January 8, 2015
Notes from the fall.
Tennessee. I met some incredible people and worked very, very hard. Truth be told, my couple of months there were not as creatively fertile as I had hoped they would be. Week after week I worked the morning shift in the kitchen- up at 5am and too often crashing into bed at 2:30 in the afternoon for naps that always left me grouchy and slightly depressed. While I didn't produce as much new work as I had anticipated, I did manage to do a lot of writing; inspiration was aplenty and I left with a lot of new ideas. I also found time to start re-building my website. Slow but steady progress on that front. One of my favorite nights there was my last- Halloween! Frankie (see his website here), one of the artists in residence, planned an elaborate Dolly Parton-themed murder mystery party. I had an absolute blast playing one of the murderers and dressing up in a silly tie-dye jumpsuit!
After Tennessee I made my way to Western Massachusetts, where I took an amazing week-long weaving course taught by Becky Ashenden of the Vavstuga School. Becky has woven for many years in the Swedish tradion: her methods are tried, true, and beautifully refined. Learning from her was a very different experience than weaving at Penland; the focus was more on mastering the basics of the craft, whereas Penland had been more about conceptual and creative thought. It was a challenging five days in which I managed to weave two small table cloths, a wool blanket, and a dishtowel. The speed and determination of those days gave me a small glimpse of what it might be like to have my own production line. It gave me a lot to think about. Vavstuga School has an apprenticeship program and it is something I would absolutely love to do someday.