Lavender Festival Today!

Demonstrating spinning at the DBG-Chatfield Lavender Festival today, until it gets too hot!

Later: Wow, what a lot of people, all interested in talking about spinning and watching us spin. No, we weren’t spinning lavender, but we had a good time. We were in the shade in a breeze, so it wasn’t too bad. No good pictures of us spinning, but a couple of the lavender.

Lavender Festival, 7-16-16, with people!

Lavender Festival, 7-16-16, with people!

Lots of lavender plants!

Lots of lavender plants!

How We Spent 2015…..

Winter Solstice, 2015 (December 22nd, our 8th Anniversary!) – The Broderson-Cotter Chronicles, 8th Edition! (by Tom Cotter)

2015 was another busy year. In April, we finished our odyssey chairing the Rocky Mountain Depression Glass Society Array of Colors Show and Sale. It was the last RMDGS-sponsored event. We got through it, with great dealers and merchandise and a goodly turnout of shoppers. And we met new friends/fellow-Coloradans Millie and Roger Loucks, who had recently retired from New Jersey to Grand Junction. They were kind enough to help our long-time buddy Mike Horine at the show, and we had a Cambridge collectors dinner in Castle Rock with them, Tom McLean and Don Spencer, Jeannie and Freeman Moore, Sandy Bridwell-Walker, Linda and David Adams, and some dude named David Ray, a bigwig with NCC. With friends we visited Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art several times in spring and summer to bask in the wonders of one of the most unique art collections in the U.S. Sometime in early May, Tom helped install a horse-themed sculpture display by Deborah Butterfield at the Denver Botanic Gardens;. Her extraordinary bronzes are based on models made from fallen wood, ultimately cast and carefully finished to capture the essence of the animals and the wood. All that really means is that Tom dug holes and cleaned up areas into which the sculptures were carefully placed to interact with their surroundings.

With a couple of weeks in early May to rest up, we Prius-ed to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, touching down in a few states between. The focus of the trip was the wedding of Amisha Gadani and Ian Ingram in Mechanicsburg, PA. On the way, we visited Ohio with Cambridge glass friends Elaine and Jack Thompson in Akron, Sandy Bridwell-Walker, Bill, and cats in Newcomerstown, and Lynn Welker and Cindy Arent in Cambridge, with Sandy and Lynn performing personal tours of the NCC Museum. Just WOW. Oh, and a side trip to New Concord to Lynn’s all-too-tempting shop. Quickly on to Mechanicsburg, where the Hindu/Protestant wedding was a marvelous five-day event, hosted by proud parents Dr. Pravin and Bharti Gadani at various locations around Harrisburg, but primarily at their fabulous home in Mechanicsburg. Avani and Peter had significant roles throughout the celebration. We mingled with friends old and new for the entire time, grateful to be included in such a joyous occasion. After the wedding we headed to Virginia, stopping for lunch and wandering along the Chesapeake and Ohio at Williamsport, MD. Then off to dinner with a favorite friend, Pati Hann, in Winchester, VA, as Pati drove from Annadale to see us. Tuesday we gamboled along the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, amid luxurious greenery and significant humidity (at what point does humidity exceed 100%; drowning?). For Wednesday we drove to Weston, WV, to meet with Helen and Bob Jones at the Museum of American Glass. Another personalized museum tour, and a chance to meet Dean Six, well-known researcher and author on American glass history. By that evening we preyed upon another dear friend, Sara Sawyer, a former colleague of Tina’s at SIUE and now teaching at Glenville State University in, of all places, Glenville. WV. But we had to return to Colorado (the air was getting too thick to breathe), so we headed west, with a quick visit in St. Louis with Niqua and Michael. Our last night we accepted a long-standing offer from the Fralicks to stay in Kansas City, having dinner with them Saturday evening. Tina had not met Jaye before, as Eric has been doing glass shows in Colorado without her due to altitude issues. Our grand tour over, we arrived home Sunday, May 31, weary, but filled with new great memories. It’s cool to catch up with friends, and we certainly did all we could during this trip.

Throughout this year, Tina has kept very busy with Rocky Mountain Weaver’s Guild activities (board member ad infinitum?). Her June “break” entailed driving to Edwardsville, IL, then going with Marggy Grace and another friend to St. Paul, MN, and the Midwest Weavers’ Conference. Many more friends and much learning involved in these trips. While Tina was in St. Paul at workshops and hobnobbing, Sharon and B.R. came to Denver to see their local kin (including a day with Aibhie, Jenn, and Chad in Loveland) and a trip with David Carter to Rocky Mountain National Park with moose, elk, and other critter sightings. Then, Tom accompanied Sharon and Byron to the Rhodes family reunion in Weeping Water, NE, Father’s Day weekend. With all the rains this past spring, rivers west and east of Denver were in flood stage, particularly the Platte through Nebraska. The Rhodes family get-togethers are always delightful and a great opportunity for Tom to show his complete ineptitude at cribbage. Kenny and Marilyn Stratton were kind enough to drop Tom at the Omaha airport on their way to partying somewhere, and Tom caught a short flight to St. Louis to drive back with Tina from her weaver’s week. We managed to see friends and family in St. Louis, spending a busy day with Phoebe, Marko, Niqua, Michael, and cousin Lewis at the Saint Louis Science Center. If we don’t try to cram too much into a trip, it’s just not a trip!

By the second week of July, Sharon and Byron came back to Colorado for two weeks of mountain flower scenery and photography around Crested Butte and Ouray. We met them in Crested Butte for two nights, with a drive to Gothic and the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (recommended by Dr. Sawyer), then “zipping” over Schofield Pass for some amazing flowers and vistas along the West Maroon Pass Trail near the Crystal River. Returning to Mt. Crested Butte via appropriately-named Paradise Divide around Cinnamon Mountain, we met the obligatory afternoon thunderstorm/downpour coming down the Washington Gulch road.

Elaine and Jack Thompson of Akron did their own version of the ever-expanding road trip, stopping by mid-July on their way back to Ohio from Kansas City. Or something like that. We shared some chat-time with them and Tom McLean and Don Spencer in a flurry of Cambridge-itis. We did manage to take Elaine and Jack to aforementioned Kirkland Museum for an additional overdose of glass/pottery/art/design/etc.
A week later, we sidled down to Durango for camping and the biennial Intermountain Weavers Conference, where we both took workshops; Tina on rep weave (that’s short for ripsmatta, a Scandinavian warp-faced technique, taught by Rosalie Neilson) while Tom reprised a Navajo tapestry class with Lynda Teller Pete. Lynda and her sister Barbara Teller Ornelas are internationally renowned Two Grey Hills weavers, who share their love of Navajo heritage and art with their friends and students. While Lynda taught, husband Belvin and sister Barbara had a booth at the Conference market. Somewhere in there we managed a visit with Cherie and Joe Pitman at their digs west of Hesperus. Fold up the tent, back home.

August found us at State Forest State Park near the Continental Divide west of Fort Collins on the annual Not Ready for Prime Time Weavers campout. Jenn, Chad, and Aibhie came up for one night. Young parents are sooo courageous! We saw moose (are 5 moose considered a “handful” or a “truck-full”?) and lots of birds over the weekend, along with other beasts (marmots, pika).

The main event of August (heck, the year!) was the birth of granddaughter Miranda Amor Wilson August 20 in St. Louis, with parents Niqua and Michael adding to their family. By mid-September, we traveled to St. Louis to meet Miranda and for a Blazing Shuttles weaving workshop for Tina (is there a pattern here?). We delivered an Explorer-load of furniture and fixtures to their digs in Maplewood, and Tom helped with a few things around the Clark-Wilson household. Fun for all and all for fun!

Long-time friends Jodi and Mark Uthe inaugurated the new Front Range Glass Show and Sale in Loveland the first weekend in October, so we helped, joining others from the RMDGS at an information booth and several display tables. For a longtime glass collector like Tom, we think they’ll just pack his ashes in a glass urn and sell it to some unwary person when that time comes. Then, as the Deborah Butterfield exhibit at the Botanic Gardens ended in October, Tom was there with shovel and wheelbarrow in hand for a couple of days cleaning up after the horses (the de-install).

Needing some “down time” later in October, we packed up the trailer and Lady Blue for a visit to Moab, UT. For our first visit to the area in a 4-wheel drive vehicle, we spent several days puttering along dirt/rock roads around Canyonlands and Arches NPs. Yeah, Tom got the Explorer stuck in some mud along Shafer Trail, but Tina patiently explained a well-thought-out solution that worked quite nicely, thank you. All exposed on Facebook. Rains just before our arrival flooded the road to Delicate Arch, so we visited some places off the paved roads, including Eye of the Whale, Balcony, and Picture Frame Arches, Gemini (natural) Bridges, Thelma and Louise Overlook (see the end of the movie), and an amazing panorama from the Anticline Overlook into Canyonlands. That latter Overlook found us gazing hundreds of feet down on a mesa that had towered over us when we drove to Hurrah Pass earlier in the day. Formerly mentioned Millie and Roger Loucks (paragraph 1) asked us to stop our next time through Grand Junction, so we did on our drive back from Moab. They generously treated us to a delightful lunch as well as cases and cases of gorgeous glass (viewing only, no souvenirs).

Ah, November, starting with a couple of days at DBG for a new Chihuly exhibit (temporary, fun, colorful!). Peace and quiet, sinusitis for Tina, bronchitis for Tom. R&R (remembering and [w]riting this letter?). Thanksgiving at the Caley abode with Aibhie, Jenn, Chad, Eric, Veronia, and Nalisha. Visited Sedona and New Mexico in mid-December. Always nice to search for red rocks and sun when the days are short. Squeezed in a short visit with Byron and Sharon in Phoenix, and Don and Tom in Mesa.

You can see some selected pictures from our 2015 adventures by clicking on Photos 2015 in the links above. Click on each photo to see a larger image, since Tina posts mostly thumbnail images.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

OK, spring and summer and a bit of fall….
The 2014 antique glass show came and went in April, sufficiently successful for our first effort. We’re now working on the 2015 show, which will be our last.

We enjoyed a trip to Tacoma, WA (lots of glass and especially Chihuly installations), and to Vancouver Island (visiting my cousin and a whale watching trip). While we were in Tacoma I attended the Complex Weavers Seminars (intense education on various weaving topics) and Tom took a couple of glass-blowing classes. We had a good time camping (Yakima, WA, and Arco, ID) for the four nights we did that–long time since we tent camped!

Tom started weekly volunteer shifts as part of the installation crew for the Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardens, and then as a “preparator”–one who cleans the bird droppings off the installations! He also answers a lot of questions, having gone through some docent training along the way.

I managed to get my 45 weaving samples done for the Early Weaving Books and Manuscripts study group of Complex Weavers, almost on time. They are at the top of the photos in the “Handwoven Textiles” section. This seemed a curious draft to find among the honeycomb drafts when I was looking for something interesting for my 2014 sample. I couldn’t see how it would hold together to make a solid cloth, or imagine why it was included in the honeycomb section of Donat’s 1895 book on www.handweaving.net. I kept coming back to it, and trying to figure it out, so I finally decided to just weave it and see. Another experiment–it did hold together, but would be very prone to snagging due to the long floats.

After we recovered from the trip northwest, we took a shorter trip to southern Colorado, camping (not in a tent!) with friends near Rye, visiting another friend west of Hesperus, and riding on the Cumbres & Toltec NG Railroad (steam engine, lovely scenery).

By mid August we were home again. The cats, having been vastly entertained by our cat sitter, were probably a little disappointed to have us home–we don’t play with them nearly as much. Our garden missed us–the plants finally grew, and overgrew, including the weeds. We do finally have some tomatoes and maybe some tomatillos and a few peppers and herbs. We planted rhubarb for the first time, and I’m not sure if it’s doing well or not. It’s there and green with stalks….but I’m not sure what to do with it. Tom made a new garden in the front yard (dug up 15 evergreens to do it), and it is now flourishing, with lots of flowers. We had to put in a low fence to keep the bunnies out. After they leveled the plants, it took a while for the poor things to start over, but they all did re-grow.

Now we’re working on Rocky Mountain Weavers Guild tasks and glass show tasks–much too much like work for our so-called retirement.

Too Busy To Weave?

Tom and I are very busy with the myriad details of co-chairing the antique glass show in Castle Rock.  I’ve just finished printing 2000 labels for postcards to mail out April 1–they still have to be stamped and labeled.  I found a little time this morning to weave–just five inches, but it felt good.  I used to think I needed a whole clear morning or evening for weaving, but I’ve discovered that the few minutes stolen from other responsibilities is good therapy–a meditation of my own kind that focuses my attention on one thing instead of 30 for a little while….

The postcard for the glass show–

RMDGS Postcard Front and Back.ppt

Why Take Classes and Workshops?

Over the past thirty years, I’ve taken too many classes and workshops to mention. Every one of them has expanded my understanding of some aspect of the fiber world, sometimes in unexpected ways. I think my first workshop was sponsored by the St. Louis Weavers’ Guild, taught by Elsie Regensteiner in the mid-1980’s, on rug weaving techniques. My latest classes I’ll get to shortly. There is always something to be learned from a new instructor, even if I already know a good deal about the subject. The instuctor may have a different approach that I’ve never tried, or a trick to solving a problem that is helpful to know. I occasionally have learned about a technique that I’m sure I never want to try again myself, although I may have gained a new appreciation of others’ work. I have often thought that I’m my own best teacher, at least for academic subjects, in that I learn from books, journals, and internet sources, and my own practice, better than from others. However, I’ve discovered that if I’m patient, there are ideas and techniques in weaving that I learn from others, but I would probably never have discovered by myself. Sometimes I learn from the instructors, but quite often I learn from watching and listening to my fellow students.

This year I participated in several different classes and workshops, in Colorado (RMWG and IWC) and Kansas (MWC). The first was Susan Wilson’s crackle workshop for the RMWG. I’d listened to her talks on crackle in California, and read (not thoroughly) her new book (Classic Crackle and More), but I thought I’d get a better feel for this weave structure if I actually tried it under her supervision. I was right, but I haven’t yet tried it on my own.

At the Midwest Weavers Conference in Emporia, Kansas, I tried a spinning class along the lines of “you can spin with anything!” led by Jeannine Glaves, from Oklahoma. It was inspiring and we all had a great deal of fun, trying to spin Christmas tinsel, and other oddities. Lucy Brusic and her husband led a class discussion of mystery books with a weaving/fiber twist in them, and I was introduced to a couple of authors I’d missed over the years. The third and last class at Midwest was “Dye It Yourself Sock Yarn”. I’m not sure I made sock yarn, but I did enjoy listening to the instructor talk about her way of dyeing yarn and dyeing my two skeins of yarn. (I almost never dye yarn on my own, just in workshops.) All of these were after I hit my head, and probably I didn’t get as much out of them as I would without concussion symptoms….

Tom and I both went to the Intermountain Weavers Conference in Durango in July. It was his first conference, and we were both apprehensive about whether he would enjoy it. He took a three-day workshop from Heather Hubbard on Rio Grande style weaving, using my 4S Baby Wolf loom. He turned out to enjoy it, and is still working on his project. Heather was a young, refreshing teacher whose style worked well for Tom, who was interested in various weft-faced weaving techniques, but didn’t have a lot of experience in any of them. My choice was Robyn Spady’s “On the Double–Two Tie” workshop, on double two tie unit weave. I had taught a class about double two tie many years ago, but never used it for much (after recommending that others try it!). I find the structure interesting in that it allows many different structures to be woven on the same warp threading. I’m not good at designing on a D2T threading, but the workshop was great, and Robyn is an excellent teacher. Right now, I’m weaving plaited twill towels on a D2T warp.

This fall, Tom and I both signed up for Lynda Teller Pete’s RMWG workshop about traditional Navajo weaving. Lynda is an outstanding teacher, with clear ideas about Navajo traditions in weaving. She’s a fifth generation Navajo weaver herself, and helped us through every step of weaving a small rug on the upright looms she provided. Tom probably got more out of it than I did, and was braver about trying different motifs, but I gained an appreciation of Navajo tradition and rugs beyond just enjoying their beauty. Even if it did take me five hours to weave the last inch, with Lynda’s help!

So, did I learn things? Yes, definitely. Did I learn things I couldn’t have taught myself? In most cases, yes. Did I love spending time with wonderful, creative people all interested in weaving? Absolutely, and I hope to take more workshops and continue learning from more inspiring teachers, maybe next summer!