Sunday, May 22, 2022

Teaching and Touring in Oregon and California

Deflected double weave scarf by Robin Korybski, on the loom 
at the weaving studio in the Multnomah (Oregon) Arts Center

If you love to weave, you need to travel -- because you can gain so much inspiration from extraordinarily gifted weavers the world over. The techniques, colors, textures, and uses may vary widely, but there's a high level of fiber talent to be found almost anywhere, provided you know where to look. 

Let's start with Portland, OR, where I taught a workshop on Echo threadings to the Portland Handweavers Guild, thanks to the efforts (and beer, bread, and coffee) of program chair Lynne Fitzsimmons. It would take up way too much space to post all of the photos of all of the beautiful samples we wove, but here are a few highlights.

Echo sample on 8 shafts woven on two hand-painted warps (beamed together as one) by Bertha Kao

Another 8-shaft Echo pattern woven on two hand-painted warps by Kathy Goetz

Two 8-shaft samples woven on two hand-painted warps by Lynne Fitzsimmons, in Rep (top of photo) and in double weave (bottom part of sample)

Bertha, Kathy, Lynne, and others in this workshop had painted their warps a couple of months ago in a Zoom workshop I taught, "Paint Two, Beam One." The technique involves painting two warps in contrasting color palettes (varying in both hue and value) and then beaming them together on a loom to weave structures as varied as plain weave, twill, Echo, and double weave. It's a great preliminary workshop for my course on parallel threadings, because weavers can then thread their looms in the alternating color palettes (A/B/A/B) and weave them on an extended parallel threading. The results are a play of pattern and color, as you can see, creating surprises with optical mixing in the fabric.

Prior to the workshop, I gave a talk to a group of on-site and on-Zoom guild members, followed by a wonderful show and tell. I fell in love with an eco-printed scarf by Eva Douthit (below). The technique calls for cutting out rectangles of black kimono fabric (which contains indigo dye) and finding leaves and other plant life that you then sandwich between the kimono fabric and a silk-scarf blank -- a dye process that resulted in the other-worldly images below.

Detail of a scarf by Eva Douthit

So much to see and savor! I'm grateful to my iPhone, which to date has nearly 20,000 photos on it, which is ridiculous....

The second leg of the trip was to northern California, where I taught at the Conference of Northern California Handweavers. From what I've learned from teaching on Zoom over the past two years, the entire West Coast -- from Alaska to San Diego, including British Columbia in between -- is full of weaving inspiration.

And natural inspiration, of course.

Take the redwoods, for instance. I have never seen anything like them. Walking through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Felton, CA, near Santa Cruz, was like walking through a grove of grand and ancient friends. We had stopped to visit my sister and her husband and son at their new home in Boulder Creek, CA -- itself nestled in the redwoods, but what Californians call young redwoods.

Redwoods near my sister's home in Boulder Creek, CA

Then on to San Mateo, to teach at the Conference of Northern California Handweavers. It was a reawakening, of sorts, for most everyone there, because everyone had been quarantining for the past two years....

A photo of my classroom, taken by conference organizer Nancy Williams-Baron

Again, I was struck by the degree of talent, as you can see below on this 24-shaft sample woven by Donna Kaplan of Seattle.

Susan Maturlo wove an 8-shaft parallel-threaded version of the ever-popular pattern #728 that I adapted from Carol Strickler's book.

Rep variation of Strickler #728, parallel threading on 8 shafts, woven by Susan Maturlo

There were exhibits, of course, and vendors, of course, and wonderful food and friends. I ran into Suzanne Woodhead of the Reno Fiber Guild, who wore a shawl of  deflected double weave fabric based on a pattern in a Zoom workshop I taught, organized by Suzanne for her guild. The fabric uses energized yarns that create puckers and ruffles in the cloth in the washing process. She looked elegant!

Suzanne in her deflected double weave art-to-wear

The entire trip was about fiber, friendship, and family -- and wouldn't have been possible without the lovingkindness and support (and driving skills on those mountain roads) of my husband, Larry, seen here on the left with my sister, Buff, me, and her husband, Jim, among the redwoods in Cowell State Park.

Thanks for reading!


Ruth Henriquez said...

I loved the images in this post -- especially the 8-shaft samples (since my loom has 8 shafts). You are helping to spread beauty in your teaching travels.

You mentioned your "Paint Two, Beam One" zoom class. I thought I was on your email list but I never received notification about that class. How do I make sure I can receive postings of upcoming classes?

Kind regards,

Denise Kovnat said...

Thanks Ruth, for your comments! I do post all of my classes on my "calendar" page. Since they are typically sponsored by a guild or conference, I don't send out email notifications about my classes -- unless there is an opening. Would it be possible for you to gather maybe a half dozen like-minded friends to take this class on Zoom? I have done that for groups in the past. Or do you belong to a guild that might want to schedule a workshop -- either on Zoom or on site? A one-day workshop can work really well for the dyeing techniques.

If you would like to talk about this more, you can contact me at dkovn[at]


Ruth Henriquez said...

Thank you Denise for your response; this makes sense to me and I'll make a habit of checking your page regularly. I'm not in a local fiber guild, but I will check around with the few other weavers I know to see if people would like to set up a zoom class.


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