I have a lot of time for Motueka sculptor Tim Wraight and his work. In fact, I've been trying to photograph a series of pillars he carved for the Nelson Information Centre half a dozen times, but have not had any satisfactory results yet.

What amazes me is when I see his work, I can feel the care he takes, the passion, the patience, and the love he puts into each piece. His lines are precise, and yet I feel his breath breathing spirit into each piece of wood, each piece of stone as he chips/chisels away (are those the right words?); much like the way a mother gazes at her sleeping baby; much like the way I caress my warp chains and smell the wool. I have never had this level of connection with any art work before, not even with my own. And the word "care" keeps coming back.

I need to read more on photographing art works, and I'm afraid that won't happen until after the exhibit, but I must give you a sneak preview.

[Erratum] I should have asked him about this first, but the last photo is a work by someone else, but displayed at his gallery garden. I hadn't known him to work with media other than wood and glass, and this design is unusually naturalistic for Tim. Pardon me, mate.


Exhibit(ion) Explosion

I went to see Martin and Julia at Arts Marketing again yesterday, and was given such a lot of good advice that my head is exploding. I then went to Gallery 203 to check in and update Lloyd of my plans. Some of the PR-related matters, which I was going to leave until later, needed to be done first, and I had to think quickly. I had to give my exhibit(ion) a name; I have been using "To The Sea, To The Sea" as a working title for the series I'm weaving now; I have also thought "(W)rapt" might be more this-century, but in the end, I decided on a unassuming, self-explanatory one: "Sea, Sand and Sky".

Kath has offered to come and perform each Thursday during the three weeks during lunch hour. I am having a Weavers' Show-and-Tell on the first Wednesday, followed by "afternoon tea" right there in the gallery. I have been mulling over a lot of bits and pieces, but suddenly this exhibit(ion) has sprung to life in front of me. So here it is:

"Sea, Sand and Sky"

My first exhibit(ion) is scheduled at Gallery 203,
upstairs, 203 Trafalgar Street, Nelson, New Zealand,
from 29 January to 17 February 2007.
Entry is free.

Nelson song-writer Kath Bee will be performing live at the gallery
on Thursdays 1, 8 and 15 February,
from midday to 1pm.

A special Weavers' Hour will be held on Wednesday 31 January,
from 2 to 3pm, followed by afternoon tea.
Weavers are invited to a show-and-tell-and-chat.
For catering purposes, if you are interested, please contact me at
Look for the Arts Council entrance between Unichem Pharmacy and Max on Collingwood Street. The gallery is upstairs.

At times I'm reminded of one of my previous incarnations as a conference administrator; at other times weaving looks like the easiest part of putting an exhibit(ion); but this is my first time and as I am a control freak, I am enjoying making decisions on all aspects of the exhibit(ion).

Except one thing: I have been told that in New Zealand I must call this an exhibition, which seems so over-the-top-ly, ostentatiously, conspicuously, pretentiously misleading; I see it as a mini exhibit, a bit of fun. Must I get used to calling this by the longer name?


And an Old Way of Looking at Things

Irene visited me here, so I visited her blog. I had been there before, though I don't know when or how I got there. The name of the blog is "Pregnant Pauses" and she writes, "A pregnant pause is a momentary stillness laden with significance. It is rich, prolific, provocative, wow. It is a threshold for ideas and can translate into one to one thousand emotions. It welcomes imagination and brims with untold possibilities. Sometimes, it is even pinched with humor. Life's most unforgettable moments are highlighted by pregnant pauses. Now, I gladly share with you mine."

I talk, write and pace to formulate ideas; the opposite of pauses. It's as if I gain momentum from my physical movement, like those tiny toy cars you first make go backwards in order to wind it up, and the minute you let go, it goes forward. Though I call my studio variously the womb, the cocoon, the basement with one small window, when I am there it is by no means a quiet place.

Writer Joan Rosier-Jones told me to "write it, don't tell it" when I first met her 12 years ago, but it's not just about writing. For the amount of talking, writing, pacing AND thinking I do, I produce very little finished products, weaving or otherwise. I do breadth well, not depth, and not longevity.

Just yesterday, I heard on the radio about the new Kate De Goldi book called "Billy". (Her web site doesn't have the info yet, but an Australian site does.) Billy is an outside-the-square kid, and is told to go to the "Quiet Space" several times a day, and by the end of the book, he is not changed, but is redeemed not in a small way. Something made me go to Pages and read the book last night.

I need to learn where my Quiet Space is.

Looking for a New Way of Looking at Things

A statement which has been bugging me since November 9, (but I thought it had been weeks, months!): "Authenticity is not honesty, but that is a part of it. It surely is not good taste, in fact it may be just the opposite." To this, I responded: "After reading this post for the seventh or eighth time, yes, of course, you're right, but why did it sound so untrue the first several times? I haven't had art education since 9th grade, but was I somehow somewhere grilled this?" At first I even thought him arrogant.

He also declares: ""As an artist I am searching for comfort in pure formalism, but I cannot help slip into autobiographic abstraction." To which I asked: "Is the autobiographic element what makes your art authentic? And in turn, how can I include autobiographic elements into my craft?"

Because, for now, my big question is originality/creativity. To repeat what I blogged just two weeks ago, there is nothing new under the sun as regards weaving. Textiles woven in the latest, spiffiest weaves on gazillion-shaft-computer-operated looms have been done with sticks and fingers somewhere, sometime, by to-us known weavers, and the new tools are sometimes invented to recreate old textile, quickly and with great ease to us. These restrictions are also what allows me to participate in the fringes of 'art'. If we are honest, we weavers, we only combine different elements of weaving (colors, textures, yarn types, weaves, finishes, ornaments, end-uses) and call it our own.

To him, I want to scream: "You cannot possibly leave out, or even think of leaving out, your autobiographic elements from your art!" and yet, for me, I am not sure what is mine and what is borrowed from my known and unknown predecessors and colleagues.

He is the one who started this.


MegWeaves/Red Gallery Cashmere Scarves

Looking at Ann's two photos, I realized I've been obsessed about showing you Randying theories and have posted a few photos of my weaving. So here are some to counter the flow.

These are 100% cashmere scarves I'm developing with the Red Gallery; they are women's scarves, about 11cm (roughly 4 inches) wide, and 150cm (60 inches) long, and I'm thinking of calling them "Collar Scarves" or some such; they are meant to be splashes of colors around your neck. To bring out the best features of cashmere, (soft and light), so far simple twill weaves have worked best, and for the time being, I will weave them in one, two or three colors at most.


Ann Boniface Faces Randy

(Click on the pictures to see the details of the weave structure.)

Ann is not only an experienced weaver, but also a veteran weaving teacher, and I was lucky to have my loom next to hers, because she gave me great hints and advices while we wove. One of the advices, "Try two picks," improved my sample instantly on the first day when I was having a very bad time.

This is a scarf she wove on the remainder of the warp she had on the loom during the workshop. Fibonacci Sequence, values, dynamic transition: they're all there!


Today I Heard from the Great One

So, without further ado.


Hi Meg!
Finally beginning to feel a little more like whatever normal is after jumping through all the curdling hurdles that we faced when we got home, and I've got a few minutes to send a bit of a note. Feel free to share it on your blog with all the wonderful Kiwis that I haven't had time to answer yet. I'm getting there.

We took the desert road, and it was magical: sort of like driving right from Vermont (with ocean) into Utah and beyond. Spent the night on the big lake, (Lake Taupo, Randy,) and flew back from Auckland Sunday PM.

And B(rian) hit the ground running like we knew he had to on his installation. I stayed home and began dealing with loose threads, and put on three warps. So when I finally got to see what he had done, with his crew of art school eager beavers, I was truly gobsmacked. As was the museum. I'll attach pix. Then onto the Philadelphia show, which went very well indeed. We've been back a little over a week. Whew!

More later.
Much love.



And the pix.
Interestingly it wasn't the "Much love", but the "More later" that pleased me so; oh, Great One, I interpreted it to mean I can keep on pestering you!


My Randying No. 2

I needed to work on small cashmere scarves for a gallery, but after weaving two nice onces, I felt the urge to Randy, and here are sections of it. When I'm Random-Randying, I pay more attention to the "dynamic" transitions and the "proportion" becomes secondary; next time I'd like to plan the changes to some degree, so the scarf as a whole appears more coherent, though at this point, I'm not sure what that means.


A Miserable Day

It's raining and gray and cold today, (what Nelsonians call a "miserable" day) which means it's a picture perfect day for being holed up in my studio. I've been blasting Andrea Boccelli all morning, weaving a series of narrow, short scarves in cashmere. The first two were in simple dornick in one color warp, one color weft, but with the third, I'm Randying and also changing the direction of the twill. And boy, is it slow. I don't think I'll be able to finish weaving 180cm in two days. Randying also requires/allows me to fiddle with the selvedge and feel the cloth more as I weave, not exactly a wise thing to do to maintain even tension, but for as a tactile experience, it's hard to beat.

That is not to say that I have not started to panic, officially, about not really being in a panic. My Excel worksheet tells me I have 83 days before the opening of my mini solo exhibit, and all I have done has been to stare at the cones of blue merino yarns (conveniently placed in front of some of my favorite non-weaving equipment) and thinking vaguely about Fibonacci sequence.

Wisdom does not come with age automatically.



I'm starting to get a little greedy. I now want my weaving to show originality; something like a signature. Which is a funny thing to say right after all the oohing and aahing of Randy's textiles, and I still want Randy's mark on my weaving as well. But I want to be able to create something beyond that. And I'm looking for ways to include a point of difference. (Though I hate all these marketing talk.)

I am of the opinion, as are many weavers, that there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to weaving. We may have computerized looms and new fibers, but most everything we do today has been done before, and some of them quite a while ago on what we would think of as "crude" equipment, and maybe with the help of extra pairs of hands. So I don't claim to do anything new, and yet I want to show originality.

I'm from Japan, the greatest country and people for improving and fine-tuning skills and products someone else invented or discovered. Just about anything 'uniquely' Japanese can be traced back to China or Korea in the old days, or the US or Europe in the last few centuries. I was amazed at the similarity, for example, of Kabuki theater to Chinese operas, the gestures, the delivery. And try as I may, I am yet to come across anything in art or industry originating from Japan. In the eighth century, we literally kidnapped Korean potters so we can have a flourishing ceramic art, to the point it decimated Korean pottery. So it's not in my DNA to be original, and yet I want to explore my creativity.

I only got this far in thinking about originality and creativity. It's going to be a long apprenticeship.