The Weaver's Dance

On a loom that whispers, with shuttles that fly
And bobbins that chatter as the hours go by
I'll not lay in one thread of mere chance
As I work in the motion of the weaver's dance.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Counting Blessings and Other Thoughts...

To anyone who might be reading this, I wish the very best of new years.... as this year of 2011 is coming to a close, I am counting the many blessings that came my way.  On a very small scale, I do this every morning, as I'm making my plans for the day, and again in the evening as I am assessing how I filled the day.  I might have cleaned out the silverware drawer or maybe I created a new fabric that has surprised me.  But, to assess a year..... this takes time!

Looking back on accomplishments is so good to do!   While it always spurs me to do better or do more.... not in a critical amends me somehow to want to grow from each experience.  I suspect this is the essence of the human experience, yes?

How do you picture a year?  The most recent is our White Christmas....
This was a photo of our first snow...this is the little snow.  I sent this photo to our state-wide weather guy in Albuquerque and he put it on the air!  What funfunfun to see that!  It was more fun to look out my east-side studio door and have this beautiful scene.  It's especially lovely from inside my wonderfully warm studio with the stove going, the fire flickering and dancing and the music echoing throughout .....aaaaaaaaaah!  THEN we had the BIG snow on December 23rd which put us on the national news....our state has more snow than any other state in America right now.  It's such a blessing because we've been so very, very dry.  We had several feet of snow and, being raised in Texas places, it was a true wonderment to me.

Then there's the holiday celebration!

Jim took this photo and I think it's gorgeous!  I am proud to say that, this year, I had the lights up before the first of December!  I've never had my act so very together....I hope I can do it again next year!  These light will stay up until New Year's Day!

All of these are happy photos for me and they match the happiness that I seem to have found this year.  Perhaps it found me, perhaps my relentless search for it helped.  This has definitely been one of the happiest holidays I have had in many years.  I've found a way to finally set down a deep and quiet sadness that was just too heavy to continue to carry....and, in so doing, I'm giving it all up to the heavens.

God, give me the strength to change that which I can change.
God, give me the grace to accept the things that I cannot change.
God give me the wisdom to know the difference.

In these words, that we all know so well, can be found the happiness... yes, the emotional rest.... that has eluded me for so very long a time.

Everything is going well in weaving even though I haven't actually sat at a loom for about a month... holidays and well, I had an opening planned for December 23 and....well ....have you ever tried to have an opening in a snow storm?  Well, I tried, because I try very hard to do something if I say I'm going to do it... needless to say, nobody came, not a soul.  But, I got a LOT of work done and I have finally made signs that are easy to put out along Chestnut in my little village, so people can actually find me from Highway 60....those signs looked great, were easy to put in and take away, and I'm glad I'll have them ready for summer...they each had a balloon attached to aid in visibility.  Then, with Jim's help, I have a new highway sign that fits over the top of my purrrrrrrrrmanent Creations sign to add the message 'open today', also with balloons attached and it worked well, too.  For years I have wanted to have these signs for summer when I like to just have a little "Open Today" message out there for vacationers and passersby.  I must say, the most fascinating thing I learned was that, even in freezing weather, balloons will stay inflated!  Okay, it's silly, I guess, but I wondered if they would burst because the moisture in my breath would freeze, right?  Well, now I know!

But, yes, designs were completed, strategies were planned, weft thread was ordered and received, even a weaving schedule was is really a good time in weaving...Stanley will be working very hard this entire January, as I only have a month to weave a very special yardage that I want to submit for consideration in HGA's Convergence Yardage Exhibit called "Longitude".  How appropriate can that name be?!?  My thoughts immediately go to latitude or weft or even freedom to plan!  Then I see that grid upon the earth, in our mind's eye anyway, and how similar the two are to the warp and weft grid in which we weavers dream... the time.  They both can bring such order to places that seem to have none.

Here, at right, is my "order"...
How this for a grid?

Oh, I didn't mention yet the good lessons I'm learning on Hazle.  In a previous post, I've mentioned the fabric that I wanted to weave on her for Convergence. just hasn't worked out.  I've made several attempts, so far, and will continue to try to create what I see in my head.  I still see the 8-Harness Bronson Lace in my "Squash Blossom & Beetle" design floating on an iridescent background fabric of ever-changing colors...  I think I don't have to right 'lace weft' that I need.  I will keep trying....and I will create it some day.

I have met with a surprising success on Hazle when I wove with 2 shuttles, contrasting colors of rayon, one similar to the tencel and silk warp. The mixture of this light-as-air fabric made a heavenly light, fluid fabric.

The photo at left shows the work with matching weft and warp...

But, when combining a dark and light weft, with the lace weft being the dark one, a fascinating effect takes place that makes the "back" of the fabric looking just wonderful!

I wove many yards of this fabric before my show schedule started for 2011, and I only have about a 1/2 yard left!  I plan to do much more of this fabric with different colors.  And I want to pursue this concept much further!  And this fabric feels so yummy, I can "feel" it from the photo!

I have a little one-day show...or should I say a six-hour show coming up in February of 2012.  I have never gone to this show/event before.  I will be offering my yardages (and some white-on-white stoles and scarves) to fiber artists.  I have no idea how it will go, but I am hoping that some of those incredibly creative folks will be interested in adding my cloth to their artistic journeys .  They are so talented, knowledgeable, FEARLESS, they have such sophistication in what they do.

This show is in Kerrville, Texas and I can hardly wait!  I'm weaving bleached white and natural whites in cottons, cotton and silk blends, and the natural honey color of the tencel and silk with white silk weft.  I'll also be offering dark colored fabrics that would be good for resist and stamping, just as a start.  I can imagine so many possibilities and I hope they might see them, too!

I hope you are enjoyed your holidays!

I'm wishing you the happiest of A Happy New Year!

And, I hope you are enjoying your winter.... whatever it may be!

Thanks so much for reading, enrich yourself with nature's wonder, stay warm.

I'm sending Miles and Miles of Smiles,  Cat B.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It is a Structo Artcraft Loom!

Okay, I just had to post another more comments about my dear friend, The Old Structo....YES it IS a Structo!  I was in quite a long discussion about my loom over on Weavolution, because I saw that they had a group called STRUCTO.  Well, I decided to join that group and, once in, started cruising around looking at photos of everyone's looms and projects and such.  Well, I couldn't find ANY photos of a Structo like mine!

So I asked them all in a conversation and WOW, did I get a bunch of information... except part of it was that maybe I didn't have a Structo at all, and maybe it just had a Structo label on it.  I'm sure I stated the wrong dates as I was recounting seeing an old sales receipt for the sale of this Structo to the first president of the San Antonio Handweavers Guild back in the very early days....I was told that...I guess it's okay to write her name, Nancy DePew, was a dedicated weaver and valued the history old textiles and learning how to produce quality new textiles.  She was also devoted to the Witte Museum, and, I was told, she made Mary Meigs Attwater (please forgive the spelling) sit out on the porch to smoke because there 'shouldn't be any smoke in a museum'.  This old loom is steeped in Texas history and, once I cannot weave on it any longer, I hope it goes back to Texas to continue living and working, long after I'm gone from this weaving realm....

I must admit I was quite unhappy at that thought that maybe it wasn't a Structo at all, because there's been so much history with this loom and it's the strongest connection I now have with my beloved mentor from way back in the Southwest Craft Center days....and I just would have been very sad if it had turned out not to be a Structo.

I had no idea how rare these looms are...nooooooo idea at all.  But, on Weavolution, I learned from one of those knowledgeable fellow Structo members, about a lady who is an expert in old looms and has quite a huge library to do research.  I wrote to her and she says it really IS a Structo Artcraft Loom, it is VERY rare and boy am I HAPPY!  I will ask her permission to put her name on my blog because she is an incredibly important resource for all weavers and all looms EVERYWHERE and, if allowed, I want everyone to know about her and the important service that she provides!

Here's another view that I've never posted, and I'll put another one up here below.  There room for TWO sectional back beams on the Old Structo, but I never felt the need.  Also, it used to have little pegs in the holes which made it a sectional, but, after years of rolling on miles of warp, I decided to remove them (they were part of my months of refurbishing and were not antique).  Now I use the simple old paper method, it's a little strange with such a huge warp beam (which is one yard around), but it's so much easier and more efficient to wind on....I put on 40 to 50 yards at a time on there at a time which doesn't even begin to make it look loaded!

Here is another photo that I've never's a photo of all those 14 treadles that I've been dancing on since 1985.  This loom, the first manufactured loom I ever owned, has been in continuous use and is such a happy loom, too.  Before my mentor told me about it coming up for sale, it sat, sadly, unused and unloved for 30 years in a dirt floor, not-weather-proofed, OLD garage in the heart of San Antonio, sad, what a waste of TIME, but, now it's suuuuuuuuuuuch a happy loom!

I don't know what the tie-ups were made of originally, but I chose to create a chain system that is detachable from the center, permanently attached to each lamm and to four places along the treadle and is works for me!

Yes, those are pieces of carpet on the bottom of  it's feet....The Old Structo has "stockings" on it's feet to avoid contact with the concrete floors of my is that love or WHAT?!?!  Well, I'd better get this thing posted and go start setting up for a Studio Tour that's taking place in my Village Saturday and Sunday.  I am sending out happy holiday cheer, hope for the future and most of all....Miles and Miles of Smiles, Cat B.