News & Notes from Cameron

Secrets of the Silk Road - July 2010

 

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I finally made it to Secrets of the Silk Road at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. What an amazing exhibit. The textiles are a key component of this exceptional show, but what stays with me most is a lovingly wrapped infant mummy - wearing a blue felted cap - buried in the 8th century B.C. Thousands of years simply fell away.

 

I had read about these mummies and their unlikely location several years ago in The Mummies of Ururmchi by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. To have the opportunity see actual artifacts was remarkable. There is a catalogue and an excellent "Silk Road Chronology" chart that shows at-a-glance the many influential cultures along the Silk Road. Secrets of the Silk Road travels to Houston and Philadelphia before returning to China - don't miss it!

 

The Bowers website links to several interesting videos on You Tube when the video on the lower left of the landing page is played. Check it out at http://www.bowers.org/landing_pages/silk_road/silkroad_lp.html

Interlacement Symposium - May 2010

Teaching at the Interlacement Symposium in Vancouver, B.C. was great fun.

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My hosts Sandra and Doug Crompton are avid photographers, and Sandra's lovely photos of Vancouver landscapes and flora provided design inspiration for several participants in the "Colour in Cloth" workshop. We explored how different weave structures mix and blend colors and applied this knowledge to original designs. Below are examples of designs by Sandra, Jo, and Chris - inspired by Sandra's photos.

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Sandra also introduced me to Maiwa, a wonderful resource for all things textile - workshops, supplies, podcasts and more. I look forward to returning to Vancouver and studying at Maiwa next year. http://www.maiwa.com

Mechanical Engineering and Fairies - Really! - April 2010

 

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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." http://web.mit.edu/museum/exhibitions/ganson.html

 

 

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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. http://www.fairie-ality.com/fairie2/info.asp

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. http://ayarntale.com/2010/about-ssfy/color-play/

 

 

 

 

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 http://kcbx.org/mp3archive/eoa100310.mp3, enjoy, and pass it along.

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

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Indigo Dreams - February 2010

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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."