Claudia was here in Seattle with me for the last couple of weeks and last week we had the pleasure of getting coffee with Mary Lane of The American Tapestry Alliance. After, we all stopped by the monthly tapestry group meeting of the Seattle Weavers’ Guild.
It got me thinking about the benefits of joining weaving or beading guilds and associations. In high school and college I had friends who went to a different group meeting every day of the week. I was never one of those people. It’s partly because I’m not very good at being a little bit involved in things; it’s either all or nothing with me. It’s also because I am painfully shy and walking into a new group is always a little scary.
That noted, I believe that every weaver can benefit from being a member of some kind of weaving group if not for the camaraderie (I don’t know what it is, but weavers have a tendency to be pretty awesome people), for the resources. The first Seattle Weavers’ Guild meeting I attended a few years ago impressed me immensely and their tapestry group is the best source of inspiration I can think of.
The American Tapestry Alliance is a national (international, actually) tapestry organization that does everything from putting on exhibitions to workshops and member retreats. It’s a fabulous organization and it isn’t just for professional weavers. In fact, new tapestry weavers can really benefit from membership. From their tapestry mentoring program to educational articles and a chance to rub shoulders with some tapestry celebrities, it’s a group I wholeheartedly encourage all level of tapestry weavers to join!
You can learn more about joining the American Tapestry Alliance here.
You can learn more about joining the Seattle Weavers’ Guild here. I just noticed the picture on that page is of the tapestry group. Recognize those looms?
I encourage you to look up your local weavers’ guild or bead society!
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!
A little about the ATA and its mission statement:
The American Tapestry Alliance (ATA) is engaged in a wide range of educational, exhibition, outreach and promotional programs. Our programs serve the goals of our Mission Statement:
-to promote an awareness of and appreciation for woven tapestries designed and woven by individual artists
-to encourage and recognize superior quality tapestries
-to encourage educational opportunities in the field of tapestry
-to sponsor exhibitions of tapestries
-to establish a network for tapestry weavers throughout the world
-to educate the public about the history and techniques involved in tapestry making
The American Tapestry Alliance grew out of a friendship between two tapestry weavers, Hal Painter and Jim Brown, who had a common desire to promote and establish tapestry during a time when the art form was experiencing a revival. From their auspicious first meeting at Hal’s studio in 1968 where Jim was suddenly transformed from a potter to a weaver, to the 30,000 miles they travelled through the United States and Mexico to teach tapestry, to their eventual creation of an alliance in 1982 that would unite American tapestry weavers, Hal and Jim broke the ground that current ATA leaders and members gratefully still.
Is the ATA the right organization for a beginner tapestry weaver to join?
Yes! We encourage all interested in tapestry, beginners to professional weavers, educators, museums and art galleries.
What are the benefits of joining ATA?
ATA offers its members: exhibition opportunities, educational retreats and workshops, e-news, e-kudos, long distance learning and helping hands programs, an on-line quarterly newsletter called Tapestry Topics, an extensive awards program including scholarships and an international student award and an extensive website.
What campaigns or programs do you have going on right now?
ATA’s annual fundraiser, this year a Raffle consisting of a tapestry woven by Jane Kidd (shown above), as well as many other prizes. Enter here!
American Tapestry Biennial 10 opens at Visions Art Center, San Diego, CA May 2 – July 20, 2014. Learn more here.
UNTITLED/UNJURIED: Small format tapestry 2014 opens at University of Rhode Island Feinstein Providence Campus Gallery, July 8 – August 8, 2014.
Call for entry for Small Tapestry International 4: Honoring Tradition, Inspiring Innovation.
Learn more about the ATA (and join!) on their website: