2017 Penland Benefit Auction Centerpiece Artist
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When I first came to Penland in the 1960s, I wasn't in the arts. I was just along in the car with my sister Cynthia, a potter. I didnít have anything to do, but Bill Brown, the director in those years, he instructed me, 'Go to the weaving room and let Helen Henderson help you.' Helen taught me to wind a warp and dress the loom, and then she had me get underneath it to change the treadles and change the top. That was really the first weaving I did. There was never a moment I decided to become a weaver - it's just that I didn't stop.
In later years, I came back to Penland to live and work. I maintained the weaving studio, ordered supplies, readied housing for the studentsóit was a lot like the job todayís studio coordinators have. And in between classes, when there werenít students in the studio, I would weave my own pieces. I have always been focused on color, and playing with color on the loom is what drives my process. I had a warp I had wound with lots of different colors, reds and golds and more. And Bill Brown wandered up to my loom and said, ďItís really nice, baby, but now what are you going to do with it?Ē
That question really sticks with meówhat am I going to do with a piece next? I have a sense of what my pieces are going to be, but I donít plan them fully. Sometimes I let them sit on the loom because Iím waiting to figure out what is going to happen next. And I just keep going and donít try to figure everything out at once. Iím still figuring it all out, in fact. But the more you do, the more you learn.