Monday, April 30, 2018

New Mexico Fiber Crawl

Lucky for me that I live in a state where fiber arts play such a large role in the history as well as the current livelihood of so many people. There is much support for those of us who carry on the work of raising and working with fiber.

The Española Valley Fiber Arts Center Shop

In Northern New Mexico, there is a small but mighty center of activity in the fiber arts world, the Española Valley Fiber Arts Center. "Our programs aim to increase markets for area farmers producing raw fiber (for example, heirloom Navajo-Churro wool, other wool including mohair, llama, alpaca, angora, bison and yak) by serving fiber art hobbyists, newly discovered talent, novice micro-entrepreneurs, seasoned fiber artists, and those looking to acquire a marketable skill rooted in local traditions such as weaving." I have been a member ever since I first stepped through their doors, several years  before I came to live in New Mexico. 




A brainchild of the EVFAC is the New Mexico Fiber CrawlThe crawl encompasses a massive 135-mile total radius and is divided into several geographic regions: Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Española, and Taos. It has given local artists in New Mexico much-needed opportunities to supplement their income by bringing the market to them. During the crawl, fiber artists, culture centers, galleries, farms, and museums open their doors to fiber enthusiasts for a behind-the-scenes tour of the fiber art world. Visitors gain a better understanding of the materials used, the process that goes into making the final product, the diverse culture and contexts behind each piece, and the people who make them. There are often demonstrations at each site and artisan-made products available for sale. Now in it's second year, it has grown significantly. Last year, I hosted several friends at my house. You can read about it HERE. We had a blast! But, being sort of off the beaten path, our number of visitors was pretty small. This year, I've chosen to join a group of artisans showing in Albuquerque.

During this year's Fiber Crawl, you can find me at the Designers Warehouse in Albuquerque, weaving all weekend.
Along with me will be 5 other fiber artisans showcasing a variety of talents.
Read about our group at the link below and come visit us on May 18th, 19th, and 20th. 
Designers Warehouse Artists Group



Sunday, April 22, 2018

New Mexico Mountainscape

When I have more time to pursue weaving just for fun, I swear I'm going to do some tapestry weaving. I like the idea of weaving pictures. In the meantime, I've found a way to weave little landscapes every now and then on my inkle loom. 
Here's my latest, entitled "New Mexico Mountainscape".
It was created for a show sponsored by the Albuquerque Fiber Arts Council in early April.
The show was cleverly called "Earth, Wind and Fiber".    It was amazing!

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them and see more detail. 






For the sky, I used my go-to yarn, Omega Sinfonia and a little bit of thick and thin "cotton flake" in darker blue to give a bit of texture to the clouds.
The green of the mountains is Reynolds Saucy, a now discontinued yarn which I still have a small stash of. It's a bit thicker than the background yarn which makes the mountains look more solid.
Behind the mountains is some hand-painted Sinfonia. See below for details about that.
The rocky foreground at the bottom of the band is made of some lovely variegated bamboo. To get a rocky texture, I used two strands as one and knotted them together at random intervals.

The yellow/green background yarn was the product of a warp-painting class which I took from a friend, Robin Pascal. You can see her lovely painted yarns HERE.
In my stashed lurked this pale orange Sinfonia, not a color I like much or could ever find a way to use. This was the perfect opportunity to make it into something else.
My original idea was to warp the loom, tie it off, paint the warp, put it  back on and just weave it as it was. Taking the warp off the loom and putting it back on was successful! Yay!
But, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the resulting band. So, instead, I just decided to wind it off the loom into a ball and some of it became background for the mountains.




In class, Robin had us painting the yarn with brushes. I even tried dyeing a loose skein without winding it into a larger loop first. Shown at front right. It sorta worked. The green ball at front left was wound into a loop, painted with several colors which ended up running into one another making a smooth and pretty green. 

See these posts for more landscapes which I've woven in the past:
Taos Mountain and the Rio Grande Gorge
Sandia Mountains

From the windows of my house, I can see the Sandia Mountains. Everywhere I travel in New Mexico, one or more ranges of mountains are in view. For this I am grateful!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Inkle Classes in My Home Studio

My home in the mountains near Albuquerque has proven to be a very nice place to have classes!! The New Mexico sun shines here almost every day, filling the spacious rooms with light.
The photo below was taken in the living room during a class on the basics of finger loop braiding.



My weaving room (AKA The Color Lab) houses a great stash of yarns! I always have my favorite cotton, Omega Sinfonia, on hand in sufficient quantities and colors for students to choose from. I also sell it from my Etsy shop HERE.



I've just finished creating a schedule of classes for 2018. There are several topics to choose from including:  Color & Design, Setting up & Weaving, Baltic-Style Pickup, and 3-Color Pickup.
For the full schedule, check HERE.  To sign up, send me an email to: iWeaveStraps@Gmail.com.
If these classes don't fit your schedule, contact me for a private lesson.

If you live far from Albuquerque, consider taking a vacation here! There are SO many amazing things to see! I'm working with local Airbnb hosts to provide accommodations to students who come from out of the area.

I'm especially excited to teach the two hour Color & Design Planning classes for the first time!
Playing with color is one of my favorite activities and I can teach you a thing or two about using color in your inkle designs. I have hundreds of woven swatches to look through for inspiration.
We can analyze them, talk about design elements and colors, and learn some do's and don'ts.
Try my method for weaving up a quick sample without using your loom.
I'll  help you to chart your own designs on special graph paper so that you can take them with you to use when you set up your loom later. Or, stay for part two of the class and set up your loom while you are still here.



 I've written a tutorial on the 3-Color Pickup which has been used by weavers around the globe.
Now you can get the hands-on classroom version!
 I love this technique and the colorplay that it allows.


Find the tutorial HERE in my Etsy Shop.



Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Program

This year  marks my tenth one selling on Etsy.
I'm a big fan! They make it easy to set up shop even for people with minimal experience with online marketing. In about 2012 they created a classroom curriculum to help new sellers. It's called the Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Program.

In one class session, I became a model. The scarf is by Arlene Prescott of Santa Fe.
While she didn't pursue opening an Etsy shop, she's got a great website here.

In 2015, I became a CEP teacher. I love helping people to learn and launch their shops!
The program requires a non-profit organization as a partner to help organize the classes. Here in New Mexico, the partner is WESST. So far, they've brought the program to 7 cities in NM. In some cases there is grant money to help cover the expenses of the class, making them free or very inexpensive to the students.

In Etsy's words:

"Our mission is to expand access to microbusiness education for underrepresented creative entrepreneurs. By empowering organizations to utilize our curriculum, we are able to create pathways for entrepreneurship within the Etsy marketplace. The Craft Entrepreneurship curriculum is a hands-on educational toolkit that helps makers use their existing craft skills to learn how to start, manage, and grow a microbusiness. In partnership with organizations that value creative entrepreneurship, we can help cities across the world realize the vision of an inclusive, thriving Etsy Economy."

" Our curriculum is designed to be taught in-person by experienced, local Etsy sellers who are trained and prepared for the classroom. Participants put their learning directly into action by starting and running an Etsy shop..."

Learn more here. https://www.etsy.com/craftentrepreneurship



We are currently planning a class series in Española. Here's the flyer. Please share with anyone in Northern NM who you think might be interested.


An excellent benefit of the classes for me, is getting to meet artisans and crafters doing all sorts of cool stuff! Sometimes, I get to model! Sometimes I make new friends!
Here are a few links to students' shops:

Colorful cut paper collage: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MeredithBrittCollage

Sterling and stone jewelry: https://www.etsy.com/shop/byXathena

Knitwear: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BobbieknitsBoutique

Stained glass and wood: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ManitaSW

Beeswax candles: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BeeTaosLight

Paper cuts and illustrations: https://www.etsy.com/shop/studiokaleta

Statement necklaces: https://www.etsy.com/shop/JewelsOfLaLobaStudio

Art prints: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArielaBoronat

My 3 Etsy shops are here:
Assorted woven straps and bands, yarn, tools, tutorials:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/ASpinnerWeaver
Guitar Straps: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WeaverGuitarStraps
Sashes and straps for historic costume: https://www.etsy.com/shop/iWeaveSashes