Archives for category: Retreats, talks, workshops and classes

I met lynn while she was waiting for chemo in the infusion room. She was a complete beginner, as most of our participants are, and is starting to weave blocks together by twisting the yarns between each section.

Chipper’s 2nd tapestry completed. He was playing with creating warp lines.

It’s been 10 months since we started our free monthly drop-in tapestry class, and we are starting to build up a solid group of participants. I’m learning to offer adaptive techniques- such as using a big darning needle to weave if there are difficulties with pushing the weft between the warp ends.

Dot has almost completed her tapestry; next month she plans to mount it in a wooden frame. She says she has just the right place to display it- beside a ceramic vase with the same colors as the tapestry

Nona is almost done- or so she says..

Slowly but surely, tapestries are being completed, different techniques are incorporated and concerns about presentation are explored. Our next session is  April 13.

Chipper’s first tapestry- which he has since mounted on a canvas and calls”American Devil“. 

Hedy has her own loom at home where she weaves bulky tapestries with lots of texture. I am trying to persuade her to bring her tapestries to class, so we can all see them and admire them too.


Our last tapestry session for the year is on  Friday, December 15, 2017 at  1-3pm, the Hirsch Center,  Revolution Mill, Studio 130, Greensboro.

Nona adding a red outline to her golden triangle

Wendy followed instructions on youtube as to how to weave a perfect circle- she did a great job

Weaving a tapestry is not something that you can weave up overnight- no matter how hard and long you work. It’s a process that demands that you slow down and pay attention. And for that very reason, it can be very calming and meditative. Thanks to everyone who came to our drop- in session last week at the Hirsch Wellness Network, Revolution Mill.

Almost time for the drop-in session at the Revolution Mill, in Greensboro! Looms, knitting needles and yarns available- and snacks. See you there from 6-8pm

We are starting drop-in monthly fiber art classes, starting on May 19, 1-3 pm, at the Historic Revolutionary Mill, suite 1250, in the Hirsch Wellness classroom 130 Revolutionary Mill Drive in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Many of our tapestry students enjoyed weaving alongside their fellow students at our personal tapestry weaving workshops, getting support, encouragement and inspiration from each other . However,we have found that once a year is a long time to wait between tapestry sessions, especially if you have any technical concerns and have no one to ask for help.

The drop-in sessions are designed to bridge the gap between the once a year tapestry workshop, to get friends together again, and to keep everyone motivated to complete projects and start new ones!

I will be available to help with tapestry weaving and knitting and tapestry looms, yarns and knitting needles are all provided by the Hirsch Wellness Network.

I love the idea of the drop-in classes ! It gives me the opportunity to meet up with everyone again, see everyone’s progress and I get to enjoy seeing some of the finished pieces!



Messing around with cold wax and oil paints…

My friend Connie and I just attended a 4 week session class on painting with cold wax, taught by George Wade Carmichael- a fabulous teacher. George is incredibly knowledgeable about historical painting techniques and materials.

However, it was the total opposite of what I had read about cold wax painting on-line!

I was expecting to do heavy textural layers of cold wax, with squeegees and sharp mark making objects.


Initial sketch idea in acrylic and collage


Painting in cold wax and oil- still in progress

Instead we worked with the smallest brushes I have ever seen and laid down super-fine layers of translucent colors of oil and cold wax, starting with a foundation of complimentary colors which de intensified the application of color on the next layers. So completely different from my usual approach to painting which is lots of applications of thick saturated colors with complimentary colors laid beside each other, not in layers.


The inspiration for my sketch came from this lovely photo of my niece, Louisa Lily Bell

With this technique I appear to have a softer and more detailed image that I would normally paint.

Must be the tiny brushes!

The painting is not finished as I ran out of my mixture of cold wax and thinner while painting. George showed us how to cook it up in the microwave-so I made a batch this evening. I’m liking the translucent layers- and the contrasting opaque areas too.


Phyllis starts her tapestry inspired by an illustration of the sea


Alison focuses on textural effects

Reflections as another workshop draws to a close


Alice shows her artwork inspiration for her weaving

The Hirsch Wellness Network is a unique organization that provides more than free workshops in art, yoga and gardening. It’s overarching goal is to provide classes that are structured to support and encourage participants in creative endeavors during and after their cancer treatment. This means that sometimes students may come to the workshop, in the middle of their treatment or at the start of a new drug, and may not be physically or mentally at the most receptive to learning new skills, or even socializing with fellow participants. What amazes me is the courage and graciousness of the participants as they tackle their projects, jumping into the unknown with great spirit and determination.


Charlene chooses very fine, sparkling blue yarn to start her tapestry

We did something different this time around, we began the class by each student warping their own looms. This is significant, as it is quite a challenge to warp ends under the correct tension, especially for students with no prior knowledge or experience in weaving or warping. I was so impressed with their ability to keep on task and keep pushing their own limits.


Tammi weaves different forms and colors, as well as a warp stripe

Everyone is encouraged to work at their own pace; it really is about the process, working with your own sensibilities, finding out what works for you, discovering your own preferences, making choices.

This session ended with a short assessment to find out what worked for the students and ideas for future workshops. Out of the 8 students participating on the last day,

6 were interested in follow-up classes with 2 maybes.


Rebekka weaves tapestry in the Navaho style

3 would have liked to have woven a finished product-such as a coaster or bookmark. 5 said it was  not as important to them to have a finished product.

3 would like to weave immediately and work on warping at the end of the session, if there was time


Rebecca weaves shapes based on a landscape illustration and blending yarns together in gold areas

5 wanted to learn how to warp, even if it did slow down the weaving time

It might be make sense to offer a follow-up class, now that we have covered the basics. We could focus on creating colored shapes and outlines.


Sylvia weaves some beautiful textural yarns


Sara Jane- about to add a bold yellow triangle to her design. Thanks for your help, Sara Jane!

Focus: Fiber 2016 Lecture by Jane Sauer, Fiber Artist and Gallery Owner.

Last weekend, my husband and I traveled to Ohio to visit the Cleveland Museum of Art, to attend the lecture by Jane Sauer as part of the Focus : Fiber 2016 Exhibition, a National Contemporary Fiber Art Show coordinated by the Textile Art Alliance, Cleveland Museum of Art and hosted by Kent State University Museum.

This was my first visit to the Cleveland Museum of Art and it has just had an eight year, $350 million renovation and expansion which was completed in 2013 and well worth the wait. A beautiful and inspirational institution full of world class art, well worth another visit.

“Fictional Fabrics” with Jane Sauer. A thought provoking summary of an art gallery director’s experience selling fiber arts in a Fine Art Gallery

Sauer’s  talk was based on her 20 years plus experience as a Gallery owner and director, in Santa Fe, NM. She started the lecture by referring to Fine Artists who use textiles as their medium for expression and asked:-why were these artists not called Fiber Artists? She gave as examples-El Anatsui, whose enormous woven pieces resemble kente cloths, Magdelena Abakonowicz who is known for her huge felted pieces, and Christo and Jean -Claude, whose thousands of yards of fabric wrapped the Reichstag (“Wrapped Riechstag” ) These artists use textiles and fibers as their medium, and are known as Fine Artists. Sauer then talked about the artists she has represented in her gallery and how the use of textile fibers and materials has changed over the 20 years.

Sauer described:

  • An artist from Australia who weaves strips of patterned glass into pieces that look like kente cloth and has since created glass that looks like lace.
  • An artist who makes small circular hollow glass forms, which are tie together with wire and  hangs on the wall like a hanging-but it is in fact, very heavy and unable to drape.
  • An artist who carves out intricate designs with a laser on circular 5′ x 5′ wide pieces of wood that mimic crocheted doilies
  • A potter creates a form that looks like wrapped fabric covering objects while other potters mimic a batik surface and other textile processes to give the illusion of a fabric
  • A potter weaves with small clay pieces to form the look of ancient baskets while still remaining a ceramic form.
  • An artist has a commission where she proposed wrapping and coiling 1000 birds. After making the initial bird, she decided to cast the bird in clay instead, while keeping the “marks” of the coiled textile forms to represent the textile surface.

In answer to  questions from the floor about being recognized as a fiber artist,  Sauer encouraged fiber artists to be open to move in new directions. She admitted that fiber art and textiles are still not regarded in the same way as Fine Art, and that buyers needed to be educated more about fiber arts. One of the major concerns was about the longevity of textile and fiber pieces. As Sauer points out-paintings are made on a canvas which is a fabric! (It hasn’t stopped anyone so far from  investing in a Picasso, Van Gough or Titian !)

Questions, questions, questions!

As an artist and fiber artist, this lecture raised so many questions ! It was a fascinating and insightful presentation. It really cuts to the definition of what textile and fiber art IS and it also questions the function of the textile and the underlying philosophy of- why did you create this and for what reason? In the examples of art that Sauer gave, it appears that the textile form/structure/ surface  was used as a reference to a textile to conjure up associations with that textile form-while creating a form that may have the completely opposite attributes. For example, the 5′ x 5′ wooden doilies-really gorgeous pieces- had an extra  “punch” that would not have been there, if you did not recognize that the form was referring to a small, soft, hand crocheted or knit doily which in turn could be associated with – the past, old traditions, family members that knitted or crocheted.. and so forth. If you looked at the pieces and just saw an intricately patterned  wooded circle- it would have lost most of it’s meaning, other than being decorative and a pleasing pattern. And part of the response is due to the juxtaposition of the large, hard, unyielding wooden form in contrast to the small and delicate textile that was the source of the wooden form. So other than “Wow, that’s an interesting juxtaposition!” is the piece saying anything else? Well. Yes. It works better, as in so many things,  if you know and recognize the associations and realize that the doily is a cultural object, and being presented in such a way as to question your perception of the object and it’s meaning to you. Many of the art pieces in this presentation challenged your perception of what you were looking at by using textile references ( soft, draping, floating, interlaced) with objects that were the exact opposite of what was represented. The most interesting and intriguing part of the presentation was that there were very few actual fiber/fabric pieces, with the majority being in glass, clay and wood.


I welcome any comments about  the place of fibers and textiles in our society, our culture, in the art world and in the world today!

What is textile and fiber art ? What is its purpose? What is the philosophical intent? Which direction are we going in? Are textiles for textiles sake gone?


I apologize for not having the names or images of the artists from the presentation- I did not have a notebook or pen- or this may have been a much longer piece!













Preparations for the BRBs Runway Barbie Challenge

There were lots of trials before the showdown…and having Fiona as a competitor meant we had to censor Barbie’s attire to have a PG rating.

looking stylish!




Raspberry Sorbet Barbie-layers of fabrics, patterns, flowers and topped with a pink sock hat-well done Fiona!


Barbie on the bar-bee -Aussie Barbie sizzles in a saucy hat and cowboy boots getting ready to barbecue

Hail to the SHE

Hail to the SHE- the first presidential Barbie dressed for her inaugural ball: this gal has a whole wardrobe ready for every occassion


Tina-Sheena Barbie channeling the 80’s with highlights , tie dye top and animal print skirt..GRRRR!


These boots for made for walking!Party Rock Barbie is in the building


‘Summer fun’ Barbie- classic and classy style but somehow has lost her shoes and is unable to stand up unaided


Bo Ho Moma in psychedelic leggings and graphic print sock top with an unfortunate hand salute


Blossom Barbie-better known as exhibitionist Barbie with very tasteful see-thru dress


belly dancer close up

The BRBs would like to extend the Barbie Runway Challenge to all who would like to join us! Send your images to studiotempera to be featured in the Barbie Challenge Gallery



The BRB  Annual Weekend Mountain Retreat June 11-12th , 2016

For the past five years, the BRBs (Blue Ridge Babes) have gathered together at Mark’s Mountain House off the Blue Ridge Parkway for a weekend of creating art while enjoying music, wine, food and good company.

This year, our latest BRB member (Fiona, 7 years old)) has proposed a bodacious challenge for the group:

She plans to bring a Barbie doll for each member and wants the BRB’s to compete with each other to design the most bold and outrageous Barbie outfit ever.

This made me think of the last time I had seen Barbie and her partner in crime, Ken. It was in April this year. They were standing guard over the bathrooms in a café beside Ballachuilish, in Scotland.


Barbie for the LADIES facilities


Ken for the MENS facilities

I did notice that Barbie’s halter neck top was around her neck like a noose, hanging from the door whereas Ken was hanging onto the door by the collar of his pilot uniform. Not quite as life threatening. And slightly more dignified.

Was this extraordinarily prescient of the upcoming debacle of House Bill 2 NC?







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