When starting a new piece, I choose fiber from my stash that calls out to me. Believe me, there’s plenty to select from—my hand-spun art yarn, silk strips that I hand dye and create from repurposed garments, and novelty yarns that I’ve collected for years and years.This art yarn came from a sheep that was rescued after years of neglect. It took several washings before I managed to get the fleece clean so that I could spin it into this gorgeous, fluffy yarn. I spend lots of time and energy gathering and repurposing the materials I use in my weavings.
Sometimes it's all in the warp
When I make a warp (lengthwise threads) with many colors and textures of yarns it becomes a focal point that adds complexity to the tapestry I’m working on. As you can see, I included a bit of my rough, fluffy, blue hand-spun art yarn which adds a bright, vertical burst of energy in “Layer Upon Layer #4.”
Sometimes it's all in the weft
When I use a black warp, the hues and color of the weft (crosswise threads) are highlighted by my distinctive weaving techniques leaving you, the visitor, to interpret the stories hidden within. (see more in Portfolio)
I began “Geodes” at the Southern Highland Craft Fair in July 2017. People were fascinated to see the tapestry evolve as they stood gathered around to watch the story grow. Many folks returned to my booth to see the progress during the three-day show and told me that t this work in progress reminded them of elements from the layers of the earth, which is how it got its name.
Sometimes it's all about experimenting
As soon as I cleared away some of the cartons that filled my new home, I set up my loom so I could get on with my new artistic obsession. It was exciting to have “Dance Girl Dance,” juried into the national exhibition, EXCITE, at Haywood Community College in Clyde, NC.
I went crazy, using the hand dyed silk warp I made in Kathleen’s class along with my hand dyed silk strips and fat pieces of roving (unspun fiber) from my stash to create “Dance Girl Dance.”
It was exhilarating to try out “fishing” and “combing” techniques as I experimented with creating this unconventional, abstract, piece of art
Sometimes I'm inspired by what I learn
Shortly after I settled into my new home in 2014, I saw a Gee’s Bend Quilt exhibit at the Center for Craft and Creativity in Asheville. Gee’s Bend Quilts, prized by collectors of primitive American art, are a testament to the grit and determination of the women of Gee’s Bend Alabama, to provide for their families. Using their threadbare, worn-out work clothes to make quilts to keep loved ones warm, these women expressed their hardscrabble existence through the use of striking designs that harkened back to their African heritage. When the quilts themselves were used up, they were burned to provide warmth, one last time.
I learned so much that day about the people of this tiny community who signed up to vote for the first time ever in the 1960s, thanks to visits from Martin Luther King and the Freedom Riders, only to be denied their rights that election day when the ferry they relied on to cross the Gee’s Bend River to get to their county’s polling location was vandalized.
My interpretation of life in Gee’s Bend includes the use of rough textured sari silk yarn hand spun from factory waste by women in co-ops in India, and the shredded, hand-dyed strips I create from repurposed clothes along with other mixed fiber yarns.
This primitive weaving of “Gee’s Bend Revisited” is my interpretation of the lives of the people of Gee’s Bend, as seen through their quilts. See more of my Gee’s Bend tapestries.
From the ridiculous to the sublime
Last winter I tiptoed into another adventure while trying my luck at weaving with a transparent warp. The goal was to create a wall hanging that would seem to defy gravity with lots of open “unconnected” spaces. As things turned out this was an outrageously, ambitious project.
When I went to the Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Asheville to get some fishing line that would be the diameter and have the stability of warping yarn, I discovered that the thicker the line, the more it stretched. Thick, flexible line was for catching big, active fish. Quite a revelation! (Can you tell that I never went fishing?)
I ended up with nylon filament that was a bit thicker than a strand of hair and knew I was in trouble as soon as I began preparing the warp. I was never going to be able to keep track of hundreds of nearly invisible threads while warping my floor loom.
A sane person would have given up but I am persistent, so I simplified the plan and decided to use my tiny, two harness table loom and much fewer warp threads.
It was agony weaving with that transparent warp and I swore I’d never repeat the exercise
but creating these tiny compositions is addicting! (see more in Portfolio)
Sometimes it's travel that dazzles my eyes
My creative muse plucks memories of the people, places and things I’ve experienced while traveling for inspiration in my abstract, woven art.
It was such fun to pull this work off my loom and revive memories of my trip to Japan in November 2003, when I greeted my newborn grandson.
The blue of my hand dyed silk warp reminds me of the South China Sea that surrounds Osaka Airport. And the greens and golds and peach colors remind me of the shrubs and flowers growing in glorious disarray in front yards as I rode through old sections of Fukuoka on local buses.
This abstract weaving calls up so many memories of that trip to a far off place.