(I'm scared of heights).
But Vermont woods sure are lovely.
I cannot stop staring at this cloth.
The way it moves in space is mesmerizing (at least to me),
and the way it feels -- almost like it is not there
Each time I sew these panels together I am newly surprised
by how much pleasure I get from their finished physical presence--
as much, indeed, as I receive from making them..
Perhaps it is because, after years of using value and color
to depict the play of light and air on objects,
my yarn now gets to play these elemental forces all by itself.
And since light has been informing all of the work,
the old and new are connected in an unexpected and essential way,
Or maybe it is not that at all
but rather because I don't really know what it is,
I keep being amazed.
isn't knowing that matters at all,
Back from the lovely show at La Conner,
it is time to turn my attention to my next big event:
"Luminous Cloth" at the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, OR
3 July - 3 September
reception 9 July from noon - 4 PM
This means it is time to figure out how to hang fabric I've been making all winter.
There are some big decisions:
Hanging rod or no hanging rod?
Flat or draped?
Fringe up, fringe down, no fringe at all -- or all three?
After decades of sending tapestries off to shows around the country, I've got a system down,
part of which involves making the hanging device for each tapestry as soon as it comes off the loom -- usually a structure that holds the tapestry yet lets it float cleanly against the wall.
Last year, obsessed with mobiles as I was, I spent weeks bending wire and messing about with fishing swivels to finally come up with about five different approaches for the show at the Pritchard Gallery, none of which will work this year, alas.
Indeed, since I started making my materials before I even thought about what they would become, much less how they would go together or be displayed, it's back to the drawing board -- or jar of hanging hardware as the case may be.
Like the mobiles I want these to hang out in space so they can interact with the light -- both front and back-- and move with local air currents.
But unlike the tiny but sturdy mobiles these swaths of cloth are large and delicate so need some support sturdier than wire.
Should those supports be round or flat?
Is it best to sew a pocket for a rod, or, as with my tapestries, stitch the cloth to the fabric covered stick?
Do I want to cover the hangy things with fabric at all, or can I paint them?
Must I try both with every one?
The two most important things are that they hang in a way that I like (which isn't necessarily flat),
and that whatever system I use, it is
a. easy for the gallery crew to manage.
b. straightforward to ship
a, however, is more important than b.
so I may have to pay through the nose to get my long narrow boxes to the coast of Oregon.
Should have thought that part out before I sewed them all together eh?
Except that this cloth is very bossy and has led me by the nose through this entire process so I rather doubt I had (or will have), much choice.
At least they don't weigh much and I can do a lot of experimentation with binder clips and clothes pins.
These panels are actually only part of the show.
Soon I'll talk about some of the other work that'll be there
till then --I'll be hammering and sewing.
One of the things I really love about the third floor gallery at the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Textile Museum is the slanted ceilings which allow the tapestries to hang slightly out from the walls, so they can move with the air and cast shadows in all directions.
Indeed, I was so taken with the dynamic feel of this that I mostly took videos rather than still photos, completly forgetting that I can't post them here--
for why else do I take photos if not to share them with you?
Here are a couple of links to Instagram videos though:
Casting Off (@sarahcswett)
Rough Copy (@sarahcswett)
The show itself is lovely.
I can't thank the staff and volunteers at Pacific Northwest Quilt and Textile Museum enough for their kindness, generosity and the glorious job they did hanging the work.
Do visit if you have a chance - and be sure to check out the fantastic thread drawings of Kristin Loffer Theiss on the first floor, and also her website and the video of her drawing with her sewing machine.
One of the best things about exhibitions of course, is the joy of getting see, and even have the odd conversation with friends, old and new, who made the huge effort to come to the reception..
I can't thank you all enough.
I also got to spend extra time with extraordinary artist and friend, Carolyn Doe
and the marvelous Rebecca Mezoff , tapestry weaver and teacher who flew all the way from Colorado so we could share our delight (and ideas and techniques and gossip) about this marvelous thing we happen to do.
My heart is filled with Gleeful Gratitude.
ps -- The air b and b cabin I rented was heavenly,
and the rocks on the shore did not seem to mind me gathering, arranging and then returning them to the beach (I try to be a catch and release rock collector).
Or if they did mind, they were polite about it.
Sarah C Swett