Thursday, March 27, 2014

Do you have what it takes to be a Designing Weaver?

One of my favorite art groups I belong to is Designing Weavers.  It is the one group that really inspires me to do more creative, more intricate, more professional... well...inspired to do all together better artwork.  I come back from meetings hyped and inspired and my latest creations clearly have been influenced by the group.

Anyway, once a year we jury a few new members into the group.  Now is your chance to come visit a Designing Weavers meeting and see if you have what it takes to be a Designing Weaver.

Here is the press release with the details...


Membership Period Opens for Designing Weavers

Designing Weavers is currently seeking artists who:

·       Enjoy sharing their joy of fiber with others
·       Whose fiber creations have a sense of style and expertise
·       Who wish to take a professional approach to their art
·       And want to be challenged to take their work to a higher level.

Designing Weavers, a nationally recognized group of fiber artists, is a vital organization with a long history of encouraging excellence in the fiber community.  All members are juried into the group and actively participate in the organization while striving to improve their individual level of creative achievement.   Designing Weavers began in the early 1970s with a small group of women coming together to share their knowledge of weaving. The group continues to be a strong force in the art and design community and contains a number of nationally known fiber teachers, artists and designers.  Check out our current members at

One benefit of membership is the camaraderie with other respected fiber artists, many of whom attribute advances in their work to inspiration gained from the group dialogues.  The members’ interactions often provide insights into methods of meeting artistic challenges and discovering new ways of working.

The yearly project offers opportunities to grow and develop as an artist.  Hearing how other members approach a new work, make plans, develop the piece, overcome difficulties met along the way, and create a display mechanism is very inspirational and fuels their collective creativity.  Honing personal presentation skills among friendly colleagues and getting constructive feedback is an added benefit. 

Designing Weavers continues to be dynamic by encouraging individual development and providing opportunities to showcase the group’s collective work.  The stability and strength of Designing Weavers comes from the accomplishments and commitments of the diverse membership.

Do you wonder whether you have what it takes to be a Designing Weaver?
Come to a meeting and find out!

Fiber artists interested in joining Designing Weavers must visit either the April 23rd or the May 28th meeting and provide a short introduction to their work.  The meetings are in the evening from 6:30 – 9pm with an optional dinner at 5.

After attending one meeting any fiber artist who wishes to be considered for membership beginning the following year (commencing in September of each year) should submit a short resume of his/her fiber art experience along with samples or photographs (not slides) to the Membership Chair no later than June 30. Regular meeting attendance is required throughout the year in order to maintain membership. Meetings are held in Los Angeles, CA, nine times a year.

If you are interested in joining please contact Carollee Howes, the current President of Designing Weavers at   

Monday, March 24, 2014

California Fiber Artists - 10 years of extraordinary art

I belong to a great artist group; California Fiber Artists and I just finished putting together our new Marketing Portfolio for 2014.    The portfolio is hot off the presses!   Take the preview and check out the wonderful work the group does.    It never ceases to amaze me - the diversity and beauty we can achieve with fiber.

In addition to our portfolio you can check out our work in person at the following two venues:

Family of Flower Beetles
part of Best of the Best
In Monroe Washington

California Fiber Artists present WILD an exclusive exhibit designed by CFA for the Saaski Gallery.

Where:               Saaski Gallery
                          17161 Beaton Road SE  
                          Monroe, Washington 98272
Exhibit Dates:      March 13th - May 31st

In Carlsbad California (a great spot to break off the 5 freeway between LA and San Diego!)  California Fiber Artists present Best of the Best commemorating 10 years of extraordinary art!

Where:             Front Porch Gallery
                        2903 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Exhibit Dates:  March 30-May 25th
Reception:       March 30 from 2-4pm
Gallery hours: Wed-Fri: Noon -6pm and Sat/Sun: 11am-5pm

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A New Project with High Twist Yarn

My sample...yes I sampled!
 The minute I saw this black and white yarn I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.  But more on that later...

I began with the thought this would be a fairly simple project; just eight feet of yardage woven in plain weave.  Straight and lovely edges would be a must. The final size would be critical since I would be creating a frame for another piece of art.

The yarn is a high twist yarn...a very high twist fact this is the yarn with the biggest twist I have every seen in my life.  Without any tension it simply curls around itself or around anything nearby.  That makes doing anything with it a battle.  Even turning the skein into a ball of yarn was a chore.  Measuring out the warp was a nightmare with all the ends continuously twisting around itself.  Warping was another formidable battle but once on the loom under tension all seemed well.  All the things I knew about weaving didn't seem to work well with this yarn.  But I adapted and am happy with the initial results.

This is the first time I will be weaving across the entire weaving width of my Gilmore loom.  It's 32 inches wide.  The only way I have found to make it work is to stand up and weave.  My arms are just long enough to throw my biggest boat shuttle across the warp and catch it on the other side.  A couple more inches in arm length would be quite useful.  

I have always cuffed up my sleeves of my shirts and jackets and never thought twice about it until I went to golf school where I learned I had shorter than average arms for a woman. I was being custom fit for a set of golf clubs by a couple of golf pros (men of course) who were having the toughest time getting my golf swing to work with any of the women's clubs.  They kept telling me to stop bending over so much...I kept saying I couldn't hit the ball unless I bent over...  Finally one of them suggested longer clubs.  The other argued it was my stance...  When they finally swapped me over to those longer men's clubs it was a miracle... my posture improved and the golf balls went twice as a far.  Great clubs....but I gave up golf entirely once I retired from the corporate world.  Now I weave.

I wove the first bobbin worth of weft today on the new warp.  I have to check every shed before beating to make sure there is no twisting of the yarn so its a bit of a slow go.  I was able to get 7 inches of material from one's the longest bobbin I have - 10 inches.   So at that rate if I weave one bobbin a day, it will be done in two weeks.  Not bad!  

So now I have three things to do every day... weave on my Gilmore, weave on my big Shannock and work on refinishing my counterbalance loom.   Lot's of stuff happening this month!

Day one:  the first seven inches...

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Beetles in the Wild

I am excited to have two species of my woven beetles in the WILD exhibit at the Saaski Gallery in Monroe Washington.  I do love beetles and love capturing them in fiber.  

Below is a photo of one the two species at the exhibit - a dragon beetle from Thailand.  This is my interpretation of the Dicranocephalus wallichi wallichii woven with rayon and metallic sewing thread.  It is mounted on zebra hardwood.

Dragon Beetles 

WILD is an exhibit by California Fiber Artists so it is packed with fabulous pieces by a couple dozen artists.  If you are in the Seattle area March 13th - May 31st do check it out!

Where:    The Saaski Gallery
Address: 17161 Beaton Road SW, Monroe, WA
When:     March 13th-May 31st, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Arm Knitting

Look!  Here is my latest project... it is not woven... oh my it's knitted!

 I did not knit until I was 50. No knitting until I was 50 had been my mantra for many decades.    I actually started blogging to document my tumbling down into the rabbit hole of knitting.  Would I change from a weaving diva to a knitting knut?

Well, if you had been reading my blog way back when you would have seen I gave knitting a good shot yet in the end I simply was not a knitting knut.  It took way too much concentration.  I really was looking for something I could do while watching TV at night.  I failed miserably at the knitting/TV thing.  I could knit or purl with wild abandon.  However, anything requiring any concentration; like a pattern or counting the number of stitches...ah the mistakes would outnumber the correct stitches...I couldn't even do that simple pattern...(hmmm what was it...two knits, two purls and repeat over and over again.)

My First Arm
Knitted Scarf
Anyway, one of my face book friends said she had watched a fun video on arm knitting  which for some reason I watched.  Check it out if you haven't seen it done before. The instructions are right on. 

I was intrigued.  Knitting without needles.   I promptly went out and bought some thick bulky yarn as recommended in the video.  There was none in my extensive stash. This is yarn I would never in my wildest dreams have purchased for any reason.  And would have never known what to do with.  Now I know at least one reason...

2nd Scarf - going for less bulk
 and more color contrast
My first attempt at arm knitting took about fifty minutes with the TV on and included multiple watching of the YouTube video. Once I got knitting it was quite a hoot!  Knitting without knitting needles.  You just move the yarn from one arm to the other and end up making these huge loops.

 I didn't make my scarf as bulky as in the video.  Wearing anything that thick in Southern California will bring on a fever.  After completing one I was hooked.  I tried making them less bulky and more colorful by incorporating yarns from my stash.  Next I added some left overs from my silk tie project and then hit my bead boxes.  My favorite is the orange one above with pink clay beads that pull down and distort the knit.

I know there is something 'out of the box'  I can do with this concept of arm knitting will come to me eventually.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Weaving with Camel

Weaving in my studio
I am all ready for Christmas so I decided to warp my floor loom with some new yarn that Santa brought from WEBS.  It's a perfect concept; weaving by the Christmas tree with Christmas music playing in the background and a fire in the fireplace.

I have three cones of camel yarn which I received a couple of weeks ago.  Never woven with camel before.  Never touched camel before.  I don't even know if I am allergic to camel... seems a bit itchy... way different than the silk and bamboo yarns I have been weaving with for years.

I have both the warp and weft done in camel.  The warp is one shade.  It seems a bit hairier than the other two cones.  Not sure how any of this yarn will work; nor do I have a clue what to do with it.  I don't like just weaving for the sake of weaving so for now, I will assume this warp could turn into a runner.

This is a 'sample' warp; so I get to play.  I have no set pattern in mind. It's set at 12 ends per inch in what I believe is a huck lace set-up.  It's the same tie-up I used for some recent scarves.   I just went from two threads per dent to one.

I have woven over a foot so far trying out the three yarns as weft.  It does have a nice drape albeit itchy.  

And the colors are quite calming...a perfect pre-Christmas weave.  

PS  I plan on weaving a few more feet then see what a wet finishing will do... more later.

And even closer...

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A Bubbly Bug

My Bubbly Bug
This is a fun piece I created for the remnants exhibit, an exhibit of California Fiber Artists at the Harrington Gallery in Pleasanton.  I was challenged earlier this year to create a piece using bubble wrap.   And this is what I came up with!

It started with a photo my husband took at the UCLA arboretum of some ladybugs.  And it has morphed into a pixelated fiber creation of bubble wrap, men's silk ties, plastic fruit bags and old thread.  I created it in several layers if bubble wrap which I ironed together melting the plastic.  I later cut and collaged the three layers together and ironed the piece for the very last time.   See below on how each layer was created.

Do check out the exhibit if you are in the Pleasanton area...

An exhibit by California Fiber Artists at the Harrington Gallery
Firehouse Art Center
Pleasanton California
November 6th-December 18th, 2013

Colored fruit bags were cut up into small pieces
 and  dropped on top of the bubble wrap then melted.

Thread circles where placed inside
the bubbles of the bubble wrap

Men's silk ties were cut into circles
and put inside the bubbles

The Year of the Ladybug

It's the Year of the Ladybug! 

This is my favorite project every year...selecting a beetle species and weaving small specimens to put under glass.  This year I selected the friendly and popular ladybug.     Each one is slightly different in pattern, background color, warp color or simply that unruly warp catching the shuttle every once in awhile.

I just finished placing them under glass and now they are ready for the Designing Weavers Exhibit and Holiday Sale the weekend before Thanksgiving.  If your are in the Sierra Madre area stop by and sale hello to my ladybugs.

When:  November 23rd & 24th
Time:   10am-4pm
What:   Designing Weavers Exhibit & Holiday Sale
Where: The Sierra Madre Women's Club
             550 West Sierra Madre Blvd. Sierra Madre