Friday, January 29, 2010

Workshop and Presentation in Bemidji?

Occasionally a workshop get initiated under unusual circumstances. I came in contact with Dawn, the creator of intricate knotted creations a few years ago, when she was looking for mentor in the art of Cavandoli knotting. Then again when she was looking for thread. We have corresponded by email since. I included some of her beautiful creations in the presentation on 'Cords, Thread and Fiber Jewelry'.

This visual presentation premiered last August to the Bead Society of Northern California. It was received positively and described as a feast for the eyes, or pure 'eye candy'. See August 18, 2009 entry. Initially this presentation was supposed to be all about cord and thread, but when I requested digital images from friends, designers and customers to show the wide span of work being currently created with cord and thread, I got such a wonderful array of images that the presentation was transformed to an incredible array of artwork done in various fiber techniques. I thank everyone who contributed work to the visual presentation and it will be a pleasure to present it again in Fresno, California on March 20, and in Bemidji, Minnesota on March 26. Cord and thread, and the work done with it is a subject I am passionate about!

Last October, somehow in our emails, the subject of teaching came up, and I told Dawn that I would teach anywhere as long as I am invited. Dawn became the local coordinator, organizing the partial funding from the local arts council, Region 2 Arts Council, making this weekend workshop and presentation possible.
At the time she told me she was in Minnesota, but I did not think beyond that. We worked on the actual program to create a weekend program during which students would learn a wide range of techniques that would be of interest to fiber artists, jewelers, and bead artists alike.

We set a date, March 26 for the visual presentation and a small trunk show, and March 27 and 28 for the 2-day workshop and we narrowed the program to...

... Cord making, 2-ply and 3-ply cords. 2-ply is easy and very useful for beading and micro macrame as one of the end is folded with no ends of thread sticking out. 3-ply cords can be made with a variety of colors and are fun to make and perfect as finished cords.

... Four-strand kumihimo braiding maru dai-free and disk-free. I taught myself this form of braiding from old nautical books before I had ever heard of kumihimo braiding in the late 70's. I remember meeting Kaethe and Jules Kliot in 1978 at the American Craft Council in San Francisco and when they saw my braids they told me I was doing kumihimo... I bought Jules' book, Kumi Himo (1977, Some Place Publication, Berkeley, Ca). It was my first introduction to traditional Japanese braiding techniques. My second book was Braids by Rodrick Owen -
See an earlier bog entry on his presentation. The method I will be teaching is done entirely by hand. Although a bit more challenging to learn than the basic kumihimo braids done with the disk or maru dai, once learned, it is very fast and it creates a beautiful spiral braid.

... The 'Corkscrew Style Whipping' named by one of my student (thank you!), a form of whipping very useful for construction. Often concealed later either by either an end clasp or an ornamental covering made with several fiber technique. This corkscrew whipping is extremely useful when ends of thread need to be hidden and cut.

... Techniques for ending (and beginning) cords and braids, and how to incorporate clasps seamlessly.

... Button and toggles made with beads; loops made with larkshead knots.

... Method for covering over ends and the corkscrew whipping such as a clean whipping, a wrap, square knot sennit and open fender hitching (aka single detached buttonhole hitching) and finally the turk head knots with the introduction to the five-strand turk head knot.

It is an ambitious program, with a lot of techniques to learn. Not all will be aquired and mastered on first exposure, but this program offers many techniques that will be easy to learn for a beginner and many that will be of interest to the experienced artist.

Funding got approved, so now all I need is a flight from San Franciso to Bemidji that fits within the budget or a ride from Fargo or Minneapolis. Who would have believed that soon, I will be on my way to meet Dawn in Bemidji - Wait, where is Bemidji, with a name like this, it should be on a tropical island, but no,
I had to google Bemidji, and I found out that it means 'a lake with crossing waters' as the Mississipi River passes through the lake and it is indeed in the Lake area in Northern Minnesota. Oh, yes, now I remember references about Bemidji in John Sanford's books featuring Virgil Flowers! - Marion

The top left picture is one of Dawn's pieces. To see more of her work, go to> Dawn's Creations on Etsy
For more information on the worshop and presentation, go to> Workshop