James Koehler's death

Three years passes in a flash.

And we move on. Always moving. Sometimes in circles, sometimes not so much. Before you know it, three years are gone and I am in a very different place.

I worked like a fiend for 10 hours straight in my studio in Santa Fe today. James Koehler tried for years to get me to move to Santa Fe and it wasn't until two years after he died that I did it. I don't honestly think living in Santa Fe versus anywhere else in the wide world has much to do with success or failure, at least not in the field of tapestry, but it is as good a stopping place as any for the moment.

The blog post I wrote three years ago is linked HERE. Many of the links in that post don't work any more. His website is gone along with most other internet traces... except here and there in corners of my blog. It is good to see those photos again and remember where I came from.

If you didn't know him, that isn't surprising, though if you wove tapestry, you probably did. His tapestries were amazing and he was just hitting his stride when he died. His passing left a door open for me. I think in some way I am just grateful now.

Students have told me frequently over the years to stop talking about James in my classes... that I had to teach what I knew and not what he taught me. I finally listened. I don't mean that I don't talk about his work or the fact that he was my teacher. I still do. But I also talk about what I learned in my journey after he was gone. The place I am now is different than the place I was in when he was alive. Of course it is. So I have to teach from the new place. We disagreed on many things, but much of what he taught me in terms of tapestry technique and the need for focus are part of my every day practice. And then of course there is the color.

Thanks James for getting me started.
James Koehler studio, 2009
Update 3/7/14: Here is a video I hadn't seen until I saw it linked on Robyn Spady's blog today. This is James probably in 2007 after he won the NM Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.

The video: http://www.nmartmuseum.org/governors/awards/video.php?select=231

And Robyn's blog post about tapestry (also well worth your time!): http://spadystudios.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/these-are-a-few-of-my-favorite-things-36-tapestry/