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!