Tuesday, February 10, 2015


It can be a little harder to stay motivated in February. It is in fact one of my favorite months - containing several birthdays to celebrate, Valentines Day and at least one long weekend.

There is so much to look forward to - I find it hard to push ahead with the tasks at hand. I am currently working on my solo show at Grove Gallery.

The show will be called Journal Entries. It will consist of a tapestry series documenting a year plus one half of transition.
The opening reception will be on Sunday May 3, and there will be a talk back session on Wednesday May 6 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. You can come ask me questions about my process, technique or the series. 

At the same time I am working on an order for The Little  Gallery on Mackinaw Island.  I am making as many large shawls and coil baskets as I can. This pushes me to work, every day, on schedule. I find that this helps feed my creativity. It certainly stimulates production. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fiber in East Lansing

Yes Sir, There are three Fiber Shows in East Lansing, and all three are a must-see.

Scene Metro Space is hosting "Beyond Material". This traveling exhibit is a conceptual look at the history of fiber art and textiles in terms of art and craft. In other words, the pieces use traditional techniques, in a new and sometimes twisted way to comment of the field of fiber arts. Kind of loopy!

I really enjoyed my first visit to this show. As a fiber artist, it was like seeing old pals - sewing, weaving, knotting and embroidery are all there - and taken to an artful level. I will return another day to take it in and enjoy.

Grove Gallery  - Thread songs by Sharan Egan and Candy Farmer, a wonderful treat for a very snowy day. The opening reception is TODAY. I know it is Super Bowl Sunday.  I know we are in the middle of an overblown blizzard. Go early. You will be so happy to be surrounded by vibrant color, expert construction and thought enhancing art work. It will make your day. If you go today you can talk to the artists about their techniques and their inspirations. And you can enjoy a tasty treat, and a bit of beverage.

Then, you should head next door  Woven Art to see Jessy Gregg's wall quilts. Jessy's wall quilts are very large, and multidimensional. And very beautiful. Jessy takes a different approach to the concept of layering.

Since you are already out - head up to Old Town to Barb Hranilovich's "Red Dress" show at Katalyst Gallery. I haven't seen this exhibit yet - but hope to today. This has been Barb's focus for the last few months - and is based on the concept of a Woman's interaction with her red dress - a statement on how we see and how we present ourselves to the world.

Take my advice. Go see art today. You will be so glad you braved the snow and the snack seekers on their last minute trip to the grocery store. Your soul will be fed, and your balance restored, making you ready for that half time show, and all the commercials.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Creative Coiling

I like to think the ability to wrap flexible materials around less flexible materials - such as long grasses around young tree branches- presented an early turning point in the civilization of human kind. The ability to make baskets led to the ability to carry food. The ability to carry food to those other people could have been the beginning of early community. All you anthropologists out there are welcome to jump in.

The act of wrapping waxed linen around a stable core is deeply satisfying, and I believe it harks back to deeply embedded memory.
I am teaching two coiling workshops at Grove Gallery. The first one is January 14, and will introduce techniques on beginning a round coil basket. The second workshop is January 21. This one will take a look at more advanced techniques, including added color and texture. You are not required to take the first class in order to take the second - but you might get more out of the second class if you have some experience with beginning a coil.

Materials are included in the price. If you are interested you can sign up at
www.grovegalleryandstudios.com Look under the tab "workshops"

If you have any questions about this workshop please e-mail me: nmcray@mac.com

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Art is Pointless

art is pointless
as pointless as a daisy in a field of green
backed up by a clear blue sky

as pointless as a freshly washed kitchen floor

Suffering from a prolonged bought of "what's the use", this message woke me in the middle of the night, and was there again to greet me in the morning.

pointlessness plus our inexplicable need for art and beauty is the source of power.
Creation beyond reason.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Squirrels are right! Time to stock up.

For the last several months most of my art practice has been focused on experimentation and development of classes. I have learned a lot, and I have taught a lot, and it has been good. 
It is now "that time of year". You know - Fall, with all its new energy. And stockpiling. Savoring every last bit of sunshine and color. We know. We know what is coming. Months of cold and gray. Wisely we break up the long dark months with celebrations. Festivals of light and food and glittery gifts. 

In the spirit of all this I have been stockpiling too. Warm and cozy scarves, and tiny waxed linen coiled baskets. 
 This bounty of goodies will be at Grove Gallery starting this week for our annual Holiday Art show. We host a couple dozen fabulous guest artists, in addition to our regular membership. Some artists, like myself, focus on making fun and affordable gift worthy items.
Please come! Pick up a coiled "Evil Eye" to protect your loved ones - or a handwoven wool (but not scratchy!) scarf to warm a neck. The preview opening is Friday, November 7, but the show is on until the end of December.

Grove Gallery and Studios
325A Grove St
East Lansing, MI 48823


Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I am out of my studio this week. I am up at the lake, preparing to remove one house from our property so that we can build another one. This exercise is occupying much of my time, energy and brain.

However, I still get time each day to do a bit of art work.
This tiny  bit of wedge weave is inspired by meeting Connie Lippert at the MLH workshops a couple of weeks ago. Let me tell you - this is addictive. I photographed this outside, because it reminds me of irises.  However, I think this would also make a good wedge weave composition:
This was taken at the end of my dock, and might give you a clue about why I have decided to live here. 

I am going to reluctantly admit that Summer is winding down. There are five more days that I  consider to be SUMMER. I have lots of teaching fun lined up for this Fall - which in my mind starts in September, right after Labor Day. 

If you are interested in knowing my teaching schedule, please click on the link above. Next up is "Shibori loves Indigo" with Shanna Robinson at NCMC.  On Saturday, September 13 we will weave some fabric with a resist pattern woven right in. Sunday morning will be all about pulling those resists, and dunking it into the indigo pot. Thrilling! I might have to have something ready for that pot.  If you would like to come learn and play with Shanna and I call North Central Corporate and Continuing Education at 231-348-6705 to register.”
The cost to participate is $90. I ask that you arrive with your loom warped with undyed natural fibers. 

Then, right after that is the great Fiber to Fabric Weekend at Interlochen.  Grab a friend and join us for this early Fall Fiber retreat in northern Michigan.  

Just before the Interlochen weekend I will be installing "The Great Felt Lakes" at Grapids Irrigation for Art Prize.  If you come to art prize this year, please try to visit my installation, and leave me a note so that I will know you were there! 

A change of season usually instills in me a new energy - and I am glad for that, because, this Fall,  I think I am gonna need it! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Interlochen Fall Farm to Fabric Weekend

Here is a project I have been working on with Leslie Donaldson and a few others over the past few months. Registration is now open!

Playing off the “farm to table” concept, the Interlochen Fiber Arts Weekend will focus on Michigan’s growing “farm to fabric” movement and offer multiple hands-on experiences. 
Friday, September 26, 2014 to Sunday, September 28, 2014
Registration Fee: $175 (Friday panel and Saturday luncheon included)
Sample what the fiber arts have to offer and learn more about Michigan’s rich fiber resources and opportunities at this celebratory gathering for all skill levels and interests. Playing off the popularity of the “farm to table” concept, the Interlochen Fiber Arts Weekend will focus on Michigan’s growing “farm to fabric” movement. Offering multiple experiences for fiber curious attendees as well as those with more advance fiber arts knowledge, the weekend will open with a panel presentation on Michigan’s growing fiber-shed movement and will then lead into a series of unique, hands-on, mini-workshop sessions on topics such as natural indigo dyeing, sample and gauge garment design, wet felting, beginning drop spindle spinning and drafting for weaving (please visit the daily schedule to learn more about these exciting opportunities--some mini-workshops will have supply fees to be paid directly to the instructor). A Saturday luncheon (lunch is included with registration fee) will feature a presentation on textiles in the world economy and at home. Participants will also have opportunities to enjoy regional vendors and receive one-on-one technical troubleshooting assistance from guest faculty. Join us for this unique event as we focus on, and celebrate, the growing fiber arts movement in Northern Michigan.
PLEASE NOTE: It is highly recommended that you download the daily schedule to review mini-sessions and select your choices BEFORE clicking the registration button to enroll.
- See more at: http://college.interlochen.org/fiber-arts-weekend#sthash.UIYC2fi1.dpuf