Monday, October 4, 2010

Tapestry Enchantment

In 2006 I attended the ATA Tapestry Workshop/Retreat after Convergence in Grand Rapids. I was in Jane Kidd’s class; she is a fantastic artist and teacher and was a big inspiration. After 27 years of weaving tapestries, I am not looking for a lot of technical help, but can always use wisdom and guidance. It was also a blast to hang out on a college campus with a bunch of other tapestry weavers.StJohnspondareaSo when ATA announced the 2010 program, there was no hesitation. I have never visited New Mexico before, and as you can tell from my previous posts, I was not disappointed one bit. In fact, I have promised to go back again, hopefully many times.

At the end of Convergence we hurried to St John’s College in Santa Fe to register and unload our luggage. The reason for the rush was  the opening reception for “Enchanted Pathways,” the biennial non-juried small format tapestry exhibit, that evening.

SF-CanyonGalleryThis exhibit was at the William and Joseph Gallery on prestigious Canyon Rd. What a road! Gallery after gallery after gallery!

As befits a small tapestry exhibit, the room it was in was also quite small, and full of visitors during the opening reception. We had to (or GOT to!) walk through the other rooms of the gallery and admire some amazing artworks. This exhibit continues to grow; there were 179 tapestries by artists in 12 countries, and 28 US states. The maximum size is 10 x 10 inches. 

There is a catalog for Enchanted Pathways, which can be purchased from ATA (American Tapestry Alliance), the sponsoring organization. As with all ATA projects, the work was done by dedicated volunteers. Letty Roller and her team did a fabulous job photographing the pieces and hanging the show.

SF-Jane-SauerI had enough time to make a quick visit to the Jane Sauer Gallery just up the road. WOW! I have never seen a gallery that included so many interesting artists in so many different media. Glass (I adore glass), paintings, sculpture, fiber, mixed media. I wish I’d had more time. The website says “At the forefront of innovation and excellence in a variety of media.” Yeah, definitely.

Back to St Johns, I loved my room. It was very plain, but very functional. White walls and floor, sturdy wooden furniture. Large desk and book case, adequate closet, bureau and bed. My window looked out onto trees and a distant view of the mountains.  StJohnsroom

We had perfect weather, at least if you’re like me and appreciate a good monsoon, which arrived at lunch time one day, and knocked out the power for a few hours. OK, weaving with no lights was a little challenging.

I have always been fascinated with St John’s College, with one campus in Annapolis, MD and the other one in Santa Fe. According to their website StJohnmonsoon3

“The all-required course of study is based on the reading, study, and discussion of the most important books of the Western tradition. There are no majors and no departments; all students follow the same program.

Students study from the classics of literature, philosophy, theology, psychology, political science, economics, history, mathematics, laboratory sciences, and music. No textbooks are used. The books are read in roughly chronological order, beginning with ancient Greece and continuing to modern times.”StJohnscampus

So nice to know there are still students interested in getting this kind of education, but of course, we were there for something else entirely.   

I took James Koehler’s workshop “Layers of Meaning.”  The other workshop was Lynne Curran’s “Hand and Heart.”  I wrote an article about James’s workshop for the ATA newsletter, Tapestry Topics. It should be coming out soon so you’ll have to read about it there. Koehlerloomcranbrook

I can tell you that I came home with a folder full of notes and handouts, and a head full of inspiration and ideas.

Although I was not in Lynne’s class, I enjoyed her slide lecture, and many nice chats with her, and with my fellow students . Koehlerstudio

A high point of the retreat was a field trip to James’s studio. 

We carpooled over there and admired his looms, yarns, workspace, tapestries, art collection and garden.

Koehleryarns2The only thing I regret was not having time for more explorations of Santa Fe, but that was my own fault! I’ll be back! 


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