Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Iowa City Book Festival

Nothing stops weavers from sharing their craft, not even 100 degrees on a summer day. Betty warped small looms as a learning opportunity during the Book Festival at the Iowa City Public Library.

Weavers use almost any fiber in their craft, note the flower stalks.

Stephanie from the ICPL staff and Grace assisted these future young weavers with their projects. Amazing what you can do with a few pipe cleaners, grass, and string.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Children's Day at The Art's Festival

As fiber artists, we realize that to many, weaving and spinning is what OLD people did, in the OLDEN times. Of course, we are neither old, nor is this the old days; and yet it excites children and individuals across the age continuum. Each year, several of us take our looms a d spinning wheels to public fairs and festivals, school classrooms, libraries, and museums, just to share our art. Children always respond with excitement and curiosity. Few have seen actual cloth or yarn being produced and are delighted as the patterns appear on the loom or this flimsy fluffy stuff turns into tough yarn on the wheel. I personally drive 1000 miles each fall, just to hear that "whoa, look at that", "how'd ya do that?" "you mean I can do it myself", "For Real", "hey, cool". Teachers love these programs because it's art, it's creativity, it's math, it's social studies, and it's science, all rolled into one activity. To's just fun and worth every mile.

This picture is was taken one such event. It's at the Iowa City Public Library's Children's Fun Day at the Arts Festival. The fun is apparent. The library told Cathy that it was such a hit, we need to do it again next year....YES, I think we have future weavers .

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Northern Wefts

Mid-West Weavers and Spinners held their biannual conference at Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan. Twelve or more weavers/spinners from our guild attended the conference, learned from the experts in the workshops, and shared their joy of playing with fiber.

Hancock is a small peninsula town built into the side of a mountain with its sister city, Houghton across the canal. Needless to say, we got a fair amount of exercise, running up and down those "hills". Some of us were housed on Michigan Tech's campus in Houghton. It was fun just to watch the lift-bridge between Hancock put on its daily show as we navigated to campus each day. I was amazed at the number of spouses and families who tagged along to enjoy the beautiful, albeit, cold, wet and foggy Keweenaw peninsula. They took tours to nearby towns, visited mines, art galleries and breweries, went hiking and enjoyed the area. And the Sun did finally come out.

Our guild was one of 14 guilds or study groups to provide an exhibit, ours was entitled Dancing Spirits. Although we didn't win a prize, we did receive a rather decent score, 27/30, from the judge, Anita Mayer. She made some very positive comments, but did note that our shabby guild sign distracted from our elegant display. She would just love our guild house...

More than 25 weavers from the Rug Interest Group met over lunch and shared many incredible rugs.

One of the highlights for me was a two-day workshop on dyeing warps. We each prepared warps of protein or cellulose fiber. After sampling the different colors, shades and fibers as part of the basic foundation for dyeing, we began dyeing warps. We painted designs, blended colors,and applied color theories.

Discharge dyeing over a completed handwoven table runner was one of the exciting challenges from this class

Other than always being a little wet and a lot shabby ourselves, it was so enlightening and laughed a lot. I must admit showing up at the fashion show with blue nails wasn't my idea of a fashion statement.

Craft Guild of Iowa City was well represented in the Individual Awards.

I think I speak for all of us, wonderful week in a wonderful place.