Archive | Events RSS feed for this section

Fibercamp Compendium 2016

20 Mar

Were you at FiberCamp 2016? I had a great time again.

FiberCamp 2016 at MIT Cambridge MA

This year, I didn’t lead a single session. I didn’t even peruse the session pages until Thursday. Jumping into a pool of friends and tantalizing topics with abandon, I soaked myself in whatever seemed good at that moment. So refreshing!

Dirty Water Dyeworks raffled at FiberCamp 2016

(Above) The gradient bundle from Dirty Water Dyeworks was a hot ticket! (Below) Two fabulous knit skirts inspired by the good mojo at Yarns in the Farms

Attending sessions on photographing textiles , new techniques in double knitting, and wet felting (with the women launching FABRIC), I missed other good topics. Equally notable, I met new people, got to know others better and caught up with past attendees and Guild members.

Much time was spent in the vendor room… ok, get rid of the passive voice. I shopped til I dropped! This was a conscious decision:

  • I wanted to support the small businesses who support Fibercamp;
  • I wanted to break in a newly issued credit card 🙂

Picking up lovely yarns from Toil and Trouble, A Riot of Color, a gradient bundle from Dirty Water Dyeworks and recycled silk blend from Boston Wool Works.

Alanna Nelson loves knit stash procured at FiberCamp!Alanna Nelson explores Circular Weaving Looms from janda Multimedia

I finally treated myself to a cheery project bag from Beantown bags and a pompom maker. I immediately ordered an circular weaving kit from Janda Multimedia , which is made right in Norwood using a 3D printer!

In a new twist this year, the first 100 FiberCamp attendees received a hand stamped project swag bag stuffed with all kinds of goodies! I should have really taken a photo of it, so darling, but frankly I popped it open like a kid on Christmas morning.

FiberCamp is different each year, reliably,  it’s better than I think it will be. What a great way to spend a March weekend… even if the weather outdoors was unseasonably fabulous.

Art Quilt Collector: Dawn Allen

14 Oct

As an art quilter, collecting and admiring art quilts comes part and parcel with the passion. This fall, I vowed to support the Studio Art Quilt Associates Auction for 2015. With 358 members submitting work, this is a mind boggling bounty of techniques and voices expressed in 12″ x 12″ quilts.

With my small, defined budget, my bidding opportunities meant I could participate toward the end of the week’s bidding. On the other hand, the selection of beautiful quilts that I could get with my small, defined budget was bountiful!

Last week, the latest addition to my art quilt collection arrived:

Alanna Nelson art quilt collector buys Dawn Allen's quilt

Dawn Allen’s 3 D art quilt is now mine! Dawn is a fellow Massachusetts/Rhode Island Studio Art Quilt Associate member. Hurray!

You can run on down to the Fuller Craft Museum to see another Dawn Allen quilt through January, 2016.

Trends of Quilt National 2015

7 Sep Alanna Nelson visits Dairy Barn Quilt National 2015

Alanna Nelson visits Dairy Barn Quilt National 2015A flash sale on Southwest Airlines suddenly snapped my long held daydream of visiting a Quilt National exhibit in Athens, OH. Owning several of the exhibit catalogs is never the same as seeing art in person. How I thoroughly treasured my afternoon dose of reality at the Dairy Barn, hanging out with the 84 expressions of art quilting today.

Choosing quilts must have been challenging for the jurors. Quilt National seeks to create a statement of today’s quilting trends; quilts that balance historic roots and yet incorporate new techniques and experimentation. As such, one could easily define this as a quilt exhibit and not a surface design or mixed media exhibit. Rich in message and layers of media, I saw these quilting trends:

  • Upscaling and recycling: True to a patchwork tradition, many artists used clothing and scraps in their work.
  • Adobe Photoshop: This software has become the quilter’s favorite. Whether creating images or modifying photographs, digital image manipulation is part of many quilters’ visual vocabulary.
  • Beyond textiles: From Deidre Adams‘ layers of paper to Wen Redmond‘s metal, to stones and other ephemera become integral to art quilting.
  • Machine quilting: The norm and not the exception, by longarm or free motion, machine quilting has become the norm. Storytelling through stitching was evident in many works. Hand quilting, what will happen to you?
  • Machine Embroidery:  Creating embroidered texture and images made dramatic statements on many works.

The show was hung well, using a variety of different mechanisms to let the work hang. Lighting was also generous and focused, without being detrimental to the longevity of the work. I walked around the exhibit once, soaking up the different artistic flavors… and the flavors were striking. There was often an enormous shift from one quilt to the next. Certainly the curators spent a lot of time trying to find the right flow.

Next to each quilt, the label stated basic quilt information and a QR code that would take you to the artist’s web site. I appreciated the artists who gave you a landing page with their QN15 image and perhaps a statement about the piece before exploring other aspects of their web site.

The Dairy Barn Quilt National 2015 You Tube Channel gives you a fantastic background for many of the works on display. Throughout the summer, I had viewed videos as they were released. This formed the basis of my second tour of the exhibit, back to visit the quilts I remembered from videos. I toured the exhibit one last time, listening to the artist’s video as I looked at the quilts. Got two minutes? Watch one of their videos… they are well done.

Quilt National closes today, but fortunately you can enjoy their YouTube channel to hear many of the artists speak about their work. If Quilt National 2017 is on your summer travel list, swing over to my travels in Athens, OH blog post for more scoops about enjoying the area as well as the art quilts.

Road Trip: Quilt National 2015

18 Jun

Ohio may not be everyone’s ultimate summer destination, but I’ve always wanted to visit a Quilt National at the Dairy Barn in Athens. This juried biennial exhibit reflects cutting edge art quilts from around the world. Videos where the artists talk about their work are available on the Dairy Barn YouTube channel sharpen my anticipation.

In true Tactile Travel style, I’m researching good food, cultural history and interesting shopping. Do you have any suggestions?

My Ignite Craft Boston 2015 Video

10 Apr

Huzzah for the fine board members and volunteers of the Common Cod Fiber Guild! Not only did they hold another fantastic Ignite Craft Boston in January, but their video recordings are up!

Here’s my 5 minutes of quick enlightenment on the different ways to quilt a sandwich.

Ephemera and the design process

29 Mar Alanna Nelson design ephemera knit quilt textile prodution

In celebration of Boston Design Week, I had the pleasure of visiting the Morse Study Room to view selections from the Print and Drawings Collection. Meghan Melvin, Sharf Curator for Design, selected a variety of ephemera that represent the stories and secrets of furniture design, textile and fashion, banking service, graphic art and even interior design for cars. I could have listened to Meghan talk for hours! Hopefully she did not sense my internal pandemonium as I forced myself to leave after the 30 minute tour. Tiny fireworks sparked ideas, evolving into whirling thoughts which eventually I distilled into four categories:

  • The ephemera of my design process
  • The challenges of conserving such an enormous range of objects and untangling their mysteries
  • The opportunities to research new project inspiration in museum collections
  • How digital design will change future ephemera: Will historians’ and curators’ work become easier or more difficult as our creative process and presentations transfer from physical to digital representation?

Historic New England encourages people to contribute supporting documentation and tools for their collection that reflects New England life. Perhaps the things we create should be documented more clearly? Should cleaning up after a finished design or quilt take on a different meaning?

Obviously, the thoughts are still whirling!

New York Fashion Week Knitwear Finds

22 Feb

It’s cold. I’m cold. The Chinese New Year has begun. I’m ready for spring knitting, but here comes the season of fashion weeks for NEXT fall.

Anna Sui’s Fall Winter collection has a lot of fun pieces. Guess I like her Viking inspiration. Let’s see what Milan brings us for next winter. Calling Etro, Missioni….

You are fab!

18 Feb Alanna Nelson at New York Fall Winter Fashion Week 2015

The stars have entire armies of people dedicated to telling them how fabulous they are every day of their lives. You have a mirror. Get in front of it and be your own publicist, darling.

This fabulous quote from Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez’s giggle read, “Everyone wants to be me or do me” could be a motto for many.

As I sit on sides of the Lincoln Center Plaza, watching young stylists, models, photographers grasp a bit of that Fashion Week feeling, considering their quest for fame and fortune, it seems a bit preposterous. On the other hand, how many other people are their own worst enemy?

You are fabulous dahling. Go out and share that brilliance with the world!

FiberCamp Boston: The Smorgasbord of Learning

27 Jan Alanna Nelson alum of FiberCamp Boston

That smorgasbord of fibery goodness for knitters, crocheters, sewists, spinners and all fascinated by the wonders of textiles is back! This pot luck weekend is so satisfying and yet no calories. Sign up now and save.

I’ll see you there!

Comparative Art Forms: A Week of Inspiration

20 Nov Image of Tomie Nagano buffet MFA textile costume society

In a season known for gratitude, events this week permeated my heart with thankfulness. It all began last Wednesday, when the Museum of Fine Arts Textile and Costume Society friends met for an evening of contemporary art. Tomie Nagano and Marilyn Pappas shared works in progress and outlined their work flow.

Long an admirer of Tomie’s quilts, the peek behind the stitches was much anticipated. However, Marilyn’s embroidery and collage were new to me. I am now completely a fan. While their creative process varies tremendously, both artists devote copious time to each piece. Clearly both women savor the process despite the gradual, meticulous nature of their media.

Tomie collects used textiles from Japan (fortunately, she says, this started when few appreciated the gorgeous silk kimono and obi or the cost would have been prohibitive!). Seeking to create an emotion, she cuts narrow strips, creating traditional patchwork blocks. She decides the size of her work, places each strip and block, numbers it all. Next, Tomie organizes each block into layers laid out in boxes, separated by tissue paper. Hand stitching and hand quilting the entire work, she methodically moves through the process. Her current project is enormous!  A silk quilt displayed for us on her bed simply shimmered. This was one of the many advantages of the evening being hosted at Tomie’s home. I do love viewing bed quilts on a bed. Not to knock displaying bed quilts on a wall, but it’s a different experience.

Marilyn’s approach is more free form and yet equally time consuming. Her early work included textiles, but for many years, collage was a favorite mode of expression. Inspired by classical sculpture, she draws a rough outline on linen and begins to paint with one or 2 strands of cotton embroidery floss. The shading, the vivid dimensionality, the sheer quantity of stitches is mind boggling. She brought several pieces from her History Lessons series. We are not talking about small works of art.  The torsos are often life size.

Can I ever embroider again without thinking of her?

Image of Tomie Nagano buffet MFA textile costume society After feeding our souls with their creative energies, Tomie led us to a magnificent buffet that she had prepared for the group. From the sushi rolls, stuffed avocados to delicious salads, the table was a visual and gustatory delight.  A quick camera phone photo could only capture half of the bounty! A thank you note felt so flimsy after Tomie and her husband offered such hospitality. I am truly grateful for the evening.

Italian ceramics provided a glorious setting for Giardini di Sole’s Meet and Eat this week. Giardini di Sole curates a collection of beautiful and useful Italian home dec and garden tableware, lighting and stone tables (simply beautiful things! And in all transparency, I assist with their marketing and events). Goddess of hospitality, Josephine Wennerholm prepared multiple examples of starters, salads, main dishes and desserts with Elatia Harris of Lucy’s Mom Cuisine. The lively crowd left satiated both spiritually and physically! Jo believes in the ties created by sharing a meal. I know that nothing can be more inspiring than happy people enjoying and a good time together.

Each of us has the creative spirit, expressed in all kinds of ways (providing that we take time to listen). In the knitting classes I lead, the creation process simmers, coming alive in stitches or in thoughts while knitting. This week, we celebrated many new finished objects. What joy when your first knit sweater looks great on your tot or you wrap your first scarf around your neck! How stunning to see the color combinations felted into tote bags. What a vision when a beautiful scarf catches my breath as a knitter walks into the room. How cozy winter evenings will be with that newly completed afghan. I’m delighted to see their accomplishments.

As Fred Wiseman noted in his question and answer session at Sunday’s MFA showing of National Gallery, his documentary was a study of comparative art forms. My week was a study of creative expression. From stitches to squash, ice crystals to philosophical notes, I’m grateful for the perspicacity in my life.