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
Last week was a wonderful whirlwind of meeting people, selling looms and soaking in the merriment that is HGA’s Convergence.
For me, the best part was meeting people. From famous tapestry weaver’s like Janet Austin, people we’ve been in touch with for years but have never met like fabulous weaver/teachers Rebecca Mezoff and Janette Meetze, some of the great people from the American Tapestry Alliance (seriously, what an amazing group), some of our retailers and even customers we’ve talked with many times but never had faces to put to names. I also got to spend a lot of time with my wonderful mother (you may know her as Claudia) and my second-mom Miss Joni Parker-Roach of NOA Gallery, which was pretty awesome.
Meeting the fabulous Rebecca Mezoff, and teaching Claudia & Rebecca what “photo bombing” is.
We got to see a fascinating, eclectic small format tapestry show put on by the American Tapestry Alliance and another show in the same building by TWINE (Tapestry Weavers in New England). Being brought up in the world of tapestry this probably makes sense, but I enjoy seeing tapestries at galleries and museums more than any other art form. You can sit there for 30 minutes and stare at one tapestry and be totally fascinated.
At the show we got to introduce our new Spencer Power Treadle, which was a huge hit. I had a great time showing people how it works.
Here’s our booth, with the new treadle all set up (left).
In the picture you can see the security we needed there for crowd control!
In honor of Mirrix’s 18th birthday (which we were celebrating), we had a drawing to win a Mini-Mirrix. It was a huge draw to our booth, as was the birthday chocolate we were giving away. Above is a photo of the drawing. We had John Marshall, known for his antique and original kimonos and metallic threads -he’s the guy we buy the gold from- (who had the booth across the aisle) choose the winner from almost 300 names. The winner was named Ginny and was from NH! She had actually taken Rebecca’s tapestry class at the show, so it was a great fit! Congratulations again, Ginny!
Thank you to everyone who made this show such a success. The people at HGA were dedicated, helpful and even managed to give us hugs and smile on always-crazy moving-out day. The teachers and weavers were amazing. The people there were amazing. It was a great show! Until next time!
We are counting down the days for this event. Please see their website for more details: http://www.weavespindye.org/convergence2014.
We thought you might be curious as to what we will be hauling there. Since we are limited to two cars and one large table once we get there, we have had to make some serious choices. Of course, we will be bringing looms. Lots and lots of looms. All shapes and sizes. And if we run out of the loom you want, there will be a model available to play with and we will ship it to you at no cost. For those of you who are flying to the event, this might be the best choice for the larger looms.
We will have display stand and one all neatly boxed up. Both will be for sale (the display stand at a discount, of course).
We will have our yet to be revealed amazing new accessory. Not telling you.
Hand painted silk galore. An entire huge basket of it. You get to pick the colors and get increasing discounts for the more you buy. Like dipping into one of those really big crayon boxes but much, much better.
Gold thread. Lots of it.
And entire basket full of those great new two hole beads. Great colors, great shapes, just great.
Buttons. Of course we’ll have buttons!
A limited number of Mirrix accessories. But examples will be there if you need to order online.
We won’t have any of our wooden clips. Sorry, we forgot to have them shipped here. You’ll have to hit the website for those.
Kits. Not our full range, but ones you will love. We will have an entire shelf of them
And did I mention the sari silk ribbon? We will have an example of this done in Soumak knotting on a loom as well as some finished examples. You will want to try this. It’s easy, it’s fail-proof and the product is gorgeous.
I hope I haven’t left anything out. But you can be sure, you will find equipment and supplies you won’t find anywhere else at the Convergence Marketplace!
If you haven’t heard yet, Mirrix will be at Convergence 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island on July 14th to 19th. You will get to meet Elena and Claudia (and Ms. Joni Parker from NOA Gallery, a gallery owner/teacher/Mirrix dealer in Groton, MA) and a dear friend will also show up for some of that time.
If this is your first time hearing about Convergence, let me fill you on some details. First of all, it is sponsored by the Hand Weaver’s Guild of America: http://www.weavespindye.org. Every two years, a different member of the Guild sponsors the Convergence event. This is the first time in 25 years that Convergence has been held on the East Coast. Elena is flying in to New Hampshire from Seattle and we are loading up the the Jetta with a bunch of wonderful stuff and heading down to Rhode Island for the conference. We are happy that we can move all that stuff by car because flying it in is quite a pain (we’ve done that for bead shows although we have never before had a booth at Convergence).
Mirrix really got its start at Convergence even though I was not there to see it happen. It was summer of 1996. My family and I were moving from Wisconsin (where I had just started Mirrix) to New Hampshire. Convergence was going to be in Portland, Oregon . . . July 17-21, just when we would be crossing the country to settle into our new digs. But I wanted Mirrix to be there. I found a list of vendors. I bravely called up the folks at Earth Guild, who were on that list, and said: we just invented this new tapestry loom and I would love to see it at Convergence. Would you be willing to sell it there?
Of course they were somewhat reluctant so I said: I will pay the shipping there and the shipping back for those you don’t sell. You will take no risk. They agreed. We sent them 20 looms. I believe they were mostly 16 inch looms and maybe a couple of 32 inch looms. We had a very limited size range at that point. We also asked Kathy Spoering to demonstrate tapestry weaving at the event . . . we gave her a loom. She’s a very impressive tapestry weaver!
I arrived in New Hampshire somewhere in the middle of the Convergence time table. This is in the days before everyone owned a cell phone (although I think we maybe did, but I didn’t use it). We got our telephone service and I plugged our phone in. We already had an 800 number for Mirrix which we had connected to our new phone number. The phone rang a few minutes later. It was from someone attending Convergence who wanted to buy a loom. I asked them why they did not just purchase one from Earth Guild? I was told: they are sold out.
We sold all twenty looms in three days. I knew, I really knew, we were in business then!
This does not mean that Claudia is a stranger to Convergence. I have demonstrated at many of our dealer’s booths over the years. But my first experience at Convergence was in 1994 when I attended the event in Minneapolis, MN. At the time I was living in Wisconsin and drove there with a bunch of weaving friends that I had met through a local weaving group. I was amazed. I did not know such beautiful equipment and such amazing weavings could exist. The Tapestry exhibit was an all-day event for me. I just couldn’t leave. I met American Tapestry Alliance members and got very involved with that organization: http://americantapestryalliance.org . If you don’t know about them, you should. From a very basic level, you can use their site to direct you to the best tapestry weavers in this world today. What a gift the internet can be. My involvement with the ATA involved writing a column for their newsletter called: Tapestry Tools. I wrote about looms and equipment. I guess it’s not too strange that I ended up starting Mirrix. The writing, so to speak, was on the wall.
Mirrix was started in 1996 so every subsequent Convergence encounter was not from the customer/student end but from the vendor/demonstrator end. It was still exciting, but nothing compares to that very first Convergence.
My next experience at Convergence was in 1998 in Atlanta, Georgia. I demonstrated at Jane’s Fiber and Beads’ booth and met Jane for the first time. I don’t know which was more fun, Jane or Convergence, but I had a blast.
2004 brought my next excursion to the land of looms and wool in Denver, Colorado. Again, I was there with Jane but also with the folks at Earth Guild.
And now, finally, I am returning to Convergence with Elena. It’s Elena’s first time. She is going to be wide eyed and amazed just as I was, but from an entirely different perspective.
Are you aware it is going to be Mirrix’s 18th birthday and we will be celebrating that BIG event at Convergence. Please stop by for some goodies and to sign her birthday card.
And by the way, I wanted to tell you that we are introducing an amazing product at this Convergence. I mean amazing.
And lastly, if you are going there, I hope you’ve signed up for Rebecca Metzoff’s tapestry class. It’s going to be a class you will not want to miss!
Ssshh… don’t tell her, but we’re planning a big surprise for Mirrix’s 18th birthday coming up this July. We hope you’ll help us make 18 the best year yet! We’ll be having an 18th birthday party at Convergence (in the Providence area and love weaving?… you should go!) and will be celebrating all July long online! To get ready, we want to surprise Mirrix with a big birthday card signed by all her fans (which will be displayed at Convergence). Help out by writing a message to Mirrix wishing her a very happy birthday.* Here’s to many more! Here are a few prompts for messages we know Mirrix would love to hear:
Why do you prefer a Mirrix to other bead or tapestry looms?
Which is your favorite Mirrix Loom and why?
Why do you consider yourself a Mirrix fan?
What is one wish you have for Mirrix for the next 18 years?
*Note this will be publicly shared and may be used in promotional material and online
A few pictures from when Mirrix was just a kid:
Yesterday a customer ordered $37 worth of merchandise and paid… nothing! How? Mirrix-Ware!
The customer/Mirrix-Ware participant showed her Mirrix Loom to someone who was interested in buying one but wanted to see a Mirrix in person. When that person decided to buy a 12″ Little Guy Loom, she let us know it was through the Mirrix-Ware program and which Mirrix-Ware participant showed her the loom. Then, that participant got a credit to the Mirrix store!
It’s an easy way to stock up on kits, accessories… or even save up for that second or third loom you’ve been wanting!
Meet a neighbor who is trying to decide if she wants a Mirrix, tell a friend who you know who love to learn to weave or even have a Mirrix-Ware party where you invite your friends and get 15% of the total sales! If just three Lani Looms were sold through you, you’d make $99 in Mirrix credit!
Email us to become a participant or to learn more. We’ll email you Mirrix literature and help get you on your way!
Learn more about our amazing share-sponsors for Social Market for a Mirrix 2014! Don’t know about #SMFAM2014? Click here!
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“Seed Bead, Quill & Horsehair Jewelry”
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The mission of the American Tapestry Alliance is to share and preserve the knowledge and practice of tapestry art by supporting, promoting and educating audiences about contemporary hand woven tapestry. Tapestry’s rich history and its unique ability to render images in the tactile medium of cloth offer contemporary artists a powerful vehicle for expressing both aesthetic and conceptual concerns. ATA supports this creative endeavour through a diverse range of services and programs: professional exhibitions present the vital field of contemporary tapestry to a broad audience, including critics, curators and art historians; educational programs assist artists in individual career development;
American Tapestry Alliance publishes a newsletter, Tapestry Topics, which is available on-line for its members; ATA’s monthly e-NEWS blast keeps its members informed of current events and news; the ATA website is a valuable resource for anyone interested in tapestry; ATA supports an extensive Award program; On-line forums and Distance Learning Programs are also available to the membership.
ATA was founded in 1982 by artist/weavers Hal Painter and Jim Brown to foster communication and collaboration among isolated tapestry weavers across the country. In its thirty two year history, ATA has served over 800 members. Today, ATA has over 650 active members representing artists from twenty nations worldwide in addition to artists living in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The American Tapestry Alliance is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization supported by grants, memberships, contributions, and a broad base of volunteers.
Soft Flex Website – www.SoftFlexCompany.com
Soft Flex Free Project Ideas – https://www.softflexcompany.com/WSWrapper.jsp?mypage=Project.htmlSoft Flex Blog – https://softflexgirl.blogspot.com
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VC Artisan Originals is a great resource for off-loom beadweaving instruction tutorials for beaders of all skill levels. Specializing in Super Duo and contemporary bead designs, the range of styles is eclectic, from traditional to modern designs. Valorie brings innovation to a time-honored art form, combining traditional stitches with modern beads.
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If you buy a loom for a friend or family member this holiday season (until December 19th) fill out the form below and tell us what special person is getting a loom and why and we’ll send you a coupon code for $10 off your next purchase. By requesting this code, you are agreeing to let us use your reason for buying the loom as a gift in a future post!
Expires February 28th, 2014. Cannot be used with any other offer.
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This promotion has ended
For day 12 of our 12 days of deals, we’re bringing back the deals from day 1 to 11 just in case you missed one! Get 20% off any of these 11 items.
Use code 12days12 to get 20% off any, some or all of these items.
Six Skeins of Hand-Painted Silk
Bottom Spring Kit with Warp Coils
Original Tapestry/Bead Cuff Bracelet Kit
Craftartedu.com Bead and Crystal Wrap Bracelet Kit
Last Sunday Claudia taught a class at NOA Gallery in Groton, MA with the gallery’s wonderful owner Joni Parker-Roach. NOA is a gorgeous art gallery and also offers wonderful art classes for adults and children.
When I was a kid I loved art classes (like mother like daughter, right?). I remember taking one class in the summer in Wisconsin when I was maybe 8 years old. We made giant paper ice cream cones and decorated each “flavor”. I loved that project. It hung (per my insistence I’m sure) on our pantry door for a very long time.
Some of the things I made as a kid were pretty neat… a clay grandmother with tiny wire glasses… a decent colored pencil drawing of a tree… a set of cracked blue-glazed tea cups that still sit in my mother’s china cabinet next to the antique Waterford wine glasses… but nothing I made as a kid compares to the pieces I’ve seen made by young students at NOA Gallery. From stunning watercolors to sculptures, you’d think most of this art was made by seasoned adults. You can check out NOA’s Facebook page and see some of these works of art!
Getting back to the class… I wasn’t there, but Claudia and Joni have reported back that it was a great class. Fun people, a wonderful environment and a great project. One woman even brought her two little girls (bringing it all together here) to the class. They were 7 and 9 years old (their 5 year old brother stopped by too) and, as I understand it, the stars of the class.
With a little instruction these girls wove gorgeous beaded bracelets all by themselves. Bracelets that could sell in a gallery for $350. Bracelets that any adult would be proud to wear. It makes me want to run out and teach a class to kids to see what they can create. Give anyone with a creative spirit good supplies and they’ll never fail to impress you!
We are hoping to have regular classes at NOA. Let us know if you’re in the Boston area and would be interested in taking one!
Do you teach your kids/grandkids/nieces/nephews/etc. how to weave on a loom? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear your strategies, successes and failures.
And remember to follow NOA Gallery on Facebook!
Have a wonderful week!