Tuesday, January 6, 2009

For Sonya, Just in Case

It sounds like you've figured everything out, Sonya. But just in case, I've just taken the pics of the right side of my loom. If you can tell me why my warp winds not consistently but jiggly, I'll love you forever!!

Front to back:Brake release.Advancing the warp.How to prevent a major headache - with a bit of fleece and an old sock.Both ends of the vinyl-covered cord is tied to nylons and secured. I wonder if it was thus at the very beginning. We have had to adjust the length of these nylons, particularly the front one.Back.This is something I noticed today; the wire crosses over so that at both the front and the back the middle piece extends and screwed to the loom. I'm not sure if this is how it was at the start. I wonder if this is the cause of the jiggle.Ditto with the back.And the length of the wire appears never to have been changed.

Now we're off to Auckland, overnight, then to Winterland. Brrrr...

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Mother-in-Law

I know embarrassingly little about my mother-in-law. In fact, it appears Ben knows very little about her life before kids as well. I wonder if boys pay less attention to the stories parents tell of their lives. At least Ben's maternal grandfather made a great impression on young Ben.

I know she came from a farming family. I know they kept silk worms in the attic, as many farms did in that region. I know she calls weavers "oriko", which is a feminine diminutive form I have never heard used by anyone else, so these women must have been "just" neighborhood women rather than artisans and craftspersons. I have no idea what they wove, but my guess would be plain weave in fine silk, to be sent away for dyeing and possibly embroidery afterward. I don't think the silk was spun nor dyed on individual farms, as it was a secondary source of income; rice, and possibly tea, were the main crop in that region.

True story. Someone thought she should marry this bloke, so her intended and a mate were made to take a walk on one side of the river, while she and one of her sisters walked on the other side of the river. Except she liked the mate better and married him instead. Not sure what happened to the intended, but four years ago at Ben's Dad's funeral, we met the son of the man who tried to make the match.

Ben always said she had a fierce temper; one time she broke a hairbrush hitting him. Different times. In the nearly 20 years I've known her, she was unwell and was preoccupied by her illnesses, and we never once had a meaningful conversation. Ben reckons she's definitely in a far better place now.

May she rest in peace.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Life Doesn't Always Go As You Planned...

Yesterday we were supposed to have cats-and-dogs rain, possibly hail, thunder and lightening. I was so looking forward to a bit of drama, but before it came, I had Ben shift the compost before it got wet, and I planted tiny annuals, even though some went into places I didn't intend, and some were planted in the wrong order so they might get trampled when I put bigger things nearby later. At any rate, the summer's been sunny and dry and I felt bad about several trays of tiny babies suffering on the concrete.

In the middle of this, we got call that Ben's mom passed away early in the morning, so we've been trying to plan a quick trip back home.

Which means, like it or not, I have to forfeit the Awards project, and worse, I have to do my 07/08 tax returns before we leave. So Ben's been on my case to get me to finish it though he's helping me, too. This is a task I usually stew over for three or more weeks before I actually get to it, but I was given one evening to stew over it and we started at 9AM this morning.

Neither our parents' homes have (to our knowledge) the Internet, so access is sporadic until we get home towards the end of this month. But I hope you all will enjoy the start of the new year and weave lots of nice things. I expect fabulous pictures when I get back.

Oh, about the weather drama of yesterday, we had glorious Nelson sun and gale force winds. The babies look so cute all around, but I wouldn't be surprised if they all dry up while we're away if THAT's the kind of torrential rain we can expect.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Thought

There's a post on Bonnie Tarses's Weaving Spirit I keep going back to. It's titled "Who Wove This?" from about a year ago. This time, I'm not even sure if I understand what Bonnie is saying.

I just said in my New Year's resolution I'm out to have fun this year, because I think in the past I've concentrated too much on utility. Randy Darwall, who also went to RISD, in his Craft in America vid clip said as hand weavers, we don't want to make run of the mill stuff.

I'm not sure what I'm thinking just now or what I intended by pointing to that post; it's one of those Brigadoon thoughts germinating or gestating in my head.

Don't worry, we managed to get the living room ready (mostly by shoving everything in the stash room) and tomorrow we'll pack up half the kitchen and move all the flower pots outside out of their way, so when the chimney and the wood burner (fire place with a lid), there's nothing in the guys' way.

Now for some loom time. Or perhaps it should be warping board time?

Excitement Looms...

Sonya at Insanity Looms has got a new loom, and it was made by the same man as my 16-wheeler. We've been communicating today about the brake mechanism, and since there are a few pics involved, please excuse the Thorp shop talk; it was easier than sending her a bunch of pics.

First things first; if you meant this part, it goes around three times, not twice.

This is vinyl-covered cord is the one you guard with your life, and if you ever find something similar, please get some length for me, too, just in case. We need the vinyl-covered string to go around the pulleys, but can use anything to secure that to the springs.

Now to the front. the top pawl used to stay in the up position nicely. About six months ago, it started to drop at the most inconvenient moments, and though Ben's tried to rebalance it numerous times, it's never as obedient as it used to be.

As well, the ratchet started to dig grooves in the wooden handle and I didn't see it until I found sawdust-like bits on the carpet. We've inserted a couple of sheets of leather between the handle and the ratchet, but that's made the advancing just a bit tighter and a tad less comfortable.

And I found mine, too. It's so tiny I never noticed it before.


Using textiles in unconventional ways:
1) a vehicle that runs on renewable resources - because that's the in thing.
2) a missile that reaches Australia, then disintegrates into confetti - because they are trying to wage war on us.
Bonnie Tarses's lists for 2009, last list:
5. Things I am ready to release
I can do short posts, too.

January 1 Effort

I vacuumed bits of the studio I didn't yesterday, like inside drawers, and sanded down few new sticks, and all that took three hours. Then I thought I'd relax a bit and got on the computer... for nearly six hours! (Among other things, the Daily Photo group has Theme days on the first of every month, and protocol demands you visit at least a few.) And, whoa, it was 9PM and suddenly I realized "today" is January 1, and the Awards proposal is due January 9 or 11, depending on how you interpret the blurb. (Note to self: read the blurb and check what exactly I need to submit.)

So I panicked a bit, went downstairs and ... wove one-half of a not-at-all urgent cashmere scarf in lovely purple and teal. But then I prepared the new warp just enough to see where I want to add zing. Tomorrow I'll prepare the zing ends, then wind the warp, after a mad-dash cleaning and getting the house ready for the builders with Ben. (I can't remember if they are coming on Monday or on the 12th but I'm too embarrassed to ring the boss man...)

Then I fine-tuned a draft by revisiting the gamp draft I made in October; I need 44 temporary heddles or move them between harnesses, but I'm pretty efficient at making them so I'll take that path. The final piece will be the glorified hanging/revolving lamp shade; no concept, just straight forward stuff.

I'm a bit disappointed and greatly relieved I've not got enough time to fiddle any more with concepts. Besides, remembering the first item of my New Year's resolution, I decided the only mature and sane thing is to simplify the preparation and get on with the weaving as soon as possible. As weak as I am, I don't think I've ever abandoned the first item of my New Year's resolution on the first day.

As to the Summer-Blog-Lite thing, I find the motion of making a warp, of moving my right arm in sweeping motion for hours, overstimulate the left hemisphere and I'm overflowing with words for a few days afterwards. Don't worry, I'm not planning on making any more warps for a while.

And it's tomorrow already. Later!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Artists' Paperwork

I wrote a while back my discovery of artists' curriculum vitae/resume being quite different from that of an office worker. I did some Googling and still believe Edward Hussein Winkleman's advice to be the best. Many web sites claim to have a sample artist CV, but majority were only slight variations of an office worker CV, so avoid them if you spot them.

I have a real artist CV in my hot little hands, and here are the headings in it. The inclusion/exclusion of headings and the order in which to list them would depend on the artist's experience and interest, as well as what s/he would like to emphasize in the particular application, of course, so you and I need to improvise, but here they are:
  1. Academic Qualification
  2. Exhibitions - specifies solo or group
  3. Curatorial Experience - of other artists' work, of course
  4. Bibliography - stuff written about the artist's work/exhibitions by someone else
  5. Published Writings - articles written by the artist, of course
  6. Reviews - of other people's work/exhibitions written by the artist
  7. Lectures & Floor Talks - given by the artist
  8. Symposiums/Conferences - attended by the artist
  9. Travels - if the travel was specifically to view an exhibition, the exhibition title and venue is listed
  10. Employment
If you know of blogs and sites with good advice on CVs and other application-related paperwork, please leave pointers in the comment section. Though I seriously hope it'll be a long time before I need to concoct another one of these.

Rose Pelvin, Weaver

Back in March 2008 when I went to Blenheim, I photographed Win Currie's work. The fact is, I also went to photograph Rose Pelvin's work, but I got too ambitious and came home with over 400 photos, and have been culling them and wondering how I could best introduce her work. I thought I needed an angle for the story.

Rose is the leader of Marlborough Weavers, and my "seeing-eye" weaver when it comes to practically any problems but particularly with structures. She is an enthusiastic and tireless mentor to many and a prolific weaver herself. Rose is a Kiwi, but she didn't grow up on a sheep farm, and having tried lots of other crafts, she thought she would try weaving in the late 1960's; Rose completed the then-Nelson Polytechnic Weaving School program in 1976 and has never looked back.

Rose likes to let yarns speak for themselves; she says often they tell her what they want to become and she is the agent to make it possible. Rose loves linen, and if she could, she would weave only table linens and fine fabrics.

Following her methodology, instead of cooking up an angle, my angle, I decided to let the photographs speak for themselves. Enjoy!

You may also have seen her work in SSVE and the Festive Towel Exchange.

Rose Pelvin Contact

Mama Came with the Job

It must have been 1954 or 55. Dad had graduated with a BA in Chemistry, worked as the resident chemist in a rubber factory, got tuberculosis and dropped out of life for a couple of years, and was trying to restart his life. He got a call from his old professor, and went to a job interview at a new university in Yokohama. The interview went well, and he got the job on the proviso that he'd go straight back to grad school and get his PhD. Then the big boss asked if Dad is "taken", to which Dad said, "No". The boss said he's got a spare daughter and would he be interested in meeting her? Apparently he was smittened by her instantly and that's how my parents got married. Seriously. Mama had a veto right, mind you, so it was an arranged meeting, as of is the case in Japan, not exactly an arranged marriage.

Well, he got his Ph. D. in the standard five years. Dad also promised Mama if she married him, he'll quit smoking, but that didn't happen for a long, long time. At times he'd quit for three, five, or one time nine years, and then take it up again.

In Japan, before you meet a prospective spouse by arrangement, you exchange personal CV/resumes and photographs and on his CV, Dad lied about his height by about 5cm/2 inches, and Mama didn't figure this out until 20+ years later, though she suspected something. Yip, you write your height and sometimes even weight and schools your parents and male siblings attended, and where your dad and male siblings and male in-laws work, and all that kind of crazy stuff.

After Grandpa retired, Dad decided to move on to different university as well. We half-joked if Mama had to be "returned", and if so, to Grandpa or to the university.

Last Boxing Day was my parents' 53rd Anniversary. Their 50th was overshadowed by Dad having been diagnosed with colon cancer in late November, and the prospect of an operation "sometime after January 15" hanging before them. So each year after that has been a bonus. Though theirs is not so much romantic as pragmatic and reliable (as are many marriages of that generation in that culture), it's still going, and good on them!

I tell this story all the time, but for the first time this year I wondered what would Dad had done if he didn't like Mama: would he have married her anyway, or just taken the job and risk bad employee/employer relationship, or foregone both? Too funny to think about it.

Just Thinking out Loud

Don't panic, because I'm not acting on this one for a while, a long while. But while I was vacuuming the studio this afternoon, (not enough cleaning, but at least it was a start), I was thinking of the logistics and the practicalities of touring an actual Small Scarf Exhibition. You know, a group of us hire a tiny venue in our own towns and our little gems traveling around the world to be admired. Too hard/back burner for now, but it's a nice thought, don't you think?

Oh well, for now we'll stick with SSVEII a little later in the year, shall we? I'm thinking some time after Easter and before the northern summer. Any takers?

Happy New Year, Everyone

We're 12 hours into 2009 over here. No, we didn't have a wild party, but we did catch another episode of "Civilisation". And we've been up for hours contemplating whether to work in the garden today or clean the house, while wondering why this morning's coffee tastes a bit strange. It's really been a wonderfully relaxing holiday this year; I just wished he had another week off!

Here's a visual gift from me to you; actually, it's from Ben to you. Forever Ben has been interested in landscape photography, but suddenly in 2007 he started playing around with macro and "arty" pics as well. I'm trying to steer him into textile photography also. More of his pics can be found in his Sketchbook.