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Archive for May, 2009

Summer Love

There’s a lot going on at the moment, between summer cleaning, locating my loom under a pile of mother-donated fabric, and a million projects that are blooming in my mind. Not a lot to update with currently, so I leave you for now with some of my favorite shots from the annual Pungo Strawberry Festival.

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Experience in Professional Development

I believe that part of self-educating yourself involves taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. You never know what kind of asset an experience is going to be to your search for knowledge and wisdom–or for your resume. There can be many benefits to one opportunity that may not be evident from the beginning: working for Carly, I benefited from getting a look into the business of craft, practicing my weaving technique, receiving school credit, and making a friend while learning how to network with artists in Baltimore and beyond. I have high hopes for my summer job as a TA and RA for MICA’s Pre-College Program; not only will the teaching experience look great on my resume, but it too is a chance to network within the school and explore my options as an artist. Something I’ve learned is that you have to take your career into your own hands, even if you are uncertain of what that may be, and the earlier you start, the better.

Fist Print, Spring 2008

Fist Print, Spring 2008

Contests and Calls for Entries

Part of building professional development outside of the workplace is respecting yourself enough as an artist to put your work out for the public to see. This is something that I feel a lot of artists struggle with–finding the confidence to say that my work is good enough to hang on gallery walls and be printed in magazines. I’m lucky enough that I have an excellent support system that is always kicking me in the butt to take risks and apply myself. Last year, I submitted the above print along with some other miscellaneous pieces to the Fiberarts Magazine’s annual call for student submissions. Even though I didn’t have a cohesive portfolio at that point, I’m glad I submitted my work because it was practice for this year’s competition, and I’m busy ironing, photographing, and formatting my very fluid body of work–my weaving–this weekend.

For those of you who are also looking to exhibit your work, an excellent opportunity that has recently come to my attention is a call for entries at the Textile Museum in D.C. with a deadling of January 2010–so you have plenty of time! I say go for it, you never know what may come your way in the future;  the best thing you can do for youself is keep your eyes open to possibilities.

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Otherwise titled: “What am I supposed to do with a degree in fiber arts, and do I really need to keep going to an expensive, though prestigious, art school in order to pursue my dreams? Thanks biased American culture, thanks.”

Apron based on vintage pattern, Fall 2008

Apron based on vintage pattern, Fall 2008

Ok guys, I don’t know what to do. I am not a designer. More specifically, I’m not a fashion designer, nor do I have any desire to be one. And while making the above apron was so extremely satisfying (as my first piece of clothing, I think it’s pretty awesome, let’s be honest), I know that making clothes is not going to be satisfying for me as a career. I enjoy setting up my dress-makers mannequin in my room as a creepy presence; doing anything more with it just doesn’t make sense to me. Taking costume design in the fall is going to be good for me, something to fall back on, but it’s not what I want to do and I have a feeling that class is going to find me hugging my mannequin, the two of us swaddled in layers of muslin, and me feeling extremely lost. Nor do I want to design industrial fabrics, home decor, or be the person who operates the embroidery machine in those sportswear embellishment shops. Nor do I really want my weavings to do anything; they don’t need to be dishcloths or towels or table runners. Or scarves for that matter. It’s just not me.

And, as I previously mentioned, I have an old and beautiful copy of A Dress Maker’s Pattern Book sitting on my shelf, do I really need to still be in school to continue the things I’ve already learned how to do?  A good artist can admit that there are always things to learn, but do I need to learn those things in the small perspective nook that is MICA’s fiber department? I can’t afford to study abroad, and now that I’ve invested this much time (and dough) in MICA, I can’t very well leave now. Not that I really want to, but it does seem silly to me that if all I want to do is just weave beautiful cloth, what am I doing here? The way I see it, most people don’t do anything with their college degrees, but as long as they have one they are good to go in today’s career world. But higher education is more of a business than anything else, and I kind of hate the fact that I’m playing in to it. I have a loom, I have the basic skills, and I’ve always been self-educating, yet I keep on giving MICA more money to not challenge me.

Someone get me out of here!

Coming soon: “The Quest for Professional Development in a Really Hilariously Strange Art Medium”

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purse showcase

This is a small change purse I wove for my grandmother’s birthday. The really neat thing about it? There was no sewing involved. The entire purse was woven in doublecloth: for the main body of the piece, the cloth was woven with two seams, one on the right and one on the left, creating a pocket in the center. For the last inch, I switched up the treadling sequence to weave two separate planes of cloth, as seen in the top right photograph. This way, when the cloth is separated, one side can be tucked in and the other folded over as a loose closure, seen top left. What makes this piece cool for me is that it’s a fully functional piece made from one, solid and unbroken piece of cloth. Hand twisted ends, tencel and linen.

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A Loom Without an Apron

– Is a naked loom. Which is why I spent my evening hand crafting two simple yet sturdy aprons for my front and back beams. Having aprons cuts down on thread waste- something my boys didn’t know about when they built me my loom. I measured each apron (measure twice, cut once!), hemmed the sides and the top using a zig-zag stitch, and cut the notches at the top, complete with fray check just like Carly taught me. I have to say, I’ve got myself a pretty nice loom- the complete package- hand crafted from top to bottom.

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For the next month all of my photos will feature the bad lighting and awful carpet background of my bedroom! Aren’t you lucky.

Now that my loom is back in order, I can start weaving again:

Note the cones of yarn sharing space with my books in the background

Note the cones of yarn sharing space with my books in the background

A lovely linen and cotton warp for a rag rug. But first, I must weave something for my grandmother’s birthday on Sunday. Any suggestions? Bryan’s ideas were very compelling:

“hmm i dunno, change purse, collar, cuff, shawl type thing, hair wrap thing, waist thing?”

– but I’m still brainstorming. That’s a project for tomorrow. My goal is to have the warp for the rag rug woven off by the end of next week. Happy weaving!

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On Mother’s Day-

mr giraffe again

A face only a mother could love

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Finished with sophomore year, and now that I’m home, it’s time to start thinking about my summer projects before I go back off to Baltimore to work at MICA’s summer pre-college program for high school students.  My plans include perusing my 1919 copy of Dress Making Made Easy for a little garment design, getting some spinning and embroidery done, and of course, a little bit of weaving!  That being said, I’m so lucky to have so many amazing men in my life, men who build me beautiful things out of wood for my crafty needs.  This time around, it was my wonderful father who crafted these nice warping pegs for me:

Warping Pegs

Warping Pegs

8/4 Cotton Carpet Warp and rag rugs, here I come!

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