Tuesday, August 30, 2011

P.S. to Lisa Redux

Here's a look at Lisa's tapestry, as promised.

Lisa wrote:
"The diptych represents the mesas of the southwest on the bottom, and the Pedernal mountain in New Mexico. This is the mountain that Georgia O'Keeffe said God told her if she painted it enough times that it would be her. It is here that her ashes were spread after she died."

Pretty cool.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lisa Hardaway Redux

Lisa Hardaway from Texas was here for another week of rug weaving. She brought some odds and ends of her handspun, hand-dyed stash with her in June and had built a carpet warp that she planned to weave when she returned to us in August.

As it is for most of us, getting into the swing of carpet weaving requires learning a few new skills, among them assessing the correct sett for the gauge yarn to be used, so that the density of the carpet is not too open, which was something we tweaked a bit with Lisa's beautiful handspun yarn. The next thing to get used to is the use of the sword to get a clear shed for every shot of weft...something that takes a bit of practice to develop an easy rhythm that packs in well.

But once she got all of this sorted out, she turned all her wonderful yarn into an earthy (and VERY LONG!) and colorful rug in no time at all. These photograph are Lisa doing her mending after it came off the loom. One of the best things about this piece is the feel of it...very rustic and beautiful in its handmade-ness. It seemed like something made in another time. Great work, Lisa!

Next, she turned her attention to a tapestry weaving sample, and as she worked on it while I had a day off, I wasn't around to take photographs, so I'll try and fit those in, perhaps in another post tucked in somewhere along the way. But I heard from Kate that it was a gorgeous piece of work.

Lisa and her husband, Paul, are freelance photographers living in southeastern Texas. They work together as architectural photographers, Paul teaches at Rice, and Lisa most recently has been working on a book about Georgia O'Keefe.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Elderberries, etc.

Norman collecting elderberries

dairy cows pastured at the top of the hill

spider web cups in the early morning

a gorgeous wool-silk throw in the scale

I'll tell you more about Texas Lisa's rug and tapestry of early August as soon as I get a few photographs from her.

Aside from several students coming through the doors, it's been August as usual, which this year means beautiful sunny summer weather, interspersed by cooler evenings, dense ground fog lifting out of the valleys in the mornings, elderberries ready for harvesting, cows uphill grazing in the sunshine, apples falling off the trees (and we are going to have SOME apple harvest this fall - they are just everywhere!), tomatoes, melons, beans, beets, squash, and corn tumbling out of our gardens, and many jobs being finished up, among them a couple of big runs of hand-dyed green and indigo upholstery fabrics, linsey woolsey fabric, 35 yards of linen spot weave, and a beautiful wool-silk throw in M's and O's that looks as luscious as fresh honeycomb from an August beehive.

We have a couple of dye workshops coming up in the next few weeks (Fiber Fest in Brookfield and Wool/Silk with Local Plants here at the school on Labor Day Weekend), so stay tuned for all that.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Alumni News = Mary Hays Wins Awards

Mary Hays talks about her rugs 

the two pieces that went to the N.E.W.S. exhibition

what a cutie!  - Mary with her prize rugs

this is the cream-colored rug

this rug is made with 75% natural undyed and mostly handspun wool

 another rug made out of an unravelled sweater from the 1930's

Mary Hays came to visit last week and shared with us her story of submitting some of her recent work to a few local exhibitions.

She decided she wanted to experiment and see if she could copy the structure of navajo blankets in her rugs. Her warp was a standard two ply wool commonly used for rug warps. For one of the rugs her weft was mostly handspun from churro sheep fleece.

She submitted both rugs to the Vermont Weavers Guild exhibition in May. The cream-colored rug won nothing, but the mostly handspun rug won a 2nd in the rug category and also won for Best Use of Wool. The Vermont guild then took both pieces to the New England Weavers Seminar in mid-July.

N.E.W.S. is a gathering of weavers' guilds from around New England; they host five days of workshops and a large exhibition on the campus of Smith College in Northampton, MA every other year. There are many well-known weavers who teach, and many local vendors who attend, such as the American Textile History Museum, the Mayan Hands Foundation, Pro Chemical & Dye, and WEBS.

Mary's cream colored rug won the prize for Best First Time Entrant and the grey rug won the prize for Best Use of Naturally Colored Wool. She was totally thrilled and surprised!

Mary wanted me to mention that she feels it has been tremendously helpful for her to return to the Marshfield School every now and then, to show her evolving work to Kate and Norman and the group of local students here, and to get our feedback about it, because it has given her the confidence to submit her work to juried shows and exhibitions and a wider audience.

Mary is also a writer and lives and works in Corinth with her husband, Steve, and their dog, Woody. She studied with us here at the school during the fall and winter of 2009.