On our last full day in Aubusson we visited two different weaving studios, a conservation studio, and Roger Thierry’s dye studio. This post contains the tenth video blog episode.
In the continuing video blogs of my trip to France, this is episode 9.
The second day we were in Aubusson was a national holiday. But the museums were open so we were able to visit the Cité International Museum of Tapestry. This museum seems to go by several different names. But while in Aubusson I mostly heard it and it’s administration of tapestry commissions in the area referred to as “the Cité.”
In the video blog below I talk about being recognized on a back street from my Instagram feed, seeing some wonderful tapestries including the Tolkien tapestries at the Cité International Museum of Tapestries, and there are some video clips of other favorite tapestry experiences. Enjoy it!
Every year when I come to CSU Mountain Campus to teach tapestry retreats, I spend a fair amount of time walking and looking for moose. I would be walking anyway as that is just who I am (solvitur ambulando). But always I’m looking for those huge gangly creatures who hide in the willows by the river so well. I count it a good retreat if I see at least one moose.
From my arrival this year I started seeing them. In fact, I couldn’t miss them as I got moose-blocked immediately. (What they call it here when the moose decides to stay in the path where you’re walking and frankly, he gets to decide since he outweighs me by so much.) Here is my moose count for this retreat. These are actually sightings. Some of them I can identify as being different moose, but most certainly some of them are the same moose visiting different spots around the campus.
One of my favorite walks at CSU Mountain Campus in Pingree Park is the long valley loop. It goes by the Far Away cabin and of course I always thought it would be great to live there for awhile. This year when we arrived for the Foundations Tapestry Retreat, the staff told us that the cabin had burned down the week before.
I have continued to do a tapestry diary of sorts to remember events and places. Last year I had noted my wish to weave that cabin in my tapestry diary journal but I never got around to it. And this year it was gone.
I just got home from an amazing week teaching my Foundations Tapestry Retreat at CSU Mountain Campus. This is the fourth retreat I’ve taught at this location and I have loved every single one. I didn’t want to leave yesterday but I’ll be back there next year for two retreats in June.
Three Lindas and two Karens
This group of twelve women included three Linda/Lyndas and two Karens. I will admit that it made learning the names easier for me, but in general everyone seemed to become a cohesive group quite quickly. It is my belief that the location of a retreat self-selects certain traits in people. Tapestry weavers already tend to be people who have a certain level of fortitude and even a little stubbornness and from that pool of potential retreat participants, the high-mountain setting, the difficulty in getting there, and the promise of time outdoors further self-selects people who are pretty darn easy going. These women* were a group that got to know each other fairly quickly, shared ideas and experiments, and made sure everyone was included in all the discoveries happening. I’m so grateful for their good humor, laughter, and can-do attitudes!
The workshop focused on beginning tapestry techniques. We started with warping tips, yarn choices, and how to create a structurally sound textile. From there I presented the basic tapestry techniques and allowed each weaver to choose where they would start their explorations. Everyone made different choices, but in the end, every single person had a good grasp on the basics and had started incorporating their own design ideas into their weaving.
Travel weaving is one of my favorite activities. It does turn out that when you’re on a tour and you have a lot to see, the only time to weave is on the bus. We had a couple days with long bus rides and in that time I managed to finish one small tapestry diary piece.
The French countryside in late May was bursting with flowers. There were huge fields of red poppies along the roads, some with purple flowers mixed in. It is pretty hard to take a good photo from a moving bus, but one can certainly weave a tapestry of them which is exactly what I did. Of course one never quite has the colors one wants in such a situation, but it was a fun weaving anyway.