V ä v a! V e v e! weaving cloth one thread at a time

Monday, March 23, 2009

What I did before weaving.

A little about my background: I am an Interior Designer by education, with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota, designing corporate and commercial facilities for the past 30 years. Even though I am still Certified, I have retired after owning my own design firm for about half of those 30 years.  And even though it has been years since I last practiced as an Interior Designer, I still think like one.  My career path changed rather abruptly when we found that our adopted son had Aspergers Syndrome.  He took a great deal of my attention when he was a little guy, because he was such a smarty!  Even when he was barely walking he had figured out the kid locks one puts on cabinets to keep little ones out.  So good-bye presentation boards, boardrooms, and clients; hello play-dates and the ongoing search for answers about Aspergers.

Running parallel with the numerous needs of my son were my own needs as a creative person.  I needed an outlet through which those juices could flow.  My ongoing fascination with textiles, solidly reinforced by all the extraordinary textiles I had had the privilege of working with as a designer, set my focus on weaving and fiber.

I am 4th of 4 children and humor was the way I got attention as a child. My brother, one slot up, was very sharp witted and wry, so I had to compete with his humor. Good training ground I guess. Now I'm brave enough, old enough, and confident enough to not be offended if people can't appreciate my humor.

Just so you know. . . I have a not-so-latent wish to live on a 'gentleman's farm', where all the hard work is done by others and I just get to ride my favorite horse (yes, I still love horses, just never had one to myself) before coming in for a big breakfast of pancakes, bacon and fresh scrambled eggs gathered just that morning, done up by Cook (the person that does all the cooking)! After breakfast, I go to my rebuilt barn that is now my lofty studio, which has several distinct areas set up for each of my interests of pottery, woodcarving and turning, sculpture and welding, and most of all, weaving. If I had that I know I would have died and gone to heaven!

I have always been enamored with textiles. Even in high school I had the opportunity to weave a couple of ponchos in bright red-orange and big chunky yellow wool, with a touch of spruce green, and of course long fringe. . . ponchos being all the rage in the early 70's!  Looks like I really gave Leonardo Fibonacci a real run for his money!  Anyway, I gave one to my brother for Christmas and the other I kept for myself.  I still have mine. . . an heirloom poncho. . . can you imagine??!!

So, I'm a hippie at heart, but then aren't we all when you think about it? I've been domesticated, cleaned up, and have eliminated the phrase, "Far out!" from my vocabulary (unless I'm trying to bug my teenagers)! Now I'm a middle-aged, issue-sensitive, concerned citizen. I'm okay with that!

I think my position in the Interior Design world gave me many opportunities to rub elbows with some important people to the design world. I had the good fortune to speak with Kaffe Fassett http://www.kaffefassett.com.

"Forever Diamonds"

He is an incredible fiber artist!

"Pinwheel Tablecloth"

He does breathtaking work! 

"Jewel Squares Patchwork"

My interest in him is his masterful work with color!

"Liberty Mariner's Compass"

 My focus in my studies while at the University of MN was color and how it influences us in our daily living. It is amazing how, as designers, we can psychologically influence people and even manipulate their behavior through color!  Color is able to stimulate people or help in calming people down; color can be used to create a feeling of happiness or gloom; or be used to create feelings of chaos and tension. I teach classes on color theory at the Textile Center http://www.textilecentermn.org, and I could, and often do, go on and on about color!!

 Jack Lenor Larsen:  Chevalier, 1978

While designing interiors I had copious opportunities to explore textiles at length. The fabrics that are out there are so incredibly beautiful, using all kinds of materials, from plastics and paper to metal and mirrors, to achieve a certain look and function. Very inspiring stuff!! I also had the opportunity to meet Jack Lenor Larsen a couple of years ago.

Jack Lenor Larsen:  Cumulus, 1991

He is a world renowned textile designer. He is a brilliant designer and someone who inspired me to pursue my passion of textiles

Jack Lenor Larsen:  Onward!, 1997

I was very fortunate to have been able to have conversations with Mr. Larsen! Not often is it that one gets to have a sit-down with an icon! It was awe-inspiring!

Jack Lenor Larsen:  Laotian Ikat, 1972

His knowledge is so broad and detailed! I can only dream of coming close to a fraction of of the knowledge that he has about textiles!

Jack Lenor Larsen/Cowtan and Tout, Inc.:  Hologram Leaves, 1990

So that is what I'm doing now. Just pursuing my passion! It's pretty great! The future has some wonderful things waiting for me to just catch up. That's where I'm heading.

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