Sun Rising

The little village is waking up. Sun rising. This small tapestry is near completion, and I am happy with the things I have learned in the process. Now, I am preparing a cartoon and gathering an array of Fåro wool colors for the next small tapestry. I may be jumping in over my head with this next one, but I will learn new things to practice.

Sun Rising. Small tapestry project on Freja loom.

Little woven village at the start of a new day. Sky is developed with hatching. Small ojos form three birds in the sky. Freja Tapestry Frame.

In my tea and tapestry time (tapestry diary) in the evenings, my intention is to improve my tapestry skills by practicing the little that I know. The concept is to learn by doing. Find what works, and do it more. For example, in the class I recently attended at Weaving Southwest, Teresa Loveless worked with me on the hatching technique. When I came home to this little tapestry village, I wanted to implement that new understanding right away. The sunrise sky, created with hatching, came as a result of Teresa’s coaching and my desire to learn by doing.

Isn’t that how we navigate through life? Take what you know about how to live, and how to please God. And then do it more. Learn by doing. Every new insight builds, not on what we know, but on what we have put into practice.

May you enter a sunrise season of life.

With pleasant anticipation,
Karen

6 Comments

  • nancy ryan says:

    I love your tapestry!!! I also adhere to the concept of learning by doing. I was recently asked by a guild member to translate a rigid heddle draft into multi harness. Have I done this before? No! But learning something new as I am doing it is a thrill for me.

  • beth says:

    Karen! I am also a learn-by-doing person! For example — thank you for your encouragement when I reached out to you a few months ago and shared my intention to make some rosepath rag rugs! I enjoyed the process and the results were a great inspiration to try even more new things!

    • Karen says:

      Way to go, Beth! It is so rewarding to learn new things. It’s wonderful that you ventured ahead with the rosepath rag rugs. Can you send me a picture? I would love to see what you made! OH I just remembered… You DID send me pictures! They were great!

      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • linda says:

    what a giggle! I love the birds. the tapistery is great. Learn it, do it, teach it. that’s what makes life fun. now your ready for prespective houses, shading, and changing pictures into a woven masterpiece. along with your tea and weaving remember to LAUGH after all it’s only thread and can be changed if needed. Love,Peace and Joy. linda

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, I’m glad you like the birds! It was fun to add them in the picture. I am planning my next small tapestry to be a landscape scene. Little by little making progress.
      Thanks for your encouragement.
      Karen

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Conversation with Teresa Loveless of Weaving Southwest

Weaving Southwest has a vibrant history in northern New Mexico that has influenced weaving traditions far and wide. I recently took advantage of this treasure trove of experience in a class taught by Teresa Loveless, the granddaughter of Weaving Southwest pioneer, Rachel Brown. I hoped to sharpen my tapestry skills by learning a fresh approach, and I was not disappointed! Teresa’s attentive teaching style brims with encouragement, making every student exceed their own expectations.

Weaving Southwest in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico

Weaving Southwest in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico.

Weaving Southwest student accomplishments.

Teresa Loveless on the right with her five happy students from the class “Habitat, A Study in Verticals.”

Join me as I sit with Teresa in the park across from the shop to talk about her dreams and aspirations…

Fast forward twenty years. What would you like to be known for?

I have an interest in preservation of culture, and seeing that carried out through textiles. Preserving culture through textiles worldwide is a hidden passion of mine, and I’m working on ways to make that happen.

This sounds like a big dream.

Yes, it is a big dream that I have given a lot of thought to. With modern technology there is great potential. Technology makes it possible to pick out every little niche of fiber in the world and pull it all together in a classy and educational way.

What can be done to preserve cultures through textiles?

You could go to little villages or communities, and through today’s technology, bring them all together and preserve entire cultures. In Before They Pass Away, photographer Jimmy Nelson documents some of the most secluded tribes in the world. And he put them together in an incredible photo book, with their beautiful textiles draping all over them. That book was part of the inspiration for my dream.

Your grandmother taught you how to weave; and your mother taught you jewelry making. And now you are passing weaving on to your very young daughter. What are your thoughts about people passing what they know on to their children and grandchildren?

I grew up in this family of artists and inventors, and they were weavers and jewelers and everything in between, and I did it all. I wove and I made jewelry. It was normal. It was my life. When I went away and realized that not everyone brought their loom to college, or that making a silver ring is not something everybody can do… that was eye opening.

For me, it is all about passing it along. Teach your kids to do what you do. Even if they think they’re going to go off and do something else. I was going to go be a scientist. And then I came back. Clearly, I’m not a scientist. I’m a weaver.

Because it was passed on through my family, and because of my incredible grandmother, I am able to help preserve culture. I am helping to preserve beauty through textiles.

What about your daughter, do you think she will become a weaver?

Pass on the tradition, pass on the skill, and pass on, hopefully, the love for it. But my daughter loves bugs more than she likes yarn right now, so maybe she’ll be the scientist, who knows?

Weaving Southwest in New Mexico

Weaving Southwest pickup truck depicts the down-to-earth approach of the shop. Highly accomplished, yet unpretentious.

Tell me about your sweet spot. Are there times when you think, “I was made for this?”

I’m doing it here, like the class we just finished. I love teaching. I love being able to share what I know, what was passed on to me. It doesn’t matter how much someone knows or doesn’t know when they come. From afar, weaving does look a little confusing, but if you get the feel of it, if you understand the warp and weft and structure… Oh, the things you can do!

You enjoy simplifying things for people, don’t you?

That’s it, definitely! It doesn’t have to be hard. There are all sorts of technical terms, but weaving does not have to be difficult. Seeing people blossom, from, “Oh my gosh, which is warp, which is weft?” Or, “Do I do a single dovetail here?,” to realizing you can do a single dovetail wherever you want, …but you don’t have to. There are so many options. If you go into it with confidence you’re going to be able to produce incredible work!

You seem happy to see your students flourish…

Oh, yes. When I see my students happy, then I’m happy!

Thank you for taking time with me. It has been fun to get to know you more!

Absolutely! Thanks!

Study in verticals from class at Weaving Southwest in NM.

This study in verticals is hung horizontally just above the work table in my weaving studio. Makes me smile.

May you dream big.

Very happy weaving,
Karen

2 Comments

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen
    I love this post, I hope you had a wonderful time. It sure looks fun, I’ve never been to New Mexico, but maybe I will have to go someday soon.
    I am wondering about your recent post about linen scarves, I have been watching for an update to see how they came out after you washed them. Did I miss that one or is it coming up sometime soon?
    Love all your posts and wait for them to come up in my inbox!

    Thank you for all you do for us.
    Liberty

    • Karen says:

      Liberty, you are so sweet! We did have a wonderful time. New Mexico is worth the visit. You will see interesting landscapes with color that shifts according to the weather and time of day.

      Thank you for asking about the linen scarves. You haven’t missed anything. I have a few “irons in the fire” right now, and the linen scarves are in the queue. You might see them next week.

      It’s really great to know you keep coming back!
      Karen

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Weaving Southwest Habitat Class

I just spent three days at Weaving Southwest in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico, studying tapestry techniques with Teresa Loveless. It was a great experience! “Habitat, a Study in Verticals” is a fun and informative class, with exceptional personal attention given to each student. The looms are Rio Grande walking looms that were designed by Teresa’s grandmother, Rachel Brown. You weave standing up!

Spectacular rainbow near Arroyo Seco, New Mexico.

This stunning double rainbow over the mountains greeted us on our first evening in Arroyo Seco. Images like this inspire countless artisans in New Mexico.

The emphasis for this class is vertical joins in weft-faced plain weave tapestry. Teresa uses memorable words and phrases that help students remember techniques. Just ask me about threads kissing! Besides the vertical joins, we also practiced other tapestry and shuttle techniques, including pick and pick, color gradation, and hatching. Finishing techniques, like sewing in loose threads, stitching slits, braiding fringe, and blocking the finished piece were covered at the end of the last day.

Rio Grande walking loom at Weaving Southwest.

Standing in front of the Rio Grande walking loom I used at Weaving Southwest, after weaving the first portion of my design.

Weaving Southwest class.

Five students in the class each have a loom.

We had a fabulous selection of Weaving Southwest’s own rug wool in rich, fabulous colors. To take advantage of the hand-dyed wool’s unique features, I chose background colors that had an almost variegated appearance.

Color gradations in tapestry class at Weaving Southwest.

Color gradation with three shades of red, using “wavy lines.”

Tapestry class at Weaving Southwest.

Pick and pick, creating vertical stripes of color, is one of my favorite techniques. Maybe I will make an entire wool rug using pick and pick.

Tapestry class at Weaving Southwest

Just enough time to add some hatching at the end portion of my piece. Fun!

I will show you my finished piece in an upcoming post. And I will share a personal conversation I had with Teresa, talking about her big dreams.

May you learn something beautiful.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

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