The day after the eclipse marked one month left until the vernal equinox. We are on the downward slope of summer. These next few weeks will hold the last of summer’s wealth….
Last weekend my friend Jody joined me in visiting the opening for the Nordic Tapestry exhibit in Washington Depot. What a lovely town that is, and the venue for this show of works was quite beautiful, which made a great backdrop for the wonderful tapestries. The artists are a group of students of Helena Hernmarck, mostly from Sweden, with one from Iceland and a couple from the US, who organized this event to honor Helena during her 75th year. What a great birthday present! ….and well deserved.
This is one of the Swedish weavers, Stina Fjelkner-Modig, standing in front of her “Poppies in a Wheat Field.” She has certainly done wonderful things with Hernmarck’s technique for creating texture.
This may be my favorite tapestry from the students’ exhibition. It is “Autumn” by Anneli Forsberg. Jody and I enjoyed talking to her about Sweden and working with Helena. It’s stunning, right?– with the same marvelous use of floats and thick bundles of weft.
A few other works of note…..
“Longing for Summer,” by Hugrun Runarsdottir
Two of the artists/weavers admiring the crocus. The artist for this tapestry is on the left.
Both exhibit spaces were on the green in Washington Depot. This is the building where the students’ exhibition was on display.
In the back is a lovely sunken garden where they served refreshments. By the time Jody and I found this spot the opening was over and the clean up had started.
At the other end of the green was the display of Helena’s work. I loved the setting and the way this building is open to the outdoors.
The last time I saw Helena, at her studio, this piece was newly finished. It is double woven with a layer of plastic strips on the back. When it is hung in a way that allows viewing on both sides, it has a luminous, transparent effect. The plastic on the back side creates a sparkling effect on the front. On the back side the effect of the woven plastic strips is very glossy and dazzling.
One of my all time favorite pieces is Helena’s “Anemones.” Her use of floats and big bundles of weft is what makes her dramatic use of focus and out of focus effects. Looks like I had trouble focusing on holding my camera straight!
Here’s a detail shot….
At the end of our visit, dear Jody got a photo of Helena and me together. I treasure this!
It was Jody who thought to take this fabulous photo of two of Helena’s works together.
This was the BIG event of my summer, and I’m looking forward to seeing another work of Helena’s at the “Plunge” exhibit in New Bedford, later this weekend!
Backtracking a little, I made contact with one of the award winners from the juried exhibit at NEWS. The basketmaker, Barbara Feldman Morse. I’m rather certain I saw another of her baskets awarded two years ago. Now this year she gilded the lily by also weaving a liner for her latest basket. Brilliant!
I had no way to contact any of the weavers whose works I admired, but I happened to stumble on Barbara on Facebook, so I tried contacting her through FB messenger. Well, it took a couple of weeks for her to see my message, but when we connected at last I found a most interesting woman!
Over the 40 years that I have been weaving and getting to know other weavers, I’ve often found that weavers lead fascinating lives. They are often gardeners, artists in tw0-dimensional techniques, like painting, and often good cooks too. Many weavers seem to love cats. It turns out that Barbara loves to cook and in particular she bakes madeleines! What wonderful little luxuries! She has published a cookbook on madeleines and her madeleines were sold at Ghiradelli’s Chocolate in San Fransciso, at local Starbucks, and they have been used in films. All that baking success is quite a feat on its own, but she is also a master weaver and accomplished basket maker. I am happy that I have crossed her path. You can read her here and also get a few madeleine recipes!
And summer marches on …. Bob and I participated in a “Conquer the Current” paddle on the Connecticut River last weekend. He did the conquering and I kept cool and out of the sun by holding my umbrella. Bob rowed 9 miles down the river! We put in at the Haddam Bridge (think Goodspeed Opera House), and ended at the Connecticut River Museum, in Essex, where the museum staff treated all participants to a wonderful Sunday brunch on the grounds of the museum–even me–who didn’t do a thing!
The gardens I see along my walks are just beginning to show signs of slowing down, but are always still a wonderful part of any venture outside. It was a hazy August day-after-eclipse that I took these.
The eclipse seemed to have an oddly productive effect on me. Before it started I dug out some linen fabric that I had eco-dyed last summer, unsuccessfully. Actually, I eco-dyed it twice and still did not get a pleasing outcome. So on eclipse morning I brewed up some French marigold flowers that have been stashed in my freezer from last year’s garden. I simmered the linen fabric for about an hour, then let it cool in the dye bath for the rest of the day.
This photo is about as hazy as my garden shots above. The color is actually darker and quite interesting. The fern prints from eco-dyeing that barely showed up now stand out considerably more! Win, win!
First the marigolds, so you can see the color of the flowers.
And here’s what I got…although darker than this photo.
After the eclipse I brewed up a batch of peach jam. That’s a lot of productivity for me in one day….. it had to be some lunar/solar energy vibes.
It’s been a good week in my little world. I hope it’s been good for you too!