I had a WONDERFUL time at Complex Weavers and Convergence! The seminars at Complex Weavers were everything I had hoped for – very informative talks on advanced topics. I learned a lot about using Photoshop to design, tied weaves, double twills, and oh! lots and lots of very interesting stuff that I plan to go back over soon so I don’t forget anything. I attended lots of study group meetings, and will probably join a couple more study groups as a result. And it was wonderful meeting so many of the people I’ve been corresponding with forever! It was a huge amount of fun, and I’ll definitely be going next time.
Convergence was fun too, but in a different sort of way. It’s ten times the size of Complex Weavers, so it doesn’t have anything like the same intimacy, but the sheer scale allows them to do things that Complex Weavers can’t, like put on juried shows, attract LOTS and LOTS of vendors, including quite a few loom manufacturers, and offer a dizzying array of classes. I didn’t have time to take any classes, but I went to the vendor halls on Wednesday and the galleries on Thursday – plus some time in the Weavolution booth, of course!
The Fashion Show took place on Wednesday, and was interesting and educational. I didn’t think the wedding-dress was particularly well-shown (the dress totally didn’t fit the model), but the rest of the garments were fun to watch. I would have liked it more if there had been more interesting weaving in the garments, but the trouble with woven detail is that it just doesn’t show from 50 feet away. So the more dramatic garments (including the winning one) were mostly surface design, not weaving. Still, there was quite a bit of interesting stuff, and it was neat to look through the galleries afterward. Some of the handwoven garments were breathtakingly beautiful!
The other galleries were neat to look at. The highlight (for me, anyway) was Kathe Todd-Hooker’s winning tapestry in the Small Expressions exhibit. I’d scarcely call it a tapestry, it was so intricate and detailed! She does her tapestries with sewing thread, so they are exquisitely fine. It was simply stunning.
And the dress, of course. I went to visit it and was pleasantly surprised to find it well-mounted and well-lit, with the little photo book I’d made about the dress laid out on a small table. I spent some time just gazing at it. This might be the last time I see the ensemble properly mounted and displayed, so I wanted to get a really good look at it. It’s beautiful, and I love it. (Many, many people came up to me over the course of Complex Weavers and Convergence and told me how much they loved it…wow! I’m so glad I was able to share it with other weavers.)
And the vendor hall. Oh, the vendor hall! Anything and everything related to fiber arts was there. Lots of books (I bought Anne Field’s book on devore), tools, looms, spinning wheels, dyes, and YARNS! If you were into hand-dyed yarns, it was sheer heaven. Practically every booth seemed to have hand-dyed yarns! Fortunately for me, I have fairly esoteric tastes, so I wasn’t sucked into every booth, but John Marshall and Giovanna Imperia turned out to be quite dangerous! From John I bought about a pound of very fine silk yarn plied with a metallic silver thread. It’s about the weight of 120/2 silk. At Giovanna’s booth, I bought skeins of fine white, gray, and charcoal yarns, all different fiber compositions, but all feltable – I plan to try those in some sort of differential-shrinkage collapse weave.
And, at Hokett Would Work, I found these wonderful little shuttles (top of the photo):
Normally I prefer end feed shuttles (like the Schacht end feed shuttle in the bottom of the photo) to boat shuttles, but I loved Alice Schlein’s seminar on double twill, which requires weaving with four shuttles! I don’t have enough room for four conventional shuttles on the web of my loom, but I can easily fit four of these ultra-narrow ones! They won’t hold a lot of yarn, but since I usually weave with very fine yarns, that’s not a huge problem for me.
I also got a chance to weave on not one, but TWO jacquard looms! AVL was there with their Jacq3G, and Digital Weaving Norway was there with their TC-1. I was really excited to find out that the TC-2 (to be released this winter) is considerably cheaper than the TC-1 was, and (at current exchange rate) would only be around $30,000! That’s about half the cost of the TC-1, and comparable to the Jacq3G. It’s not cheap, but as I explained to people, it’s gone from being a BMW to a Prius. (Particularly relevant to me since I drive a Prius!) It’s cut the amount of time I estimated I’d have to save for a Jacquard loom nearly in half. I think I might be able to purchase one within 5-6 years! Compared to the 10 years I thought I’d have to save to own one, that’s lightning fast. So I am thrilled.
Alas, all too soon, the time ran out and I had to board a plane for home. I got home late last night, collapsed into bed, and am still getting myself caught up on sleep. I was so excited I don’t think I slept more than six hours a night the entire time I was at Complex Weavers/Convergence! So I badly need to catch up on sleep. Tomorrow morning, guess who’s sleeping in?
On the agenda for this weekend: dye more samples for my dye study group, weave the third doubleweave shawl (this one with two solid colored wefts), clean up the studio, and start looking at tied weaves.
For tied weaves, I think I may put on a relatively simple threading and play around a bit. I’m thinking twenty pattern shafts alternated with four tie-down shafts in point order. That will allow me to do summer and winter (by making each two adjacent pattern shafts work together as a single shaft), double two tie unit weave, and experiment with twill and tabby tie-downs. I’m toying with the idea of using 120/2 silk as the ground cloth and either 60/2 or 30/2 silk as the pattern weft, because I also want to play around with fine threads, but it also occurs to me that it might be nice to be able to make out the pattern, since this is my first time playing with a tied weave and I want to see how it behaves. So I am leaning towards 60/2 silk with a 30/2 silk pattern weft, that being the heaviest I think I have in my stash. I will look and see if I have any thicker yarns.
Whew! What a lot to do. I hope I’ll catch up on sleep tonight, so I can get right to work in the morning!