Are you a weaver? It’s a question that asks more than whether or not you can weave. At its heart, the question probes our personalities and preferences, asking about the processes that speak to us and the mental spaces which we most like to inhabit. Weaving is not for everyone, but it definitely is for tapestry artist Mary Zicafoose. “From the first moment I sat at a loom, there was not a question in my mind that I was a weaver,” she says. That was over twenty years ago, and Mary has been weaving ever since.
“There is something timeless and inner-dimensional about the process of weaving,” Mary explains. “The work takes weeks. As the planet speeds along, the weaver sits hour by hour, day by day, slowly and steadily building a tapestry. No amount of adrenaline, caffeine, or technology alters the pace of the unfolding. To be a weaver is an almost surreal occupation placed against the backdrop of linear time, and the pace, demands, and deadlines of contemporary life. Nothing in the making of a tapestry happens quickly. It is a deep inward breath, a meditative activity that draws you in, not out.”
So, are you a weaver? If yes, Mary’s spring 2016 concentration Artist & Weaver could be a transformative eight weeks. The class is tailored to intermediate weavers, those who already have some experience at the loom. As such, it will cover the technical aspects of weaving, but it will also go beyond to focus on weaving as an art. Registration is now open.
How can each artist tell a unique story in a unique voice? It’s a question that Mary has been focused on with her pieces for years. As a weaver, she has developed a distinct expression of ideas through the imagery and colors she chooses. “I use color boldly, with a sure hand, creating strong visual statements in fiber. It is my relationship with color, the use of intensely dyed primaries within large planes and fields of color, which distinguishes my work,” she says. One of Mary’s goals for the class is to help each of her students to develop their own woven voice—be it a bright and bold one like Mary’s or one characterized more by softness and subtlety.
As part of her focus on color, Mary will bring in guest instructor Catharine Ellis for part of the class. Catharine, like Mary, has developed a distinct voice in fiber over the years. Hers is distinguished by the use of natural dyes and innovative techniques in woven shibori. Catherine will share her expertise in dyeing with the class, helping to give each student the palette they need to weave their visions into tapestries.
If you are ready to take your weaving to the next level, or if you would like to work with master weavers and dyers, or if you could simply use eight weeks of focus at the loom—join Mary this spring in the textiles studio.
Artist & Weaver
This eight-week textile intensive will provide mentorship with the goal of igniting and focusing studio practice. Our main areas of emphasis are as follows: Developing personal voice at the loom: we’ll build tapestries in series using classic and slit tapestry techniques, surface design, compression and resist applications, stitching, and off-loom embellishments. Color: guest teacher Catharine Ellis will lead us in a dyeing workshop that will help students gain creative fluency with both synthetic and natural dyes. Professional practice: the workshop will include a strategic planning curriculum for artists: goal setting, statements, résumés, PowerPoint, social media, record keeping, promotion, exhibition, and more. Intermediate level: prior weaving experience required. Code S00TB
Studio artist; teaching: Arrowmont (TN), Penland, weaver’s guilds nationwide; recent exhibitions: World Ikat and Shibori Conference (China), Joslyn Art Museum (NE); work in 12 U.S. embassies worldwide.
Penland Spring Concentrations, March 13 – May 6, 2016
Books | Clay | Glass | Iron | Metals | Textiles | Wood