News & Notes from Cameron

Mechanical Engineering and Fairies - Really! - April 2010




April has been a truly inspiring month. I taught at the Northern California Weavers Conference - great fun - and continued on to the Westminster Fibers sales conference in Nashua, New Hampshire, where we were immersed in the new collections for Fall Winter 2010 - a yarn-o-holic's dream. Then down to Boston where I visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology museum with my son Peter, an engineering student at Tufts, along with our good friends Becky and Susan. The museum is a celebration of creativity and original thinking, through the lens of science and technology. My favorite exhibit was Gestural Engineering, mechanical sculptures by Arthur Ganson, an MIT artist-in-residence who describes himself as a "cross between a mechanical engineer and a choreographer."




Later that day, Becky, who works at Candlewick Press, shared a gorgeous new book they just published called Fairie-ality Style - A Sourcebook of Inspirations from Nature. Now I am not a fairie follower, but the photos in this book are sensational, and simply leafing through such a beautiful book really IS inspirational. I'm adding this one to my design library.

But wait, there's more! The next day, through the efforts of my friend Jessica Oas, a fabulous knitter and the camerontaylorbrown-016-300x225Westminster Fibers New England representative, I was invited to teach ColorPlay:Nature's Palettes to a group of knitters at Seed Stitch Fine Yarn in Salem, MA. The owner of Seed Stitch, Courtney Heath, wrote about it on her blog and even included a small video clip.





Now I'm home, putting together the season's hand knitting offerings, about to hit the road - full of color and design inspiration, and so happy to be immersed in a life of fabulous fibers!

How String Changed the World - March 2010

On my drive north to share "How String Changed the World" with the Central Coast Weavers Guild, I turned on the radio and caught this "Ears on Art" interview with two guild members, Roberta Foster and Kay Thorne. They spoke about an exhibit they had organized for the San Luis Obispo County Library on the rich history of spinning and weaving. What a great way to get our passions out to the larger world - an interview on a popular radio station with an interviewer who considers textiles to be another art form, a library interested in showcasing textiles, and guild members willing to create such a terrific display. And how fun to have these two women in my class the following day!
Link to, enjoy, and pass it along.

Below, left - (re)designing an early loom.  Below, right - my hostess, Sally Knight, in her studio.



Indigo Dreams - February 2010




I've always loved indigo blues and have been intrigued for years by Rowan Denim , a yarn "that bleeds and shrinks just like blue jeans." Another yarn I've wanted to weave with is Ty Dy from Knit One Crochet Too - each coloration is an object of beauty just sitting on the shelf. Well, Denim and Ty Dy have been engaging one another in conversation over the last couple of months - as I've been contemplating a design that will use both yarns.





New Visions/Ancient Paths is the theme for Convergence 2010 and both California Fibers and Designing Weavers challenged their membership to create work that addresses this theme in some aspect. Designing Weavers decided to use the same theme as Convergence, while California Fibers came up with Myths and Meanings as the thematic title for our group show that will be displayed during the Convergence Conference.




Both indigo yarns and tie dye have such historic resonance they seem the perfect materials to explore a new direction in my own work. And of course I am using twill weaves - the only possible choice for a yarn named Denim. My fingers are stained blue and I'm loving every minute of it. I've just finished weaving several samples and am now designing the schematics for a full-scale series, working title "Indigo Dreams."

Spinning Yarns – from Nepenthe to Bali, by Way of Long Beach - January 2010



myNepentheMy Nepenthe, signed by author Romney (Nani) Steele, arrived this month, and what a feast it is. MyNepenthe "celebrates the magic and history of place through food and the Fassett family". Nepenthe, in Big Sur, was the childhood home of designer and author Kaffe Fassett, who changed the world of knitting with his first book, Glorious Knits, written in 1985. An extraordinary colorist, he continues to inspire, create and teach. Nani Steele, Kaffe's niece, is a gifted storyteller and chef and her book is full of photos of the family, Big Sur, Kaffe's textiles and, of course, food! Yes, you can get the book cheaper from Amazon, but why not order a signed copy from the Phoenix Shop in Nepenthe instead?


I shared My Nepenthe with friends and colleagues at the National Needle Arts trade show in Long Beach, CA. Kaffe Fassett designs for Rowan and Westminster, so it was only fitting that his niece's book should be enjoyed at the Westminster booth!



Another booth at the trade show that created excitement was that of the Spinning and Weaving Association (SWA). Deborah Jarchow did a stellar job organizing the booth, and recruited members of the Designing Weavers Guild to help out. SWA introduces the joys of our craft to a broad audience, and as a result more retailers are bringing spinning and weaving into their mix of offerings.




CA_Fibers_jan_2010California Fibers met in late January, where member Michael Rohde presented a wonderful program on textile artisans of Bali. He passed around lots of fabulous handwovens and batiks which of course we all went crazy over. On February 5th, California Fibers will celebrate the opening of our next exhibit, Liminal Spaces, at Visions Gallery in San Diego. The exhibit runs from February 5th through April 25th.

Unique Signage from Curious Creek- December 2009


Earlier this month I visited my friend Kristine Brooks in San Diego, the talented hand dyer who founded Curious Creek Fibers.  No doubt about her location...I turned the corner and was greeted by a tree adorned with glorious purple yarns drying in the late afternoon sunlight. I'm sure that UPS has no problem finding HER studio! During the Christmas season I reflect on life and count my blessings. How lucky I am to have found the fiber community, which gives me so many lovely friendships and wonderful adventures!