women’s work".

Fiber Celebrated 2011

I had two pieces in Fiber Celebrated 2011 which opened at the Intermountain Weaver's Conference at Fort Lewis College in Durango this past weekend.  The show is at the Center of Southwest Studies main gallery.  Juanita Girardin was the juror for this show.  She actually lives in the same small New Mexico town that I do.  Her comments at the opening convocation of the conference resonated with me as she spoke at length about using good craftsmanship.

Both pieces have a great deal of subtle color gradation.  Here are the two that were accepted to the show:
Emergence III; 9 x 44 inches; hand-dyed wool tapestry

(Barn burned down) Now I can see the moon; 5.75 x 16.75 inches; hand-dyed wool tapestry

And here they are as displayed at the Center for Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College:

Yep, that is what they really looked like.  They might as well have been in a closet the light was so bad.  I asked.  They said they couldn't do anything about it.  Two years ago this show was in another part of the gallery and it was very well lit.  It didn't fare so well this year, though some things looked better than others.

So I pulled my pieces off the wall to show to my class.  We were learning about color gradation and it was impossible to see the color changes where the pieces were hanging.

Despite my disappointment with the hanging of my own pieces, there were other tapestries in the show which were better lit.

Canyon Sunset
Carolyn Van Sant

left to right: Asa III by Buff Palm; Turquoise Study by Bettye Sullivan; Midnight by Alex G. Sullivan; Lights by Buff Palm
Asa III by Buff Palm, detail

Mary Cost's piece suffered from the same lack of lighting that mine did.
Grand Slam
Mary Cost

Kathy Spoering's piece was wonderful and the class spent a fair bit of time discussing her color mixing techniques as well as how the eye perceives something like the bright red under the dog's neck (which does not look bright red unless your face is right in the tapestry).  An enchanting piece for which she received the Northern Colorado Weaver's Guild award.
August or "The Dog Days of Summer"
Kathy Spoering
wool and cotton
Elizabeth Buckley's piece, Dialogues Through the Veil is beautiful and it was an important center of discussion for the tapestry class on hatching and color use techniques I was teaching at the conference.  This piece won the American Tapestry Alliance award which is definitely deserved.
Dialogues Through the Veil
Elizabeth Buckley
wool, cotton, embroidery floss, silk, cotton seine

I love the use of hatching and the shiny effect from the silk and embroidery floss as well as the implied figures throughout the piece and the leaps of imagination it inspires.
Dialogues Through the Veil, detail
Dialogues Through the Veil, detail
I felt like the show was much smaller than it was last year.  I focused on the tapestry pieces, but there were many other fantastic fiber works in this show including some amazing three-dimensional pieces.  If you get a chance to see it, definitely stop by.

Intermountain Weavers Conference

I have just returned from a great weekend at the Intermountain Weaver's Conference in Durango, CO.  First of all you have to realize that I love Durango, so pretty much no matter what went down at the conference, I would have had a good time just looking at the La Platas and browsing Maria's Bookshop (yes, I did have to apply a credit card to be released from the store).  But there was so many more great things about the weekend!  For example, Emily came with me which really was an unexpected and fantastic addition to my time there--and not just because she bought me gluten free pizza!  We stayed in the dorm--flashbacks to Kohler Hall at Lawrence University... cement block walls and gross carpet.  We shared a bathroom with the unestimable Margo who was a vendor and very happy to let me take a shower just a few moments before I dashed off to class in the morning.  Turns out she is also allergic to wool.  Doing conferences with tapestry weavers must be tough!

Fort Lewis College (site of the conference) was doing construction on the student center... Imagine the fiber art installation you could do from this crane!  I had convinced my instructor that using my grandmother's 28 inch Macomber floor loom was a good idea... as I watched the rest of my class slide their pipe and Mirrix looms into canvas bags and jaunt off down the sidewalk, I glanced wistfully at the crane and then, with a little help from a kind weavers husband in the parking lot, hefted it back into the car.  
It is still in the car in fact.  I'm hoping Cassy will lift it out for me and bring it down the non-existent sidewalk into the house where I will glance occasionally at the sampler gathering dust on the loom thinking that I should practice a few more things on it... until one day I just cut the thing off--likely the day before putting a warp on the loom for the next workshop.

  I entered the Intermountain Creations show with the piece I just finished, Emergence.  Here it is hanging in the gallery. This show turned out really well--and many kudos to the women who worked non-stop to hang the show on Thursday and Friday and then tore it down again on Sunday.  It was beautiful!  My piece won a 2nd place People's Choice award.  Thanks you all!

I also entered Fiber Celebrated 2009 which was a juried show.  Two of my pieces were in the show: Contemplative Garden and Inscription.  Here they are hanging in the Center of Southwest Studies (far left is Contemplative Garden and far right is Inscription).  
The gallery and show looked fabulous... 

The reception for this show was Friday evening.  I managed to win an award for best use of color for Contemplative Garden.  I was so excited I forgot to avail myself of the catered reception which apparently included wine! ... and grateful that due to the press of people in the gallery and the lack of any microphone or stage, no one could really see or hear me.  I'm not even sure I remembered to shake the juror's hand (Emmie Seaman).

Here I am with Contemplative Garden in the gallery.  I felt like a rock star after this reception--people kept telling me how much the liked my piece.  You know, that is kind of fun!  I promise I won't let it go to my head. 
 I am afraid I am going to have to start weaving more though!  If you can't find me, I'm in my studio buried in papers hoping a great design will come out of the mess.

The class I took was Color and Tapestry and was taught by Kathe Todd-Hooker.  Kathe did a great job with organization and with managing a class that contained just a few too many beginner tapestry weavers.

Lyn Hart was in the class--so great to finally meet you Lyn, as well as your posse (Jane and Susan).  Also great to laugh with the three of you.  I'm changing the contents of my coffee mug at evening events from now on.
Lyn won the Fiber Celebrated People's Choice award for her piece Canyon Night.  Sorry for this horrible photo Lyn, but you can undoubtedly go to her blog and find a better photo.  The award was well deserved!
Photos of the class working.  Mine is the only floor loom there.  Floor looms ARE good for tapestry!  They're just a lot harder to carry around.  The crazy among us shall remain nameless.

Fiber Celebrated 2009

I'm getting my pieces ready to ship off to the Fiber Celebrated 2009 show and thought I would just mention here that that is happening!
Show specifics are here:

I just realized there are a few little details I haven't attended to... like somehow these pieces escaped official tags... and that I don't have a box that is 50 inches long to ship Inscription.  Fortunately there is a very nice and helpful young man at UPEX in Los Alamos who swears he can help me out with that little problem, and on a Saturday no less (as my week has been nutsy beyond belief and I can't possibly get there until after my morning pancakes day after tomorrow).  And he can even take care of the specifics of paying for return UPS shipping up front.  I'm not even going to get into the reasons I have to drive to Los Alamos for some simple shipping problem.  It is sort of like the DMV thing.... but that is another story entirely.