Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ecclesiastical Installation

Its now the Christmas season in the liturgical calendar.  During the advent season I worked once again with my church on a participatory art installation.  During the four weeks in Advent a new piece of the installation was added with the last piece installed on Christmas Eve.

Working in a large scale format has been something I have been learning to do over the last couple of years.  It is so totally different from my "women's wearable" work and so challenging that  I am always amazed at how it turns out! I am committed to these ecclesiastical projects being not just observed but participatory.  So in the planning many points of varied participation are built in.  The process goes sort of like this:

Themes for the season, based on biblical passages, are developed by the persons responsible for worship.  Sometimes it is a committee but more times it is my husband who happens to be the minister of First Baptist Church in Plymouth. We usually discuss various ways the theme will be played out in worship, I put on my thinking cap (usually in the shower!), and after much dreaming and envisioning come up with a basic idea.  At that point other people are brought into the planning process and ideas begin to come together. Many times the idea evolves more fully as the piece evolves.  Any artist will tell you, its an ever ongoing process!!!!! 

The theme for this advent was Being/Becoming a People of Hope, Peace, Justice, and Faith.  Each week in advent one of these themes would be the focus of worship. We chose to make banners out of silk which had these words stenciled on them, one word for each week, four banners in all. 

So planning was the first point of participation involving members of the congregation. The second point of involvement  was in the actual making of the piece.  We had a total of 14 people involved at some point in the making and installing of the piece. This involved preparing the banners by sewing hems, making the stencils, and stenciling the words onto the banners.

The installation was another challenge as we decided to install the banners in the round at the front of the pulpit area.  I am so thankful that we have one man in our church who can always figure out how to do this.  I just have to say to him, Mike, this is what we want to do and how can we do it and he comes up with the idea!  I call him my "Install Guy".  "He's The Man" and I couldn't do it without him!!!!!!

So now we have two points of participation or connection.  The third point happens each week as people enter the church and see the addition for that day's worship theme.  We also had an insert in the bulletin each week which asked reflective questions so the worshiper was drawn into the piece in a way other than simply viewing it.

As each person entered the sanctuary they were given a white dove cut out of cardstock. At one point in the worship service they were asked to write on the dove the answer to the following question, where do you see signs of ........ (Hope, Peace, Justice, Faith)?  The doves were collected to be used on Christmas Eve. This was point four of participation.

The final installation was on Christmas Eve when all the doves were installed in a descending manner in the center to celebrate the coming of Christ to the World. This created the fifth point of connection as all could view the final installment and celebrate that "Christ has Come"!

Since the Christmas season has just begun in the liturgical calendar the installation will be up for a few weeks.  You can see more pictures on the church's website at http://www.fbc-plymouth.org/. If you live in Plymouth, stop by on a Sunday and you too can experience "this thing which has come to pass". 

 "And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory."

Christ has come! Hallelujah!  

Monday, December 20, 2010

First Snow Fall

The first snowfall of the season happened today and is still happening as I write!  The wind is blowing and the snow is coming down.  It looks so beautiful with all the Christmas lights lit on the houses along our street.

I was finishing up an order for a customer today and it was so nice to be warm inside looking out on the beautiful sight as I worked.  there is a peacefulness about falling snow.

Here are a few pictures from my studio window taken this morning.

Later this afternoon I took this picture from our kitchen, looking out our back deck.  You can see the snow flakes.

So it's really "beginning to look a lot like Christmas"!  Just in time for my family from Florida to arrive!

 Wishing you the Peacefulness of New Fallen Snow!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Annual Holiday Studio Open House

My last show of the year is always in my studio.  The looms are pushed back, the fiber dust bunnies are gone (or at least most of them), and I arrange the studio to look like a shop.  You can see all my equipment (looms, warping boards, shuttles, sewing machines, etc) and the many types and colors of yarns that I use.  It's a chance for you to see where and how I work with the added bonus of holiday shopping in a relaxed atmosphere and purchasing that special gift for someone on your Christmas list.

I also serve a wonderful Wassail punch along with some of my Christmas cookie favorites! Wassail for those of you who are now saying, "What is that!", is an Ancient English custom where the master of the English household (sorry for the not so politically correct gender reference) drank to the health of those present with spiced ale.  The phrase Wass Hael or Be Well was repeated as each drank a cup from the bowl of Wassail.

If you are near Plymouth, stop by the studio on Saturday, drink a cup of Wassail, do some Holiday shopping, and sign up to win the door prize.  I haven't decided yet what it will be but I'm leaning towards one of my $85 chenille scarves. 

Time to go make the cookies!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mini Loop Scarves and Tassle Hats

I designed some new items a few weeks ago for the Duxbury Show.  Using the loop scarf idea I created a mini loop scarf that when worn looks like a rufled collar or very fancy wrapped scarf.

The technique uses differential shrinkage to create the ruffles.  The principle is based on the fact that different yarns shrink at different rates.  Wool shrinks at a faster rate than silk or tencel. Having that knowledge gives me a wealth of design possibilities.  So how does it begin?

I first make a sample weaving.  This tells me how close to sett the yarn and where to place the yarns that I want to shrink.  It gives me a chance to play around with different color possibilites and to observe what happens when the yarns are woven and then washed.
Woven Sampler

From the sampler I make adjustments to the warp on the loom and decide what colors I will use in the weft. Then the piece is woven.

After twisting the fringe and washing, the scarf is ready for someone to wear.

Finished Mini Loop Scarf

Another new item for me is my Tassle Hat.  When I went into my stash of extra woven fabric, I played around with it to make a more informal hat than my beret style hat.  I added a spiral tassle and a handwoven flower and VOILA, a hat is born!


 These hats have lots of additude for the fun loving person.

If you are in the Plymouth, MA area you can see both of these items at my Holiday Studio Open House on Saturday, December 4.  Check my website for details, http://www.judyconnorjones.com/.   

I love to hear your comments about my work especially new pieces so leave a comment and tell me what you think. You can also help others know about my work by passing on this blog for them to read and comment.

"Here's looking at you kid"! (I just saw Cassablanca the other night and couldn't resist using the quote.  That's a great movie!)

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Old Tavern

My husband and I spent Thanksgiving at The Old Tavern in Grafton, VT.  This has been a favorite place of ours for over 25 years.  When our family could not come for Turkey dinner this year, we decided not to sit around and have a pity party but instead headed up to Vermont.  It was just what we needed. The innkeepers were fabulous hosts.  We watched the parade in the Phelps Barn sitting by the fire and relaxing on the couches just as if it was our own home.  Jeff offered to tend the fire making it feel even more like home! We had the added bonus of being surrounded by a wonderful art exhibit that was hung in the barn.  One of the artists was a quilt artist who uses repurposed items and embellishes, embellishes, embellishes!!!!! Her work was a feast for the fiber artist's eyes!  Could life get any better, sitting by a fire, sourrounded by art work, having someone else cook the turkey, and being in quaint and charming Grafton, VT.

On our way back we stopped at a tree farm and cut down our Christmas tree.  Believe me this is the earliest we have ever gotten our tree. Most years we are frantic trying to find the time to go get our tree. Since we moved to Plymouth we have yet to find a good tree farm where you can cut your own.  So it was really special to end our Thanksgiving adventure by cutting down our tree and diving back with wonderful pine smells in the car. 


Last stop was King Arthur Flour Co.  Who knew that this spot would be where everyone in Norwich, VT goes on Black Friday!!!!  It was mobbed!  We persevered and stocked up on our Christmas baking supplies. It's really starting to look a lot like Christmas! 

So if you are looking for a great get away in the middle of all the hecticness, I highly recommend The Old Tavern at Grafton.  Check them out at http://www.oldtavern.com/. Wander around the area, check out The Old Country Store in Weston , and if you make it to King Arthur Flour Co, just make sure it's not Black Friday!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Here's what you missed!

My last post was the end of September.  My how time flies!  Anyway, here's a brief synopsis of what's happened over the last month.

I had a great day on Saturday at the Wheaton Arts Show in Millville, NJ.  The weather was perfect fall weather, my neighbors were a potter and a photographer who were great, and I had wonderful friends who helped me set up and take down. Sunday was a different story weather wise as it rained and very few people attended, the unfortunate and unpredictable plight of this business!  But I had a nice visit with friends and with my mom who lives in NJ.

After working so hard to be ready for shows in August, September, and October, I came home from NJ with a 7 week respite until the next show.  I had to ship items off to Guilford, CT for a show called "Artistry" at the  Guilford Art Center.  The show is by invitation and runs from Nov. 4 - January 9. I consider it an honor to be invited to this event as the quality of work represented is excellent.  Visit their site at http://www.guilfordartcenter.org/ and if you are in the area, stop by, check it out, and do some holiday shopping. I have a good representation of work there.

My 7 week respite allowed me some time for small pleasure excursions to enjoy the fall foliage and local landscape.  I'm a big fan of Louisa May Alcott and always wanted to visit her family home in Concord, MA.  So my husband and I decided to take a day to head north of Plymouth and visit Concord.  We had a great day visiting Louisa's house (which by the way, due to settling is so unlevel in places that I felt nauseous!), Minute Man Park and the Old North Bridge (remember your history, "The shot heard round the world"?) I remember writing a book report on "Little Women" in 7th grade and drawing a picture of this house, "Orchard House" for the cover.  I was so proud of that cover! 

Me at Orchard House

Jeff and me at North Bridge

We ended the day by going apple picking!  What fun!  I haven't done that for years, since my children were little! (And that has been a looooooong time!)  Some of those apples have been eaten, some of them have been baked into breads and apple bars, others are yet to be made into apple pie. Our freezer is full of apple delights!

Don't these look delicious!

My next show which I am getting ready for now is in Duxbury, MA.  It is November 20 and 21 at Duxbury High School.  It is sponsored by the Duxbury Art Association and it has been a good event for me in previous years. I hope this year will be also. Check out show information at http://www.duxburyart.org/.  Stop by and see what is new in my booth.

So that's what you missed!  (I won't mention the wicked cold I just got over which lasted for 10 days!)

Life has been full!

If you enjoy reading this blog, forward it on to someone else who might also enjoy reading it.  You can also sign up to be a fan.  I love to know who is following my blog!

Till next time, I'll be working in the studio!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Loop scarves

Sunday I did a show at UMASS Boston.  It was sponsored by the Laboure Center which is part of Catholic Charities.  The Laboure Center helps woman and children who need resources and assistance.  The event was a fashion show and boutique fund raiser.  I was part of the boutique.

It was held in the campus center which looks out onto the Ocean.  What a beautiful setting.  My space was set up in a place where I could look out on the water on one side and on the other see Sister Corita's wonderful abstract rainbow painting on one of the gas tanks on the shoreline.  You can Goggle her to learn more about her.

I sold a couple of my hand dyed loop scarves and when I went to the ballroom to take a peak at the fashion show, I saw that one of the women was already wearing the scarf!  What a lovely compliment! 

My next show is this coming Saturday and Sunday at Wheaton Arts in Millville, NJ.  I have been doing this show for 7 or 8 years and it is always a good show for me.  You can get more information by going to my website, http://www.judyconnorjones.com/. If you are in the area, please stop by, let me know that you follow my blog, and check out my warp painted hand dyed loop scarves.  


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rainbows and Hopes

At the end of the Mad River Valley Show, while we were breaking down, a beautiful double rainbow appeared!  Since we were in an open field, you could see the complete arch.  This actually was the second time that weekend I saw a rainbow.  This was the more spectacular one.  Those of us who were still taking our tents down, stood in awe at the sight.  One of the exhibitors remarked that our "Pot of Gold" was waiting at the end! (Maybe that means the next show!) 

The Mad River Valley Show was a success.  Sales were down from last year but better than the year before.  It seems to be a fairly stable show take a few hundred dollars one way or the other. Would I have liked to have done better?  Yes, but there are other pluses to doing this show besides income.  I love being in VT this time of year.  The scenery is beautiful and the weather is usually a little "coolish" in the morning and evening giving me a taste of fall. I also get to visit with other artist friends who have become like family.  It's a happy time.  Despite the threat of rain, it held off until the very end and just a few sprinkles occurred as we were taking down the tent. It actually was a beautiful weekend.

So the rainbow is a promise.  Take it to mean what ever you want.  I choose to think it means hang in there, good things are coming! 

See you at the next show!  Check out my schedule at http://www.judyconnorjones.com/


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mad River Valley Show

This weekend is the Mad River Valley Show.  It's always Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  It is the "finale" event of the 2 week Vermont Festival of the Arts.  I always enjoy doing this show.  It gives me a taste of the beginning of Fall in the beautiful mountains of VT.  I've made many friends there and it is a chance to spend some time with them at the end of the day.  The show is put on by The Valley Players, a theater group in Waitsfield, and this is the 40th Anniversary of the Show. 

So if you want to get a taste of Fall, enjoy beautiful scenery and excellent crafts, come visit me at: 

Mad River Valley Craft Fair
Kenyon's Field
Route 100, Waitsfield, VT 
Saturday 10 - 5
Sunday 10 - 4

                                The first 40 people get in free so get there early! See you at the Fair! 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I said goodbye to an old friend last Friday!  We traded in the Ford Windstar for a brand new Honda Odyssey.  The Windstar was the best car/mini van I have ever driven.  I loved that car.  It was perfect for carrying my booth and other items to shows. (It had the largest cubic capacity of all the mini vans at the time we bought it). I am short and I could actually see above most things on the road! (I'm one of those people when you are behind them, you wonder if anyone is driving the car!!!) The Windstar was well broken in!  Perhaps too broken in as, after 10 years and over 100,000 miles, it started  to have some costly problems, but not until then.  So this fall when I am out on the road going to shows I will have more confidence that the car will not fail. So it's Hello to the Odyssey!

My husband and I will have to figure out a new packing plan.  It looks like the new car has more flexible packing space and loads of options.  We just need to figure out what is best.

The first test will be my show over Labor Day weekend in Waitsfield, Mad River Valley, VT.  Come visit me and see how it all worked! http://www.madrivercraftfair.com/

Speaking of shows, I never mentioned how the Chase Center on the Riverfront Show went.  Sales were slow, probably a reflection of the economy as many artists said the same thing.  The Chase Center is beautiful and the show was full of wonderful craft artists and their work.  I had fun seeing friends and perusing the interesting and exciting work that was exhibited. We also got to stay in a fabulous hotel at a discount rate for exhibitors, The Hotel DuPont in Wilmington. 

Here are a few pictures of setting up the booth in the Chase Center.  

Ready to Go!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Radio Interview

Today I had an opportunity to be interviewed for a short radio spot which will air tomorrow morning. The spot is sponsored by the Plymouth Art Guild and is called "Hats Off to the Arts". Each week an artist is featured and talks about their work. This week it was me!!!! I've never done a radio interview before. What fun! The spot is only about 3 minutes of air time and will air tomorrow morning, Wednesday, August 11 at around 7:10 am. Thank goodness I could tape it today at a more reasonable hour!!! So if you are in the Plymouth/South Shore area, tune in to 95.9 WATD - FM in Marshfield, MA. Those of you who live farther away, you can listen on-line by going to www.959watd.com I just hope I sound intelligent!!!!!! Or at least a little bit interesting!!!!! Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Off to a Show

I'm off again to a show. This time it is in Wilmington, DE. It is a show put on by the PA Guild of Craftsmen. I am a juried member of this organization and have been connected with this guild for quite some time. To be a juried member means that my work has been examined by a team of members who look for excellence in craftsmanship (or "craftwomanship" as the case may be!) and original creative design. It is quite an achievement to reach this status and I am proud that my work is considered to be of such high quality.

So if you want to see a great craft show full of excellent and gifted artists' work, then come visit us this weekend, July 31 and August 1, at Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, DE. I am thrilled to be in the company of all these wonderful artists. The show is indoors so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. Check out my booth (#432) and see my new work, "Loop Scarves" and "Summer Tops".

More info can be found on the guild's website, http://www.pacrafts.org/, including special deals for staying at The Hotel Dupont. Click on the crafts person link and see who will be there. You might recognize a few names!

Hope to see you at the show. Let me know that you read my blog!