Thursday, March 30, 2006

Montreal! Part 1

Thanks, Lucie, for encouraging me to post my trip to Montreal in parts. Here is the first part:

Montreal was wonderful! I taught a 3-day workshop at the Montreal Center for Contemporary Textiles March 17-19, 2006. The textile center was so inspiring--I wished I was taking classes. Here's a photo of Hannah and I on our way to class in the morning--we were bundled up because it was cold!
Kelly and Hannah came with me so that I could nurse Hannah. It wasn't quite the vacation we envisioned for Kelly (here is Kelly trying to nap in the dye room adjacent to the classroom while Hannah sleeps)--but we still got to get out and see a bit of the city after class in the evenings.
Louise Lemieux Berube invited me to teach at the Center after she saw my work at Convergence. She started the Center 15 years ago--and if you have a chance to study there--I say take it! It is an impressive facility.
They have an exhibit space right when you walk in the door--it also served as a lecture hall for the talk I gave on Thursday night about my work. The garments are part of an exhibit of the students of the center that will travel around Canada--Rosie Godbout (one of the students in my class) made the purple dress in the fore ground.
There is a computer room with a number of I-macs, a room filled with knitting machines, another one with sewing machines and heavy-duty irons, a huge room filled with looms (with a number of jacquard looms not to mention spinning wheels!), a dye room, another small room for two jacquard looms, and a lunch room. Almost all the rooms have huge windows for natural light and a lot of space. Our classroom space was in the room with the looms--we had two large tables for 19 students to sit around.
Most of the students spoke English really well, but there were a handful who didn't--but other students were great about translating as we needed since I don't speak French (yet--I'm going to learn!).
I really enjoyed teaching this class because the students were really ready to learn bead embroidery to apply to their own artwork--they had really great questions and we were able to get a lot done in three days because they worked diligently and creatively. Here they are choosing paint for one of the brainstorming exercises.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fiber dreams

Last night I dreamed (my sister always groans when I begin a sentence like this) about werewolves--but they were kind of like bison and they lived in the grand canyon and they were not able to scale the walls of the canyon so they were isolated there. I was a kid in a family of witches (we were flying around a big house a little earlier and I had been trying to summon a laundry basket from upstairs without spilling everything--but it wasn't working) and my family was crammed into a small car driving past the grand canyon when we learned of the werewolves/bison--and then we saw people climbing out of the canyon and they were dressed in these amazingly soft handspun pants and shirts and scarves (apparently it was very cold in the canyon) that they had made from the werewolves fiber. At first I was scared by the thought of werewolves, but then I realized that they couldn't be too fierce if these people were able to gather their fiber. Then the dream diverged into a shopping mall expedition through a baby store for a bit. Then I was back at my parent's home and I heard something in the garage and found one of the werewolves (it didn't look anything like a Bison at this point--just a very hairy man) running around the garage (and up the walls, too). He was scared more than anything, so I tried to hide him from neighbors who came over because they thought they saw something in the garage. Oh, and I was wearing a wedding dress at this point and I was trying to get my veil to stay on.
I think I got the crammed-into-the-car image from looking at photos at my grandfather's service of our family of 5 plus 2 grandparents crammed into their VW bug for a trip to the mountains (I had told my husband these stories--but he was still amazed when he saw the photos--he kept asking if the Bug actually made it up the mountain with all of us in it--see the photo--my Dad is taking the photo and about to hop back in--it was in a time before car seats or even much of a seat belt campaign). And I was thinking about the movie King Kong yesterday because my husband bought the DVD--and I was thinking about the beauty and the beast theme. I think the wedding dress came from watching a snippet of Ella Enchanted while I was pumping yesterday.
Oh and take a look at the socks on me and my sister in the photo that is mostly cropped off next to the one with us in the VW--isn't that a nice 1970s fashion statement?

I really am working on the post about Montreal--it is long! Maybe I should post it in parts--what do you think?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Blog buttons

Amanda got the SOAR blog up and running! You can visit the SOAR blog at or by clicking on the SOAR button in the lower left bar of this page.

As I've mentioned before, I very much like Stephanie's Yarn Harlot blog. It is at (and I added a button/link to it in the left bar of this site as well).

And ... my professional Bead Embroidery site has launched! You may visit it at or link to it from the button in the left column. Website designer, Heidi Leech, did a fabulous job with it.

If you would like to link to this Sixflyingswans site, I've made a button that you can use on your blog. Here is the image to use and please link it to this page ( Please let me know if you are linking to me, and perhaps I can return the favor!
If you'd like to knit the onesie I made for Hannah, here is a pdf of the instructions, I'll put this button on my side bar so that you can find it easily in the future, too.

Okay--just one more--Spin-Off magazine!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

B.G. Barr

I am back from my trip to Montreal--it was wonderful and I will tell you all about it later--with photos--I promise.

But right now, I'm not able to focus on the trip because when I returned home I learned that my grandfather died yesterday morning. For several years now he has been a shadow of the vibrant, funny, gentle man that I remember from my childhood and for the last year he has been suffering from multiple system atrophy. He would have good days and bad days. In October, Kelly, Hannah and I visited Grandma and Pop--here is Pop on a good day. He loved Hannah's sharp, blue eyes and I'm glad she got to meet him even though she won't remember. I loved listening to Pop's stories about his childhood when I was a kid--like the time he tried to dye his hair blonde, but it turned out green, and the time a buglar broke into their house and one of his brothers chased the thief, but kept stopping when the thief stopped because he was afraid of catching him, and the time he and his brothers pitched in to buy a car together, but they only way they could get it to start was if they parked it at the top of a steep hill and ran along side it until the engine started then jumped in. I know there are many more stories that I don't remember or haven't heard and I'm looking forward to getting together with my family this weekend in Kansas to spend some time remembering my grandfather.