September 2012

The major highlight of this month was Complex Weavers Seminars in Washington DC.  It was the final destination of this trip and what an event it was! These seminars happen every 2 years and as usual this one lived up to everyone’s expectations. A very diverse range of topics were on offer in combination with optional study group meetings, the opening of the touring exhibition Glamour, Glitter, Glitz in DC, an informal fashion parade, and exhibition and much more. Prior to the seminars, a tour to Winterthur was organised where we had the opportunity to see textiles in the museum and as an extra highlight some of the historic textiles by Marguerite Porter Davidson. After the seminars some stayed on for a museum crawl (All those wonderful Smithsonian Museums in DC and we could take our pick of what we wished to see!), followed by a curator’s talk in the Textile Museum of their current exhibition with the focus on dragons: Dragons, Nagas, and Creatures of the Deep.  In spite of the very full program, there was still the opportunity to have quiet moments networking with like minded weavers, in depth discussions with people of similar interests and catching up with friends.

At the last CW seminars Judith Krone and I completed a challenge which we presented in the informal fashion parade (Mid August 2010 blog). Following on the success of our initial challenge, we decided to work on another challenge for these seminars. This challenge involved winding a warp to standard specifications, tying for ikat and dying it blue. Then we swapped the warps to weave. We could do whatever we wanted to with these warps. I found the problem of there being so many options but eventually settled on re-tying and dyeing in a darker blue and weaving using a “linked arms” motif (a motif I have used recently and used to represent friendship and which I thought was totally appropriate). Judith meanwhile wove hers and then screen printed birds on top. I was familiar with these birds as she had worked with these images when we attended Montreal for the jacquard weaving course last year. Again we had fun: we couldn’t wait for the big swap. It was exciting to see what each had done.  Is there another challenged planned for the next seminars in 2014? Yes, but what it is will remain secret till then. Needless to say we are excited by its potential.

I have arrived back home after a much extended trip. The problem with such adventures is that it is very hard to come back to earth. In an effort to get my feet back on the ground I have been busy doing a Spring Clean in the studio…. once in a while it is a very good idea to do some loom maintenance and major overhaul. The studio is now ready.

I thought I’d also share this treasure. My daughter visited Turkey and acquired this slit tapestry runner for me. She knew to ask some essential questions. This woollen kilm came from a carpet co-op where the men dye and the women weave. Natural dyes have been used: dried dandelions for yellow, dried rosehips for green, pomegranate for brown, madder for red, indigo for blue and walnut shell for the darker brown.

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