Friday, May 24, 2024

It's Conference Season -- Which Means Exhibits!

Every other year, in some city in the U.S., weavers travel from all around the globe to attend two of the best conferences worldwide: Convergence, sponsored by the Handweavers' Guild of America, and "Seminars," sponsored by Complex Weavers.

There are classes, talks, gatherings formal and informal, vendors (of course), and exhibits (of course). Among the best-attended exhibits are Complexity, an international show sponsored by Complex Weavers, and the Convergence fashion show. 

And every other year, I challenge myself to weave and apply to both of these shows. (Some pieces are juried in, some pieces aren't, but that's how it goes....)

The piece shown at the beginning of this post is titled "Harriet Tubman Dreams of the North Star," and I'm proud to say it was juried into this year's Complexity exhibit, to be mounted at Mark Arts Gallery from July 7-August 16 this summer in Wichita, KS, where both conferences will be based. Here are a couple more views.

A detail pic of the corner of this piece --
including the beaded fringe, 
which took months to complete....

Here's a medium-range photo of the weaving, 
which also took months 
to design, dye, wind the warps, and weave.

Tubman was born into slavery in 1822 in Maryland and died a free woman at 91 in Auburn, NY, near my home in Rochester. Before the Civil War, she escaped slavery and returned to the South to lead some 70 slaves to freedom, traveling through the night, following the North Star, making stops along the Underground Railroad on their way to freedom in Canada. After enduring the hell of slavery, she faced down unimaginable dangers and terrors to rescue others, leaving a legacy of bravery that inspires and awes millions. My weavings are a modest tribute to the woman who was called the Moses of her people.

These photos of my work were taken by Tim Fuss of Pixelwave photography. We've worked together for at least a decade and he never fails to get the lighting and the setup just right. 

Below are more photos by Tim -- images of another piece that was juried into Complexity 2024, also honoring Tubman and to be on exhibit at Mark Arts in Wichita.

I've named this "Harriet's Shawl," inspired by photos of Tubman wearing a shawl in her later years.

Harriet Tubman, taken in 1885 in Auburn, NY

Tubman at the end of her extraordinary life, 
again photographed in Auburn.

A third piece completed last year for exhibit is a dress I wove on 24 shafts, on a warp of 16/2 bamboo/rayon in orange and purple. I call it "Purple Waves." It was woven in doubleweave on an Echo threading, as one piece of yardage on my loom that was simply folded in half horizontally and sewn only at the shoulders and seams.

This dress will appear in the fashion show at Convergence in July -- an event that is always the high point of the conference. Again, the photos are by Tim Fuss.

Because it's doubleweave, there are two wefts involved. 
For the bodice, one of the wefts is linen crepe, 
which draws in and creates gentle pleats 
that mold themselves over the body above the waist.

For me, it's important to set up a weaving challenge for myself every year or so, to aim for a juried exhibit or a show. It makes me work harder, take some risks, aim a bit higher. Of course it can hurt when a piece doesn't get accepted or there are issues -- which I won't share, it's complicated -- but I keep trying, focusing on the next one. I always learn, regardless. And I have an excuse to attend these wonderful events....

Convergence and Complex Weavers Seminars, taking place this July in Wichita, KS. Hope to see you there!

And, as always, thanks for reading.


Tisserande said...

Fabulous weaving Denise. That dress is so cleverly designed and I adore thee two patterned pieces.

Anonymous said...

Amazing work as always. So much yours and yet branching out. I have 2 pieces in complexity also. Now let’s see if you can guess them this time! Hugs and see you there.

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