Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hidden Tapestry

When this book was recommended to me, I found the title to be intriguing. Because I had not heard of tapestry weaver, Jan Yoors, I did some quick internet research. It seems that he led a very unusual life. There were many facets to him and his story, each of which would be interesting to explore.

My husband and I read the book together, taking turns reading aloud to each other in the evenings. We were both hooked on the story!

Author Debra Dean really dug deep into her research. Through the use of documents, artifacts, diaries and first person accounts, she unfolds the story of Jan and his two wives, Annabert and Marianne.

While Hidden Tapestry is classified as a Biography/Art History book, it is so much more.
Biography, history, romance and adventure are all woven together in this tale.
It tells the story of the three individuals growing up in Belgium and their childhood friendships. It then follows them through the chaos of living in war-torn Europe in the 1940's and their immigration to America. Living in Bohemian Greenwich Village in the 1950's, they settled into a very extraordinary life as a family, living and working in their own tapestry-weaving workshop.

Jan spent many years traveling with Gypsy caravans and the book is full of interesting cultural detail about the Roma. We also learned much from the accounts of what it was like to live through World War II and it's aftermath. The characters showed us their determination, adaptability, resilience and what it takes to follow a dream.

When Jan is drawn to tapestry weaving, he is able to learn the art without formal schooling. As he moves more into designing the tapestries, Marianne and Annabert become his weavers. The author states, "All three were self-taught and had arrived at their mastery together. "
This part was of special interest to me. I have never had any formal art training, yet have made a life and living from weaving, too.
As a weaver this also was most interesting to read "Traditionally weavers use a special comb or beater to pack the weft thread down tightly against the previous row, but Marianne and Annabert used the tip of a screwdriver because that was the only tool they'd had available when they first started."

I highly recommend this book!

To learn more, visit the publishers website here: http://www.nupress.northwestern.edu/content/hidden-tapestry

In this video you can see many still photos of his work as well as the women weaving with screwdrivers.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

MOO Cards! I love them!

   New MOO cards arrived today! I love that I can get such an assortment in one pack. These are for        a special project for my friend in Japan. Fancy gettin' yourself some MOO cards, too?
   You can get 20% off your first order if you use this link. It says "Annie sent me."

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Exciting New Online Tool for Inkle Weavers!!

This is the best new thing to come along for inkle weavers in years!!!

It was created by Jeff Bigot of France. I am especially pleased since he wrote to tell me about it and cited my blog as one of his inspirations. How cool is that?
His other inspiration was The Corolignian Realm's Inkle Weaving Pattern Generator which has helped MANY inkle weavers over the last years.

Try out the new Inkle Loom Pattern Editor here:  http://www.raktres.net/projects/inkle_loom_svg/inkle_loom_svg.html

It has some outstanding features!

Here are some highlights:

  • *You can select your own colors using a color picker. Once you find the exact color you want, copy the HEX code and paste it into the Pattern Editor. Amazing! Here's the Color Picker site I  use:  https://htmlcolorcodes.com/color-picker/
  • *The cells are uniquely shaped to represent threads in a woven band, so you get a great preview of what your woven band will look like.
  • *With one click you can create a PNG file of your design and save it to your computer.
  • *Start your pattern on the left side, and click the SYMETRY button and it will automatically reverse the pattern and fill in the right side for you.
  • *Once the design is filled in, click the ROTATE button to try the colors in a different order within that pattern.

Below is a 1" wide piece that I wove and the pattern for it created with the Inkle Loom Pattern Editor.

I liked it so much that I modified the pattern to create a 2" version. On this blog, I offer many free patterns for inkle weavers to use.  Consider that any of the 1" patterns found HERE could be turned into a 2" pattern by adding some threads. Compare the design below to the one above.
The 1" version has 41 threads and the 2" version has 77 threads.

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