Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Back after six months

Though I started this update in May, health and a preference for weaving over writing when energy is scarce, is my excuse.

     A New York kind of Spring
Buffalo has a vibrant weaving guild and lucky me had an invitation to ‘play’ Lustrous Linens Workshop with them in April. I believe every participant courageously tried the live weight tension on their warps and LIKED the results. One glorious perk of teaching is being a guest in a weaver’s home. Suanne lives in an historic and glorious condo. I saw her textile treasures, neighborhood redbuds in rampant bloom, Niagra Falls at its outrageous roaring best, and traveled through rural Ontario in spring-bud.

An ancient redbud in Buffalo

Rural Ontario woven brick lace

The Thousand Islands Arts Center Weaving History Conference (weekend after mother’s Day) was a special treat, first, because after a 5 hour drive, I was chauffeured across Ontario. I spun miles of Jacobs grey with my Hansen Crafts mini-Spinner, enjoyed some good conversation with Bob and Martha Reeves, and even got a nap - none of which happens when I drive alone. Thousand Islands Arts Center is a beautiful facility in historic Clayton on the St. Lawrence River, with an ambitious mission to maintain research collections of some of the best of North America’s handweavers. The 2012 Weaving History Conference brought me face to face with Nell Znamierowski, a venerable weaver who was making weaving history in the 60's when I was a beginning weaver, and with Ruth Holroyd, another weaving great, the rescuer and preserver of the Jacob Angstadt weaving records. There were other VIP weavers and researchers, all making for an exciting and rewarding first-time attendance. My little programs on Double-harness weaving without the drawloom and Primitive inspired techniques for modern looms were well-attended with many good questions.

Bead-leno specialist Martha Reeves presented the Thousand Islands Arts Center collection of fine Tarascan Lace, a patterned type of leno.

Gardening is a must when the weather is good and I wove some cedar branch fencing to help keep the deer and rabbits out, though I don’t expect to slow down the bear that climbed 12 steps to our deck the day after my return from Clayton.

The ‘table loom’ I use for weaving fence

The tools I use for weaving fence

A couple sections of cedar fencing is serving temporary duty in an installation, accepted into the local juried show, along with a couple other pieces. An honor to be accepted and submitting is part of a continuing campaign to get textiles viewed as artistic statements.
...But you can’t take the weaver out of the potter

Rugfight at the Old Cedar Corral

Pure Michigan Glitz - a frame-up at the Besser Museum Juried Show

 In August a guild mate and I took advantage of a Rep Weave workshop offered at Janny Simpson’s (of Connecticut) new summer teaching studio in Northern Michigan. The Weaving Barn at Lynn Lake is a beautiful setting and we had a stimulating study with Lucienne Coifman - also of Connecticut. Rep weave is a technique I relish but use seldom.

The runner I wove on the end of my workshop warp has Morag’s approval.


The Complex Weaver’s Seminars in D.C. was exciting on many levels. Leading two seminars was an honor but participating in the informal fashion show and getting to touch Lillian Whipple’s silk rep cloak was perhaps the highlight, especially as I was fresh from a coarse-cotton rep.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pilgrimage to Italy and survival of shingles

The pilgrimage to Italy in early November with our Bishop Hebda leading the group, was nine days of walking over  stones and up steps through ancient history, worshiping daily in a different historic church or basilica, touching walls touched by saints, eating (especially gelato and many varieties of bruschetta ), sharing wine with new friends, pacing the eating by the number of forks at the plate, and being amused by the tiny black cars nosed up to the curbs at night, looking like bats hanging from a cave.

Textiles were scarce in the fiber, but plentiful in the art. I saw textiles in fresco - especially marvelous is the restored ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s gift for depicting the drape of cloth, and again in stone on his Pieta where a thin veil delicately separates the Virgin’s hand from the flesh of Christ.  Then I was eye-to-toe with his 18-foot tall David (wearing only a look of determination) with a strong and beautiful body and that oversized hand holding a stone. I relished the graceful curves of the paving stones mortared with  mossy threads and the mosaic ribbons climbing a column on an Orvieto church.  I hope for a return visit to seek out more fiber (and leave the shingles attack out of it).

With good ideas from the Braids and Bands Society, I devised a way to play with yarns via the five-finger braid, using my foot as the anchor and a foam disc to keep the loops straight when tucking work away in my purse.  I pre-cut a few dozen yarns to pack along.  This kept my hands occupied and circulation going in my legs while packed into seats on bus and plane.  The braiding also entertained fellow pilgrims, and back home, fellow patients in the doctor's waiting rooms.

Adrenalin and prayer sustained me during the pilgrimage, but once home the shingles and the medications to control pain, itch, and vision loss sapped me of much of my energy, brain and optimism. I managed to weave 6 towels (on an existing warp) for the first ever “Northern Michigan Towel Exchange” arranged by our Colors from Nature workshop leaders.  It took every ounce of my concentration and determination to weave these off, but it was exactly the push I needed.  I’ll plan to show off the exchanged towels in a future post.

Here are three of the towels in bold colors of  6/1 tow linen on a 40/2 cotton warp that I wove for the exchange. The brown one has a border inspired by the wing of the little brown Pine Siskins that have taken over our feeder.  We’ve named the group ‘a quarrel of Siskins’ (akin to ‘’a murder of crows’ and an‘unkindness of ravens’).

Our guild has last year’s new members weaving towels for the exchange and two more new weavers are already on the ‘slippery slope’ of fiber-holism.

The past four months have been the hardest since that illness in my mid 20's precipitated a determination to learn to weave; the start of this 40+ year exciting textile journey.  Now I am focused on using my best yarns first because now I understand that I may not live to 120 (and so use them all).

Happy almost Spring, Kati

Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012

My long absence from updating my blog lies in a 4-month siege of shingles - in my left eye, forehead, and scalp.  I delayed seeking medical help because ‘it must be an allergy since I had the shingles vaccine years ago’....  In my effort to educate everyone who has ever had chickenpox, get to a doctor at the first notice of a painful blistered patch anywhere on the body.  Shingles rarely attacks an eye or internal organs, but those places are especially dangerous. Shingles can be controlled best if treatment begins within hours of first blisters.
Weaving updates are coming soon - honest