Friday, April 10, 2015

Dreaming of Green

'Dreaming of Green' is the name of my newest tapestry.  (61" x 54") (154 x 137cm)

I had been thinking a lot about the growing issue of drought in California. It used to be that  the rains came in November and finished by March. They used to be quite regular on and off over the winter; some years more and other less. As children in the 50s, my brothers and I would put on our rubber boots and go stomping in puddles, poking around with sticks looking for drowning worms or other small creatures, splashing each other and generally making a lot of dirty laundry. Besides the antics I do remember the lush green shoots that appeared after the rains in the orchards near our house as well as across the coastal hills. The green became more intense into the spring until the warmer, drier April days came and the color on the hills began to fade. By summer it was 'gold' in color (but really by most non-Californians view it was brown!).

In recent years it has been harder to find that special new green of the wild grass hillsides. My original intention was to make a tapestry about the dearth of this color but as I pulled the colors off the shelf, I choose one green yarn after another. I realised the tapestry would be about the missing color- not the missing rain. This is a case where the materials speak more loudly than my intentions. I have learned to listen.

Some of the details are made with space-dyed yarns left over from the 'Here Today' tapestry project. They give a sense of the incremental growth of the new grass. The grass part at the top was the hardest to weave since there is a very specific order determined by where the blades overlap or touch each other. All good challenges as eventually, with measured patience, you know you will finish it!

This was a big tapestry and slow to complete. I felt the length of time I worked on it related to the incrementally slow drying up of the aquifers and lakes in the area. A visit to Lake Tahoe in January was shocking because the water level is so low and without snow on the surrounding mountains guarantees that there will be no water to refill the lake this spring.

'Dreaming of Green' was juried into the National Fiber Directions 2015 Exhibit at the Wichita Center for the Arts, by Barbara Shapiro, a highly respected artist in her own right.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Off to South East Asia

Recently I was approached by the US State Department's 'Art in Embassies Program' about putting a tapestry in a new embassy in Timor Leste. They had a specific one in mind that conformed to a few of their concerns. The tapestry had to be under 30" wide (76cm) and weigh under 10 pounds. Part of this was that it would go there on a very small plane and there were strict size and weight  limitations.

Timor-LesteThis one called 'Terra: Wheat and Grass,' is a diptych with each part 27" wide so the size worked as well as the combined weight.

Timor Leste is at the eastern tip of Timor in Southeast Asia. It is a mountainous country that became independent from Indonesia in 2002. There is a very developed textile tradition there as well as the neighboring islands and Indonesia.

The tapestry on on a long term loan. I feel honored to have a piece selected to represent the current American weaving traditions. 

 Here are a few details:

Since this opportunity came up I have learned a lot about the weaving traditions in this part of the world. They are very rich with different techniques and materials, not tapestries but many other narrative forms. Who knows? One day I may try to visit the area. There would be a lot to see and learn about.