Weaving Southwest

2012 in the rearview...

2012 was not a bad year. It had some phenomenal highlights as well as some really deep struggles (okay, I haven't written about the really deep struggles, just the funnier ones). Here are some of both. The links are to earlier blog posts about these events.

I got married. This was the BIG one. Even when committed to a small ceremony, getting married consumes a great deal of a year. Couple that with the need to drive 9000 miles to have the ceremony in a state where our union is celebrated (and legal), and you have a wonderful summer of wedding. Okay, we didn't have to drive and we didn't have to go all the way to Prince Edward Island or the northern tip of Nova Scotia, but damn it was fun to do it. Iowa would have been closer, but how romantic is getting married in Iowa?
 The Wedding blog post.

My niece was born. This was another biggie. I've never had a niece before. In 2012 I got one niece from my sister and married into another one (see THIS post about Megan)! This kid is already following in her auntie's footsteps--she is lying in a tent holding onto a Macintosh computer.
The day I became an auntie post.
My little knitter post.

I did not weave... well not very much. I did finish a couple pieces including a great commission for a couple in Pheonix.
Emergence VI post.
Cherry Lake post.
Emergence VI
I did teach many workshops and greatly enjoyed my students.
Symbols of the Southwest at EVFAC post.
Michigan Leagues of Handweavers Conference post.
The City of Love post.
Teaching at the Michigan League of Handweaver's Conference in Holland, MI. These ladies were amazing.

I spent a lot of time in my dye shed dyeing yarn for myself and my students.
Dyeing red yarn post.
The Dye Shed post.

I took a workshop with Helena Hernmarck. She is an amazing woman who has woven hundreds of monumental tapestries. She was a huge inspiration.
Helena Hernmarck "In Our Nature" post.

I revisited the studio of James Koehler and helped dismantle a loom that I almost bought shortly after he died. The Cranbrook has moved on to a new studio where it will be very loved. There were a LOT of parts in that loom. There were some posts about selling James' looms and the struggle with losing a teacher.
The Shannock loom post. This one you may still be able to get your hands on.
The Cranbrook loom post. (This one sold.)
James and the Cranes post.
 There was the never-ending skunk saga.
A Skunk in the Night post.
Why Skunks are not smarter than I am post.
The Cask of Amontillado post.
And the FINAL skunk post.
We came home from our trip to Mississippi on New Year's Eve to enter a house smelling of skunk. There were no breaches in the foundation, but we did turn off the skunk fan when we left, filling the opening with insulation against the minus 20 degree weather. Turns out the fan is needed to battle the stench even when everything is frozen solid. That is some serious stink.

I took some business courses and worked hard on advancing my tapestry studio business. I had a fantastic photographer do some new portraits of me for the business. Cornelia Theimer Gardella did both my wedding photos and these portraits. She has a great eye. She is also a great tapestry weaver. You know that head shot you're still using from 20 years ago? Consider a new one.
Artist Headshots post.

I started a mailing list and published my first YouTube videos.
Go to this link to subscribe to my newsletter.
Here are the two posts with the YouTube videos:
James Koehler Interlock Join video is in this post.
A little post about making tapestry butterflies is in this post.
There were, of course, many many visits to yarn stores. I can't resist them. I think you call someone like me a "fiber freak."
Taos Wool Festival post.
String Theory and yarn bombing post.
Salida Fiber Festival post.
Vermont Yarn stores post.
Double Yarn Stores day post.
The Why I Knit post.  (Answer: To keep from killing people.)

I turned 40. I'm not sure what else to say about that.
The birthday post.
I think you'll agree (if you are a knitter) that this was an awesome birthday present!
There was the disappointment of being rejected for ATB9.
The rejection post.
Emergence V: The Center Place; 44 x 44 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry.
I found out about the closing of Weaving Southwest and the death of Rachel Brown in the same day. The closing of Weaving Southwest came with not only losing my gallery, but a struggle to get paid for my work.
The closing post.

 2012 was a good year. It was full of love, family, adventures, and yarn. But I do hope that 2013 is just a little better... at least in some ways. Best wishes to all of you.

Happy New Year from the snowy and cold southwestern United States!

Rachel Brown's legacy

Rachel Brown died January 31, 2012 in Taos. I think, as Kathy Spoering talked about in her recent blog post, that there is a little bit of Rachel in many of us. I last saw Rachel at her retrospective show at Weaving Southwest in 2009. I remember visiting Weaving Southwest shortly after I learned what contemporary tapestry weaving was probably in the late 90s. I made frequent trips to Taos to visit Rachel's gallery over the years and was introduced to my favorite four tapestry artists, the ones who made me want to work in this medium. There have been many inspirational tapestry weavers in my life since, but the first four were Rachel Brown, James KoehlerRebecca Bluestone, and Karen Benjamin. The first two are now gone.

Rachel's story is an amazing one and I only know bits and pieces of it. You can read some of it online. And recently I picked up Three Weavers by Joan Potter Loveless again. It is the story of three friends, Joan Loveless, Kristina Wilson, and Rachel Brown who transformed the face of tapestry weaving in northern New Mexico in the last half of the 20th century. The story is a good one and I encourage anyone interested in art in New Mexico or weaving in general to read it.

Rachel Brown
Crossing Over, 58 x 58 inches

Rachel Brown, Mirage

Rachel Brown, Seven Samurai

Rachel's book, The Weaving, Spinning, and Dyeing Book, first published in 1978 is still available today. It is an outstanding reference.

Rachel's gallery, Weaving Southwest, closed its brick and mortar gallery space the same week Rachel passed away. Two great traditions left us on virtually the same day.

Here are a few links about Rachel and Weaving Southwest:
Weaving Southwest's gallery website: http://www.weavingsouthwest.com/
A story about Teresa Loveless and her grandmother Rachel Brown: http://taos.org/women/profiles-artists?/item/52/Teresa-Loveless-Weaver-Gallery-Owner

Rachel's retrospective show in her old gallery space, Oct. 3, 2009

James Koehler and Rachel Brown at her retrospective show in Taos, 2009

Weaving Southwest Visit and new directions

I was able to visit Weaving Southwest one last time on Sunday, Feb 5th.

I was comfortable with Weaving Southwest as a gallery for my tapestries. Perhaps this was not good. Perhaps it is good to look for new directions and for more challenge.  I am saddened that we have lost this important contemporary tapestry gallery, but will move forward from where I am standing now.

Today my new direction included becoming an auntie.

Emergence V: The Center Place

Emergence V: The Center Place, 44 x 44 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry
photo: James Hart

This is the fifth piece in my Emergence series.
Here are links to the others (or you could just look at my website HERE to see them all):

Emergence I --the first of the series, helped along by some good solid design advice from James Koehler and woven while apprenticing with him in 2008-2009. It was in American Tapestry Biennial 8 as well as the Bauhaus show in Albuquerque in 2010. This tapestry is now at Weaving Southwest in Taos, NM

Emergence II --This piece was in the Bauhaus project (Interwoven Traditions: New Mexico and Bauhaus) show at Michaeliskirche in Erfurt, Germany. From there it went to Weaving Southwest in Taos where it was bought by a college in Colorado for their permanent collection.

Emergence III --This piece was in Fiber Celebrated 2011 at the Intermountain Weaver's Conference in Durango, CO in July 2011 and is now hanging at Weaving Southwest in Taos waiting for someone to take it home.

Emergence IV --This piece is at Weaving Southwest also.

This piece started coalescing in my mind when I was at Chaco Canyon the day James Koehler died. You can see what I wrote about that time HERE.
The feeling of expanding horizon in the desert southwest is important to me. Chaco Canyon is a place where the sky is huge and I am but a small observer of the shifting universe.
The questions about ancient people and the artifacts and unanswered stories they left behind are also endlessly intriguing to me. This piece is full of questions.

The Man Couch

I found this amusing...  I was in Weaving Southwest sometime last week and they have a couple couches set up--one in the gallery and one in the yarn store.  The front couch's coffee table has Trend magazine and various other fiber publications on it--and sometimes someone's coffee cup.  The new couch in the back struck me as being for a different set of customer...

The "men's couch" at Weaving Southwest.

The reading material supplied at the "men's couch".

Woven Stories: Weaving Traditions of Northern New Mexico

Saturday after spending time at the Taos Wool Festival, I went to see the new film by Andrea Heckman, Woven Stories: Weaving Traditions of Northern New Mexico.  This was the U.S. premier of the movie and was screened at the Taos Center for the Arts.

First I want to admit to the 100+ people in the audience that yes, it was me who shouted out, "Hey! That's my piece!" at the beginning of the movie.  I know that is probably not cool.  But I was excited to see my piece, Emergence II featured twice in the film. (I also admit that the ONE margarita I had had an hour earlier at the Adobe Bar might have influenced the outburst just a tad.)

Rebecca Mezoff, Emergence II
45 x 45 inches, hand-dyed wool tapestry
This film is full of wonderful voices.  Rachel Brown herself makes an appearance.  Her granddaughter and owner of Rachel's contemporary tapestry gallery Weaving Southwest, Teresa Loveless, gives a lot of information about Rachel's contribution to fiber art in northern NM.  Teresa is also featured dyeing yarn for the gallery's yarn store.  There is a Lisa Trujillo Chimayo weaving class filmed in the gallery with some thoughts by Lisa and the participants.  There are stories from Kristina Wilson and many other long-time tapestry and fiber artists in New Mexico including Tierra Wools, Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center, the Mora mill, some sheep breeders, and a little bit about puebloan weaving at Taos Pueblo.  My first tapestry teacher, Karen Martinez, talks about teaching tapestry at Northern NM College.

Fred Black talks about tapestry being like "frozen music" with its melodies and movement which I thought was a lovely metaphor.

Andrea also has a book called Woven Stories: Andean Textiles and Rituals.  The film can be ordered from www.stonecorralmedia.com.  The direct link to the page with the DVD is HERE.

Hannah Haworth and the roving prairie dog at Weaving Southwest

I visit Weaving Southwest fairly frequently.  I like to visit my tapestries and see which ones have gone home with someone.  Plus the people there are just so fantastically friendly!  Hannah Haworth is a fairly new addition to the staff there and she is a knitting goddess and wonderful artist.  This past weekend on one of my trips through the gallery (of which there were at least three), I spotted this little guy on the counter. Priscilla the Prairie Dog.  And she comes right out of her little prairie dog hole and roams around the gallery.

She seemed awfully interested in looking at my tapestries actually! (Admittedly I might have encouraged that a little.)

Priscilla looking at Emergence III

Priscilla checking out Emergence I and the other beautiful tapestries.

Fortunately for us, Hannah has written a pattern for Priscilla and you can get it at Weaving Southwest and on Ravelry HERE.  I definitely went home with a copy.  She is writing new patterns as we speak, so keep an eye on her!

Hannah is also the one responsible for the new window displays at Weaving Southwest.  This one is in the front window.

And this very cool tree with autumn leaves made from Weaving Southwest tapestry yarn is in the back window.

If you do nothing else, go to Hannah's website HERE and look at her amazing work.  Also look through her blog.  It is wonderful to see my New Mexico homeland through the eyes of someone from over the pond (Scotland, right Hannah?). New Mexico shimmers through her eyes.  She is a wonderful addition to Weaving Southwest and I'm so glad she is there.  Thanks Hannah.