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.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hazle is Sighing....

How do I start...Yes, I really mean sighing... Okay, just let me explain...

I have been repeatedly 'reminded' by my loom named Hazle that it's just been TOO darn long since I have woven on the project that she is holding. Every time I would walk past her, the paper I use in the rolling up of the warp swings in the breeze and brushes gently on the floor....and it makes a sound that is exactly like sighing!

It's like the loom is saying, "Here she comes....Here she comes...."
and then I pass her by once again on my way SOME where else in the studio..... "SIGH!"

I haven't written just a whole lot about Hazle...yes, the name is spelled right. She has taken a back seat to all the busy-ness of my hard working studio. I am weaving on yardage on Hazle and it's one of the most intricate, lightest, loveliest cloths I have made.

It's a 12-Harness Bronson Lace that I wrote myself. And, though I am very fond of this light fabric of tencel, rayon and silk, I must say goodbye to it as soon as this warp has run out.....

I call this pattern Squash Blossom and Beetle. The 30/2 weft is the wonderful work on "Just Our Yarn" from whom I bought this hand-dyed thread in their booth at the last Convergence. Here's Just Our Yarn:   They are awesome and dear ladies.

The joy, the balance, the dance of weaving this delightful cloth will be lost, but, if I really, really miss it, I can thread it up again someday....that's the charm and wonder of weaving. It's an advantage that we weavers have in the work that we do.

As soon as I can get this fabric woven off, Hazle will have other work to do....with holidays, taxes, orders, life, it will probably be in a month or so. I began weaving on her again on a schedule about a week ago, and it's been such a delight. Sometimes we gravitate toward the work that will pay most quickly, but Hazle, with her sighing, has reminded me that there's more going on in this studio besides weaving and we must do what we love....too.

What's that saying?

"Do what you love and the money will follow....."

As always, while working diligently in this endorphine factory that only LOOKS like a weaving studio, I'm sending out Miles and Miles of Smiles,
Cat B.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Yes, The Wonder and the Magic of .....Threading?

My last show of the season found me in my booth listening to a relatively new weaver talk about threading her loom and doing all that work and not liking that part of the work and she starts to get all these aches and pains and it seems to take forever and she can just barely tolerate it and she makes errors and she is wishing she could get someone else to do it FOR her. She had pretty much decided that, well, weaving was not for her....

I have heard this so many times before...

It is rather the unromantic side of it, isn't it? But, we all have to pay homage to our crafts, ALL of us do, and...well... this is one of them.... And then there's getting down on your knees on that cold floor to change those darn tie-ups. Then we are REALLY bowing down to pay homage!

Look at the importance of this part of weaving....look what incredible magic takes place here. Look at this as a chance to see a new design. Look at the fun of trying a new weave structure. Look how you can make or break you fabric right HERE...

In our fast-paced world, few of us are so content to just slow down, let ourselves relax and get down to one thread at a time and that's what threading IS.

And, I think, there's a tension, too, a worry....a what-if-I-make-an-error-tension that creeps into our minds and takes away all the fun.

So maybe it's not weaving at all, but our forgetting that this is our craft and we can take the time to enjoy the wonder of it. It does take time, too, that one-thread-at-a-time job of threading. So what can we do to make it better?

Okay, we can put on pretty music, we can thread for small bits of time (so we don't get overtired), we can let the phone go to voice mail (so we don't loose our concentration), we can make sure the light is good and well-placed (most weavers don't do this), we can drop the back beam, remove it or fold up the loom (so the job is easier to reach!), we can make sure that the height of the stool we are sitting on is just right (so we don't get a back ache or neck ache), we can have the right threading hook for the size thread and the size heddle, we can have the right glasses on (some people have trouble with their bifocals and get a single-vision for "threading distance"), we can attach our threading draft right up there on the back of the last harness for ease of sight, we can add markers to that draft (so we can quickly keep our place with a clothes pin or something), we can thread in small "groups" (so we can stop and check our work every 12 threads or so), we can say that we are going to take the time... it's well worth it... we are well worth's an investment of effort...

We can also approach the task with the knowledge that, if there's an error, we'll just fix the darn thing.

We can fix anything....we are WEAVERS!

Gosh, it's beginning to sound like we have to CARE about this whole part of the weaving process and, if we are thinking right now, "Who the heck could I just HIRE to do this part".....

Well, with thoughts like that, we will never find the joy.... never.

Okay, so go sell the loom and go play golf or something....but like SO many parts of weaving, so what do you do?

 So make peace....finally, just make peace.... and go thread...

With Miles and Miles of Smiles, Cat B.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Intermountain Weavers Conference....Here I come!

I am packed, trailer is loaded and I'm ready to go enjoy the many treasures of Durango, Colorado and Fort Lewis College where this event will be held. This photo above is from the last IWC as it is commonly called.

I have been using so many hours on contract work that I don't have as full a's not overflowing this time, but it is FULL!

I do mean FULL! I'll have handwoven yardage, stoles, scarves, Raggy Cat Pin Cushions and Fabric Flower Pins. I've got lots of Stanley's fabric (below) that will end up in fall and winter jackets, if not bought outright. Once this fabric is gone, it's gone, as Stanley stands empty today waiting to make stoles, I think. I want to write a new draft of 12-Harness Bronson Lace with bunches of itty bitty should be fun.

Below Stanley's fabrics lay This-N-That's which continue to be popular! Most are on a rack!
I'll also have information about The TAFA List and Las Aranas Spinners & Weavers Guild which is centered in Albuquerque,New Mexico, though members are all over the state.

I hope that you can attend IWC. It's got great instructors and learning opportunities and the vendor hall is just wonderful. Might I see you there? If not, I send out to you Miles and Miles of Smiles, Cat B.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Time with Baba... or....How to get all wound up without really trying!

It's a crossroads in the studio right now as I find myself with 4 looms....count them....FOUR LOOMS...are down. I call it down because if I was a loom, I would want to be holding lots of yummy warp and having my weaver just weaving away to make some lovely cloth on me. To me, there is nothing so sad as an empty loom...forlorn almost... thus, down.
But, as you can see by this huge photo, I'm about to change all that! I've never talked about Baba, because my husband, Jim Hokett of Hokett Would Work, made Baba for me and he didn't not ever want to make another one! He made it because I needed a much larger warping reel to handle the large warps that I was wanting to make and his regular size warping reel just could not handle the job!

Just to share what the regular one looks like, here's Baby, my ebonized warping made by the talented Mr. Hokett and use for years for all of my warps since 2004. I also use Baby to demonstrate my little "Life of a Thread" show-and-tell lecture of how a warping reel works and how weavers keep control of so much yardage....this is a question I am very often asked!

I don't have a photo of Baby with warp being measured, but I will change that very soon. Baby is being used a LOT of late, and I can't believe I keep forgetting to take a photo of it all 'dressed' up!

Here's the Mini reel and, to get a purrrrrrrrrspective on the size of Baba see below!

This is only 60 yards on Baba in this photo. I usually measure out 70+ yards for my Desert Daze, but I could not get that 7th color that I wanted, so I finally gave up and went with the 8 colors.

You see how much taller Baba is than me, so I have to look over my glasses during the winding of the top 5 or 6 rounds....must be very careful here or I can get off track and have to UNwind (which is nooooo fun!) to get to the error and then go again.

Though I had thought that the Mini reel would be handy for just one or two scarves or warp for an inkle loom or card weaving warp, here's a photo of the Mini in use by one of Jim's customers...7 yards I think!!!
Isn't it just aborrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrable? Well.....I think so......I guess you have to be a weaver, huh?

One thing I want to mention as a way of sharing tricks of the trade.... notice on Baby, that I have a tube of white 'guide string' on there?  Well, I leave that one there all the time, and just measure out what I need as I go. To set that string up, I measured out each yard and marked the string all the way around with a Sharpie. Every 10th yard, I put a itty bitty tag with masking tape that is written the yardage mark....then I just spool off what I need to the appropriate mark and stick the tube onto the peg just beyond the peg that's needed to measure the accurate amount.

I have the same set-up for Baba....I reeeeeeeeeeeeally need it on Baba.....when you have to find that yardage marker and it 47 yardage, this trick sure is handy and a real (pardon the pun....reel) time saver! It takes awhile for the set-up, but then it's done. I use carpet warp for my guide string, so it's lasted literally years!

I know it's been a long while since I posted, but I have had my third event with sciatica. After weeks of horrid pain, I'm back to almost totally well. I still have to be careful how I move and how I sit, but my stride is back to normal and I've done something that might make it not happen always seemed to come on after weaving at one particular loom while sitting on one particular bench, so I asked my honey to cut the legs on that bench shorter by 1.75" and then...


Wish me well, wish me luck as a show is coming up and I hope I'm 'mended' enough. I'm trying to prepare for that show, have several irons in the fire and am trying to keep that fire burning, too! Until next time (not so long, I hope) I'm sending out happy thoughts of care and good wishes and...
Miles and Miles of Smiles, Cat B.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weaving The Sky

Okay....just as soon as the title words passed my lips, my mind went off somewhere up there....what work it would be to weave the sky, but... well....  yesterday, that's exactly what I did. Okay, let me explain....
Now...while looking at this image....stand back from your computer screen and squint your, I'm not have to stand back a bit and squint.

This is the image that came to me in my Twilight Sleep. Well, that's what I call it anyway, because something is "dawning" on me!!! In previous posts, I have written about changing what I'm doing and getting back to some of my creative projects that require constant adaptions.... With that decision on my mind, I'd been thinking about doing this piece (for a couple of YEARS!) and it finally came to me how I wanted to begin.

Do you see it? It's mountains with a lively sky above, full of clouds and wind and the cool, dry air of the high mountain desert....and this is right outside my east side studio windows.

Now, you see the plain, area at the top? That's the part of the sky that I wove yesterday. If you look more closely, you can see that every art piece is handwoven fabric from my yardage. Some were woven to create my fabric flowers (but never did) and some are purposely cut to depict what I see. Now these fabric strips are just laying around and, needless to say, I've done a LOT of work with them since, and the piece is much more refined.

The next photo here is a sneek peek at the hair of this piece....

Okay, did I just write HAIR?

Let me elaborate on the physical fact first....each one of the threads and yarns was introduced to the surface of my fiber art piece one at a time. Yes, here are hundreds....but you do what is needed for art, right?

To elaborate further, this is the hair of
"Morning Sky Woman". I've been very busy creating her world and then putting her in it....copied from my world....and such a lovely world it is, too...

I must interject here that I have been classically trained in many art media and I am rather proficient in some of them to this day....but....this is the first art piece that inspired poetic words to come repeatedly into my mind and not leave me alone until I wrote them down. So here goes....

Morning sky woman
Gift of first light
A moment-lived vision
On the edge of the night.

Morning sky woman
Ends twilight sleep
With promises of wonder
And magic to keep.

Morning sky woman
urges me awake
Born of light...of clouds...
And the breath of daybreak.

By Cat Brysch 2013@

Since I wrote these words down, they have guided me on with every stitch of this piece and I have put thousands into it.... so far. I don't want to show more because she will change over time. I had hoped to enter her in the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta happening in May of this year, but the deadline is too close and she needs more time to 'grow'. I was racing to complete her enough for a photo, and I noticed that ideas stopped flowing and I never could have done her justice, if I had continued to try to rush. I still am so very disappointed that I cannot show her this year at this event....the next is not for another two years....I am sad, but I must delay her presentation.

She is a part of me now and will take as much time as she needs.

Which brings me to another Twilight's  an early dawn dream state that I enter. I solve all kinds of problems while in it, I find lost items while in it, I work out ideas while in it, I find peace and comfort with heart-breaking things that have happened while I'm in it and it's a magical realm to me that I totally respect. There is no predicting what I will "know" each day....I've learned over the years to just go with the flow. I'm never surprised by the revelations ~ Twilight Sleep doesn't happen every day, but it does seem to happen just when I need it the most. I am so fortunate that I can 'go' there...... hmmm....or does it come to me.?

I think Twilight Sleep is the very best part of a creative life. I know it's not new...people say, "Let me sleep on it and call you in the morning...". It works for all of us, if we become more observant, more receptive. It is worth the time to live with it and see what might come to you...if you only listen....

I have often said, when asked to describe art, that art is result of the soul and the heart speaking to one another and the mind, wise enough, listens and obeys....

Happy Dreaming and I am sending Miles and Miles of Smiles,  Cat B.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Many Kinds of Heaven

We all have our own ideas about what heaven would be like and, this morning, I am in my own kind of heaven. The morning sunshine is streaming into my east windows, warming me in my black sweater, the music "Seven Falls" by Marshall Styler, is echoing through the studio with such ethereal beauty that I feel am quietly breathing in the music itself, and I'm weaving on my loom named Grace. What could be better?

This morning light is so good for weaving lace....the cross-light makes the lace patterns 'pop', adding joy to the weaving.

I've got the whole day to focus on whatever I want ~ no taxes, no paperwork ~ a time of introspection and least for today...

So, I thought I'd "put to paper" a run down of what's in the works...As my last post says, I have been thinking a LOT about what the last year has meant to me. There have been successes, some challenges, some hopes and dreams that need rearranging. I'm still "me", but after my tremendous effort to make what I do financially viable, I see that there is more funds but less joy....this seems too out of balance for me and fun will be added to the program after I, as my dear husband says, "reboot".

My last post saw a statement that I am going to resurrect my fiber art, make it a more prominent part of my creative life, and, with that repeated, I am happy to say that a fiber art piece which was 'born' some 2 years ago, was finally 'fleshed out' yesterday....I am so excited! It's real now!

I have no photos, of course, except what has been envisioned in my brain for so long....but I can describe the materials in worry, there will not be a test, but here goes....the fiber art piece will contain handwoven fabric, fabric paints, thrums, metallic threads of all kinds, beads, novelty yarns, blended yarns/fibers of cotton, silk, rayon, lyocel, wool, nylon, viscose and my own formulas of adhesives and emulsions. The labor involved will include weaving, stitching, fiber casting, couching, beading, fiber sculpting, quilting, piecing and fabric painting... thank goodness the work list is shorter, huh?

When looking to the future, there's some things that I want to maintain ~ weaving, of course and I must continue with my Desert Daze fabrics...this fabric is as much of part of me as the fiber art, is still inspired by the natural world around me and came to me in such an mental explosion of thought that I almost fell OVER!

Yes, it must remain, this lovely yardage and in whatever form it may become.

Then there's the "art yardage"... I don't know what else to call it. It was an adventure to weave and to make ready for exhibition. I look forward to my next big adventure in this area of
weaving, and I have more ideas "growing" every day!

There was sooooooooooo much work involved with this piece after the complicated weaving process... but I loved every minute of it! This photos
here show the process of adding a backing. Since the yardage exhibition in
Long Beach, Convergence 2012 was to be seen from both sides, I felt that
people deserved to see the very best I could went the backing!
You can see the back uncovered in the photo after this one...

Needless to say, it took up a GREAT deal of space, but I got a system down for creating a huge space for work like this.

I use this huge set-up for the photographing my work, too...

Then there's the blankets....yes, I have to continue with my blankets....I started with blankets all those 42 something years ago, and they are still dear to my heart.

I end this message of hope with a smile and happy thoughts.

I am struck with a feeling of being about as blessed as an old weaver has the right to be....

I am aware of every moment of the life I have, the craft that is in my mind and in my heart and I am sending many happy thoughts out with...

Miles and Miles of Smiles,
Cat B.