Customer Feature: Michelle Dixon

Hello, my name is Michele Dixon and I’ve been learning to weave tapestry for the last four years. I actually remember trying to weave tapestry as far back as 1970 on a cardboard loom I made myself. I still have the Leisure Arts books I used to guide me. I didn’t try again until 1975 when I was home with my infant son. I was interested in learning more about Navajo Weaving then so my husband made me a loom. Again, life has a way of not allowing you the time to pursue all of your dreams, so weaving in general was put on hold.
Skip forward to 2009, yep, that long a stretch of time. My husband and I moved to Texas from So. California in 2007 to be near our new granddaughter. I was very fortunate to find a nice group of people interested in weaving. I started taking lessons and learning how to weave cloth. In 2011, my weaving instructor at the time, Letitia Rogers, gave a two day workshop on Rio Grande Weaving and I was hooked. I continued to hone my skills in that style of weaving, but quickly found I wanted more. In 2014, I was lucky enough to sign up for a 3 month online course given by Rebecca Metzoff in Contemporary Weaving. That course changed my life. I fell in love with weaving the way she teaches it and I plan to take more of her online courses as they come available. As workshops come available in my area, I take them, but they are few and far between. Luckily, my original weaving instructor, Letitia Rogers, gave another two day workshop in February of 2015 on weaving the traditional Aubusson way. I enjoyed that workshop also and learned more about building shapes instead of weaving from selvage to selvage as Rebecca Metzoff teaches. However, Rebecca’s weaving style is my preferred weaving style also.
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The Graduate

Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with weaving.

One of the charms of running a small business is that customers feel like family. With that in mind, sometimes we like to share some personal tidbits with all of you here on the blog.

For the past three years I have been working at Mirrix full time and going to school part-time to get my Masters degree in Communication at the University of Washington. Looking back, it wasn't always easy. Going to a four-hour class after working all day can be incredibly taxing, and weekends and nights were always full of homework and reading. It was fun, too; I'm one of those people who could be in school all my life and be pretty happy about it, but it was exhausting trying to keep all the of the balls in the air without one hitting my face. Fortunately the program I was in was very supportive of students who were working. I am so happy to have taken this journey and to have met so many incredible people along the way.

Anyway, yesterday I finally graduated! My husband asked, "Do I have to call you Master, now?" And the answer is yes, he does. But you don't have to unless you want to.

Here are a few pictures from the big day:

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Visiting Handweavers Studio & Gallery in London!

Earlier this week Claudia and I took a little trip to London. While there, we stopped by
our only UK dealer, The Handweavers Studio & Gallery. We initially met Wendy, the owner of Handweavers, at the Salem, OR Northwest Weavers' Guild Conference a few years ago and they have been selling our looms ever since.

The shop is located near the Finsbury Park tube station. When we exited the station and began to walk, it started to rain and then tapered off to a drizzle. I felt like I was back home in Seattle.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Handweavers was that wonderful yarn-store smell. You know the one. Handweavers is the kind of place where you want to spend a whole day looking through endless skeins of yarn and their impressive selection of looms.

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We Admit It... (A little bit about where Mirrix Looms are made)

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Tapestry Tool Box and The American Tapestry Alliance

Nostalgia brought on by our recent attendance at Convergence (the Hand Weaver Guild of America's every two year event) lead me to do some research to rediscover my tapestry past. Searching for "Tapestry Tool Box" I found a letter from Marti Fleischer who was the editor for The American Tapestry Alliance newsletter from 1994 to 2002. I met Marti through mail and maybe even phone conversations, and soon I was writing a column for the ATA newsletter (back in the days when it was mailed to all its members). In her good-bye letter as editor she mentions that column: "In 1994 we began running The Tapestry Toolbox written by Claudia Anne Chase. The article, which continued several years, lent insight into questions about looms and all related tapestry paraphernalia." I apparently also became a member of the ATA Board. Thank goodness for the internet to kick start my past! The ATA began in 1993.

I first met Marti in an elevator the day I arrived at my hotel to attend that first Convergence (it was the first Convergence for ATA as well!). I was wearing a long silk dress and my long dark hair hung way past my waist. Because there was no room in the elevator, I stood on my suitcase. Marti walked into the elevator and I recognized her right away (don't ask me how; maybe I had seen a photograph of her). I said hello and told her who I was. She looked up at this six foot tall woman (remember all 5 feet 2 inches of me was standing on a suitcase) and she said: "Oh my gosh, I thought you were Cher!"

Those three years of articles are buried somewhere in my attic. I have no idea what they were about!

I will never forget that first Convergence. I traveled there by car with three other weavers (I was the only tapestry weaver). I was living in Wisconsin and Convergence was in Minneapolis. The year was 1994.

My greatest memory of the event was attending the the tapestry exhibit and the Small expressions exhibit. The only huge tapestries I had ever seen before included images of unicorns and castles. This exhibit was mind blowing. Most of them were huge. And every single grabbed my full attention. I had to tear myself away. For examples of tapestry please check out the ATA artist page: http://americantapestryalliance.org/artist-pages/ Plan on going back again and again. But there is nothing like seeing these pieces in person so if there is ever an American Tapestry exhibit near you GO. Once you get there, they will have to force you to leave.

Should you join the ATA? Of course you should. From their humble beginnings they have grown into a strong and important organization tying together this rare species, tapestry weavers. Please visit their website: http://americantapestryalliance.org And while you are at it, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Tapestry-Alliance/121689989043

Inspiration abounds!

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Playing with Color: Painting Silk

Mom has always been the color goddess. She just has a sense about those things. That's why I was a little apprehensive trying my hand at silk painting, but with a little help I'm addicted. It wasn't easy, but it was so much fun to see color combinations come to life on the silk, and worth the time it took for the amazing results. Here's a little photo diary of the process:

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An Interview with Tina Kane and her work on the Burgos Tapestry Project at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Recently a customer (thank you!) pointed us to an amazing YouTube video. It is called "The Burgos Tapestry: A Study in Conservation" and chronicles the restoration of Christ Is Born as Man's Redeemer by the Textile Restoration Team at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. According to the video, the tapestry was fourth in a series of tapestries called The Story of The Redemption of Man. The project was started by A. Alice Blohm, Jane Hutchinson, and Nobuko Kajitani who was the Head of the Department of Textile Conservation at the Met in 1973.

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My Studio

Miirix Loom Home Page
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Franc is Weaving

Franc the rescue cat is learning how to weave.
Franc was eight weeks when we adopted (rescued him). The Vet thought he looked four weeks old because he was so tiny, so malnourished and, of course, infested with fleas and mites. I don't exactly know why I brought him home. I doubted my intentions when I worried that I might be infecting my other cats with who knows what. Notice how skillfully he maneuvers those razor sharp claws to get each weft thread in place!
Below photo is right after Franc's first or second bath.

So welcome Franc, our Maine Coon Rescue who someday will surpass a pound and probably weigh more like twenty-five. Enjoy that basket while you still can!

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Two nights and one day in Vermont


We got two days off (well, really one and a half). We spent two nights in Stowe Vermont. Nice camp ground, sweet little shelter, no bugs. This is all good. And I had my beadwork with me. So I said to Rick (husband, on right) let's not hike Mansfield because something a little smaller would be better. Okay, he says. So, we hiked Spruce Mountain instead. Five and a half hours later we were done. I mean done. Mansfield would have taken five hours. It's steeper but a lot shorter. But I should know my husband by now. I should know that there is no such thing as a short hike. Oh, and then he wanted to take a little paddle in the canoe (that would have been an hour long paddle full speed). Gotta leave some wake behind. But the sky had the good sense to fall in rain drops, so we nixed the canoe moment and headed home. I did make an off-loom piece which I will post if I get the inspiration. I left my Mirrix home. Sometimes you just have to leave even your Mirrix behind.

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