Such a Long Absence

Where has the fall gone?  To traveling…. for Cuba talks, for visits to the publisher of the “Archie book,” and to our son and his wife who live in Maryland.  I can barely keep up and while there is so much I wanted to write during this busy time, I now feel burdened by chronicling all that has happened in the past two months.

Perhaps I just need a photo journal of what has sluiced over the dam in the past weeks.

In September I visited  the Yale Art Gallery twice for the exhibition on Pre-Columbian textiles. I was most impressed with the edgings on many of these textiles, even beyond the incredible weaving which we still do not fully understand!

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Look at these 3-dimensional bird figures!

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It was powerful to look at these textiles that have survived the centuries, some of them even a millennia.  It was not always obvious which ones were from the current era (meaning 6th through 14th centuries) and which ones were truly ancient. Could anyone stand before these expertly woven, richly colored and imagined figures without thinking of the hands that wove them, the ever succeeding generations of hands that reinterpreted these cultural symbols, and the climate and care of handling that have preserved these textiles for so long.

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There have been glorious fall days for walking along my favorite river, but not any time yet to put my own gardens to bed.  Funny how chores don’t go away; they just wait for us to finally pay attention to them.  Autumn skies dominate the views at this time of year.

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I photograph this garden gate several times a year.  I love the changing seasons in the garden it encloses, from roses to hydrangeas, and the lichen that grows on it.

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At the height of the fall color I had a chance to visit Lavender Pond Farm and see the fields of purple flowers against a background of autumn trees and a sky full of puffy white clouds.

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Bob and I were gone more than half of the month of October.  We visited Archie Brennan and the Schiffer Publishing twice during the month and gave a number of talks about our extended visit to Cuba last winter.

Schiffer always does a such a nice job of welcoming us.

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The camera equipment they loaned to us in order to do our photo shoot was really massive.  Bob is repacking the car in order to fit the mammoth carrying case of 3 strobe lights and 3 reflective umbrellas in our little station wagon.  The publisher is located in a beautiful farming community near Lancaster, and they have a lot of artwork on display in the surrounding fields.

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It was a daunting job to photograph the tapestries that still reside in Archie’s possession.  We had two long days getting set up to take the photographs, take the photos, and log all the information into a spread sheet.  We are pleased with how well it went, and Archie was quite a trooper.  We could not have done it without the help of a local friend and Wednesday Grouper and her partner.  Huge thanks to Alta and John who have now helped Archie get all those tapestries back into storage.

The week before the photo shoot Archie showed me his works and reminisced about many of the pieces. He has certainly lived a fascinating life and has countless interesting stories about every tapestry he has made.  What a creative mind he has! You can partially see that we are surrounded by works still in packaging from storage.

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Getting down to business!  John and I are holding up “The Lymerer,” a reconstruction of part of the “Hunt for the Unicorn” series.

Archie and I are tired but happy at the end of a long day.

There is lots more work ahead on this project, but this was a major accomplishment on the road to having a book!

Bob has now given more than a dozen “Cuba talks,” and I have participated in a small way in some of them.  He has written an article for “Blue Water Sailing,” and I have an article in the current newsletter of the New England Lace Guild.  Every time I see our photos from the trip I still get a thrill.  As Bob says, we lived it once and can tell the story forever.

At this particular event, there was a Cuban themed dinner to go with Bob’s talk.  We wanted our picture taken with the chef!

And or course, our personal lives go on, filled with lots of family happenings.  We are now only a month away from welcoming our first grandchild into the family fold.  There was a lovely shower for the mother to be in October, and we attended that in between our trips to the publisher and to Archie.  I have been knitting like any enthusiastic grandmother and will soon be finished with my first attempt at knitted pants.  My good friend Mary, who often factors here as my lace making mentor, has shared an idea of hers for doing embroidery along the neckline of a onesie.  I will have to embroidery at least one onesie to go with the knitted pants.  Then there will be a Christmas sweater too.  It’s all fun and very therapeutic as we wait for Baby Nugget’s arrival.

There has also been a wee bit of weaving.  Well, not actually weaving, but preparations to weave.  I have taken quite a hiatus from my next Just Our Yarn project of weaving yardage.  I’m about 7/8’s done with dressing the loom.  Initially this yardage was planned for an origami top, but who knows.  I just want to weave and can barely ever focus on what the fabric might become.

Later this week I will participate in a workshop on rep weave with Lucienne Coifman,who recently published a book on this technique.  She is a well known teacher in Connecticut, and I’m looking forward to learning her technique during the class.

She requested that I make two warps for my assigned rep structure, and she also insisted that I warp front to back.  Well, it was a challenge dealing with two layers of warp and going front to back which I haven’t done in about 30 years.  Thank heaven I have a good friend who has done lots of rep and always puts her warps on front to back.  Otherwise, I might have been pretty embarrassed when the first day of class rolls around.

First warp, solid grey:

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Second warp is shades of purple into red:

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Getting the two warps on my Baby Wolf. There is only one thread that broke during winding on, and it is hanging off the back in the midst of the grey that is on the lower left.  I will rejoin it when the other broken end shows up during weaving.  I am ready to go!

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So, lastly I’ll end with a couple of personal notes.  Bob finished renovating the master bathroom–yahoo!  It only took 4 1/2 months!  It’s a lovely place for displaying some of our shells from the Bahamas and Cuba.

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I framed my tiny tapestry “Postcard from Home: January Fog on the St. Mary’s River.” The name is certainly longer than the size of the tapestry!  After it’s trip to the Orkney Island and a bit of Scotland, it now resides in our older son’s living room, on a table he built himself.  I should talk about his stellar cabinetry making sometime soon. I should  have taken a photo that showed the beautiful walnut slab he used to build this table.

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There was one glorious day when I joined a friend on a trip to New Hartford and stumbled on this sewing/quilting/felting/spinning shop that had a wall of merino rovings to choose from. It’s called Quilted Ewe.

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Slowly I’m getting ready for winter and hopefully there will be some weaving before we head south for warmer weather.  Meanwhile, my main focus will be the “Archie book.” The text is done and many of the photos are already keyed into the text.  Just need to keep plugging away at it.

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