Category Archives: Northwoods Art Tour 2009

Summer Art Tour Postscript

The Summer Northwoods Art Tour is over, and I am resting today and making notes of ideas for the Fall Tour. I’ve also been thinking back to so many wonderful conversations I had with visitors to my weaving studio.

There were people who had never seen looms or a Swedish drawloom before, and no one had ever seen a sock machine until they day they visited here. Three weavers, visiting at different times, came to visit the studio and had questions about their looms and were looking for advice. One woman who stopped by does bobbin lace, tatting, and conducts orchestras at Broadway plays in NYC! It was great visiting with each of them, and I’m already looking forward to the fall tour.

The first thing visitors notice when walking through the door is the unique log home we live in, built by Joe Hovel. Stripped tree trunks hold the upstairs, upstairs; branches support shelves, and everything, EVERYTHING is wood, all ceilings, walls, and floors. Many also noticed the rosemaled plates in my studio, that I painted close to 25 years ago.
I had basically left everything where it usually is, countermarche loom in front of the window, now set up for weaving rag rugs. When I finish this post, I’ll be back working on that first rug. Luke, 12 years old, gave this loom a try and put in three or four rows of sheeting strip. He has borrowed two of my Harrisville frame (lap) looms to give weaving a try this summer.

When I make socks, I always set up between the two looms, as in the photo above, so lights can be plugged in nearby, and a loom bench is handy for cones of yarns. Everyone enjoyed seeing and hearing about the looms, and were fascinated with the sock machine. Several sock knitters (who knit with circular or DPN) went out the door muttering, “I have to get one of those sock machines.”

The drawloom was almost ready to weave on, but I could only find 8 and 10 dent reeds that were not being used on other looms, so rather than re-sley and tie on again, I decided to leave the loom as is and order a 15 dent reed. Sara von Tresckow of Woolgatherers wrote last night the reed was packaged, addressed and ready to go this AM, I should have it Wednesday.

The Gallinger rug loom was placed in a corner, and the shelving unit full of sock yarns was pulled out to brighten things up with some color. The main purpose of this bit of rearranging was to give people more room to walk and move around in, and it worked well.

On Friday, all but two pairs of socks sold, and Saturday AM those last two went out the door. Four towels were purchased, too. Now I know to have a lot more socks made and ready, and I’ll have more weaving on hand, too, in the fall.

“Art on Main” in Three Lakes, Aug. 9th is next, then “Art in the Yard” in Land O’ Lakes, Sept. 19th, then the Fall Northwoods Art Tour, Oct. 2-4. These plus the gallery and online shop will keep me busy for awhile. Approximately 35+ of my brochures were taken by visitors, business cards, too, so there may be a few phone or email orders coming in. I don’t have an exact count, but would estimate I had 65+ people here over the three days, which I’m told is very good for my first year on the tour.

In three days or so my weaving studio will again have “business” weaving as well as “personal” weaving (drawloom), both where I can learn, explore, try new ideas and techniques, and always do the best work I can. I’m looking forward to new adventures in weaving.

Keesha came home this morning and seems a bit tired from three days being boarded out. Keesha, like Kylie, came to us through a Keeshond rescue group when the family who owned her had a two year old daughter who was allergic and they had to find a new home for her. We are so happy she is now here with us. Happy, friendly, and a great watch dog, she barks a warning when anyone comes comes into the driveway or walks into our home. Today, Keesha occasionally gets up, walks around and whimpers, perhaps worried and wondering where Kylie is. There is no way to help her understand what happened, only love her even more.

Northwoods Art Tour, Day 1

Today was my first Art Tour day, lots of fun, great conversations with visitors, and good questions about what I do. One woman, though, said it all,… “This woman has thousands of dollars worth of looms, and we’re all fascinated by the sock machine!” Totally True!

I had about 20+ people here throughout the day, more than I expected, given this is my first year, and sales were better than I hoped they would be, so feeling good about both. A number of pairs of socks sold, along with four towels. Tonight, I’m wishing I had had a lot more socks done to sell, but I wanted so badly to get the drawloom going that I gave that priority.

For myself, a good part of my reason for doing the art tour was to provide an opportunity for people to see the looms, spinning wheels, and sock machine, and ask questions/get answers. Sales of my work are just a happy bonus.

I did get three socks cranked today while demonstrating and talking with people, along with demonstrating weaving and explaining the drawloom. There would have been a fourth sock, but one of the yarns caught, snagged and broke while finishing up the toe, darn!

I have Art on Main coming up on Aug. 9th, Art in the Yard on Sept. 19th, and the fall art tour Oct. 2-4, so sock-cranking will be a high priority in the coming weeks. With the coming cold winter weather coming, there will probably be even more interest in wool socks.

Today, between visitors, I started my first rag rug. The stripe warp has been sitting on the CM loom patiently waiting, so I’m now looking forward to my first rag rugs. The drawloom is nearly ready to go, the reed is half sleyed, though I’m considering waiting and ordering a 15 dent reed on Monday which would be here probably by Thursday.

The lighting isn’t great on this, given this is a dim log home/studio, with an Ott floor lamp for light. These rugs will certainly go faster than some of the weaving I’ve done lately, at least the weaving part, not forgetting there is weft prep, too. I do like the effect of the “ticking” stripe in the sheeting as it is woven in, with thin random green stripes coming to the surface.

So, I’m looking forward to Days 2 & 3 of the Art Tour and meeting more people with an interest in, or curiosity about fibers, looms, and sock machines.

Northwoods Art Tour Begins Tomorrow

The Northwoods Art Tour begins tomorrow and lasts three days, Friday thru Sunday, July 24-26, 9 AM to 5 PM. I am looking forward to visiting with people on the tour and sharing my love of fiber arts, and demo’ing weaving, spinning, and sock cranking.

Although my studio/home is not hard to find, we are 1 1/4 miles off the highway. Art Tour banners will help people find their way, and today we added something new, a wood sign made in town by Doug Scheffen of Chisler Sign Carvers, River Run Gallery, in Eagle River, WI. It’s set up at the top of the driveway, and will be up from now on, mid-May thru mid-October.

Time to get a warp tied on, take care of some more cleaning, and pull a few weeds. What do they always say?… when you’ve been putting off cleaning, invite some people over? Well, I did!

Northwoods Art Tour Brochure

Snow continued here all day until 6 PM or so, with a good 12″ of snow on the ground. School was cancelled as the side roads were awful. Errands on my calendar were not cancelled so after several stops, I drove over to Debra Ketchum-Jircik’s Circle of Life Studio to pick up 175 or so copies of the new Northwoods Art Tour brochure for 2009.

Dates for the tour are July 24-26, 10 AM to 5 PM, and October 2-4, 10 AM to 5 PM, so if you will be in the northwoods on any of those dates, you might like to take the self-guided tour and visit a few of the studios and galleries in the area.

I will be weaving on the Glimakra countermarche loom, will be weaving on the Glimakra Single Unit Drawloom by then, and possibly another loom or two. Other demonstrations available will be cranking socks on the 1908 Gearhart Circular Sock Knitting Machine as well as spinning on a reproduction Norwegian spinning wheel. Socks, towels, runners, etc. will be available for purchase.

Yesterday, I went back to work on sock orders. Above, is “Raven Trail,” the first of three pairs of socks for a potter friend. Another sock order came in by phone a couple days ago, from a woman saying, “I just LOVE my socks! I need another pair.”

Unfortunately, another order will need to be replaced as a post office in IL has apparently lost the package, and phone calls to them have not brought it to light. I did have a tracking number which ends with “processed,” and not “delivered.” The replacement pairs of socks will be sent by UPS or FedEx as I won’t trust that post office again. Looks like I’ll have to start insuring all these packages, too.

I also sent off photos and text (and directions) for the Northwoods Art Tour brochure and website for the 2009 tour, so that was a good job done. I do need to arrange a day/time to go pick up the banners I will need next summer.

I’m still working on the loom, in-between a number of other committments. Yesterday and today, for example, I’ve been hard at work compiling and editing a newsletter for the Double Harness Study Group (of Complex Weavers). As I write this, I am also printing the color pages on our inkjet printer, and later will put them together and package them up. I thought it would be nice to have them arrive right before or after Thanksgiving.

Today, taking a break from the computer, I tied the warp on, removed the locking pins on my CM loom and removed the shaft holders. Not too long ago, I did a lot of readjusting on the loom, and today it all looks good. However, treadles need work as there is not always a clear shed. I knew this was coming, so tomorrow, it’s back under the loom. I believe after this warp is done, I’ll leave the tie-up the same for a bit, but change colors, texture, and treadling order. For now, I just want to be finished with setting things up and be able to sit and weave.

Northwoods Art Tour 2009

In late September, I had expressed my interest, to a couple artist friends, in applying for the 2009 Northwoods Art Tour. I was encouraged to send in an application, due at that point in two weeks. Amy Higgason, Pigeon Road Pottery, emailed an application to me, I filled it out, chose photos of my work, studio, and home, and mailed it off. I was aware there was only room for so many artists on the tour, so had prepared myself to be wait-listed.

On Sunday evening, Oct. 26th, I found an email from artist Debbie Jircik, Circle of Life Studio, who is on the Art Tour, saying they had met that day and I had been voted in. This morning, Joan Slack, Riverrun Center for the Arts, called to officially notify me I had been unanimously accepted. They will need text and photos for both the brochure and website before the end of the year.

I am really looking forward to a winter of weaving and cranking socks, as well as the Northwoods Art Tour next summer and fall, and having my work out in area galleries, a shop, and two or three art shows. Now, to work…