Dear LauraI can feel the frost crunch underfoot and, if that is where the metallic thread is, know I could see the frost as well. Your work satisfies my vision, my eyes so fully … how else to say it.
The garden fork and hedging shears you wove for me have given me years of pleasure as I walk from East to West in our house.
This one is now at Patina Gallery in Santa Fe.
I am the lucky one for these beautiful tapestries hang in my apartment. The corn reminds me of Kansas where I lived for 7 years and have missed ever since I left a few months ago (much to my surprise).My home is the desert but can never get enough of rivers and streams. I love the sounds of flowing water and can spend hours digging around & inspecting the smooth stones they form.
It looks like heaven. Sigh. Posted about your latest designs for Crate and Barrel on my blog today.
Really enjoying your blog. Long time admirer. I’ve nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award. More at: http://www.austintapestry.blogspot.com
I’ve just visited this blog for the first time. Your tapestries are beautiful. I think you would enjoy seeing the work of Karen Henderson:http://www.inliquid.com/artist/henderson_karen/henderson.php
Wow! It’s beautiful! Lou told me about you and said that you would be here for the quilt show (Paducah). Where will you be? I’d love to meet you and would also like to invite you to join our Fiber Focus group (www.fiberfocus.ning.com).
And, if you would like to write an article for my blog, I’m sure my readers would be interested in what you do.
All the best, Rachel
What a fanatstic color, I have never seen anything like that!
The photos are great – isn’t is amazing that it’s a weed that can be so beautiful for that time – of course I’ve always said a weed is just something that is in a place where you don’t want it!
Your ruminations, and the images they provoke, are beautiful. I will never think of honey in the same way again.Cathy
I live in NYC, and I totally want your life! Kate
I grew up in Indiana (up near Brown County). Now I live in NYC, where I’ve been a museum textile conservator for about 10 years. Your blog always makes me so homesick! I saw your ribbons for sale at the Cooper Hewitt…that’s how I learned about you. You totally have inspired me! wow. kate
As a non-beekeeper, I am drawn to other people’s stories and experiences about it! What a marvelous undertaking.
I’m looking forward to following your progress and success!
In response to these comments — I am so happy to be building toward a dream life here in New Harmony. It was a big step to leave Chicago for a rural town of 900, but this special place is magically connected to the rest of the world. I will write more about New Harmony soon.
Wow! You are back at it! I still don’t have a clear enough brain for a post quilt show post… Glad you made it home OK and it sure was a pleasure to meet you!
I forgot to mention that Claudia and John had also stopped by my booth. I had no idea they were in New Harmony! They have always been on my “favorite people in the whole wide world” list. It was really nice to know that you are also a part of their lives.
On bees, do you guys know anything about the possible connection of cell phones to the dissemination of bee colonies? Just curious to know whether anything knew had been found on that. I saw some in my yard a couple of days ago which made me happy. Saw a wasp, too, which is not so happy…
I heard a book on tape that was excellent. The story was about a white girl who went to find her mother’s story and all she had was a label from a honey jar. She does find the town and the beekeeper who happens to be a large, warm, Black woman. The beekeeper and bees nurture the girl back into happiness. Takes place in the south somewhere and was very good.
That book would be The Secret Life of Bees, a wonderful read. Made into a movie maybe 6 months ago, which wasn’t quite so good.I don’t know about bees & cell phones, so many rumors about what is causing hive collapse. But a good reason to listen to the real buzz rather than the one on the phone!
Laura, How exciting! What a wonderful circle of life example this is. I love all the architecture, landscaping drafting classes and art I took while getting my interior design and art history degrees. How creative to weave them into tasperies.
How fun to have a tactile softer version of a truly visual feast.
I was in Chigaco a month ago and went through ArtIC seeing the signs for the new wing. Thanks for sharing what you saw there – it completed my trip!
Beautiful images! I was especially struck by Will ascending the stairs–for some reason, he reminded me of Abe Lincoln!
My lavender took forever to sprout and is now slowly growing. I don’t know if the soil was too rich or not enough sun or what…. So, I am jealous once again.
You cat looks very much like a cat that I had, Loco…
The lavender which does best here is Grosso; also do very well with Provence. the Hidcote, though a beautiful color, is a much smaller plant and fewer blooms. You should be able to do equally well in Paducah, though maybe soil has something to do with it: ours is poor quality and sandy/clay.
How exciting for you!
Isn’t that fun when this happens? I love it when the greats just step right up at ya. How fun for you!
Congrats! That’s wonderful!
Very cool -I’m glad you shared this. I’ve only been to one permanent labyrinth at the Mepkin Abbey. I’ve seen temporary ones on canvas for setup inside, but there is something I enjoy about one outside. What a cool idea on the horses – I wonder about walking my dog through one… Thanks again!
This is such a great idea. These days we need to center ourselves and our loved ones (pets), to continue to be positive. I’ve been to one in Santa Barbara CA.several times. They are wonderful! Thanks for posting this.
I haven’t visited your blog in quite some time, unfortunately for me! These postings are quite beautiful. I am especially excited about the magazine! Way to go, Laura!
Our lavender struggles, but survives on its own, more or less. Mother-in-law Patricia planted it in her herb garden, which we have inherited. Some years, I have replanted with various other lavenders, but it is her original plants that survive. Ours is a northern exposure to the water, an inlet of a river that feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. Strong winds roll in with Nor’easters, along with lots of oak leaves and pine straw. When she planted them originally 30 years ago, their site probably received more sun.
I covet your lavender tapestry, Laura, and long to see the original.
I hope you went back and harvested the berries. One year, I made elderberry jam from a bush that grew in our yard in Hurst, IL. It was the most delicious jam I made that year! We moved shortly thereafter….
What great fun! I love how you borrowed from a historical item – i.e. the fabric books from new Harmony. Let us know how they sold.
They are selling really well — there are only 6 left. I think people love getting their hands on an object instead of a piece of paper!
How long does such a labyrinth last? You’ve inspired me to think of a “sandcastle” the next time I’m at the beach!
This is the first I’ve seen of a labyrinth with a tree. How special and beautiful with fall here. I’ve learned something today.
This will last until the wind blows it away, maybe hours or maybe days. Ben has also made labyrinths on the beach with many participants. They last until the water washes them away (or footprints wear them off)
I make ephemeral labyinths in a 40ft diameter circle of raked earth at Whitewater Mesa Labyrinths. They last intil my horses roll in the soft dry clay or until I rake it into another Zen garden for someone else to create their own labyrinth. You shuffle the design with your feet. Bare feet are best.Cordelia
see the October 15 posting for Cordelia’s stone labrinth.
This is really neat. I love all the posts about the labyrinths, raking and gentle process and beauty that results.
Perfect … I spent yesterday finishing Blaek’s labyrinth, my second and recyclable equine labyrinth. This one is a 7-circuit classic with the pathway delineated by horse manure! wish New Mexico wasn’t quite so far away from New Harmony!
It will be wonderful to have your horse labyrinths here next fall, Cordelia!
These labyrinth photos are stunning! Thank you! Thank you!
I called the gallery, but they said they’d sold out of your needle books. Any chance of you making more? I’d love to purchase at least one, maybe two.
Susan Scott firstname.lastname@example.org
As a a matter of fact this is an edition of 50, 20 were donated to the gallery and you can get them from me.
Love the story, and the tapestries. My favorite one of all of yours is the swarming bees. Like glimmering stars.
Oh, I hadn’t seen these! I especially like the second one. It’s so joyous!
My cousins and I were attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets when we were kids (hmmmm….. were we where we weren’t supposed to be???) and my father was attacked by African killer bees out in rural Brazil when I was a teenager. When he got home he sat down and asked me to get a pair of tweezers to pull out the stingers from his head. There were at least 40! I love bees, but don’t know if I would have the guts to tend them…
Both are stunning, Laura!
I love being safe in my suit with bees buzzing around my head… I think they are rather wonderful creatures and can’t wait until I am at ease enough to tend them without a bee suit. Remember these are honeybees, not yellowjackets!
Hello from Canada!!! I just fell in love with your work. I’ve featured you today. Have a wonderful day! LPxohttp://libertypostgallery.blogspot.com/2010/02/suzani-ribbons-designer-alert-level.html
Thanks, Liberty, for the kudos and the glorious display! I hope all my readers will look at your lovely blog.
Man, Laura…. this all looks SO hard! My hat is off to you!
But we are both members of slow cloth! Hard is the wrong word: exacting might be better. But when you get into the alpha zone of working, it is meditation.
I’m sure it will be beautiful and I hope you will love it for all this effort!
Laura – I just received my labyrinth ribbon order…thank you! I noticed that you are located in New Harmony…the Labyrinth Society Gathering will take place there in Nov. – I will be there for about a week (as a board member we also have a meeting before the conference). I hope to meet you in Nov.! Looking forward to following your blog. Carol
Carol: no coincidence: My husband Ben Nicholson is co-chairing the conference and we have designed these ribbons collaboratively! We certainly will meet then and I look forward to it very much! Look at my earlier posts about Ben’s leaf labyrinths.
small world and no such thing as a coincidence…just time we coincide! Is your husband related to Cordelia (your sister in law…I think?)? I do some work with the Delaware Art Museum – Cordelia & Danielle Rice are friends. I love the leaf labyrinth…can’t wait till Nov.!
Yes, Ben and Cordelia are siblings — wait till you see them together!
WOW! I thought I was the only one who warped like this! I’ve always been embarassed to admit that I don’t make a cross. Before taking up tapestry, I wove shawls and scarves, and I always liked to use a handful of different yarns, and not in a repeating order. The untangling at the reed can be soothing, but sometimes it’s brutal, as I can imagine with your mohair. It looks really great.
no cross??? wow, that is impressive. I don’t think I could dare work w/o that — but I find that if you make bundles of each color (cross included) and then randomly thread your way across the reed with each color, one at a time, it is a rapid way to to work spontaneously.
They are beautiful! I like how you add interest with the stripes rather than just blocks of color. Hmmm – you’ve also inspired me to think more simply about my tapestries. I think more complicated and then never get to make them!
Simplicity is an interesting concept with textiles: sometimes I think I might have stripped too much out of a few of them (not these). When there is not so much seductive detail, the composition is much more critical, and every thread plays its part more acutely. These were a nice challenge. Now I am working with more detail as a kind of reaction to the simplicity in this series.
This is a polyphemous moth, born without a mouth with the sole purpose to recreate. The eyes are beautiful, aren’t they? I had one on our window screen last year.
thanks for the ID, Lynn! no mouth? how peculiar.
Beautiful. I am guessing it was worth the effort, as per your february post.
Lovely! Found you through a link on Jane Brocket’s blog. Adding you to my Bloglines.
I love going by to see them. I show them off to my grandson too.
My mom had peonies on our farm in Southwestern Illinois. I’ve never gotten around to planting any for myself, but your post has absolutely inspired me to get some. What a treat to live next door to fields of them.
WOW! I love peonies and would feel like I’m in heaven with all of those! How wonderful to have them in your home as well. What a great time to relish!
This is beautiful! Isn’t it wonderful how a contraint like one color brings out such wonderful things!
I am absolutey a fan of white on white – So much so that I told my husband if we ever get that dream house I keep talking about, most if not all the walls will be white! Or maybe just one room.
Love the peonies too, and am completely jealous of your morning view of them. Thanks so much for sharing!
Oooooo! Love the colors. It’s going to be fantastic!
Brilliant! I’m just now completing my first queen sized, hand quilted quilt and am anxious to start another. LOVE the idea of your quilt!
Your thoughts are so universal and encompassing!!!!!!!!!!! Certainly, Docey and I would not be here without Cousin Jane’s influence!!!!!!!! I have found dear friends and inspiration here in New Harmony!!!!! I am grateful to be a part of this sweet Utopia!
Love and harmony to you and your family!
Caroline Dale Kennedy
So beautifully written, Laura! Made tears come to my eyes…. Great women. Now it’s our turn to work at creating a legacy.
Laura, I’ve been stunned and speachless most of the day – preferring the silence of the nature around me seeing the beauty of what Mrs. Owen began and cultivated over the years. This brought me comfort and sweet joy indeed. Thank you for these thoughts – truely – you are gifted in so many ways not only with your woven fabrics – but with the stitching and weaving of your words in a perfect beautiful tapestry. This inspiration rested like a prayer on this warm summer night. Love Laura Hudgins
So lovely. Thank you Laura.
A beautiful tribute…thank you Laura.
What a beautifully written tribute to both women! My husband and I visited New Harmony for the antique show a couple of weekends ago and were amazed at what we found – Have you seen the petunias growing in the gutters? Seriously! Who has that?
Quite a wonderful place indeed, and it seems the traditions are in quite capable hands.
Thank you Laura for these comforting and optimistic words. She was a force of nature and New Harmony will be forever grateful for her vision.
Laura,Your sentiments are so well expressed. I believe I was blessed to find New Harmony, just a year ago, and came here as fast as I could so to know both of these ladies better. I spent more moments with Jane than Claudia, yet I feel privileged and thankful to have experienced both of their energy and enthusiasm.
I will make every effort to now “pay it forward”.Roland Hall
It has been lovely to hear back from so many people about my comments here. Mrs Owen was a total force of nature and we were all deeply affected by her. I like Roland’s ntion to “pay it forward”.
It looks beautiful… the tractor and the newly bush-hogged land.
Wonderful, Laura. Beautiful words, beautiful sentiments, from a beautiful soul. Thank you.
Oh, Laura! What a wonderful trip! I long to go out there someday… Have never been to Santa Fe and have wanted to see it for years! Not sure the hustle and bustle sounds good, but the rest of it does! Enjoy!
Oh, such a lovely sounding trip. Drive around the block the next time you go and I’ll hop into your suitcase and go with you.
That is so lovely, It makes me want to dust off my loom, but I have no hopes of doing work that nice.
This is lovely! I love how you interpreted flowers and foliage. What an heirloom.
What a lovely design and wonderful cushion Laura!
This looks like I will have a way to make raking much more enjoyable when the leaves begin to fall here in Minnesota. What a wonderful idea–a labyrinth of leaves!
I have a very special appreciation for labyrinths as a path to prayer and a journey of celebration. Our oldest son and his wife were married in a labyrinth created by William Frost on his land in rural Northfield. Sadly, William has since sold the land and moved to Santa Fe, but we hold the place in our minds and hearts.
Thank you for sharing your talents and ways to create a bit of soulful meditation in the midst of a world in continuous motion.
Gorgeous! And I love the fact that you wove your backing!!! I hope the pillow will now hold center-stage somewhere in your home.
not for my own home: it was a commission!
One thing I have discovered about walking a path– if I look down at my feet, I move more and more slowly and become more and more unsure, tentatively checking each rock for a wiggle before I step on it, testing for slipperiness before I commit to a step.
And despite all that care and caution, watching each step always leads to more stumbles, more tripping over roots, more near ankle twisting.
But when I raise my eyes and get lost in what’s ahead or above or around me, and stop even thinking about the path, my feet take care of the walking all by themselves.
It always works.
And yet, still, it’s not easy to trust my own self enough to give up control.
Much love to you, Laura, as you follow your path. You will know the way to go, whatever direction it may take.
I too have stood at the crossroad where you now stand. And oddly enough at the same period of time, 30 years. Sometimes where we end up when we finally know ourselves is not the choice we want. But, seven years later I can look back and know it was the right choice. It can sound trite when we say it aloud but it is true- sometimes the greatest love we show is knowing when to let go. If you can, stay friends and avoid bitterness. My thoughts and best wishes are with you.
I just had the opportunity to visit Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch two weeks ago for the first time and feel much as you that it is a special place to help find our center again. I like your photos. I have visited Santa Fe a number of times and miss the old less busy days, but still enjoy going for the art.
Congratulations, Laura! What a great honor! I hope you have fun and get lots of kudos for your beautiful piece. Say hi to the Windy City for me…
I wonder what is buzzing in your being as you gaze upon a twilight landscape. Pensive, monochromatic, but with sufficient light and color to bring hope and a future. “For I alone know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord your God, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Love both of your portraits! So clever! Look forward to seeing the Barn on Fire.
Truly magnificent sight, and pure magic to be in the middle of. Lucky you! 🙂
Love watching them far off above a field, when the flock of many many thousands tightens and loosens and shifts its shape like a smudge of smoke on teh horizon.
Oh– and may be any or all of these: red-winged blackbirds, Brewer’s bbirds, rusty bbirds, grackles, starlings.
I didn’t glimpse any red wings but Nature Lover, you are the best when it comes to knowing your birds! thanks!
Grackles seem most likely from the shapes I can make out (note the long tails). This was taken up on WhatBird:http://www.whatbird.com/forums/forums/thread/197120.aspx
Thanks for sending out the request! They were noisy so grackles make sense.
Actually it was forum member who goes by the handle ILWIorAZ who posted the link to your blog. Several participants concur with the grackle i.d. Very cool experience to have; if you take up birding you’ll have many more!
You’re making me want to uncover my loom and tie on a warp.
How dangerous could that be? a nice midwinter meditation…
Best wishes in the year ahead, Laura. I’ve been so interested to read how your process of weaving and color is built on bee and path metaphors. I weave rugs, and a rug is a path, literally. I was also inspired this summer by a stack of pastel painted bee boxes: my block inlay “boxes” were filled with Rosepath “bees” The idea inside the weave is its essence
just lovely, Susan. Thanks for commenting.
A friend of mine once said, “You know, the good thing about you when you have a broken heart is that you make really good art…”
sigh… thanks, Rachel.
Laura, your work is beautiful. I ran across you on linked in and seem to have found a kindred spirit. I too am a bit obsessed with my love of bees and one day dream of having my own hives. I also weave (although my loom is currently dis-assembled due to lack of space:(I look forward to following your work and blog in the future. I’m currently building my website and my portfolio in hopes of being able to make at least a part time living off my art and design work.
Lovely sunshine. Really brightens the day. I look up at those windows when I go to the bank. Candy
Speechless. And weeping. Incredibly powerful piece, Laura. A rain of love on that ‘barn’ and all it signifies.
i agree, incredibly powerful words to accompany your gorgeous piece. you’ve moved me. peace and healing to you. soon.
Oh, Laura… what a bummer! I suppose that now you will get arthritis in it when it heals…. Grrrrr…. Well, I guess it could have been worse, but still. I feel bad for you! Hope it heals quickly, cleanly and that you don’t have any lasting damage later.
Kudos on the show! Hope it goes really well for you!
So sorry to read about your arm. Do hope you mend quickly. I absolutely love your Burning Barn piece.
Still reading your story, as you you work through your changing circumstances, and keep going back to your loom. It’s inspirational, and also sad, but I know imagination, the “intimate conversation between myself and the loom” is a life boat. I’m so sorry you broke your wrist, a cruel twist. But, ha! You’re still weaving
wopw, beautyfull!! whata lot of work this must have taken. My compliments!!
gorgeous pieces. i saw a few of your pieces in santa fe this past weekend. the gallery attendant was impressed i knew your very distinctive work. good luck with the new show.
Oh, this sounds marvelous. I am going to see what I can do to get there. At least I can walk to the Potters house and won’t need lodging..
It is sure to be fabulous! Hope to have you with us!
Hi, I just found your blog on FB via TAFA. I love that painting so much! I love all his stuff. I hope things change and the sun shines soon for you. : )
Happy Thursday.MonikaFibre artist in Canada
wow. I am a thread painting quilt artist, but I was given a 4 shuttle LeClerc loom several years ago. I have woven a sample and after years of babies and moving cities, I am feeling this incredible urge to weave! Your work is beautiful!! Thanks for the inspiration!
Reminds me of the story about the man who walked along the beach, tossing stranded starfish out into the ocean. [“Made a difference to *that* one.”] Thank you for thinking of the bees.
Yeah for the bees. Aren’t you glad we live in a nice helpful town?
Happy to report that the sun was out today and the bees were happily buzzing around their hives.
Hi Laura, I’m a little curios about those hoops that dyers are using to pull skeins out of the dyepot. Can you describe them?Diane
Diane, the hoops are heavy coated wire that the skeins are suspended from. It makes it easier to dip the skeins in & out to keep dye takeup even, and keeps the skeins from tangling.
I wanted to take that workshop too, Glad you had a good time.
Hi Laura, I have admired your beautiful work for a while and I love to read about your process and inspirations here. I do think that tapestry weaving is one of the most challenging art forms. My aunt is a weaver, mainly focusing on figurative tapestries, so I know how time consuming and nerve wrecking the process is. Her name is Gunilla Petersson, she lives and works in Sweden. If you are interested you can find samples of her work here:
(you have to find her name in the members list and click on the images. she is very low tech and does not have a website.)
Your work reminds me of hers, although still quite different. Hers is more edgy, your more poetic…Hmm not sure those are good descriptions. Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts and your art!
Thank you for this, Lotta. I looked at the site and your aunt’s work is very impressive and has a lot of feeling. The entire site is fascinating, thank you so much for the link to it!Laura
Very cool — beautiful!
I love it!
Laura, I admire your courage to face reality head on. Your honesty and determination will carry you through. What you are facing is essentially the same question everyone else facing in different ways: how do I live out the remaining life that is still inside of me? How do I connect through the ever changing landscape?
Keep creating-that is what you are,your special gift, don’t stop!I’ve been tempted to stop many times over the years, but I can’t live without drawing and creating, it just HAS to be done…you will find a way.
You said it so well. I too used to have more work than time. Now, literally nothing. Thanks for being honest! Character and integrity is everything. Here is what a colleague pointed out after a recent professional design event, when I lamented everyone else seemed to have work, “Come on, if they say they are busy, they are flat out lying.”
I really feel like a survivor in this economy, too. My sales dropped drastically about three years ago. And, yet, there have been many articles out about how well the art market is doing in certain circles and how much new money there is out there, especially in Asia. Part of our challenge, I think, is in trying to go beyond our traditional markets. I really hope that TAFA will be able to help forge that path for all of us! (www.tafalist.com)
Interesting question Laura. I have for a long time made a selection of smaller items to coordinate with my larger quilts. There is a challenge in making something that will remind customers of the larger pieces. In addition I have found that having the smaller items does help the sales of the larger items. An interesting challenge but I try to keep all pieces “honest”.
This post broke my heart for your feelings of putting something satisfying out into the world and thinking that it might not have made an impact. Please know that your work is very important to me. I can’t tell you the number of times I have logged on to the Patina gallery exhibit and wished I could afford to purchase a piece. Even though I don’t have much money and I would love to give more art a home with me, I know that your art and several other local artists’ work is selling for a fraction of its worth, and given enough time for small-time admirers to save our pennies, your beautiful tapestries will sell. (I will be very sad though, when Beatrice Muse goes on to a new home!! 🙂
Thank you for this post Laura! Once again your reflections resonate with my own on so many levels. I am also trying to bridge the gap between art and craft/production. I find that there is resistance in both camps. The art audience does not always like non-traditional medium/heritage of fiber and the craft audience does not like when an object becomes too artistic (ie expensive). I approach this the same way as I think you try to do – by pouring my heart into everything I take on. It is only when something becomes too routine and “produced” that I get unhappy with my work, or the work process. Now this approach does not necessarily translate into financial success, which is yet another frustrating topic of discussion…
What a lovely thing to say! Here is one thing I think about, though: how to imbue design or small little things I make with that same poignant worth? Or is that the difference right there, the value, so to speak. How to put work out there to share this with people and make it accessible– but still make a living?
I too do ‘all sorts’ to get by…it is all one’s work, inevitably the knowledge and skills of everything one has ever made/created goes into each new piece, its just that some pieces are different from others, a bit like sketches and final paintings, some things are just ‘lighter’ than others.I do find that the simpler things I do feedback into the more complicated and vice versa and I do enjoy ringing the changes, but I get a bit jumpy if I haven’t been stuck into some painting for a while.There’s work I do that is easier and enjoyable but there’s the other work that is hard and personal- both set challenges and both need to be taken seriously, but in different ways!The more commercial work has to still be ‘your’ work.I too get frustrated by the blinkered attitudes towards what is ‘craft’ and what is ‘art’ and the absurd hierarchies that are perpetuated.
Your post put me in mind of the exchange between Connor (Mike) and Tracy in Philadelphia Story:
Tracy: When you can do a thing like that book, how can you possibly do anything else?
Mike: Well, you may not believe this, but there are people in this world that must earn their living.
Tracy: Of course, but people buy books, don’t they?
Mike: Not as long as there’s a library around. You know, that book of mine represents two solid years’ work. And it netted Connor something under six hundred dollars.
Tracy: But that shouldn’t be!…What about your Miss Imbrie?
Mike: Well, Miss Imbrie is in somewhat the same fix. She’s a born painter, and might be a very important one. But Miss Imbrie must eat. And she also prefers a roof over her head to being constantly out in the rain and snow.
Tracy: Food and a roof….
Ah! indeed the quandary is reduced to these two things. Working on the food part now, and will soon write about trying to get local food to our little hamlet.
Laura, so good to hear about Farmers’ Mkt efforts!
Visiting your blog to borrow stuff to post on website on new page we’re putting together: People We Love, Stuff We Love 🙂
That okay with you?
I am super frugal and always have been. #1 make it. if you can’t, then #2 find one nobody needs. if you can’t do that, then #3 borrow one. And if not, then #4 buy it second hand. I hardly ever get to #5 – purchase new with Canadian Tire money or air miles coupons. lol
even when I throw birthday parties for the kids, I ask all guests to bring second hand items for gifts. Hard core! ; )
~Monika : )))
Beautiful post and amazing work!
English walled vegetable gardens are sheer bliss- many more of them have been restored back to working order since that tv series first aired.Holkham is just starting on a long-term restoration project, but has a long way to go yet:West Dean in Sussex has the most fabulous hot houses,Heligan in Cornwall is awesome…but there are so many of them- you should try to get over here again one day and do a tour.They are so inspiring.I just cannot resist a neat row of cabbages or a cordoned fruit tree.
“Haven” was one of my favorites. I hope you find a gallery for them soon!
Did “In My Mind’s Eye I am Fine” sell at the Hibberd McGrath gallery?
Mind’s Eye is at Patina Gallery in Santa Fe, along with her sister,”Beatrice”. Haven is safe with me for the moment!
This is a great post about the creative process Laura. Gestation is necessary but it can feel fallow. And then suddenly there you are. Can’t wait to see what happens.
I know what you mean about work space- when I have some work coming on I have to clean and tidy.Once everything is sorted, I can get going…doesn’t mean I know what I’m going to do though…just that I can start on it. Rarely work turns out as I anticipated and sometimes it turns out to be about something quite other than the thing that inspired it- though there will be a connection.Sometimes it takes years to find the focus for an idea…then suddenly, out it comes. Hope yours are going well, looking forward to seeing the results- by the way, managed to get some of your ribbons in the UK,using them in some dressmaking projects-love ’em.
I always enjoy your comments, Kate. Glad you found some ribbons — where?? — and would love to see what you make with them. I am off to London in a couple of weeks, it has been quite a while since I have been there and looking forward to it very much!
Nice information and blog and also the weaving design is so good.Will come back for some more designs.
Kashmiri Pashmina Shawls
Have fun in London Laura-but bring your raincoat,very wet here this ‘summer’- found the ribbons at a fabric shop down in Sussex.Hoping to find some of the button ribbon somewhere-I keep looking!
Hi Kate, yesterday I posted all of the new ribbons online at http://www.lfntextiles.com, including the new 7/8″ ivory/black button ribbon, so there you are!
thanks for the good wishes!Laura
PS what is the name of the Sussex fabric shop?
I am always in awe of the patience of weavers…as a speedy painter I can’t even begin to imagine the patience and restraint you need to set the loom up before you even start to weave. Artists tend to get lumped together as if we were all the same, but different disciplines require such different approaches; artists do have a lot in common, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of how we choose to express ourselves, it comes out so uniquely.
Hello Laura- Do you ship to the UK from the website? I’ve often thought about ordering direct from you.The shop in Sussex is ‘The Eternal Maker’ in Chichester.They have fabric ranges and other stuff there that I’ve not seen anywhere else. More sizes of ric-rac braid than I thought existed in the universe…
Hi Kate, I do ship to UK and many other places! I try to keep shipping rates very reasonable as ribbon is so light weight.
Brilliant- I shall have a serious think about which ribbons I really cannot do without.By the way- when in London if you haven’t seen the Chelsea Physic Garden, try to fit in a visit, it is lovely.
Hi I love the Spring Stones and I really love all of your pieces from the Garden Series you did with the vegetables. Just wonderful. I’ve been reading your blog and I noticed a couple of pics of you warping. Do you use only one warp or do you have a second warp for tie downs on the Brocade sections? For example, similar to Theo Moorman technique? Or do you just weave your twill ground shot and then add the brocade in the same shed? Oh I love the new work too and I hope you find a new gallery soon. I’ve admired your work for years and I’m glad I found your blog. I discovered you years ago in a Shuttle Spindle Depot article or maybe it was Fiberarts. Keep on weaving!
How nice of you to write, DeAnna. I work in a simple 3 harness twill, compound, meaning that I treadle once for inlay and a second time for the ground shuttle. I have never liked Theo Moorman, too rigid looking. I only use one warp beam and most of the time, the design is distributed well enough around the warp so as not to cause too many tension problems, though sometimes it is an issue. Thank you for the compliments about my work &writing, I have been in a bit of a work funk for a while now and am trying to formulate how to get back to weaving!
I’m just getting back into weaving again myself. I worked in the textile industry designing Jacquards for the home for ten years. During that time my looms did not get warped at all. Now I own and operate a yarn dyeing business and I’m weaving tapestry again and trying to get my 8 harness loom up and running again.Dream loom…. would love to have my own AVL Jacquard loom. I miss designing Jacquards but the Industry is really hurting right now. I would love to hand weave some Jacquards again on an AVL like I did at SCAD during grad school. I’ve played around with Theo Moorman a little but I think I’m going to give your more traditional brocade technique a try. I love tapestry weaving but wanted to try something a little faster too. I hope your funk ends soon and you get back to your looms. Your work is very special and I know the market will get better. I would love to own one of your weavings but I’m saving my pennies for that dream loom. I’ll keep checking in to see what you do. I love how you did the small 6 inch pieces (garden) in the past maybe a few of those could help get your creative flow going again.
I noticed that your art wasn’t in the sale section of Patina’s website anymore- does this mean that Miss Beatrice has found a new home?
Like many young people, Ms Beatrice has moved back home for a while. I am happy to have her back but I so wish someone would carry her of to a new home!
Thanks Laura for affirming a connection that I have felt for decades also. I used to call weaving “my medicine” because I felt it kept me healthy, centered and grounded. I continue to understand the importance of weaving not only as a way to produce art, but as a practice for nurturing balance and patience in my life. Recently I attended a 7 day silent retreat, after having been away from mediation for a very long time. Now I am back to sitting regularly. It is good to be back.Both pathways are valid and important.
What a beautiful post – a lovely tribute to your part of the world. I’m so looking forward to experiencing this beauty in a few weeks. It’s beautiful up here in NE Indiana, as well. It seemed to take sooo long to get here!
Your discription of the process is fantastic! Thanks for making it so easy to understand. I have witnessed it before, but it can be so overwhelming….. Your photos and comments are GREAT!
Looking forward to seeing you next week….xo
Fascinating! And you explain it so well. I wouldn’t have the nerve to try what you are doing.
Wow- bees in the post.That is a wonderful thought.I have bees in the very top of my tallest chimney- they have been there for eight years now, some swarmed last year and I was very surprised when there were some still there this Spring,after such a long cold Winter.I am seriously thinking of getting a hive as the wild bee nest won’t last for ever and my garden will miss the bees when they go.
I always know when I’ve been too long without meditation…things just don’t ‘work’. It is so important.
She was my best friend, my angel, and I still miss her so much, but always feel her near and within me. She took me under her (angel) wing and taught me about life.
My life has always been difficult and when we became friends and as the years past she guided me ever so gently along the path creator had choosen for me.
I made this video of her several years ago if you would like to see it (and be sure and read what I wrote about her from things I had read and things that only her and I shared) -plus- the comments below the video and how she touched each and everyone who had never met her 🙂
Thank you Laura for this marvelous blog.
Living in southern Illinois, I can vividly see everything you write about. How beautifully you describe it all!
Is there a way to view current for-sale larger tapestries (just meaning, larger than ribbon-size)?I’ve looked over the individual gallery’s websites, but I don’t see several of the more recent pieces, from say 2010-present.
Thanks,A devoted and super small-time collector 😉
How kind of you to ask! at the moment, no, I don’t maintain a website for tapestries, though it is high time to do so! If you want to send me a price range, I can send you images of pieces within that range. write me at email@example.com. Thank you.
Love how you write so e evocatively about colour
This article is revised from one I published earlier this summer on http://www.pantoneview.com. I will be writing short articles about color palette in the upcoming months: watch this space!
Lovely, I am seeing crochet in a whole new light
Hi Laura,sitting here at my computer at work and cannot stop thinking about the wonderful week and the amazing women I have met…found you on pinterest (!!) and have slavishly followed ALL your boards….small compensation for missing you all!hope you are having a lovely couple of french days, will email some photos…love Danielle
One day I will have one…they are beautiful , whenever I am at a textile show and they have them on a stand, I go and gaze longingly…probably just as well I can’t afford one as the choosing would be impossible!
I love Wallace and Sewell’s weaves- the colours are stupendous.
try vlisco.com a traditional dutch company specialized on dutch wax. my hometown was right next to the town where vlisco is located and when i visit NL, i regularly drop by their factory outlet. excellent quality.
Thank you Diana: many of the fabrics which I saw in Paris were, indeed, Vlisco. Lucky you to be nearby!
Oh boy do I understand this. Thanks for posting this… and it encourages me to look back to the loom… even though the little things are the things that make money (or seem to).
I, too, have struggled over this year to stay focused on tapestry weaving and feel re-invigorated to try again, having read your post. And also to re-commence my blog I set up a while back but didn’t activate. I love your piece Illinois Fields- deceptively simple and subtle.
The weaving is so beautiful Laura. I love the light you have achieved in the piece. I miss those broad landscapes and big sky. keep weaving and inspiring all of us. Bhakti
Your color sense is amazing, Laura. I do like orchid, but not usually in the combinations you selected.
I really wish I could’ve been there this past Sunday. And your blog makes me regret even more that I missed him in person. Thanks for the followup on him Laura.
I worked with an indigo artist based out of NYC years ago when working on an exhibit at the Allentown Art Museum. I loved the smell of it with its great earthiness and enjoyed even finding some small stems in the fibers as we were ready to hang it at the museum. It is quite a process.
I injured my back a few years ago to the point I couldn’t stand and crawled around for 4 weeks, then got back on my feet, and reinjured it and was back in bed for another 2 weeks crawling around the house. After trying many things such as physical therapy, acupuncture and yoga, several people insisted I try Egoscue. It is a method of isolating muscles and working on them to improve posture and alignment. After 3 months of Egoscue, I no longer have back pain. It is wonderful. There may be someone near you trained in this method. It changed my “pain every day” life to a twinge every once in a while when I over do it, such as lifting 150 bales of hay off the truck the other night. But, I was a bit stiff that night, but the next day I was fine.
Reminds me of what Cranbrook did with the “Fisher Building” in Detroit, (early 1980’s)
Those words are pure poetry. Substitute whatever your passion for “loom,” and she nailed the meaning of life 🙂
Pingback: contemplating weaving again | Laura Foster Nicholson
Pingback: three-quarters sick of rain. | Laura Foster Nicholson
Glad to have you back!
Beautiful work. Beautiful words. Beautiful mind.
Love Davidsons book. Did a lot of samples with 20/2 cotton as warp and weft with a very thin wool weft. Love the patterns that emerged. Think coverlets in doll house size.
Absolutely beautifully done. The messages are clear and I have begun to think differently about the “flat” areas that I used to find so devoid of interest when compared to hills, mountains, and water. Wonderful artistry in your work and your words.
Very nice work. My grandfather absolutely loved the flatlands of Nebraska. Enough that it inspired the only poem he wrote. Carol pointed me to you blog in Facebook.
These pieces are beuufital! I face all my art type pieces. I find as long as you carefully trim the corners and press the facing toward the back, it is an easy way to finish off a piece.
This made me tear up :*) What a lovely, beaiuuftl tribute to your Aunt.I feel that way about knitting .my MIL started teaching me to knit a year before she died. I didn’t get to learn everything I wanted she became too ill and for awhile, I could NOT knit without crying. Now it’s something that makes me feel closer to her.And as for quilting, I’m the quilter in the family and making quilts for everyone has been something very important to me. I have more patterns and fabric than I can probably ever make in this lifetime but it’s something I want to pass down to my kids and theirs.Thank you for such a lovely post! (Saw your comment on Scary Mommy)thecraftyangel recently posted..
We all have two feet. One can be in each. Can it be frustrating? Yes. Can it involve compartmentalizations? Yes. Does it open the door to learning about strangers, and thus ourselves? Yes.
Just remember, that is why Sara sells wine by the bottle! I know!
I know what you mean, Bish. I have viewed my time here as a way to engage in a different way of life with a willingness to respect and to learn.
I enjoyed reading your post and decided to comment. I feel it comes down to ‘judgement’. No matter where I have lived whether in a small rural community or a big city, I have been judged. The critiques I have received in the small communities have sometimes been harsher and should I say ‘raw’. Raw in a ripping your guts out raw. Those that don’t surround themselves with fine art and craft everyday, or look at our work with experienced eyes can most often ‘cut to the quick’!
That sort of base honesty has at times helped my work, especially when it came down to matters of precision and nuance. However, I must say that many times I have been very hurt by the lack of support that my art work has gotten. While I am taking my art seriously, even though it might not look serious, others find it ‘cute’, as you mention in your blog.
Coming to terms with the mindset of those ‘uneducated in art’, is a big reckoning. While in an urban area you will probably find a lot more like minds and support, you will also have the big monster called competition which again can either fuel or dampen ones progress.
I came to the conclusion years ago that I was not in the business of educating everyone about what I do, but just needed appreciators by way of knowledgeable critiques and ardent collectors.
Unfortunately, we have to go outside of our ‘box’ in order to do so, and that’s a hard one.
Laura I have just discovered your blog and must write to tell you how much I love your work: and your honest reflections of deep felt passion. Most poignant is the burning barn! I too struggle with having left another life which included an inclusive “arcane” community of artists and residing in a small rural community where I expected to commune with like minded artisans, only to discover I am alone in a swarth of people who enjoy craft work. My finding you is related to searching for updated information on Theo Moorman’s work, and discovering your more refined method. I would love to know more. I understand the notion of having a 3 shaft twill but still unclear of the process. I wonder if you have written more definitively on this, or would be interested in sharing specific details?
Marion, how good of you to write. I so appreciate your empathy, and guess what, I am still re-evaluating!
To answer your question, I assume you read the entry from the article I originally wrote for Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot about my techniques. It is pretty straightforward. Three harness twill, using 1 up 2 down for inlay and switching t2 up, 1 down for the ground shot. Couldn’t be simpler. I can’t remember if I put the draft in the article but I chose that structure after looking at Kashmir shawls and finding they were woven as three harness twill tapestry, which made the cloth more supple. In my case, I like it because it hides the ground weft, as I am too impatient for true tapestry. Thank you for writing. I do hope to post more very soon.
Thanks for articulating the horrid mix of feelings that we are encountering everyday. Such a struggle to respond, produce and express all that we are feeling as we see our country crumbling under the regime of Trump. I am sitting on the street in Florida, “mending” and embroidering words on cloth…….RESIST, UNIFY, LOVE ONE ANOTHER, LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE………
I know it is out of context to comment on this post as my day, despite all the dreadfulness around, ends up wonderful – I just discovered your art and I’m in awe. Your gardens and architectural pieces speak directly to my heart.
Love your color palettes but most of all love the atmosphere you create. This is the world I want to live in and your art makes it possible. Thanks for this!
I am with you all the way, Laura.
So well expressed! But you forgot to mention the joy of walking into a room and seeing the brilliant burst of color you have brought to it, the transportation you give us to a world of brightness and whimsey and play. For that I am eternally grateful. Thank you, Laura!
I agree. Your items are beautiful and are well worth your asking price.
Hi — I subscribe to Vogue on line (free) and also pay attention to the “colors of the year” — especially Pantone, and the annual colors of my favorite paint stores. Pottery Barn has a group of colors from Sherwin Williams that vary with each season. I find these palettes interesting but less inspiring than just one color. After 50 years of observing design trends it still seems to me that fashion is the inspiration for interiors. However, the main trend I see in interiors is just mixing styles from the last two hundred years with a “safe” color palette — maybe two colors, or a “Y” on the color wheel — not three (peace sign). I suppose we have seen that in fashion, too. Trying to find the perfect jeans, or the perfect black pants; the perfect white tee,, and the perfect dressy top or scarf. So your blue/denim throw for C&B is interesting, especially with gold. Kohler gold. So what I have been planning for my fall wardrobe is a mix of old and new — a few well chosen new pieces in blue (navy/cobalt) and black/gray — with lighter contrasts — and colorful accents. My favorite blue/black/cream woven sweater is as comforting now as it was three years ago when new. Very detailed scarves, one new, and others I have not worn for years. Skipping the plaids, and focused on some organic and geometric florals, and a new black sheer with gold accents in geometric patterns for evening. For the basics, I seem to find lots of options among a wide range of ready-to-wear in all price ranges. OKAY, it’s spring, and there are still lots of flowery prints to scroll through, but I think for our interiors we want/ still need soothing repetitive woven patterns, and familiar colors, and shapes. But not too dark. Happy, not dark. I love pillows and throws, but I would choose them now in lighter colors. My last three pillow purchases were gold, but for a carpet I am looking for something vanilla or light gray (we have a dog). It’s interesting to look at color trends for outerwear and leather furniture — these are choices we make for longer term ownership. Shoes, too, could fit in that category. So I see a few colors like teal, orange, but mostly metallic neutrals — in addition to black, navy, is a dark gray on the blue side. Like your throw. And where there are colors, there are fewer neon colors and more softer tones. Above all, I think we want complexity — something to focus the eye away from what else is going on in the world, but also because it reminds us of something pleasant from our past. I found the single leaf pillows interesting with the other elements, but not alone. I think they worked because of the pleasing shape, their simplicity, and familiarity with shapes from the fifties. And the contrast of light against dark — like your favorite jeans and favorite white tee shirt. I also noted that some of the C&B designs in the store now are like ones I purchased five years ago — both in color and design. But balance that with the bright yellow suits for spring? Does that mean more bright yellow inside? Note that the bright yellow was new and different, almost shocking, but it was just one color. Not two. And something that would be easy to add to a wardrobe in just one scarf or just one top. Inexpensive. For the holiday I would like to see something new that would go with something old — mixed metals? — maybe a pillow with ornaments from the 50’s in warm and cool metallics including rose gold. Maybe tear drop or round ornaments. Shapes that are alike and different like the soldiers but on a fabric that is soft and creamy and a bit luxurious. Those pretty greens (towards blue and towards yellow) and reds (towards rust brown and towards red/orange). Anything that reminds us of the outside while we are inside; climate change and unpredictable weather keeps us on edge and cancelling plans to be outdoors when we choose — or maybe it’s just because it will snow 8 inches tonight, and my daffodils may freeze (bright yellow — I planted dozens in January). So, I am on trend and did not know it — I wanted lots and lots of bright yellow in my yard this spring. But I also want to wear my sweater, too. In black, navy and cream. Think stained glass, quilt patterns, familiar shapes and colors. Le Creuset pots and pans.
Apart from this, I am trying to focus on the gender neutral palette for young children. Think I will go with Kate Spade New York. White, blue, green, orange, yellow, pink. And a little black. Opposite of what I just wrote above. But maybe not — these shapes and colors are a little retro — simple, recognizable colors and patterns.
you are one with the universe and your rivers flow with the tides. Your inspiration will come and your creative spirit will dance as we will in the vernal equinox. The dark weaving with gold threads is exquisite.
One of mine will sit on my lap and watch the computer, too. Sometimes, she will also watch the TV for a bit.
OMG, this is thrilling, Alan. you get it, exactly (as usual).
Sanguine is enigmatic. Each observer guessing a different motive for the expression. I think she likes me.
Figures have appeared in textiles since at least the Egyptian’s. What’s the problem? Your weavings and tapestry’s are great. They are paintings. Just not with a liquid substance.
When you put your work out there, you will receive many forms of criticism’s. You have developed your work in textiles to a whole other level. You have taken ordinary household decor and made it into art objects, or object’s d’art.
You have to be true to yourself. If you feel like weaving a face on a pillow, and you are pleased with it, then other’s will love it as well, but not everyone.
I too try to find out what people want or like, and then if I listen to all those voices, I compromise my own sensibilities. I’ve both made work for the public, and made work for myself. The work I did without thinking about what would sell, or what would be accepted, is my best artwork.
I love the two pieces that you have on this blog page.
Thank you, Rita. I value your opinion as an artist and a friend.
Did Picasso’s family question him after Guernica?
Of the many qualities I love and admire about you is your compulsion to translate life into art. I remember your comment several years ago to the effect that stripping away embellishment to the raw basics of weaving left you feeling exposed as an artist, if I understand you correctly.
I agree: we are on the cusp of unleashing terrors beyond those of WWI and WWII.
Be true to your vision, Laura.
Thank you, Cathy. Of course I am true to my vision. But sometimes it is rough.
I have thoroughly enjoyed watching you develop the process, going from subtle to more expressive, from simple to more complex. It’s a shame that these galleries can’t support you during this exploration, but I get how much they stress over financial pressures. You will have to find new galleries that take an interest in the psychology behind the images. Do you get hyperallergic? I get their updates by email and they seem to feature a lot of work that has depth: https://hyperallergic.com/ Submit your story to them… I bet they would be interested!
This is clearly the creative process at work. As one area experiences the “muse” voicing an alluring idea that pulls our expression, our self goes to a place of rest and resurgence as we transition to the next haunting call. The writing is the voice from within saying I am ready to understand the movement of creative response.
Beautifully phrased, Katherine! Thank you.
“All implied a deep rooted longing for comfort”…I think you just described the pull toward the needle arts. What a wonderful thought that when we give a handmade fiber item, it is with the hope of providing comfort.
hello, I’m trying to mimic your 2/1 tapestry twill. I have looked at you ‘in progress’ pictures and your magazine article basically on color but describes your tapestry method evolution. but, alas, i haven’t found a draft so, I still am confused. for a 2/2 twill tapestry the following is the pattern:
Shafts 1,2,3 – Background
Shaft 3 – Inlay
Shafts 1,2,4 – Background
Shaft 2 – Inlay
Shafts 1,3,4 – Background
Shaft 1 – Inlay
Shafts 2,3,4 – Background
what would be the 2/1 pattern, using the above method style of description, to make your tapestries?
thank you soooo much for sharing!
I discovered this simple twill when researching Kashmir shawls. They were woven very finely, but we’re not tapestry. The weave goes like this:
I thread a straight 3 harness twill. You can thread on 6 harnesses if you prefer to be able to use other twill structures or tabby. I weave it as a discontinuous brocade, inlaid by hand. Brocade layer is woven with a single harness lifted, then ground is thrown with that harness plus the next one in sequence.
Tie up on 6 pedals: 1, 2, 3; then 1-2, 2-3, 3-1.
Brocade: 1. Ground, 1-2.
Brocade: 2, ground 2-3
Brocade. 3, ground 3-1.
This way the brocade weft lies on top of the ground weft. Brocaded areas are weft faced, ground is warp faced.
Doing brocading on more harnesses is great for texture, but it gets more complicated to pick up the edge thread for each brocaded insert. My dear friend Barbara Eckhart passed the brocade weft to the back, and brought it up to the next row from behind, which made this process simpler.
I hope this is clear! Thank you for asking.