Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Start packing. The blog has moved!

I have finally completely moved my blog from Blogger to my website.
You can (and should!) find it here:

My website got a nice facelift recently and as part of that, I moved the blog so everything is in one place. The content on Blogger will stay there, but it has also all been migrated to the website. New posts will only show up on the website, so come and find me there.

If you receive my blog via email, I now have email set up on the new blog. When you go there, look for the little form in the right sidebar. It look like this:

This sign-up is different than the one for my newsletter. Blog posts come several times a week. My newsletter is in the form of a letter and it shows up every other Thursday. They will both come from Mailchimp. If you're not sure whether you've signed up for my newsletter, you can do it HERE. Mailchimp will throw out any duplicate emails. Don't forget that you have to confirm the subscription in the email Mailchimp will send you.

I recently had someone tell me they spent a day reading through my entire blog. I started it in April 2008, so that was a real commitment. If you like getting posts in email, sign up now so you don't end up with a backlog of tapestry weaving to catch up on.

Since the move, you may have missed a few recent posts. Here is the list:

Vermont 2016, A masterclass in color and design: The review of my fabulous retreat in Plymouth, VT. I can't wait to do it again!

A small-town tapestry project--Cavendish: I taught a two-day beginners workshop after the retreat in Proctorsville, VT. Vermonters are real go-getters!

Weaving on small looms, Hokett looms and beyond: A student asked me about warping Hokett looms and since she was in my online class, I made her this video. I thought it might be useful for others also.

Commissions. Weaving for a client (or learning basic addition the hard way): My recent work on a large commission teaches me about the finite nature of time.

The internet guide I wrote for my Mom. When you didn't grow up using the internet... My Mom is amazing. And she is learning a lot about using the internet since her retirement from 35 years as a behavioral pediatrician. It seems likely that many of us could use this kind of resource page.

So head on over to the new blog home. We can have a glass of wine or sparkly water together and talk about tapestry. It looks like this.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Finding my website

UPDATE June 2016: All is well. The domain was finally transferred and you should be able to find my website at its regular URL. 

As some of you know, I have been struggling with my domain registrar for months now and have been unable to resolve the issues or move my domain to another host. I realized tonight that my website address is not working. The website is there, but my usual domain ( is no longer active for a reason that is still unknown to me. Until I can get this sorted out, please access my website with this alternate domain.

This particular challenge reminds me how an entire business can hinge on one little thing.
The domain. It is not only the link to my website which is my calling card in the world, but it is on all printed material I put out, on my YouTube videos, and most of all, it is what the search engines have linked to for years.

Cross your fingers that I can get my domain back soon.

In the meantime, the domain linked above will always work for my website.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Vermont-- here I come!

I've been planning this retreat for about a year and a half. Tomorrow I am on my way. There is still a large quantity of yarn to be shoved into suitcases and some sorting of materials to do. The most important thing is the thoughtful placement of clothing for Thursday so that I don't have to lug three massive suitcases into the hotel to search among the yarn for my clean underwear. (Don't worry, I don't keep the dirty underwear there.) 
Read more ...

Unfortunately my domain is still being held hostage by my registrar so I can't offer you email sign-up on the new website. But I've posted about my trip tomorrow as well as some about my latest weaving adventures. You can find my blog now on my website HERE. I do hope in the next month I'll be able to free my domain and I sincerely hope it doesn't require Indiana Jones heroics... or a trip to Australia to bludgeon anyone at Lycos or Melbourne IT.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A new home for the blog

I have finally gone and done it. I have updated my website and have moved the blog to its new home. For those of you who love Blogger, I apologize. But my little digital world will run a whole lot better with the blog living on my website.

You can find it HERE.

You will be able to sign up to have new posts emailed to you soon. Currently my domain host is wrapped up in some corporate merger and I have been unable to get the necessary codes to make this happen. But it will! In the meantime, please use your favorite blog reader or just check now and then for new posts.

You'll know you've arrived at the right place when you see this:

I have had a few posts that didn't show up on Blogger already, but from now on I will only be posting to the blog on my website. Yesterday's post is about my visit to a tapestry I wove six years ago which is hanging in a college in northern Colorado. You can read it HERE.

I will leave this blog up so if you have particular posts bookmarked, you can still return to them on Blogger. All the content also exists now on my website.

Thanks for following me!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Middle aged white woman in a Mustang

When you fly into Memphis very late at night, Budget may well be completely out of Kias. The agent asked me (rather skeptically I might add) if I could "drive a stick." Heck yeah, I replied. Shortly thereafter I was driving away in a 2016 Ford Mustang headed for the Mississippi Delta. I was a bit self-conscious about the car. I got a lot of looks and most of them seemed to say, "hey, what is that middle-aged white lady doing driving that Mustang?" My brother-in-law did enjoy it during the ten minutes I gave him the keys. (I held my breath the whole time.)

The photo is offered as proof that this story is true.

It was that kind of a weekend.

We went to Mississippi for a niece's high school graduation. I enjoy being part of the couch dog pile since my labrador died a few years ago. Quite literally a dog pile. There were nine dogs in the house while we were there including this little guy who was being fostered until he was old enough to find a new home. His name is Al (or Owl if you're the four-year-old from Nashville).
Family vacations being what they are, I had to make an emergency trip to Oxford which has the nearest yarn shop to the Delta. Three hours alone in the Mustang (no barking, children, or video games involved) might have had something to do with it. I came away with the yarn and a bonus trip to one of the best bookstores anywhere, Square Books.
Most of a hat was knitted over the next day, what with the barbecue by the lake and all. I did stop knitting long enough to steer a canoe around the lake.

On the return trip, the catering truck ran into our plane parked at the gate in Detroit and we got to spend a few more late-night hours waiting for another plane. I can tell you that the frozen yogurt place closes at 8:30, much to my disappointment.

We made it home in the wee hours and I am happy to be back in my studio surrounded by yarn and books and ideas and possibilities.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Fine art tapestry: found at the Denver Art Museum and your local thrift store

You don't expect to find fine art tapestry in a thrift store. At least I don't.

But one day last winter, I happened to check my email at 9:50 on a Monday morning and had a note from a friend in Santa Fe about two tapestries by James Koehler that were spotted over the weekend at a thrift store called Look What the Cat Dragged In. After I got over how mortified James would have been to have his tapestries in a store with the word cat in the name, I looked up their website. They opened at 10. A quick call later and I owned this tapestry.
Jeremy Koehler, unknown title, 1995, 60 x 60 inches, tapestry
Let me back up. James Koehler was my teacher. He was a tapestry artist working in New Mexico. He taught me about craftsmanship, honed my dye skills, pushed my design skills, and pretty much made sure I never got lazy. I might have heard a few too many Broadway musicals during those years working in his studio, but I learned to be a tapestry artist. James died in March of 2011.

At the thrift shop, the people who drove over looking for those tapestries that Monday morning were disappointed. The store was in Santa Fe and I now live in northern Colorado. Another student of James bought the other tapestry and I decided that a little pilgrimage to Santa Fe was just what I needed. The next day I drove down to pick up those pieces. My sister has a deep freeze, and after wrapping the piece in plastic, it lived in and out of the freezer for a couple months. It is my policy that anything fiber that comes from a thrift store must have some moth-management before it comes into my wool-filled studio.
I rescued the piece from the freezer in February and brought it home. At some point soon it'll make a trip to a photographer, but for today, the snapshot above gives you an idea of the work.

I love the slight color shifts between shades of blue-violet. In true James fashion, he was using a large number of colors just slightly different in hue and value. Subtlety in color was one of his favorite things to play with.

Yesterday I was at the Denver Art Museum again to hear a talk by a dear friend of mine, DY Begay. While there, I visited the sixth floor to see the tapestry show yet again. The piece in the collection of the Denver Art Museum by James is from the same era as the one I just bought. It is one of his Chief Blanket pieces.
James Koehler, Chief Blanket, collection of the Denver Art Museum. Piece to the right is Ramona Sakiestewa.
Later in the evening I sat and listened to DY Begay speak about her work as a contemporary Navajo artist working in tapestry. DY's work springs from her connection to her home, Tselani, in Arizona. Her process reflects her life as a Navajo woman, and her quiet insistence on her methods of materials collection for wool and dye inform everything she makes.

On my long drive home I thought about how both of these artists working in tapestry exert a quiet, steady influence on my own tendency to follow every little mouse trail off into corners, distracting myself from the work I would most love to do. James was a persistent anchor for years--until he was gone. I realized that I have other anchors now. DY and a few other tapestry friends remind me to follow my call to create woven art. My own practice of tapestry weaving, including designing and preparing materials, grounds my work. The doing of it I mean. The practice becomes its own entity over the years and it becomes one of the most important forces in the creation.

I still don't think James would be happy to have his tapestries sold in a thrift store, but I am grateful that I saw that email and they are now appreciated by two of his former students. This piece, the title of which I have not yet found, can be a reminder of where I came from and the principles that James taught me, both the ones I cling strongly to and the ones I have rejected. It will also remind me of the importance of focus and doing my own most important work every day.
Jeremy Koehler, unknown title, 1995, 60 x 60 inches, tapestry
If you don't know the story of James, he published an autobiography with Carol Greene before he died. You can buy a copy HERE. When he wove this piece in the mid-90s, he was still going by the name he took as a Benedictine monk, Jeremy. a few years later he went back to his given name, James. He did these pieces in series. I don't know if other pieces of this design exist out there somewhere since this was number one. If you have one or have seen one somewhere, please let me know!

Do you have a piece made by someone who has influenced your artistic practice or your creative life in some way? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!