Mary Cost

Mary Cost and Architectural Abstractions

I was able to swing by Mary Cost's new show at Downtown Subscription in Santa Fe, NM on the first day of its run, Tuesday the 5th.
I was sitting at a table, drinking an Izze soda (I had already had a chai tea latte that day at another coffee shop and couldn't go for a second round), and was delighted to watch a woman enthralled by the tapestries. She was holding her coffee (and frankly I was afraid she was going to spill it all over her shoes as she wasn't paying any attention to it), stumbling along between the tables and people looking up at the tapestries. People do find tapestry fascinating if we can just show it to them!
Morning, 55 x 33 inchesNote: This tapestry was hanging high on the wall thus the photograph makes it look narrower at the top. It is actually rectangular.
Mary also used to study with James Koehler. Her work has changed and grown significantly over just the last couple years. I think these recent architectural works are stunning and I hope she considers weaving something really large one of these days. I think it would be gorgeous.
Spring at last, 48.5 x 28.75 inches; Morning, 55 x 33 inches; Inside Looking Out, 38 x 27 inches
So Mary Cost is out there in Santa Fe making sure people see her tapestries. Lets go see them! Her work is beautiful and though the walls are not well-lit, the coffee shop is bright and you can see the work (if you can get by the people--the place was packed by the time I left!). She is represented by La Mesa of Santa Fe.
Mary recently had a piece in the international juried show of the American Tapestry Alliance, American Tapestry Biennial 9. I was able to see it at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and you can see my blog post and photos about her work HERE and in the video on THIS post.

Look for this postcard on the newspaper rack right as you come in the door. It has all the info on it.

Mary Cost
Architectural Abstractions
March 5 to March 31
Downtown Subscription
376 Garcia Street
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Reception: Friday March 8, 4-6pm

ATB9 goes New Mexico

I have a few more thoughts about the work I saw at ATB9 last week at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. I thought I'd start with the two artists from my home state of New Mexico: Mary Cost of Santa Fe and Donna Loraine Contractor of Albuquerque.
Left to right: Fractured Square Series: Reds, Blacks & Golds, Square by Donna Loraine Contractor; When Fortune Flowers by Lindsey Marshall; Etude 3 by Joyce Hayes; Semblance of the Ancient Ones by Tori S. Kleinert; Skyscape by Mary Cost
Mary Cost and I worked with James Koehler in Santa Fe. I have enjoyed watching Mary's work blossom over the last few years and I really love her architectural pieces like this one.

Skyscape; 53.5 x 38.5 inches, hand-dyed wool, cotton
I love Mary's hand-dyed yarn. The subtle variation of color in the yarn makes the surface look alive and is perfect for her depiction of traditional adobe stucco walls. I also like the way she highlights the top of certain forms with a brighter color.
Skyscape detail
Donna Loraine uses a finishing technique that is possibly derived from the traditional Hispanic weaving from New Mexico. She braids the warp and leaves this fringe visible. I love the subtle stripes that she uses throughout the piece. I believe she uses tapestry yarn that is hand-dyed by Weaving Southwest.
Fractured Square Series: Reds, Blacks & Golds, Square; Donna Loraine Contractor, 37.5 x 39 inches, wool, cotton
Reds, Blacks & Golds, Square detail
Donna Loraine uses dovetails for her joins. Mary Cost uses the James Koehler interlock join that I detailed in this blog post earlier in December 2012. I found the joins in both of these pieces to be important to the overall look of the piece.

An open letter to the Symbols of the Southwest EVFAC 2012 students...

Dear Symbols of the Southwest students,
You rock. You did an awesome job this week. Thanks for being my guinea pigs on this class. I have a pile of new ideas of how to make the class better thanks to you.
Despite being stuffed into a hot room with a thousand looms, not enough space, not enough Pepsi, too much noise from the fans, and too much La Cocina, we had a great time--at least I did!
Despite the exact colors you needed not being among the stash of yarn I brought (this is always the case no matter what), you made some beautiful things.

As always there wasn't enough time to practice design and weave a piece. Tapestry is such a slow practice that finishing anything in a workshop is a challenge. Next time this class will be three weeks long (just kidding--maybe one week). And despite my best intentions, I failed at forcing you to spend more time designing than weaving. I guess we all want to weave more than anything.

A special thank you to Mary Cost for allowing us to view and discuss her work.

And finally thanks to Leslie for being my pace car from Ojo Caliente to Antonito on the way home Sunday. You probably didn't know I was behind you, but it helps me drive better when I'm working out problems in my head to have someone driving a constant pace in front of me. I had some new tapestries to design and sometimes that happens while I'm driving.

And in case you didn't get enough suggestions of what to use for design, here is a symbol the Colorado contingent saw on their way home: Mt. Blanca. She is one of the four corners of the Navajo world, White Shell Mountain, the eastern boundary of Dinetah. I particularly respect this mountain from a climber's perspective. I used to live at the base near the "town" of Blanca at 8200 feet elevation. To climb to her summit at 14,345 feet is no walk in the park and people die on her just about every year (jeeps roll, they get lost, they get caught in avalanches, they fall down the scree slopes, they try to make it to Little Bear Peak despite lacking climbing skills... things happen.)

And don't forget to find your creative space... (I just hope it isn't as hot as this one was!)

Happy Weaving,