The second Colorado retreat went well. It was different from the first (details here) but also a great deal of fun with lots of adventuring and creativity. It is always fascinating to me to observe how a different mix of people changes the dynamic of a particular workshop. I've taught a lot of workshops in the last six years and every one is different. Even when the material I am teaching is very similar, the outcomes can be wildly different.
I wove a pair of tapestries several years ago now which I liked a great deal. They were inspired by a moment hiking in the Austrian Alps with some good friends (how often do you get to say "hiking in the Austrian alps"?)...
I wove these two pieces titled after the Japanese haiku by Mizuta Masahide (1657-1723):
Barn's burnt down--
I can see the moon.
We had an amazing time in the July retreat at CSU Mountain Campus. What a group! We laughed, learned from each other, shared ideas, hiked some trails, watched the hummingbirds, looked for moose (no luck), searched out flowers, watched the clouds, and saw the brilliant stars.
Here is a bit of a photo essay from the week.
A few weeks ago I did a Facebook Live post about Creativity. Since many of you don't use Facebook, I wanted to put that video here. I'd love to hear what you think about some of the things I said. I was pretty honest about my own practice and am curious whether anyone has similar experiences or feelings about the act of designing for tapestry specifically or in other art or craft mediums.
In November of 2016 I was the artist in residence at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona for a month. For that month, nothing was expected of me except that I give two public programs at the vistor's center and that I go about the business of making art. I didn't have to produce anything during the month and I had pretty much full access to the park as long as I asked permission. I was given a casita right in the park to stay in--the only person staying behind the gates after dark. And I was able to experience the wonder of the painted desert alone at sunrise and sunset.
I wanted to do a sort of tapestry diary while I was there. I thought I would try to weave a 2 x 2 inch tapestry every day though at the beginning I wasn't sure I would stick with it as it took about 3 hours a night to do the weaving. But a few days in, I loved the process and I ended up weaving 27 tapestries, one for each day I was in the park.
I found that the process of doing that project in that place was very helpful to my creativity.
I just received my catalog for the American Tapestry Alliance small format juried show Small Tapestry International 5: Crossroads. What a lovely show. I am tempted to take a road trip when it is near Dallas.
This post includes some images from the catalog and a statement from the juror. She challenges us to think about tapestry's place in the world and directions we could take this art form. Do you agree with her?
I get questions fairly often from people who know I backpack with a loom and want to know what I take. What I pack does vary depending on whether I am going backpacking or car camping or traveling to teach somewhere.
As a lightweight backpacker, my total pack weight before food and water is between 13 and 18 pounds. The lighter the better as food and water can add another ten pounds to the total. Hiking becomes miserable with more weight than that. So any craft that I bring into the backcountry has to be both small and light.