A few weeks ago I went with a group of professors and students to participate in Anne Wilson’s exhibition: Wind/Rewind/Weave, at the Knoxville Museum of Art. The professors and I went up a day earlier, so we could weave for an afternoon before the students arrived. There was only one loom, so we took turns weaving. While we were there, Anne Wilson, unexpectedly arrived with critic and writer, Kathryn Hixson, and they graciously invited us to join them for lunch, but since it was my turn to weave, I decided to stay and declined. The museum was closed the day we were there, so I was happy with my decision, as I was able to concentrate on color decisions and weave without distractions.
That same afternoon, we drove to Gatlinburg, TN to meet up with the graduate students to visit Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. Bill Griffith, the Assistant Director, gave us a fabulous tour of the campus and facilities. Since I was a resident artist at Arrowmont in the mid-1990’s, it was really fun to see the campus again and the how the residency program has changed since I’ve been there. (Thank you, Bill, for the tour! It was great to see you!)
Our group was in Knoxville for a few days, and we had also scheduled a private tour of the exhibit with Anne. She was so gracious and open with explanations and her time with us. It was a true pleasure to meet her in person, and I hope we didn’t monopolize her time too much! 😉
Part of the exhibition’s documentation will include the “Then and Now” of each weaver that worked on the project who wanted to share their story. Here is my story and contribution:
I learned how to weave while earning my BFA in Fibers at Savannah College of Art and Design in 1990. I fell in love with the meticulous process each step required like it was in my blood. Constructing fabric by using a loom and yarn seemed like magic to me; it was seemingly so complicated, yet really so simple. I loved mixing color with the yarn and using unusual materials for the weft. I continued weaving as my art form for 10+ years, but eventually broadened my horizons to other processes after I enrolled in a MFA Fibers program.
Using the weaving process in my work has slipped away from me. I’ve always been interested in combining processes, and I’m sure at some point I will return to weaving, however for now, I am completely satisfied with the way I’m working.
I found out last year that weaving, indeed, is in my blood. Working on my thesis, while earning my MFA, I traced part of my family lineage (on my grandmother’s side) back to the relative who first landed on American soil. George Vogelmann (Fogleman) arrived in America on September 5, 1751 in Pennsylvania. (He eventually settled in Alamance County, NC.) George was a farmer and a weaver, and at the time of his death in 1785, the inventory of his estate lists among numerous items, one weaving loom, six pair of gears, a quill wheel and some spools. There were also three pairs of carders and one pair of wool combs. It was a very nostalgic discovery for me, and I’m excited to have learned about it.