These tapestries are from a series called EVERLEA, consisting of location-titled tapestries which celebrate collaboration, intentionality, and art, in woven meta-interpretations of two artists' time spent together.
While living near one another in the New York Metropolitan area between the years 2013-2016, Katherine Earle and myself set about to support each other in our respective art practices. One such method was by helping each other photograph our respective textile artworks. Booked photo sessions provided deadlines for artworks to be completed. These photo-shoot days later provided us with further content to explore our processes, and this series of woven tapestries was conceived. Each tapestry in the EVERLEA series represents a photo shoot location, are named as such, and are based on one of the hundreds of photographs taken at that location.
Natural Dyeing at MISSA
In mid July I will be teaching natural dyeing at the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts, a summer camp for adults in the most beautiful place in the world; Vancouver Island. The programming at MISSA consists of various of 2 and 5 full-day art classes that can be taken individually or one after another over the course of two weeks in July. For the full summer camp experience students are encouraged to purchase room and board in the beautiful ocean/woodsy location and there are opportunities for biking, kayaking, swimming, yoga in the mornings and you can even book a massage for after your day in class.
In my five-day Natural Dyeing class we will work within a large range of natural colours including indigo on silk scarves, silk and linen yardage, as well as wool yarn. Students will learn about and practice mordanting, making natural dye extracts, immersion dyeing, shibori and botanical printing as well as creating an indigo stock solution and preparing, maintaining and troubleshooting two kinds of indigo vats. Each day will be spent preparing and watching over our natural dye pots and indigo vats, and manipulating our fabric with resist techniques. Everyone will go away with a collection of yardages and scarves as well as a sample book illustrating the colours and techniques we applied throughout the week.
I have a couple of surprises up my sleeve, too. We are spending five-days together after all, so I'm bringing some extra tools and fun things for both during and after class hours. That's the only hint you get, hehe. It's going to be a lot of fun.
MISSA has not yet posted their summer 2016 classes, but I'm giving you a heads up since they will put classes up on the website on February 1st and they fill up fast. For early access to registration you can sign up as a friend of MISSA for $20 here. Friends of MISSA get class schedules and can register for classes before they are announced to the public.
ATA's Tapestry Unlimited Blog Tour
I'm really excited to be chairing American Tapestry Alliance's 11th international, unjuried small format exhibition, entitled Tapestry Unlimited, which will be hung in the Milwaukee Public Library in the summer of 2016. In anticipation of the upcoming deadline to commit to participate we are holding a blog tour which follows six tapestry artists for six weeks, each whom will illustrate a tapestry weaving technique on their respective blog, and ATA is giving away some great prizes. Learn more in the short video promo below and sign up for weekly tour updates here.
Natural Dyeing in Jersey City
upcoming Access art event!
I recently received a grant from the Surface Design Association which will cover the tools and materials for a two-day natural dye workshop for low income individuals. I am volunteering my time so that means I am able to offer it for free to scholarship students! Others are invited to participate for only $75. Are you in? Scroll down for time and location details.
Please send this newsletter to any organization or individual you think might want to participate, too.
ABOUT THE WORKSHOP//
NATURAL DYEING & SURFACE DESIGN WORKSHOP
Two Tuesdays, September 22nd & 29th 4:30-7:30
@ Grace Church Van Vorst Jersey City @ Grove St PATH.
Students must commit to coming to both Tuesdays.
You will go home with multiple silk scarves as well as stretched silk on canvas designed by you using natural dyeing, botanical printing and shibori techniques taught by Janna.
By way of funding from the Surface Design Association and sponsorship from Grace Church Van Vorst there are a number of scholarship positions for people in financial need. Additional spots are available for only $75 including materials. Scholarship spots are available on a first come first serve basis HERE where you will register for the 'SDA scholarship' option and use the notes section to state why you require financial support. The following is a (non-exclusive) list of ways that you may qualify for a scholarship. You will receive confirmation of enrolment within two days of applying.
-a Medicaid recipient
- a SNAP recipient or recipient of Public Benefits
-a resident of low-income housing
-an elder in government housing/care
-a single parent
-homeless/living in a shelter
-recently released from prison
ABOUT THE ACCESS ART PROJECT//
This workshop is a part of the Access Art Project which makes art education available to low income individuals in the form of free workshops by way of financial support from granting bodies and sponsors. After designing and organizing a comprehensive workshop based on skills that I can personally volunteer my time for I seek out financial support so that people who would otherwise be unable to afford extracurricular art classes may take them at no cost.
Feel free to email me with any questions and below are two posters in PDF form if you know of good place to post it - and thanks!
my email: janna (at) everleatextiles (dot) com
SUMMER Workshops IN BC
It's time for another jaunt back to the west coast from the Big Apple! Ah, homeward bound where I will reunite with family and friends once again, AND for the first time in years my dear friends Ana, Sasha and I will be in the same place for an extended amount of time with our three toddlers!!! I can already smell the ocean, and hear the crying (of two-year olds... and maybe us too). I can hardly wait another minute. My mom has not made the wait any easier by announcing that the summer theme will be wine sangria and wood-fired pizza. My parents are master chefs (don't try to deny it, mom!) and my dad is a stone mason, so it was only a matter of time before he built a brick oven in our back yard. I'm not sure they've mastered the art of pizza making in it yet - so this is the year! I wonder if my mom will curse me for writing this? My parents' house has always been a bit of a neighborhood gathering place, so I'm thinking there might be a few people who after reading this will decide to 'happen upon' our particular part of town this summer.
Something I always get up to at my parents' house in the summer is indigo dyeing and then some general textile studio time in the carport. Last year we made a few saw horses so I could make a printing table with them, some foam from the Sally Anne, a piece of plywood and a duvet cover. That was were I did some further exploration and eventually teaching with natural-dye printing. This year the theme will be of course indigo dyeing (there will always be indigo!) and my most recent textile love affair, a return to tapestry weaving. I'll be weaving samples of my own as well as teaching some one-on-one classes on Mirrix looms in the Greater Vancouver area. In the next couple of weeks I will also announce some group workshops that will occur on the Sunshine Coast, most likely on Friday and/or Saturday mornings.
The group classes require that students have their own Mirrix Loom (I offer a $25 student discount) and the one-on-one class does not (you are still offered the $25 loom discount, though). Soon I will be doing a post or perhaps a video detailing why Mirrix Looms are the best. They really are. If you're interested in one-on-one lessons and have any questions feel free to email me anytime janna(at)vancouveryarn(dot)com
Have a couple of friends who want to learn too? Ask me about the group rate.
For more information on these workshop opportunities visit the Vancouver Yarn online shop and sign up for the newsletter. I'll be sending out an update when I have group workshop dates lined up soon.
Also follow me on Twitter or Facebook for updates on free-skill shares that I'll be holding around BC this summer, too. For fun pics there's always Instagram.
The Skill-Share Project
For the past year I’ve been offering free weaving, knitting, embroidery and natural dyeing workshops in public spaces in Manhattan. Most of time I am weaving since people seem to really respond to my lovely Mirrix loom, and I love any excuse to weave so I’ve planned a lot of tapestry skill-shares. They have taken a few forms:
I weave/knit/dye in public spaces, usually on the subway or in a parks and invite people to join me, usually with a sign. These are an attempt to thwart people’s tendencies to isolate themselves, usually via digital devices, with the hopes of complicating their ideas of how public space is perceived and used. My goal is to encourage people to engage, and even learn something instead of tune out of the world around them. Admittedly, I too am often one of these people engrossed in my book on the subway. So, I’m not saying there isn’t a place for tuning out – everyone needs their personal time, and God love you if for you that time occurs on the subway. I do however think it could be good to interrupt people’s habituated actions from time to time.
These are usually the result of no one joining me to learn the respective craft of the day, and this usually happens on the subway. I’m not disappointed about having the skill-share concept morph into a performance in this way, and am still grappling with the ideas that occur as a result. But, so far it means I feel I’m being perceived as more of a spectacle than an educator or artist, and because it’s such an unlikely place to do this sort of thing I sometimes feel a bit awkward. In my first attempts I even felt kind of pathetic, forgetting my purpose and instead imagining what people must think of this crazy girl with a textile contraption and sign inviting people to join her. But one day, several days after one of my first subway skill-shares, a woman approached me on the street saying she’d seen me weaving on the subway and wondered what I was doing. She hadn’t seen the sign inviting people to try, nor did I make eye contact with her (something I sometimes do so I have an excuse to smile at people in an attempt to invite them to comment on my actions). Her genuine interest helped me forge on and remind myself of my purpose during future attempts.
These are workshops that I advertise on mine and Katie's Everlea Textiles Meetup group. They are essentially craft groups, where I organize a public location for people to gather, hang out, chat and knit/weave/etc and as an added bonus I offer knitting and weaving instruction to anyone interested.
All these formats allow me explore my personal goal of making handwork skill development as accessible as possible. As a new venture Katie Earle, my partner at EVERLEA TEXTILES, and I are working to gain funding in order to hold free day-long workshops in the future.
Thanks for your interest in my practice! I hope months from now I can say I’m still going strong with these skill-shares!
A post similar to this originally appeared on the Mirrix Looms blog.
Bronx Tale this weekend
Please join me at CO-OP for Better Life's premier event, Bronx Tale this Saturday from 5pm-8pm. There will be a lot of lovely things to look at, eat and hear and four of my tapestries will be on show there.
Co-Op [for Better Life] is a collective that merges art and entertainment in the form of private gatherings. As seasons change so do our locations. Our team curates experiential environments with esteemed individuals in the fields of art, fashion and design. With each small-scale event, we invite you to discover distinctive content and take home a souvenir to remind you of the fun time you had with us.
Saturday May 30th
4675 Tibbitt Ave Bronx NY 10471
My Natural Dye Tapestry Sampler is currently on show at the Cathedral Arts Festival which runs until this Friday the 8th where there will be a finissage from 5-8pm. These two photos are from the vernissage on the 19th which included a tapestry weaving skill-share. It was thrillingly successful in that a lot of people tried their hand at weaving and many more asked questions about the craft. If you were unable to make that gala event the finissage is free and there will be music and good company.
Friday May 8th, 7pm
39 Erie Street
Jersey City, NJ USA
The Armory Show, NYC
Last weekend I attended The Armory Show at Piers 92 and 94 here in New York City where for one weekend 200,000 square feet is dedicated to modern and contemporary art from around the world. It didn't disappoint, per se, I was however reminded that I'm not an art fair gal. Art fairs are essentially massive marketplaces, and as someone who despises malls and only marginally enjoys shopping, and as an artist whose work looks to community values for research and is perpetually thinking up ways to negate the elitist/capitalist art world, art fairs are not really my scene. That's not to say I had a terrible time, there was a lot of excellent artwork to be seen, and although there weren't too many booths that offered additional context about the artworks and artists (something I love!) I placed myself comfortably in the context of the many textile and installation works.
Below are some highlights and a couple selfies. Whoever designed those carnation stools deserves an olfaction art award! (I know, not exactly what they are for)
There is now one more place that you can find me on the internet (and in person, if you want to participate in some events that I'm planning in NYC right now). As if I don't have enough places on the web to be found, right?! But here it is... Everlea Textiles, a collaboration with my dear friend Katie. It's something I'm really excited about and I hope you will find it interesting too. You can follow us in these places online
- website - Instagram - MEETUP -
And from now on you can find many of my blog posts there, too - most definitely the ones where I share the details of the processes that I teach.
UPDATE! (Wed May 20th 2015) I'll be posting here after all and the EVERLEA blog is purely for EVERLEA-specific updates, ie Mine and Katie's collaborations and any events that we do together. The reason for this change is that Katie and I both already have personal blogs and it occurred to me that I've had two not very well nurtured blogs in the past - one at Vancouver Yarn and one here. I forgot that the reason I discontinued the VY blog was to simplify my web presence. I tend to get a bit over ambitious with new projects and somehow convince myself that I will want to "really blog now", neglecting the fact that I'm actually a pretty private person and have a tumultuous relationship with social media.
Off my loom
Here's a wee silk cuff (or maybe bookmark) that I recently took off my loom. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll finish it yet (on a brass cuff or with clasp hardware?), but I knew I had to get it off the loom before my flight back to NYC from Vancouver Canada since the dressed loom wouldn’t fit in my bag. It was the most relaxing (beach-filled!) summer in my home town and now I really feel like we’ve left our poosaster in the past (if you’re not into reading my long poosaster post, the gist is that we moved three times and endured many other stresses while moving to the USA from Canada with our infant, Sam, last year). With lots of help from my parents I was able to pull off teaching some natural dye and print workshops this summer too! Here is a really nice post about one by my student, Heather Apple.
Janna Maria Vallee
I've already geared this year toward what would in theory include a slow paced, meditative art practice by committing to the slowest type of weaving: tapestry (on my new loom). Most recently though I've reacquainted myself with printing with natural dyes and I'm hooked. Here's the thing about these two practices, they are very labor intensive and require an immense amount of patience. Yet, when I'm in process I am charged with energies that I sometimes forget exist in me. That's when I know I'm on the right path: I can't sleep, nor do I remember to eat (Both those side effects are usually short lived though, and are actually a welcome change from those same effects coming from a different source, hint: "Whah!")
The process of printing with natural dyes is complex, and I might add not the most efficient. So much so that I'm quite sure any natural prints I make will invariably be a part of art installations as opposed to sold as garments or home textiles - I just couldn't put a retail price on them (note this is different from natural dyeing or eco-printing -- those I make to sell). The process takes weeks to complete! If a stranger were to ask me how I made the pictured yardage I'd tell them I stenciled natural dyes onto silk. Sounds simple right? But first I extract the dyes from woodchips and thicken them with guar gum. Before that I mordant the silk (a one-day process) and then size it with soy milk that I make from scratch (another whole day). Then I print (or stencil in this photos' case) the dyes onto the silk and wait for it to dry completely before steaming the entire yardage. Now I wait at least three weeks for the soy sizing to cure before I rinse it and use it for who-knows-what. As intense as that is I love every single second and can't wait to start the process over again. Of course a great way to make the process more efficient is to mordant a lot of fabric at once for future use.
PS This yardage was only possible because my amazing mom babysat for several days while I made it. Thank you Mom!
Unwind Lace Shawlette knit-along