Mid August.

August 23, 2010

It has been another amazing month! This time I’ve been to the USA and Canada. It wasn’t long between trips, but sometimes one has to do what one has to do. It was a fantastic experience with four distinct components.

The entire trip was based around the Complex Weaver’s Seminars. These are held every two years, and are not something I would willingly miss. This year it was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It lived up to expectations: informative seminars, great networking with friends and peers, a fun fashion parade and a good time all round. I also presented two seminars: Shibori for the hand weaver and Not just real velvet. I must admit that I was delighted with the response.

I’d like to share a project that my friend Judith Krone and I did for CW. I had stayed with her on my last USA trip in Atlanta. We chose to have a day playing in her studio on my one free day. Our activity involved winding 2 warps of 2 scarves each. Both were in silk and had the same dimensions. We dyed using a repeated process of dye and discharge on these warps. Judith has been doing quite a bit of work on this process but on finished cloth. I wondered what would happen if we did it on a warp. So we dyed these warps. Then we independently we wove a warp each in our own studios without telling the other what we were doing. At CW we brought along our 2 scarves each and chose one from the others collection. This way we both have one of our own scarves and one of the others. I am delighted with my swap, both are very different. In fact I am always going to wear them as a pair. They work so well together and make for a such a lovely story.

Convergence followed on. This is the largest conference for the hand weaver. Apart from having seminars and workshops, other activities include both juried and non juried exhibits, a fashion parade, talks, and traders. There are lots of them selling anything from yarn, looms, clothing, ethnic fabrics and garments, books and some dyes. In other words they were selling anything that a hand weaver could be interested in. I did have a lovely day shopping and checking out the exhibits. This year I did not get to the fashion parade. To get there from Complex Weavers was too rushed and this year I did decide to conserve some $’s there. It was a real treat though when I got to the fashion exhibit to see that my friend from Australia had won an honourable mention. Well done Helen Barnard. The other exhibit I was excited to see was the one I got juried into. It was a treat to see my work hanging with the others. I must admit that one did have to crane one’s neck to see them way up there, suspended from the next floor.

From there I had an amazing week travelling to Provo, near Salt Lake City, Utah. Judie and Dalbert Eatough showed me their country. On the way we got to see a lot of textiles, some in studios and others in markets. This area is so very rich in textiles, both contemporary and traditional native. One of the main things that I was keen to do was to research more into the Pueblo culture. I did get to see a heritage village, some native crafts mainly pottery, museums, and historic sites of petroglyphs (carved images into rock)and petrographs (images coloured on top of rock). It was interesting to see a negative hand shape which was outlined by spraying mud over the person’s hand, in much the same way that the Australian aborigines have done. Combined in this segment were some amazing walks though canyon country. It is certainly spectacular scenery.

The Michigan League of Handweaver’s workshops was the next stop. While I had only a very small group, they produced a very large amount of weaving in the 3 days. The workshop was on Woven Shibori where many aspects of both cloth design and dye /finishing processes were explored. Some very late nights were had by these dedicated weavers, but that can be one advantage on having an on campus event.

From there I went to Ottawa via Barrie north of Toronto. On the drove across with my friend, Jette, we visited a native gallery showcasing some interesting work and saw some more petroglyphs. These were different in style to those of the Colorado. Ottawa is a very beautiful city and this was my first visit. A morning was spent in the Canadian Museum of Civilisation. Again, I could follow the thread of early native culture. The museum is well worth a visit. The last few days was spent with another dedicated bunch of weavers. Again they were exploring Woven Shibori. This time though they had pre woven samples allowing for a lot of experimentation with various surface treatments. Again a lot of very interesting samples were produced.

Three books and a sleep later, and I was home again: just a few hours spent in airports and on planes.

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