Thursday, October 8, 2015

Extracurricular photos from Gatlinburg

I am amazed by the juxtapositions I see in Gatlinburg. Just fascinating.
The entrance to Arrowmont. For those who don't know, Arrowmont is a school of arts and crafts where people can go for workshops of very high quality. It is a serious institution in a very strange tourist town.
This is my class work. Made from trash found on the Gatlinburg strip. 
Pumpkin spice liberation army. action against mindless consumerism. The T-shirt is the problem. Carol Lung. 
Sign outside the Salt and Pepper museum. They were closed when I got there. I hope to get inside today.
face in the pavement.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Critical crafting

I am at Arrowmont, in Gatlinburg Tennessee, for the preconference intensive workshops. My worksho Is with Ann Norton. Last night we warped our frame looms. Today we will walk the streets of Gatlinburg and look for weaveable garbage, and cast off ephemera. 

I shared a shuttle yesterday with Namita Gupta Wiggers. She is the former director of the craft mueseum in Portland Oregan, founder of Critical Craft Forum, and the juror for the show Materialities, here at Arrowmont. Look her up. Her name pops right up in a Google search. I got to spend a lot of time with her yesterday. She is warm, funny, and curious. I had the privilege of walking the show with her and hearing her insights about the pieces she chose. 
In some ways this week is shaping up to be like a return to art school crossed with summer camp. I am in a three person room with a shared bath down the hall. My roommate is very nice and considerate. It is pretty quiet, even though the driveway empties out on the main strip in Gatlinburg. Last night I heard the town referee to as "hillbilly Las Vegas". One of the things I could do this week would be to watch a lumberjack competition. And drink moonshine. The moonshine store is right next to the candy shop. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

On my way to SDA

It has been 25 years since the last time I went to Arrowmont in Gatilinburg TN. I can't wait to see what has changed and what has remained the same. Like the last time, I will be taking a tapestry workshop. This time it is with Ann Morton. It will be more conceptually based, and we will use items from around town, as we collect from merchants, and share with each other. I have been focusing more on traditional tapestry techniques lately, so I am eager to think differently.  On the other hand, I remembered with a bit of a surprise a project I did 15 years ago that might be similar to what we are about to do. I warped an entire room ( The Art Apartment) in downtown East Lansing, and invited community members to come weave with me. People came. They brought yarn, plastic bags, clothing,  bandanas and much more, I invited each person to write their story in the journals I kept with the project. I promised them all this project was a one time only deal and would never be displayed elsewhere. An article about the project was published in the September 2001 issue of Fiberarts magazine. It was an amazing experience. People shared their words and their stories, and wove with items that had personal meaning, even though they knew it would never be seen again. 

After the Morton workshop, I will be attending the Surface Design Association conference; Made/Aware. The theme of this conference will be on making a difference with fiber arts, from recycling to building community. Right up my alley! I will work with and meet several of my heroes, (Catherine Ellis, Rowland Rickets for instance) and re-connect with my old school mate Fran Dorsey. 

I hope to blog about my experience several times this week. 

Friday, September 25, 2015


I am a recovering and relocated artist in a deluxe setting: big well equipped studio with a view.

After 10 years of running a small business, and 18 months of planning an house and a move, it is high time I get serious about this art thing. (Those who know me, or read my blog are forgiven if they are thinking "This again" or "Still?")

But now I feel that I have all the right pieces. I might even know where most of them are, and am starting to put those pieces together.
Here is my strategy:

1) meet as many local artists as I can.

2) Become familiar with all the arts organizations in the region - meaning "northwest Michigan". Get involved with a few. This will take some time to figure out.

3) Most important! Time in the studio. Everyday. Or at least 5 days per week. Or 4. Balance is also important. My house still needs lots of work - and then there are those friends and family that deserve a bit of time.

4) Also very important! It doesn't matter what happens in the studio. I can read in there. I can stare out the window. I can plan classes. I will draw everyday. And weave some. Spin some. Play around quite a bit. Try new stuff, or very old stuff that I used to like to do.

5) No judgement. So I can try stuff without fear. It is mental exercise. As with yoga, you are also not supposed to judge your forward bend. You are just supposed to do it, and be glad you did. If at the end of the day I like something I make, I might let it go out.

I have been working with this process for a week or so. I am feeling good about it. Nothing to send off to the galleries yet, but I can feel a blossoming. If you care to share your process in the comments I would enjoy reading about it.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hello Fall!

I have two classes on my schedule for this Fall. One at Woven Art in East Lansing. Two  at Interlochen this October. Please read on for details.

Hello Routine! How I have missed you!

Beginning Multi Harness Loom WeavingLearn how to warp (set up) the multiharness loom with a two color warp, and weave basic structures including plain, basket and twill. Discover how color and structure influence each other. You will have a library of patterns when you are finished. If you are a fast weaver, you will have time to plan and complete a simple project of your own choosing with instructor guidance. 
If you are an experienced weaver and would like to move to the next step - I would love to have you in class! Please go to, click on the Classes I Teach tab, and read about my suggested weaving curriculum. 
Class meets Tuesdays October 13 to December 15:15 to 7:45 p.m.$120At Woven Art in East Lansing. Call 517-203-4467 to enroll

Twist and shape! Learn the ancient art of coil basketry in this workshop. 
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Class held from 9 a.m. to Noon
Registration: $65 / Supply Fee: $10
In this three-hour introductory course, you will learn about the ancient art of coil basketry by creating your own colorful basket. Fiber artist Nancy McRay will teach you how to begin the bottom coil of your basket, attach new layers, control the shape and add additional stitches for texture. Students will also learn how to incorporate color patterns and be inspired by both traditional and contemporary artists working with this technique. You will be amazed as your basket takes shape before your eyes as you wrap, coil, and stitch with basic, everyday materials. Continue your experience and learn even more technqiues by registering for the Coil Basketry Package. All supplies will be provided by the instructor. All skill levels welcome. 
Register Here for the October 18th Coil Basketry Package
Extend your experience and sign up for both the 3-Hour Introduction to Coil Basketry and 3-Hour Additional Techniques in Coil Basketry and receive a price break on your registration. Enjoy a full day of coil basketry for only $125 (supplies included). 
- See more at:

A continuation of the concepts and techniques covered in the 3-Hour Introduction to Coil Basketry workshop. 
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Class held from 2 to 5 p.m.
Registration: $65 / Supply Fee: $10
This course is a continuation of the concepts and techniques covered in the 3-Hour Introduction to Coil Basketry workshop and/or is a course for those students who are looking to enhance their previously developed coil basketry skills. Further guidance and additional concepts will be provided by the instructor. All supplies will be provided by the instructor.
Register Here for the Coil Basketry Package                                                       
Extend your experience and sign up for both the 3-Hour Introduction to Coil Basketry and the 3-Hour Additional Techniques in Coil Basketry and receive a price break on your registration. Enjoy a full day of coil basketry for only $125 (supplies included). 
- See more at:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

No excuses

Studio is set up.
It's a rainy day.
There are no contractors here today.

It's the day I have been waiting for.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Throw me a life jacket!

I am in my new studio, watching all of my countertops being unloaded from a truck. Our house is not quite finished, but I am happy to be living here.

I have heard it said that moving ranks as one of the most stressful events. There is all the packing, unpacking and other logistical stuff. But maybe the most stressful part is the total lack of routine. All the old routines have been trashed and new ones must be built. Where to buy groceries, how to make my morning coffee and where to drink it. I am surprised by how attached I am to my rituals and habits. When all else is going haywire, I cling to the simple actions that mark my days. My routines create some form and structure. I rely on them to get me through tough times. The more deeply entrenched the habit - the harder it is to break. The flip side would be a new sense of freedom and possibility. New house, new neighbors, new studio. Good time to develop some new and improved routines.

Top of my list is figuring out my studio. I have lots of art and fiber related books. I have lots of yarn. My equipment is pretty darn big. Making sense of it all so that I can clear a new space to create is my current challenge.