I had an awesome time this past weekend in Vermont. I was so impressed with the Open Studio Weekend. I didn't know what to expect, but I was blown away at how together and organized this event was. Back roads in Vermont can be a little daunting, but between the clear directions in the tour guide, and the plentiful signs along the roads, it was very easy to navigate.
My first stop was Bhakti Ziek's studio. Bhakti was a professor of mine in college and we've stayed in touch, even traveled to Turkey together with some other textile lovers in 2001. I couldn't wait to see her studio. She has the coolest loom ever! It's basically a personal jacquard loom. She designs jacquard fabrics in Photoshop, brings the design into the loom's software as point paper, and the computer operates the loom and lets her insert the weft by hand. This is so outrageous to me. Jacquard weaving is traditionally reserved for mills weaving upholstery and commercial fabrics (like what I used to design in my previous life), to see it being used for art pieces was incredible and exciting. The possibilities are endless and she's just the person to have this loom. She's doing incredible things on it and her enthusiasm for it was infectious. To see a virtual tour of Bhakti's Open Studio display and studio, visit her blog and click on slideshow.
Her third floor studio was full of books, yarn, looms, and fabric. It was just the shot in the arm I needed to get me excited to get my own loom going again. It's been dormant for about 5 or 6 years (in the basement for 3 at my last small apartment) and finally has a space in my new studio. Today I'll be putting the final touches on getting it properly reassembled so I can get a warp on there.
Other places I visited were an exhibit of the Vermont Weaver's Guild in Randolph. It was fun to see how many weavers are in Vermont. Next we went to the studio of Nancy Stone who makes artist books in addition to paintings and drawings. I really loved her pieces done with walnut ink. Then we drove up a mountain to the studio of Jenny Hermenze who does Japanese-stencil dyed scarves and t-shirts.
Seeing these Vermont studios was so inspiring. Even though I think of myself as more of a city girl at heart, there's always this romantic "Studio in Vermont" idea that floats through my head. I think if I go up for this again, I'd really plan a route and try to take in more studios. The artists were all so warm and excited and being in their studios was inspiring.