Napier, Here I Come

I'm off to four days of textile talk fest in the city of Napier, leaving Ben home alone on a long weekend; I forgot this was a long weekend when I booked ages ago so I'm staying an extra day, but I'll live, and he'll have a relaxing weekend without being asked nicely to do this or fetch that, "because I can't reach it."

The city of Napier was destroyed in an earthquake in 1931 and was rapidly rebuilt afterwards, so a large part of the city was created in the style of the day, Art Deco. We visited Napier during the Art Deco Festival in 1996 which was like a time slip. It would be interesting for me to revisit when there are fewer Model T's and women in flapper costumes.

The venue is the Hawke's Bay Museum & Art Gallery, where quite a few interesting symposia and conferences regarding the direction of art and craft have been held in recent times.

To be honest, I am feeling plenty anxious about being away two weekends in a row, when we can least afford it, and leaving Ben alone at home on a long weekend when traditionally everybody works in the garden. So far I haven't been thrilled in the way I normally am before I head off to the Symposium, but it is a special time and I see that the Gallery has planned special events to coincide with the Symposium, so I'm sure once I get there I'll have a fabulous time.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

What Comes After an Industrial Society?

It started with this morning's book review at 10:40AM. In the first instance, I was reminded of Billy Joel's Allentown music vid. But what does happens to a society when the industrial era ends/fails? New Zealand manufacturing has been closing down or moving to China rapidly in the last few years. We have tourism and agriculture (some boutique), but I don't think it can feed as many people as "industry".


My Guy

At the risk of behaving like a grandma thrusting grandkids pics, can I show you what My Guy has been up to?

Te Papa, our national museum in Wellington, opened a 10-year interactive exhibition called Our Space last September. For months prior to the opening, they collected photographs from all over New Zealand, it appears mainly by targeting Flickr sites, and Ben's was among them.

We went to see it last week. Ben remained typically, (disappointing for me,) cool, not even making himself known to the staff with whom he's communicated over a year. Most of his photos are of Nelson, but he had some of Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin as well.

On the floor of the main room is an aerial map of New Zealand. When we step on a particular area/square, a photograph or video from the region shows up on a screen and a white light connects the square on the floor and the screen for the region. To change the photo, we must step off the square and step back on again, and our friend Trish repeated this about 50 times for us.

Oh, sorry, that's my foot.

In another part, there are touch screen monitors where we can search for photographs by subjects, regions, or photographers, and then enlarge a particular photo. Many of Ben's photos come from our Nelson Daily Photo.

And this is our nephew during a short holiday in Whangarei in January 2009. He and his brother had never seen a horse in real life until about half an hour before this.

One wall in this smaller room is a big screen and we can transfer the photos on our monitor to the big screen. Here's when we loaded a bunch of Ben's; you can move the red square around at bottom right to get a feel of the wall.

Ben can't stand having the spotlight on him rather than on his photographs, so this is him in the dark. What can I say, he's My Guy, and I'm so proud of him.

Does Anyone Use These?

By the time I receive my Halcyon catalog I assume everybody else has had it for a while? After coveting and gawking at looms and books and trinkets, I found this on page 89. Does anyone use these gloves?

For now I don't have much pain on the hands, at least not as much as my wrists, but my right hand feels very tired for a few days after one good day's weaving, so I wondered if these would do me any good. They are affordable, but I'm careful when a product touts health benefits because I've had a couple of "wrong" help. But then sometimes doctors, physios and gym staff can't agree, so am I best to give it a go?

At least in the winter these can keep my hands warm and toasty. That's what the blurb says. OK, not the "toasty" part.


Belatedly Funky "Frou Frou"

I'm trying to catch my breath after finishing my SSVE scarf. I'm one project behind, you know; the closely sett warp was made for in the January awards show, this bright warp was meant for Funky Fibre exhibition. Never mind, I'm catching up.

I felt elated and surprisingly at east mixing the warp with the weft. I didn't need a lie down this time, and I still have enough warp for two or three more scarves, but I don't feel disturbed by the extremely bright colors. The second scarf on this warp I'm weaving with a cold yellow weft and the eyelash in the green/yellow range. In fact, I may go as far as to say I'm having fun, though combing the eyelashes is time-consuming and I'm not sure I've learned much about mixing colors. It's just that I feel I overcame the irrational discomfort of mixing hues, at least for the time being, and I think I'm happy to revisit the issue later.

Meanwhile, I have half-worked cashmere warps on the 4-shaft and table looms, (naughty!!!), two backlog/long-awaited projects, and a request to make small winter scarves for the museum shop. So it's not-extremely-challenging projects for a while.


I've been Thinking

I've been thinking I probably want to think a bit seriously about a few things at some point.

One is whether exhibitions by, books on, or cooperatives/awards for "women artists" (or writers or musicians) is relevant any more. This was triggered by a radio interview a couple of weeks ago. The interviewee practiced art and coordinated exhibitions for women artists between the two wars, I think, so it was definitely relevant in her times and I don't want to take anything away from the work she put in. But I'm not sure if it is important today.

I remembered how in the 70's I was aware of who among my grown-up female friends subscribed to Ms magazine, and who not, and how many struggled to get descent/equal treatment at work, in social situations, and particularly pertaining to personal finances. I even knew a group of women who stayed single and adopted children from this one agency, and they fought hard and I admired them so much, but by the time I grew up, I think we were the Me generation, and I was in a comfortable DINKs setup. And New Zealand this century is most definitely the most emancipated place/time I've ever lived in, so I'm not seeing the point of emphasizing the fact that I'm a woman. What do you think?

The second issue is originality in art making. It seems I managed to create a wee group of art practitioners/educators/historian/curators/museum staff who will be meeting fairly regularly to discuss such things as art vs craft, what is concept, etc. I personally want to find out how far I'm willing to compromise my weaving to get into fiber/textile art exhibitions, (because I want to remain a weaver and I want to weave, and not create mixed media stuff using fiber/textile, but exhibitions where the non-weavers come is important for me, and I think, for the craft,) but others have purely academic, curatorial, or the perspective of other crafts' interests, and these differences energize the discussion. All the rest, and there are five of them, went to art school in New Zealand, Australia or England, so it's an amazing free tuition for me.

One member said she never worries what curators look for but only makes what she wants to make, and I wanted to instantly emulate her, but part of me worry too mcuh about how much "art" to put into my "craft". Then I started to wonder how research ties in with originality. Another member said I could get a PhD in something or rather and never get all the answers I'm looking for, and I know this, but without asking I won't even find an operable, albeit impermanent, mode.

The last item is a happy one; how to spruce up my packaging when I send off commission pieces. Of course it depends on the nature, color and size of the piece, and the client, but after seeing Pam's post here, I've been thinking I could liven things up a little bit...

Passport Photo and Beads

The Embassy staff did choose the right photo with a wee bit of my scarf showing, but when it was scanned into the passport, less than a smidgen of my scarf came through. Oh well, at least I know it's there. Do please excuse my fat, old lady chin/neck area.

I also bought three beaded necklaces on sale at the Trade Aid shop. I have this idea for a project and I need a lot of light weight beads that make pleasant noise when they bump into each other. Unfortunately the staff did not know what these are made of, but I suspect bones, so I must test how colorfast these are. If these work, I will have saved a lot of money; if not, I'll probably make a Flapper necklace for fun.

We experienced for the very first time real Wellington weather; serious gusts, rain and cold. I guess we have been lucky to have escaped that in more than a decade of gawking at the Capital and its bookshops, galleries and cafes. Still, it's my most favorite city in New Zealand and if Ben ever even thought of moving there, I'll be there in a heartbeat. (And then probably regret the rash move on the third bad weather day??)


Passport Photo

Back in the 90s when I used to read the weaving list on Majordomo (?), someone said she turned officially professional a few days previous because in her travel documents she wrote "weaver" as her occupation; she said she felt a little scared but very relieved to finally declare to the world what she does. I've been doing that for a few years, not only because I weave, but also because I haven't been doing anything else.

Ben and I have to renew our passports every 10 years. So we need our Japanese passports, and our current ones expire next months, and we had passport photos taken recently.

The photo place told us the instructions from the Japanese Embassy is the strictest they've seen; while the overall size is the same for all (or most) countries, there is very little leeway, 2mm, for ours, whilst other "strict" countries allow 3mm. The Embassy sent us a sheet with one good example of face size and position, and about 25 bad examples, including the face being too small or too large.

Now, my face is round. If we comply with the length of the face, it's too wide and the photo looks exactly like the "too large" example. If we make my face narrower, the whole face shrinks and there's too much space at the top and the bottom. My first set looked exactly like the "too large" example, so I went back to get a second set. And a light bulb went on before I left home, and I remembered to wear a scarf I wove.

The young staff measured my old set every which way she could, compared it to the "good" example, and told me measurement-wise it complied perfectly to the specs, but agreed it looked very much like the "too large" example. So she took another, and printed two pics similar in size to the old "too large" set, and two pics in which the face measurement is too small, but look more like the "good" example. And I see a smidgen of my scarf in the former two, and a wee bit more in the latter.

We'll let the Embassy staff choose, but by golly I'll be happy if I can use the "good" example pic.


Kiwi Artists in New York (Past and Present)

Billy Apple (10:08AM) and Max Gimblett (10:07AM) interviews on National Radio; you can listen or download. (But why do Kiwis have so much trouble saying "Michigan"???)


Note to Self

Design tool - ink splatter, like those psychology tests; great possibility for my "Rococo" cottons.

Housework Monday

Somewhat exhausted but happily tidying up the SSVE files, looking forward to a heavy-rain housework Monday, though the forecast is "sunny and dry by lunch time" (which happens a lot here), still keeping with the green color scheme...


2009 Small Scarf Exhibition

Welcome to the Small Scarf Exhibition 2009. Please follow the links.

"Spring Birch Leaves", by Geodyne at Tangled Threads

"Mini-Twill Scarf", by Susan at Centerweave

Holly Haynes

Judy Bool

Rose Pelvin

Terri Bibby

Kathleen Aaker



Meg Nakagawa

The Big Gallery Flickr sets for this challenge has been deleted; some of the links were modified.

Last Call for SSVE

(She says as she finalizes her draft 11 hours before the exhibition is due to open.) OK, I said "due Saturday, give or take a few days", so if you get something done this weekend your time, do send them in!


Pecha Kucha in Nelson

First two were sold out by the time I heard about them; never heard about Number 3; today I discovered I didn't know about Number 4, either. Bummer.


Must have been My Evil Twin...

I have been Thanked!

I got a lovely card from the Funky Fibre Committee "for the Fabulous presentation you did on the Marlboroughweavers blog during the Exhibition(.) We really appreciate all you are doing in the promotion of handcrafted textiles(.)"

Being able to contribute to my group and being recognized for that; how lovely is that!! Though I hope they know, (I'm sure they do,) it was Rose Pelvin that did the hard work. Without her, there would have been no posts.

Can't remember what I'm talking about? Here!

Bottle Brush

These are hilarious to wind, I tell you!!


Invitation to SSVE

You are invited!

It's looking like it's going to be a small one this year, nevertheless we have some lovely pieces. I've checked my SPAM folder also, but if you think you've contacted me and have not heard back from me about your submission, please get in touch ASAP.

I hope to have everything ready by around 7PM New Zealand time.

Next Please!!

I just took the fine cotton off the loom, swapped my reed to the usual 6-denter, and am ready to put on my SSVE warp. Usually, I'd clean the loom carefully after a dusty project like this, but the clock is ticking and I'm just dying to move.

I'm waiting for your SSVEs, too.


Mosaic and Tapestry?

I didn't realize I'm on a mosaic roll, and you may be familiar with this guy's portraits in magazines and newspapers but I just found him this morning. Something about the enlarged elements made me think of tapestry. Any old pixelated photos should do the same, but the uneven sizes in his portraits gave it more of a hand-made feel, I think.


New Toy!!

Sally in England alerted me to this new photographic toy, when I asked her about what she did at the bottom of her charity website here. If you've used this software to do fun stuff, show us!!


It's interesting which Word of the Day sticks with me (well, not many,) or which makes me ponder for prolonged periods. April 18th' word was this, and somehow it intrigued me to no end, but this morning I couldn't remember the word nor why I was so intrigued. My short-term memory is really going quickly now; the only thing I remember is I was in the thick of the thin cotton project.

quiddity \KWID-ih-tee\, noun:
1. The essence, nature, or distinctive peculiarity of a thing.
2. A hairsplitting distinction; a trifling point; a quibble.
3. An eccentricity; an odd feature.

Word of the Day

aliment \AL-uh-muhnt\, noun:
1. Something that nourishes or feeds; nutriment.
2. Something that sustains a state of mind or body; sustenance.
3. To give nourishment to; to nourish or sustain.

This looks alarmingly close to "ailment", n'est-ce pas? I have to enunciate clearly (and not be a lazy Kiwi) to differentiate from "element". It's a cold, cold, crisp beautiful Saturday morning, friends; the snow on top of the hills coruscating in the morning sun. (Yeah, it doesn't roll off my tongue yet.) I need some aliment in the form of a fresh, hot coffee with low-fat (not my extremely low fat) milk.

A great start to the weekend and I hope yours will be lovely, too.



My motto for this year being "preposterous", and with Cally leading me on my "hedonistic" path, I decided to add "decadent" to the visual and textual feel I want to weave into my scarves this year. I was also thinking of "salacious" pertaining to my next project, but I'm not entirely a fan of the concept, so that's only being penciled in for now.

Yippy, Money!!!

My cotton piece at Funky Fibre sold today; the purchaser is an American weaver! I'm so relieved to have a bit of income, as Ben and I were just this morning talking about paying off all the tradesmen associated with our recent deconstruction/reconstruction surrounding our heating system, and how we really don't have any money to fall back on!! My 81-year-old Dad promised not to die until we save enough to cover the airfare; our family is like that, don't worry, we always joke about life. I also love it when my work sells at my group's exhibition because it means a portion of the sale will go towards my group, especially since I don't go on the duty roster at exhibitions and demonstrations.

I know it's not nice to talk about money, but I mean, you know... Income!

It was also worth asking for my piece not to be hung or laid flat; I wasn't sure if I was out of bounds, but it was worth the shot because this one looked so terribly different flat/rectangular vs folded/twisted/scrunched and since I spent so much time working on the look and the hand when it's on a human body. Look what Joan McLauchlan did for me, (bottom pic.) Nice, yes?

Word of the Day

coruscate \KOR-uh-skayt\, verb:
1. To give off or reflect bright beams or flashes of light; to sparkle.
2. To exhibit brilliant, sparkling technique or style.

If only...


Anything Goes

Early this moring, Cally led me astray, though they lost me early on at "This general approach can be applied at different levels to different normative properties of different kinds of things," which to me reads "anything goes." Having mistaken utilitarianism with Unitarians in the first place, I was surprised to read "Classic utilitarians held hedonistic art consequentialism," but I see that it's "act consequentialism."

I like "hedonistic art consequentialism," though; art where only the outcome matters, not the artist's intent/process/political stance/vision, and it's up to the viewer's interpretation/experience, mine. I don't have to explain/justify why I like pretty/beautiful cloth with lovely hands.

No matter, I declare today my "Honest, Old-Fashioned Hedonism Day." You may choose to join me, or not!


Still at It

I finally started weaving the last of the fine cotton scarves today. This draft, though similar to the other two, is the most irregular and probably (hopefully?) the most dramatic. Too bad just when I think I'm starting to understand the relationship between the color and shape movements, I'm almost done, but truth to tell I'm so ready to weave something else.

There is something meditative about weaving something as a present to a friend though, not birthday, not any special day, but just because. (OK, I've been dropping hints I'd love one of hers, too, but regardless...) And though I don't fancy getting back into 160EPI any time soon, the hand is seriously growing on me, and I've been making a mental list of things I wouldn't mind trying; the first is shadow/corkscrew weaves, another is varying the sleying slightly within the cloth so the structure/draft is distorted, including the possibility of intentionally scalloped selvedge. And of course there is the overdyeing. I've had a few other fleeting ideas while weaving, but I forgot what they were.

But I can't wait to get on with my SSVE, the idea for which is becoming more and concrete in my head. You??

Marlborough Guild's 40th Birthday Exhibition

My guild, Marlborough Guild, has been holding a 40th Birthday Exhibition in Blenheim all week. I'm not sure if I can make it, but Rose Pelvin has kindly sent me 40 photos, all indexed and works identified, for our group blog, so all week I'll be posting exhibition pics. Please check it out.


Power Cut

We got a notice about 10 days ago that our power will be cut for up to five hours today for a system upgrade, whatever that means. Suddenly, yesterday I started to worry about what I can do today. Most of housework I wanted (??) to get done are out. Foot loom, table loom and making a warp came to mind. And the question of whether to buy an 8-shaft foot loom reemerged, especially when there are a few second-hand ones available.

Good thing I don't have surplus money and absolutely no space for it, but I'm mindful Sue Bateup said she'd never get rid of hers in case electricity becomes unaffordable. What do you think?


My Eye Candies

For all intents and purposes, our kitchen is finished. We even rediscovered one of our most favorite pieces of Nelson pottery by John and Kathleen Ing in the dark corner of the bottom pots-and-pans shelf.

Below is the most beautiful baking I've ever seen outside cookbooks, an Apple, Almond and Frangipani Tart at Delicious on Church Street.

There is a pot of spiced hot Belgian chocolate sitting on top of our new fire, and my husband is spread out on the floor between the couch and the TV, drifting off to dream land, as is his routine Saturday afternoons, but one he wasn't able to practice since Boxing Day last year.

Life is starting to look good again.


Otto von Busch


Just got back from a much-too-short a presentation by the good doctor named above, a.k.a. on the subject of Creative Hacktivism. In his many years towards his PhD in what field I'm not quite sure, he's done projects in Turkey, Norway and Estonia among other places, relating to fashion, revitalization of local industry, recycling and the environment. Mind-blowing stuff; I'm in need of digesting after checking several web sites, but as starters, I got down the following he mentioned...
Recyclopedia ("cookbooks" for recycling garments)
Abstract Accessories
iTalyan Avlusu - recycling/exchange project in Turkey
Merimetsa - art college/mental institution/local fashion house collaboration
Swap-O-Rama-Rama (recycling/cloth swap)
Roomservices (small scale urban revitalization?)


May 1, Weavers!

All day today. SSVE submissions are welcome (and very much appreciated) until the 15th this month. A photograph from the first set to arrive will be made into the exhibition poster.

Golly, I better get a move on mine, too! If I go ahead with my idea, you won't believe I wove it!!