Thursday, February 16, 2012

Community Threads: Week 31

The Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners in Alliston and their guests continue to weave on their community tapestries. Elisabeth arrived with yet another section of her tapestry completed - a New Tecumseth hockey player. What a beautiful job she did. She has already made an enormous contribution to the Community Threads Project.

Linda Needles writes: At our last get together in Alice's Attic, we again saw an increase in the number of members and visitors who are coming out to see the Community Threads tapestries progress. Beth, a guild member who has a busy job and has not been out to see us in a long time, wanted to come and see what all this tapestry talk was about. Deb, a fairly new member returned this week and planned to work on the tapestry sampler loom but instead, got hooked on trying her hand at table loom weaving. (She was inspired by Dawna who was working on her overshot runner). We also welcomed Melanie,a visitor from the community who had heard about the project from a guild member, but. Nellie continues to be a great help on this project and helped to wind balls of wool. Sandi and Elisabeth sorted colours for the next tapestry. Wendy worked on repairing a loom and Linda and Jackie wove on the Gobelin loom, while Bonnie and Jean repaired the drum carder. Lots of things to do in our busy studio.
Valerie worked at making a warp for the next tapestry on the Penelope loom. She has already completed a tapestry and is now working on her second.

We also had a very special visitor. Marsha, the Executive Assistant at the Gibson Centre, frequently drops in to see us about administrative issues and constantly admires what we are creating. We chide her about how she needs to actually come and sit down to help us weave. Last week she had promised that she would enter it in to her appointment calendar so, sure enough, she arrived at 11:00 am and sat down at the Gobelin Loom beside Beth and they worked away and chatted for about 1/2 hr. She was more than enthusiastic about how cool the experience was. She is the blond on the left. It is great to see the camaraderie that evolves when individuals come together with such purpose.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Exploring the Possibilities

The tapestry weavers in my weaving class are so seldomly featured on my blog that I thought I would dedicate todays entry to them . They work away...usually quietly though at times they can get into very animated and have deep discussions. I've come to believe that the tapestry weavers are the philisophers among all the other weavers. Perhaps the process of tapestry weaving draws that kind of person - a person with profound thoughts and insightful points of view. I have not met a tapestry weaver who I would consider to be dull even if tapestry weaving is repetitive. Monday mornings has come to be the time when we have more tapestry weavers than other kind of weavers in the class. For me, a treat. Entirely different considerations in tapestry weaving. Technically, not as rigourous and demanding as other kinds of weaving. I wanted to talk about tapestry weavers this week because I think they have some important approaches that other weavers can learn and benefit from.

First and foremost, tapestry weavers tend to be an adventourous lot. They are usually up for exploring the possibilities of their creative endeavours and this I think translates in how they lead their lives. Most of the tapestry weavers I know have constructed an unusual life....and not a life that is prescribed. They take chances, and take risks.....and usually have surprising results that would make many envious. They think outside the box, perhaps because often they cannot fit into the box! This sampler, done by Pauline Abraham, is a perfect illustration of what I'm talking about. Most people I know that have done this sampler have done exactly what I told them to do, rarely departing from the format. Pauline was unable to restrain her own creative forces and it came surging through her sample. She explored. She experimented and did not concern herself with what I thought or anyone else. She asked herself, as she placed colours and threads side by side....what if I did this or that? She saw new possiblilities and explored them.

Which brings me to discuss another person who took her introduction to tapestry weaving with me - Susan Middleton. Susan is a talented artist. She also, could no longer be restrained from pursueing her dream. After being a teacher for many years, and fighting off her irrational desire to be a tapestry weaver and artist, she finally relinquished her fears and her job to make her dreams come true. The first thing she did was study with a tapestry weaver in Belgium. Upon her return she bought a beautiful Glimarka tapestry loom (no longer being made) and rented a studio space. This past summer, on her own, she created a wide range of yarns for weaving her tapestries, all dyed with natural dyes. This she did after attending a conference/trade show in France that was about natural dyes.

When one pursues what one loves, although we wrestle with our fears, it makes for a most interesting journey. We feel more alive. More real. There is no rule book. One advances a step at a time. Opening doors to new possibilities. Making new connections. Growing in our creativity, our technical abilities, but above all having nourishing and positive relationships with ourselves and with others. We need this fertile environment to flourish in every way. If you'd like to see more of Susan's work you can go to

And so happy weaving and may it be your path to a bliss and joy.