Thursday, July 24, 2008

Time to Go Home

It's the end of my vacation and the 16 days of hot sunny weather. So far today it's been sunny, windy, thunder in the distance, then a little rain. I don't know if I'll be able to get in one last swim at high tide (about 5.30), but I'll certainly try.

I've been playing with some watercolors and having a very good time with them; I discovered a new kind of mark I can make with the sharp edge of my square brush, after the paint has dried.

I've also been weaving my latest grid tapestry. Here's a photo from a few days ago. I'm now halfway through the 6th row, so I only have two more to go. I had hoped to finish this piece and start another, looser, wilder one before I go home.

I always come home from vacation with lots of new ideas, and new projects, and I always believe that somehow I will find time for all of them. In the back of my head, I know that as soon as I get home, LIFE will grab me, and I will be spending way too much time doing things I don't enjoy, and that some of my new projects will fall by the wayside.

The challenge is to arrange my everyday life to make room for the things I really care about.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vacation Time

Here I am, on vacation, a stone’s throw from Cape Cod Bay. I spend most of my time sitting and reading in my rocking chair on the porch, paddling my kayak, swimming, and riding my bike to the general store for my newspaper and some “Penny Candy,“ (which costs a LOT more than a penny now).

Occasionally I go to the local library to check my email.

Everything is planned around the tide here, because at low tide there is no water, and you can’t swim or kayak, unless you want to drag your kayak a mile or so. It’s fun to walk out to the “Outer Bar,” collect hermit crabs, or dig clams, but I’m always waiting for that late afternoon high tide when the water will come in warm over the sand bars that have baked in the sun all day. Even the 5 year olds around here know what‘s up with the tide.

When you first arrive you ask the first person you see “Is there water?” or “What time’s High Tide?”

My family made a pledge back in 1970, that we would never have a television at the cottage. So we read, play cards and board games, do jigsaw puzzles and I always bring along a few looms and art supplies to play with. This year, since I’ve been deprived of weaving for the past few months, I actually started weaving as soon as I got here.

So far I’ve been using my Friendly Loom. This is the simplest loom, from Harrisville Designs, just a frame with pegs, no tension or shedding devices, but its most endearing quality is that it has LEGS. I find it much more comfortable than weaving on a frame loom that sits in my lap. The height of the legs is adjustable and they come off easily, so it fits in my car with no problem. I don’t use the pegs, because if you do that with the tension as tight as I like it, then the top and bottom beams start to tilt inwards, and I fear they will snap.

At the moment I have the warp wrapped around, and I have already woven 2 small (8x8inch) tapestries on the front and have started another one on the back.

These are what I call Studies, Exercises, Sketches or Doodles. OK, I don’t really know what to call them, but they are different from my usual tapestries. It's like playing scales on the piano, or doing warm-ups before a soccer game.

I don’t use a cartoon, I just make them up as I go along, although the newest one comes from a drawing I made while I was on the phone with the Dell Tech Support guy.

There were long periods while we sat at our phones, halfway around the world from each other, and waited to see if the latest fix was going to work. I was bored. I considered trying to chat with him about the weather in India, but I don’t know what the etiquette is; are we supposed to pretend that we don’t know they are in India? I was too depressed to be social so I doodled.

The idea is that I’m only using white, black and gray, but of course, the black is really dark red and brown, and the gray has some other colors mixed in too. Although the colors are limited, there are lots of patterns, spots, stripes etc, and I will certainly make changes as weave it. In fact, I already have.

Yes of course I think of Paul Klee. Actually, I wonder if I unconsciously stole this whole design from Annie Albers

It looks very familiar……

I started the first red grid piece when I was demonstrating tapestry for National Spinning and Weaving Week at the American Textile History Museum , and I needed something easy for people to understand, and easy to weave amid distractions.

Convergence 2008

This blog entry WAS to be about the exciting Tapestry events at Convergence 2008 in Tampa, but last week, the day after I loaded all my Tampa photos onto my laptop computer and deleted them from my camera, tragedy struck. Apparently my brand new hard drive had “gone bad,” along with all the files and programs I had loaded onto it…….you can see some photos at Works in Progress, July 5.

So here’s my brief, picture-less description:

I was not registered for the conference, because there were more than enough tapestry activities to keep me busy. I got to gallery sit for an entire afternoon at the American Tapestry Biennial 7, which looked great in the Scarfone-Hartley Gallery at the University of Tampa. While sitting, I visited with various tapestry weavers who came by, including many of the ATB7 artists who traveled from afar.

On Friday night, during the Gallery Crawl, we held a reception at ATB7 and introduced the artists in attendance. I also enjoyed Woven Gems, Small Expressions, and the various Convergence exhibits.

ATA programs included the Waterfront Gathering, a No-Host Dinner in a glass room overlooking the harbor, and on Saturday, “Reinventing Landscape: Two Perspectives,” with slide lectures by Mary Zicafoose and Joan Baxter, and a Digi-Slam at the end. Very inspiring, and lots of great opportunities to meet new friends, and visit with old ones.

After Convergence, many people moved on to Eckerd College for ATA’s 3 day Educational Retreat, “Channeling Your Muse,” with Mary Zicafoose and Joan Baxter.

Shopping in the vendors hall was a blast. I didn’t buy much, but had fun visiting all the booths and trying out some looms. I did treat myself to some very very thin mohair and silk blend yarn (thread is more apt) from HABU so that I can weave a very very thin black or gray line that will be slightly fuzzy. YUM!

There were other tapestry exhibits that looked great, but I didn’t have time (or a car) to drive to St. Petersburg or Sarasota. The next Convergence will be 2010, so start making your plans now!