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Tapestry Tool Box and The American Tapestry Alliance

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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!

One Response to Tapestry Tool Box and The American Tapestry Alliance

  1. Janna Maria Vallee - Reply

    July 30, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Claudia, that’s a great story. Isn’t it great to have fond memories attached to your life’s work. For me that was a huge part of knowing that I was on the right path in Textile Art school, the fact that I was forging so many important, life-long friendships alongside the beginnings of building a career.

    btw, I love Marti’s Cher comment. Haha!

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