Intermountain weavers conference

Color Gradation for Tapestry

I taught a new class at Intermountain Weaver's Conference in Durango last weekend.  The conference was July 21-24 at Fort Lewis College.  I greatly enjoyed teaching this class.  I had wonderful students and we learned a lot about structural techniques for mixing color in tapestry as well as a little bit of color theory.

Prepping an example for the class...

Dyed yarn.  We had many discussions about where to get tapestry yarn.  I dye my own because it is so difficult to find gradations to purchase commercially (and because I like dyeing). For people who don't want to dye their own yarn, finding more than a couple values in one hue is difficult!
Some student examples...    
Use of blocks to grade color.

Pick and pick on doubled warps...

We had two rigid heddle looms in the class.  I never would have advocated using this loom for tapestry, but I have to admit that the tension was significantly better than I expected it to be.

We also had a couple Archie Brennan style looms in the class which get a great tension although they can be difficult to get a shed on.  One student had modified her loom with a shedding mechanism, though she still had to use a shedding stick due to the narrow width of her top copper pipe (not this loom).

There was one table loom made by Mountain Loom Company.  I was surprised that this loom held an excellent tension which has not been my experience with table looms.  There was a Wolf Pup and the rest of the looms were Mirrix.

One student designed this great transparency exercise with two circles (this is the back--due to the Mirrix warp wrapping around, I couldn't photograph the front of this example).

We went over to see the Fiber Celebrated show and look at a couple pieces I had there.

Fort Lewis College is a great place for a fiber conference.  The vendor hall was marvelous, the IWC board members kept the whole thing running smoothly, and the cafeteria actually did make me gluten-free food.

The juried show Fiber Celebrated 2011 also opened during the conference.  You can see my blog post about that show HERE.

There was also a non-juried show at the conference and I've posted some photos of that HERE.

Lastly, I was a little surprised to see the advertising for the Swedish singles yarn that James Koehler used as it seemed to imply that the proceeds somehow had something to do with James...  In reality the vendor was just trying to sell an overstock that James left behind.

Intermountain Creations

The non-juried show at Intermountain Weavers Conference is called Intermountain Creations.  This year the instructor's show Intermountain Spirit was intermixed with the Creations show.

I thought there were many wonderful pieces in this show and I shot a few photos of some of them.  There were, of course many pieces I didn't include here, some due to impossible lighting and some because I was focusing on what struck me at the moment.

Evelyn Campbell lives near me and was a student of James Koehler's.  She is something of a hero to me perhaps just due to her her vitality, ability to engage vibrantly with the world, and the hope that I can maintain those things in my own life as I get older.

Kandinsky Slalom
Evelyn Campbell
wool tapestry
Sagrado Familia near Black Mesa
Evelyn Campbell
wool tapestry
Nancy took my Color Gradation for Tapestry class this year and had two delightful tapestries in the show.  I loved the effect of the floating bars in the dark brown parts of this tapestry as well as her use of demi-duites and pick and pick.  (Great piece to study for the class Nancy!)
Chiapas Windows II
Nancy Wohlenberg

This piece was one of my favorites.  I loved her use of a doubled warp so that she could go from 6 to 12 ends per inch in different parts of the tapestry.  She was experimenting with pearl cotton as weft here and it worked extremely well in this small-size tapestry.  She did a great job of color gradation also even using pick and pick to grade some of the background imperceptibly.
Earth and Sky Pot
Nancy Wohlenberg
Cindy also took my class (and was another student of James').  This tapestry was my favorite in this show.  The flatness of the color effects were really attractive as well as the black outlining of the sailboat.  
Cindy Dworzak
Serendipity, detail
Cindy Dworzak
There were many pieces in techniques other than tapestry in this show.  This woven shawl caught my eye.
Night Sea Scarf
Gaylene Garlitz
tencel warp, cotton weft, 16 harness weave
I enjoyed the detail of this mixed media piece.
Mycelial Matrix, detail
Rain Klepper
And I was happy that Emergence IV got to hang out in a show for a few days before heading to Weaving Southwest for the summer sale season.
Emergence IV
Rebecca Mezoff

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.

Wrap on a raised warp...

James always told me, "advancing color wraps on a raised warp"...  (Frequently followed by, "why aren't you doing that?").

I am teaching a class at Intermountain Weaver's Conference next weekend (if you're interested there is an unexpected opening or two) and in preparation for this class (Color Gradation for Tapestry) I did a sampler in the hope that my explanations about hatching and hachure would be a little clearer than mud.  Since I chose two very contrasting colors to illustrate the hachures we are going to be learning, the results of not wrapping on the correctly oriented warp thread were extremely obvious.  I just wanted to share this graphic illustration...  And yes, I do realize that you're only going to get a charge out of this if you're a tapestry weaver... and possibly not even then.

This photo is from the back of the weaving (the side facing me as I was weaving).  I weave all my tapestries from the back.  I don't want to get into why right this moment.  I just do.  Wrapping an advancing color on a raised warp yields this bumpy hachure.
But magically when you look at the other ("right") side of the tapestry, it looks like I drew those angles with a straight edge.  Cool, eh?
Yep, I'm a bit of a weaving nerd.

What came in the mail today...

What came in the mail today was a new loom. Now I know that sentence makes some of you reading this cringe considering I have a healthy collection of looms already, largely thanks to my Grandpa Mezoff who gifted me all of his and my Grandma Mezoff's when they moved to Connecticut. ("Healthy" might be an understatement--there are two big floor looms and a 60 inch LeClerc tapestry loom... not counting the smaller looms my grandmother gave me and my old Rio Grande.) But current life circumstances were calling for a portable loom and my grandmother's old Macomber workshop loom just isn't technically "portable" since moving it involves considerable swearing and often bloodied knuckles. And after the workshop I took in Durango last summer at the Intermountain Weaver's Conference... and all the drooling I did over those people who just waltzed in the door and pulled their Mirrix looms out of a tote bag (as I was sucking my bloodied knuckles and struggling to keep the Macomber upright), I started considering the usefulness of a portable loom. Then there is the fact that I took a job which requires me to stay in another village one or two nights a week and a planned Christmas trip to Mississippi for two weeks--all of that added up to my own Mirrix. I got the notice that it shipped this morning. When I went to the post office, there it was... a big square box which contained my shiny new loom. Of course this has completely side tracked my work on getting a new piece on the Harrisville... which I think is going to entail some dyeing... hopefully tomorrow as the weather is beautiful again.
Speaking of dyeing, does anyone know where to get acetic acid? I have been using glacial or 56% acetic acid for my acid wool dyes, but can't get it anymore locally as the camera stores aren't selling it--the digital age and all. I really can't find any in Santa Fe or Albuquerque. Any suggestions where to look? Or have any of you used citric acid crystals and do they work as well as the acid? Thanks in advance.
The cottonwoods in the Rio Grande bosque are just gorgeous. This is my driveway.

The joy and pain of juried shows...

I entered two pieces into a juried show this spring.  Actually, I had a stack of shows I was going to enter--I think 5.  The Durango show was the only one I actually entered... largely because I'm going to the IWC conference and thought it would be most excellent if I got lucky enough to get into Fiber Celebrated a second time.  Both pieces were accepted.  Thank you to the jurying gods for that one!  I'm kind of a neophyte when it comes to juried shows and also when it comes to fancier get togethers involving the "art crowd."  Fortunately, fiber artists seem to be a little less "art crowd" people than some of the folks I've met in Santa Fe... and it is kind of fun to see my pieces hanging in different places.