I’m back from ANWG, where my classes went super well! I had seven students in my color workshop, and a full house in both painted warp seminars (40 students total). There was a lot of enthusiasm for the online course I’m developing on painted warps, and the color mixing tool was a real hit as well. And it was wonderful getting to see lots of old friends, and meet new ones!
I particularly enjoyed wandering the exhibit halls, where there were many inspiring pieces. I was particularly taken by the grand prize winner, a jacket titled “What Rubbish” by Marlene Randall. It was a handwoven jacket woven from strips of denim jeans, lined with an indigo-dyed recycled sheet, and embellished beautifully with sashiko and an embroidered yellow flower. It was well-cut and exquisitely sewn – beautiful!
Marlene generously gave me permission to post a photo of “What Rubbish,” so here it is:
Another piece I found inspiring was titled “Rainbow Gathering,” by Kathleen O’Hern. This piece was a set of interwoven copper wires in a distorted grid pattern (lots of curvy bits!), with brightly colored, rainbow-y “squares” woven tapestry-style in the grid, in checkerboard fashion. Only, because the grid wasn’t square, neither were the squares. I loved the dynamic feel of the piece, and the way the colors spanned the rainbow without being in “marching rainbow order”. A very nice use of color!
And I bought four gorgeous blue-and-green tea towels from Laura Fry, because they’re gorgeous and I needed towels for the gym. Yes, I know, sacrilegious, but I go to the gym almost every day, and I like having beautiful gym towels! Pix soon, I promise!
But the most surprising thing about ANWG is that I came home with a tiara!
I was awarded the tiara by fellow teacher Mary Lessman, who gives tiaras to people who have “changed her life forever – for the better, of course.” She says she never tells them how they have changed her life, just that they have. What an honor! Thank you, Mary.
I joined the Tiara Tribe (there are currently 26 members) that evening, in a special ceremony attended by six other members of the Tribe (and a bottle of whiskey!):
Mary did share with me half the reason (not the whole reason) I was getting the tiara. She told me that her sister has been struggling with bipolar disorder, reads my blog, and had found my writings on bipolar disorder very helpful to her. I’m really glad to hear that.
A note to Mary’s sister, if you are reading this: Thank you for letting Mary tell me that. Because, while I write my blog for the world, I wrote my essays on bipolar disorder especially for you, and other people with bipolar disorder/mental illness. Thank you for letting me know I made a difference. That makes a big difference to me. It’s why I write.
Anyway, I came home from ANWG feeling refreshed and inspired. I spent almost two hours in the exhibit halls, absorbing the creative spirit, and came home feeling an urge to do new work again, for the first time in almost three years. And I think the business is finally at the point where I might be able to start taking weekends off again and do that new work.
I’ve been working more or less nonstop for the last three years, learning how to build online courses, set up a website, do email marketing, teaching online courses, and incidentally setting up and building a business. It hasn’t been drudgery by any means – I’ve been working seven days a week on it partly because it’s been a fascinating and totally engrossing project – but I don’t think it’s healthy to have been so obsessed, either, so now that I have a glimmer of inspiration, I’m going to try to hang onto it this time.
So I’m going to start sketching out this new project. I need to manage it on two fronts. The first is sketching out the creative side of the project, which is still pretty unformed. It has a similar theme to the Tangram woman book project I did in 2010:
But I want to express the progression from very locked-down, logical, not-creative to more creative, free, open in jacquard-woven imagery. The idea is to go from flat, black and white imagery (no pile) in the bottom left, to brightly colored, luscious pile velvet in the top right. I think that will make for a really interesting piece!
But that also means weaving velvet. Ricki (my studio helper) is almost done threading the TC-2 (for which they should be awarded a medal!), but I still need to put together the tools – in particular, a velvet cantra and bobbins to fit it. It will be easier if I can do the 3D printing design myself, so yesterday night I installed FusionSoft 360 on my computer and I’m going to start learning how to design things for 3D printing today. Say a prayer for me – CAD programs are supposed to be difficult to learn to begin with, and on top of that, I’m terrible at 3D visualization, so I expect this to be a pretty steep learning curve.
Marlene Randall says
Thank you Tien! I’ve admired your amazing work for years so it is a great honour for me to see my name and work mentioned on your blog. You may certainly post a photo of “What Rubbish” if you like.
I loved “Rainbow Gathering,” by Kathleen O’Hern too. It’s one of the one’s I voted for for “People’s Choice”.
Tien Chiu says
Thanks! I’ll add a photo to the post now. Much appreciated!
Did you see the 3D printed gadgets Syne had along as gifties & for show-&-tell? she has her designs up at Thingiverse.
Tien Chiu says
I did not! I will have to ask her about them!