I must admit to being a little shell-shocked with the past 7 months’ activities. It has been a total whirlwind of travelling, teaching, experiencing new places and people and now I have landed back on planet reality!
But time to reflect before plunging into the next phase.
January – completing my masters degree and finding out I had been awarded a distinction! What can I say? Three years of focused learning/investigations into weaving, art history, philosophy, materials, writing essays and fine-tuning things, but most of all, learning about how I think, how others think things through, what art can mean, abstracting ideas and honing in on specifics and details in order to create something that means many different things to different people. I knew when I began the MA that I would learn so much and develop as a person and an artist, but I have truly discovered so much more through this process than I could possibly have imagined. I would encourage you, if it is something you have considered doing, take the plunge.
February – immersed in finalising details for workshops in New Zealand, February swooshed by. Packing my exhibition and teaching materials into two suitcases, as well as a few clothes for a two month visit, took a fair bit of trial and error, and eventual sitting on the suitcases to squeeze out enough air to close the zips!
March – arriving in New Zealand and hitting the ground running. Agnes didn’t give me time to breathe, which was probably a good thing! Straight into the Professional Weavers Network Conference at Coopers Beach, North Island. Stunning area of natural beauty. The first leg of our joint exhibition Nature in the Making at the Earth House, Peria. A huge thank you to Dhaj Sumner, amazing lady and so warm-hearted, who created the Earth House in the first place, and gave us such a welcome! Great reception of our work – it looks like it was made to live here! Continuing preparations for the start of the teaching tour, although a little time to visit a couple of places for geology and relaxation. Then on tour. A series of workshops travelling from North to South, from Oruru, through Whangerei, Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, meeting lots of new people, lovely weavers, stunning scenery and warm welcomes from generous hosts. including an unexpected holiday in Wellington thanks to Robyn and Dave Parker.
April – over the straits to South Island. Workshops in Blenheim, Canterbury, Timaru and Dunedin meeting felters as well as weavers and making new friends all the way. A short break and chill time in Nelson, thanks to Sue and Tom Broad. Setting up for the second of our exhibitions in New Zealand at Arts in Oxford, near to Christchurch. Delighted with the gallery – lovely space and warm people. Special thanks to Rachel McRobb, the gallery manager, and the volunteers, especially Celia for her generosity in sharing her love of local pigments! The work looks amazing in this fine-art gallery space! And thanks to our hosts here, Wilson and George! And in Timaru, lovely Mary and Gary Anderson. Then after the Creative Fibres Forum Festival at Dunedin, a holiday incorporating lots of geology and the west coast. Amazing! Firsts include seeing albatross, Hector’s Dolphins and 3 Keas.
May – home again and trying hard to absorb all the sights and sounds of New Zealand whilst preparing for the Complex Weavers Seminars in Tacoma. Learning how to cut and twist paper for weaving, and busily weaving some more samples to enhance my presentation on textural techniques for 4 – 8 shafts, the month zoomed by.
June – completing preparations for Tacoma, and wondering how I managed to fit all my samples and my exhibition into my suitcases as the samples now seem to be taking up most of my luggage allowance! Then off to the Pacific NorthWest to hang our exhibition in B2 Fine Art Gallery, visit Seattle to see the Chihuly Museum, and travel some of the west coast of Washington State and pop down to Oregon before the whirlwind that is Complex Weavers Seminars. A huge thank you to Gary and Deborah Boone, owners of B2 Fine Art Gallery, and wonderful people, for their support and generosity! Not only did we have an opening ‘do’, but also an artists’ reception and then a very special ‘Nightcap’ dessert reception during Complex Weavers Seminars when the gallery opened especially for the weavers to visit! Then Complex Weavers Seminars! Exhausting, exhilarating, and exuberant! With minds fully overloaded from inspiring teaching seminars, and friendships renewed, new ones made, and amazing sunsets appreciated, it was time to depart.
July – an awe-inspiring trip to Mt Rainier started an incredible two weeks of travelling in Washington and Oregon, visiting geological highlights of Oregon’s coast, mountains, high prairies and river gorges, with huge thanks to Barb and Steve Walker for their hospitality! Big thanks, too, to Suzie Liles, as our exhibition will travel from Tacoma to Eugene Textile Centre for its next showing from 1st August to 11th October!
So now….. getting my head around these amazing 7 months; writing up my notes from the US trip and writing down all those weaving ideas that the inspiring countryside and geology have given rise to, then prioritizing those ideas into things I can instigate immediately, and those that will have to wait a while; preparing for an intensive month of teaching; and also researching possible venues for our exhibition here in the UK. On that last note, if anyone has any suggestions for galleries or museums that might be interested in our work in any country, please don’t hesitate to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will follow up!
Who knows – I might even start blogging regularly again!! :^)) Thanks for bearing with me over the last 3 years!
And Happy Weaving!!