Morning play

Garden clippings headed to the compost made a detour to my studio and look what happened. Wrapped with bits of dyed silk and linen, found lying about.

My New Hat!

This handwoven, pleated, machine embroidered "cocoon", originally intended to hang in space, landed on my head. Fits perfectly. An Easter bonnet perhaps?!

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Haystack Artist Residency

I am thrilled -- just heard that I have been accepted into the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts Artist Residency for this spring. I intend to spend my two weeks there exploring, sampling and creating new woven, pleated textiles. In the company of other artists working in a variety of media, I know I will be inspired and invigorated.

woven, pleated, machine embroidered

Paula Stebbins Becker

Last weekend I was able to catch a show called "Surface Appeal:Material Perception" at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery in Westport MA. I was immediately drawn to several small textiles on the far wall, created by Paula Stebbins Becker of RI. So interesting and lovely. Here's my favorite.

To quote from her artist statement:

"I deconstruct and unravel the [old] textile, then I re-weave the threads, combining them with the new threads, merging the old with the new and the past with the present...With each process of unraveling, reweaving and embellishing, a new generation of pattern and material is combined with the old. The textile embodies the mood and the spirit of the person or place found in the photograph while expressing subtle details..."

Links to articles for forward folding

"Forward Folding" had a good run at the AS220 Reading Room. The opening was well attended and lots of fun, and several of my pieces have found new homes. Below are three links to articles about my show.  The first is an interview I did for AS220 which gives some good insight into my work and process for "Forward Folding. The second is another interview and slide show put together by Origami Spirit, and the third a posting on World Shibori Network. Enjoy!

as220.org/forward-folding-an-interview-with-kate-barber/
www.origamispirit.com/2016/07/textile-folding/
shibori.org/2016/06/16/exhibition-forward-folding-by-kate-barber/

I took the show down on Saturday, and am back in my studio working on ideas for my next series. 

Forward Folding

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I've been in hiding since the holidays, working towards my first solo exhibit, scheduled to open in July 2016. The show will be at The Reading Room,  a Providence, RI gallery, one of several run by the forward-thinking AS220 arts organization. Working towards this goal has given me new focus and a good opportunity to develop a small body of work. I'm enjoying the concentrated effort, developing ideas slowly, and seeing the sometimes surprising turns my work takes. The working title of the exhibit is "Forward Folding". Most of the pieces in the show will be for the wall, although I also intend to make a few three-dimensional pieces. And undoubtedly I won't be able to resist throwing in a few wearable items as well. More to come!

Itajime Natural Dyes Workshop

I recently taught a wonderful group of women from the Connecticut Handweavers' Guild how to make silk scarves in the "itajime" technique. We folded and clamped silk scarves with shapes of wood and worked with indigo, marigold, cochineal, chestnut and iron to get lots of color variation. We were blessed with a perfect spring day, and I think everyone had fun and learned a lot. Here are several pictures from our day.

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Pleating Continued...

This 15" x 15" piece called "Storm" was recently in the Handweavers' Guild of Connecticut's Biennial show which ran for three weeks last month at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, CT.  I wove a long and narrow warp shibori strip using a fine polyester warp and silk, polyester and linen weft. After I cinched up the pleats and steam set them, I cut the strip up and stitched sections back together. I love the way the tension pulls and distorts the lines of the pleats. This won the HGA Award of Excellence for fiber art and took first place in the "wall hangings" category. 

And here's another small piece, a sample using the same idea as "Storm" (above) but using a finer and softer warp. It has a soft enough drape that it could potentially work as something wearable. 

Playing With Pleats

Being a texture person, I've always loved pleats, and have long thought about exploring the pleating process on loom.  I recently joined the Textile Study Group of New York which is having a show of members' work this winter called "Square". Every piecemust be mounted on a 12" x 12" square panel provided to all entrants. This was my chance to work small and do a pleated sample of sorts. Here is "Fold," the piece I submitted for the exhibition I wove narrow strips of randomly striped fabric using a warp shibori technique and pleated the fabric after it came off the loom. I then cut it, pieced it, and hand stitched it back together. The piecing together part was time consuming and gave me plenty of time to think about the next step in this exploration. I'm thinking bigger. And circles. Stay tuned. 

Material + Culture

I've been working on a few new pieces for an exhibit at the Silk Weaving Studio in Vancouver. The show is entitled "Material+Culture" and features work inspired by the beautiful Sanjo Silk yarns. The scarves are woven with a fine and luscious silk/wool blend with floats of heavier silk/wool which I cut after washing and fulling to create little eyelashes one one side of the scarves. On the other side, little twill squares appear where the floats are tied down.

I've also recently become quite addicted to crochet. Who knew! I love the repetitive hand movements and the fact that the crocheted piece can grow organically and spontaneously. The pieces for "Material+Culture" are made with white paper yarn and a stiff vine yarn. 

Finished!

I started weaving this rug in February and it's finally finished and on the floor. It feels wonderful and thick underfoot. I love the Maori edge with darned ends for a rug finish. It's a little painstaking but makes a nice clean edge with no fringes. I'm already thinking of making variations on this design, using a smaller repeat and trying different colors. I may also try a slightly closer sett and a finer wool weft for a lighter/thinner rug.

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What Else I've Been Up To

Here are a few other images showing what I've been up to in my studio the last couple of months. Not much rug weaving, but I am determined to get back to that as soon as I can. Mostly playing around with different ideas and getting a few finished scarves out there for sale.

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Rachel Meginnes Workshop

Taking a workshop at Penland in North Carolina has been on my bucket list for many years, and in October I finally had a chance to go. I took a week-long workshop called "Altered Structures" with Rachel Meginnes. What an amazing week it was! Of course, the place itself was incredibly beautiful and inspiring, and the textile studios are a dream. In our workshop played with all kinds of materials and techniques and each of us went off in our own direction under Rachel's insightful guidance and encouragement. I never would have imagined it, but I fell in love with crochet, especially working in three dimensions with stiff material. I also loved, loved, loved stitching and pleating mulberry paper. Here are a few pictures.

Wendy Wahl Workshop

Spent last Saturday deconstructing and reconstructing discarded encyclopedias with fiber artist Wendy Wahl. 6 hours of pure play and experimentation felt good. Here are some pictures from our day. 

More Itajime & Natural Dyes on Silk

I spent a really fun and productive day in my dye studio clamping, resisting and dyeing small pieces of silk organza and chiffon that I can piece together for doing some small, nuno-felted scarves. For now, I've set them out on my table and am enjoying looking at the natural dye colors and thinking about which combinations I will use. I took a few quick photos, arranging the pieces in different ways. Here they are!
 

Fuller Craft Museum Biennial

Every two years the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA has a juried exhibition of members' work. What the heck -- I thought I'd submit the two rugs I wove this spring and summer (see last blog post). I was delighted to hear that both rugs were accepted and will be hung in the show. Click on this link for more information. The show runs from Sept. 22nd until February 10th.  Here's another show opening later this month at the Fuller that will interest you weavers out there.

Meanwhile... the fields are hayed, the days are shortening, there's a chill in the night air, and we're enjoying the last of our garden's produce. Summer has been full of wonderful distractions, but I'm looking forward to a new burst of creativity this fall and winter. 
 

Weaving Rugs

I've been on a steep learning curve with rug weaving and have been making many samples -- using Peter Collingwood's book as guidance -- in order to get a handle on weft-faced rugs. Mostly I've been playing with twills and block weaves. I did plan and finish one rug, pictured below, which was to be used in an upstairs hallway. Alas, I discovered that the scale really changes from the design on paper to when the rug is on the floor, so I have found another spot for it. I dyed all of the wool using natural dyes. The brown comes from black walnuts that I found in our field last fall, the reds are cochineal and madder, and the yellows and greens marigold.

 

Here's another rug that I wove during a workshop at Peter's Valley Craft Center in New Jersey a couple of weeks ago. I have admired Connie Forneris' rugs forever, and I jumped at the opportunity to take a workshop with her. It was an intense 5 days of dyeing 5 lbs of wool in brutal heat, then setting up the looms and weaving. I learned so much that will be invaluable as I proceed on my rug-weaving journey.