Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Old Tavern, Grafton, VT

My husband and I took an after Easter break and returned to one of our favorite places, The Old Tavern in Grafton, VT.  Through the years this has been our welcome respite place to return to and now that we live in Plymouth it is only 3 -4 hours away.  We can go more often! On our way there we love to take the back roads of New England and see what we can discover in the small towns.  If it looks interesting we stop and explore! We learn the history of the area but more than anything we enjoy the beautiful countryside.  This time we stopped in Jaffrey, New Hampshire and had lunch in a cute little cafe right on the main street across from the green. The hospitality was great and the homemade white and sweet potato fench fries were to die for! Jaffrey's claim to fame is that Ralph Waldo Emerson use to come here as one of the summer residents.  Mt Monadnock is nearby and he wrote the poem "Monadnoc" after climbing it.  Nothing else in particular about the town except that it is one of those beautiful little New England towns that we fantasize about living there.

Then we moved on and stopped in Keene, NH. This is a larger thriving town with many shops along it's main street.  My husband knows the owner of Monadnock Imaging so we stopped to see if he was there and while there I had some expert advice on getting some prints made of the photos I had done of the Habitat pieces.  Jeff's friend was not there but we had fantastic service and the images came out great.  I had personal service concerning sizing that would work with the "aspect ratio". (Only a photographer or one expert in this knows what that means)  I was glad I had help to know that one of the images needed to be 4 x 8, not 5 x 7.  I wouldn't have know that and would have been unhappy with the results if I had ordered the wrong size which would have cause cropping of the image. If you are looking for a good photo developing site, check them out at http://www.monadnockimaging.com/. They are in my favorites now!

So after a cup of tea in the local cafe, we continued on to Grafton.  The last time we were in Grafton, it snowed and upon leaving we hit a white out and ended up in a snow bank! This was in January. No serious damage was done but we were even more thankful when we realized that the alternative was to end up in the river on the other side of the road.  Entering Grafton we saw the spot where it all happened and were once again thankful that it was the snow bank where we landed!

Grafton in January

This time instead of snow (although there still were a few piles laying on the ground), the daffodils were in bloom. Although the weather was rainy and damp, it still was great to spend some time there again and to see the new life emerge after a long and snowy winter. Oh yeah, we couldn't leave without stocking up on our favorite cheese from Grafton Village Cheese Company (they make a 4 year aged cheddar that tastes like butter and lactose intolerant people can eat). We also had to visit one of the local farms to get our favorite maple syrup, Plummer's Maple Syrup.

A sign of spring at The Old Tavern!

Phelps Barn at The Old Tavern

So here's to signs of all things new and the hope they bring! 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

An Easter Art Journey

I wanted to share once again the post I wrote last Easter.  It was based on an Easter Art Installation at  First Baptist Church in Plymouth.  It's about journeys.  I share it again with hopes that your life journey will be fulfilling and blessed.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Return to Triangular Shawls

I've returned to making one of a kind triangular shawls. I actually stopped working on this one midway so I could work on the Habitat pieces.  In this shawl I combined 4 yarns and used them as one.  This is what I am known for in my work - the use of many colors to form one.  It pushes the limit of this loom since it is made for a single use yarn.  I am not one to let color be stagnant.  The color must move across the cloth. This provides depth and keeps the cloth from looking flat. I am so happy with the way this piece turned out.  I think it is the best so far. What do you think? Not only did I combine several colors, I also used yarns with a lot of texture.  There is a very slubby variegated rayon yarn, a smooth rayon and silk yarn, a smooth rayon ribbon,  and a small nubby rayon yarn. They all combine to make an interesting warp and weft of colors and textures. I also used an open weave novelty yarn with a lovely sheen to it as an accent yarn.

Working with 4 yarns at once is a bit of a challenge but that is what this process has been all about,  challenging not only myself but the equipment I use. It seems like I am into challenges these days.  That is what the Habitat project was also about. 

So here's the latest addition to my triangular shawl inventory.  Let me know what you think.  This blog encourages discussion, thoughts, and ideas.

On the loom in process

Close up on the loom

Finished Shawl - "Spring Garden"

I think I will give these shawls a rest for a while.  I have other ideas I want to work on and I am anxious to get back to weaving on my floor looms. I miss the rhythm of weaving on a floor loom.  Stay tuned to see what I do next.   

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Photo Shoot of Habitat Pieces

Had a great day Monday going to a photo shoot.  I was having the all the pieces of the Habitat Work photographed. I wanted to have professional photography of the work so that I can use them for publicity purposes along with good documentation of what I did. The weather was beautiful!  One of the nicest days we have had for a looooooooooong time.

Photo shoots are interesting.  They take the coming together of several factors. The photographer has prep work to do in setting up his studio for the type of work he is going to shoot.  He must think about, to name a few, where the items will be placed or hung, what type of background will they need, what lighting needs to be set up, and of course all the paper work concerning agreements, fees, and licensing.

On the artist's side, all pieces must be ready for the camera.  I always take along things like an iron to get rid of creases that may have happened during transit, pins or clips in case things need to be fastened or hidden, and a lint remover to get rid of all those unwanted white specks that always show up in the camera lens!

Communication between the photographer and artist is critical. How are these photos going to be used?  Are they for printed material, publicity, craft show jurying, or just personal use?  Do you want full shots, close-ups, or both?  If a model to used there are a whole other set of considerations. I talked briefly about this in an earlier post http://studiojottings.blogspot.com/2010/04/photo-shoot.html.  All these factors make a difference in how the pieces will be shot.

I can't emphasis communication with the photographer enough! If communication between you and the photographer is not a two way street you may be disappointed in your results.  Take the time even in the middle of the shoot to make sure the photos are what you want.  Work with the photographer's limitations but also make sure that you are getting the shots you need.

OK, the fun part is watching how this all takes place.  It is a dance between photographer, work being photographed, model if present, and you.  Have fun at it! 

I took a few pictures of the photo shoot at Ritterbin Photography in Boston. Mike Ritter is the photographer.

If you are looking for a photographer, I highly recommend Mike.  Check out his website at http://www.ritterbin.com/.  I always enjoy working with Mike.  He brings a lot of his creativity to the table.  Thanks Mike.  I'm looking forward to getting the CD of the photo shoot.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Habitat for Humanity: Warm HeARTS Project

I've finished all 5 grids in this project!  Last night I added the hanging tabs which are made out of apron ties and I covered the backs of the pieces with black felt.  On the felt I sewed apron pockets and wrote the title of each piece on apron ties.  The final pieces will be presented with a copper tube and porcelain knobs for hanging and attaching to the wall.

I am so excited about completing this challenge.  It  took me out of my comfort zone but also gave me a chance to explore the artistic side of me and to play.  Will it be something I'll do again?  The challenge, yes.  the actual gird weaving project, maybe. As I was doing it my mind began to think of possibilities.  I have extra apron strips left sooooooooooooooo-------------why  not use them! 

Lets explore possibilities.  I thought it might be fun to braid the strips into Mandalas and pass them on just for fun. Free art for anyone who will except it!  (Check out Jane Dunnewold's blog post http://existentialneighborhood.blogspot.com/2011/04/guerilla-acts-of-making.html ) Mandalas are sacred circles.  They provide a centering along the journey.  And who doesn't need some centering these days! 

Would love to hear your ideas on Salvage Art or how I might use the apron strips I have left.  What do you think I should do?

While you are thinking and coming up with ideas, here are a few pictures of the process of weaving the grids and the pieces.

Weaving Beach House

Close up of weaving

Third piece of "Warm HeARTS Make a Home" 

Felt backing for one of the grids in "Warm HeARTs Make a Home"

Attaching the felt backing with title and apron pocket
After using clothes pins to hold the glued felt down, I remembered that I had these clips that quilter's use to hold the fabric in place when  sewing on bindings.  They worked great and didn't leave an impression on the felt.

Beach House

The Cottage
I'm hoping to have the finished pieces photographed by my photographer friend, Mike Ritter of Ritterbin Photography, http://www.ritterbin.com/. I'll post final pictures after I receive them. 

You can see the pieces in person at the Habitat for Humanity "Salvage Art" Auction on April 29, 2011 at the Plymouth Center for the Arts in Plymouth, MA. Go to http://www.hfhplymouth.org/ for tickets and more information.

Hope to see you at the auction!

Friday, April 01, 2011

"Celebration of Fibers' Awards

A few days ago I posted about putting 2 pieces in the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers' Annual Exhibit.  Well I am happy to say that both of my pieces won awards! My black triangular shawl, "Raspberry Seduction" (I just love that name!) won the Kathryn Wellman Memorial Award for imaginative weaving incorporating design, color, and texture.  I am so thrilled to have won this award. Kathryn Wellman was one of the founders of the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers which was started in 1952. I have a connection to Kathryn Wellman.  When I bought my first floor loom I purchased it used from a woman who worked with Kathryn Wellman. That was how I first came to know who she was. She was a physical therapist who was noted for using weaving in her therapies.  I think she must have been a very creative woman to, in the 50's and 60's, be noted in her field for these weaving therapies. I am thrilled to receive the award with that spirit and to have my work considered a part of that imaginative genre.

The other award was given to my warp painted, hand dyed, loop scarf titled "Sunset". It is the PGHW Award for Hand-Dyeing for the best use of hand-dyed fiber, dyed by the artist. Here again I am honored to be listed with those who have received this award before me.  Many of them have been my teachers. 

The judges for the exhibit were Deborah Warner, Professor and Chair of the Textile Department at Moore College of Art in Phildelphia, PA, (see video at http://www.moore.edu/about_moore/mission_history/oral_histories/deborah_warner ) and Ed Bing Lee, an artist who works in the fiber technique of knotting (see video at http://www.edbinglee.com/ ). I have admired Ed's work for a very long time.

You can find more information about the creation of these pieces at earlier posts, http://studiojottings.blogspot.com/2011/02/weavette-loom.html and http://studiojottings.blogspot.com/2010/06/weaving-process.html .