Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Happy to be Teaching Again!

Thanks to the folks at the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center, I'll be teaching two classes in the month of September. On Friday, September 18th I'll be giving a short 2 hour presentation on Internet Marketing. You can see more details HERE.

On Saturday, September 19th, I'll be teaching a beginning inkle weaving class. Click HERE for a detailed description. Looms are available for purchase or rent at the center. 
It just so happens that this falls on the 18th Birthday Celebration and Sale. There will be cake!

EFVAC is a wonderful and very active fiber arts center located about 25 minutes north of Santa Fe. The center includes a large classroom full of looms, a retail shop with supplies, books and tools, a gallery of art created by members, a wet-felting machine, and so many classes, lectures and community events that it will blow your mind! 

Take a minute to visit the center virtually by watching the video below!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Build Your Own Inkle Loom

This was the first model of inkle loom I owned. 

The very first inkle loom I owned was one which I made in the 1970's with the help of my dad.
 I still remember discovering what a hole saw and L brackets were. The plans came from the book "Inkle Loom Weaving" by Nina Holland. The loom was two-sided, but the second side was not removable, which makes it harder to use. Also, the tension adjustment left much to be desired. So, when I was able to buy one of a better design, I did. I no longer have either of these looms.

When I had young children, in the 1980's and early 90's, I made them each an inkle loom from a cardboard  box, which worked just fine. I don't think that they got used much. All 3 of my kids do know how to use an inkle and I'm glad for that. If you want to make your own cardboard box loom, I highly recommend these instructions by JacQueline Keller on her blog Hearts on Fibre. She's a very clever lady!  Hearts on Fibre

There is another do-it-yourself inkle loom which doesn't require woodworking tools and skills; it is made of PVC pipe. Weaving Today has included plans in their free download. You can find it here:
Weaving Today- Guide to Inkle Weaving

If you have the skills or ability to build one from wood, there are a variety of plans out there on the internet. The tutorial here on Make Magazine's website, looks good to me, although I have not used the plans myself. How To: Build an Inkle Loom

The book "Inkle Weaving" by Helene Bress has plans for building both a table top/lap inkle and a floor-standing inkle. I have one of the floor-standing models built by a friend and can testify that it is a good design.

Have you made your own inkle loom? If so, I'd really like to hear from you about what plans you used and what you like about your model. Please leave a comment below.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Weaving the New Mexico Landscape- Taos Mountain and the Rio Grande Gorge

In tapestry weaving, one can paint pictures and weave landscapes.
In inkle weaving, well...... can you?
When my customer asked me to weave  him a guitar strap inspired by the below photo, I told him that I could evoke a mood, but not paint a picture. As it turns out, I was able to create something that made both of us happy.

Thanks to Geraint Smith for his stunning photo as inspiration and for allowing me to use it here. Please visit his website to see more of his work. You'll be glad you did!  www.GeraintSmith.com  

This photo's view of  Taos Mountain is from the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge. I especially like how Mr. Smith captured the light on the brush in the foreground and along the top edge of the gorge.
I wanted to select colors that accented those features as well as the layers of blue in the sky and the deep shadowy browns. After a while, I narrowed it down to 7 colors.

I got a happy message from my customer today when it arrived along with the photo below showing how it looks with his guitar.   "Annie, your wonderful strap arrived today; it is delightful.  Thank you for your precise hand work and exquisite design eye..... 
Here it is against the back of my Michael Bashkin ziricote guitar..... most lovely...the colors of the mountains and plain are perfectly echoed in the wood grain :)))"

To see a previous New Mexico landscape strap which I made for a mandolin, click here
Maybe this could be a series. There are a lot of inspirational landscapes here in my home state.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Lanyard Project

Every year in July, artisans come from countries around the world to participate in the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I attended for the first time in 2013 and I'm hooked. It is the largest craft fair that you can imagine. Last year there were 173 artists from 59 countries in attendance. I don't know the exact count for this year. Many of the ones who come represent a larger family group or cooperative back home. It is a huge collaborative event between many organizations, but primarily the International Folk Art Alliance. I love visiting their website and reading stories of individual artists and how the market has impacted their lives.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them and get a better look at the details! 

Last week, I was fortunate to have been invited to participate in a pre-market gathering of fiber artists at the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center. It included artists from New Mexico and 10 artists from other countries who were here for the Folk Art Market. In my excitement about the event, I volunteered to make 50 lanyards (see above photo) to be used as name tags for the event.
It was fun to do, even though I had to push at the end to finish. I used some pearle cottons and finer crochet cottons which I don't normally use on my straps. I set up my looms to weave 2 or 3 at a time on one warp. Sharing my craft in this way was very rewarding. 

Isabel Gonzalez, from Jemez Pueblo (New Mexico, Native American), showed her ceremonial garments decorated in traditional embroidery designs. The Pueblo designs incorporate a lot of black, green and red, so I was happy to see that she found a lanyard in those colors. You can read more about her HERE

Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez of Peru is known to many weavers around the world as the director of The Center for Traditional Textiles, in Cuzco, Peru. See more about that on their website HERE.
When I saw her at the market over the weekend, she was wearing my lanyard with her artist's ID tag and it just added a bit more color to her outfit, which was in splendid color already. 

Aurelia Gomes, Deputy Director of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico was proudly wearing a lilac summer sweater which she had knit herself. 

Olimpia Newman is the Director of Development at the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center.
She has helped me greatly as a business consultant over the last few years.

It is thanks to these two ladies above, that the "Local to Global" meeting of artists took place. 

Most of the artists in attendance at our gathering spoke English and we had some great discussions among ourselves and some fun and teasing, too. We had many things in common. Much of the discussion was focused on our businesses and the role which a local fiber arts center plays in this. We are very lucky to be where we are in New Mexico and have EVFAC! 

I attended the market on Saturday and Sunday. One of the first things that caught my eye was the fact that all of the event volunteers were wearing name tags on handwoven lanyards. This is amazing, since there are about 1,600 volunteers which work the weekend. Upon inquiry, I learned that the artists from Timor-Leste had brought them. I found their booth and looked at the woven textiles. Then I bought some samples of the narrow woven bands which were made into lanyards.

There is lots of encouragement here for me to keep on weaving bright color combinations!!