Friday, July 30, 2010

Jennifer's Photo of Flora and My Cameos

As a tribute to Jennifer, I wanted to post the composite photo she did of Flora and my cameos at Callaway. This is my favorite photo of my work and the one I use in my classroom at Shining Needle Society. Makes me sad and happy all rolled into one when I look at this. I still love the photo and probably always will.
Gay Ann

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jennifer Taylor

This past week marked a sad week in my life and a sad occasion for needlework as well: we lost Jennifer Taylor.

Jennifer was a small finely-drawn person who loomed so large in needlework. She had dual loves, embroidery and the computer, and she excelled at both. I met Jennifer at Callaway where for many years she assisted Shay Pendray in teaching Japanese Embroidery. It was the heyday of Japanese Embroidery and classes in those days were full to overflowing with students eager to take on the rigors and discipline of that embroidery form. In later years, after Shay Pendray retired, Jennifer took over teaching Shay's classes at Callaway and she in turn had a new assistant.

I knew Jennifer from our days together at Callaway and I always enjoyed her company. Like me, she was a very early morning person and every year we were there together, we shared a number of very early morning breakfasts, then off Jennifer would go to the rigors of her Japanese Embroidery classes.

For many years before I learned to do it myself, Jennifer took the photographs of my work. In fact, she took my favorite photo ever of my work, the composite of Flora and my cameo pieces now on my classroom homepage for Shining Needle Society.

It was in 2004 and 2005 that I worked closely with Jennifer on EGA's booklet of Audrey Francini's work. Audrey had asked me to write about her for Needle Arts (EGA's magazine) and it grew into a whole event to celebrate Audrey: an article, a book and a one-woman show of Audrey's work at EGA headquarters in the autumn of 2005. Jennifer took all the photographs of Audrey's work, no small task in itself, then she did the layout of the book and saw it through to publication. In addition she composed a totally memorable power-point presentation of Audrey's work which ran consistently through Audrey's show and has been on view many times at embroidery functions over the years.

Of the years I knew Jennifer my favorite time with her the night she showed the power point presentation of Audrey's work at the final banquet at Callaway. She had asked me if I would do a 2-minute introduction. I remember, when the time came, I stood up from the banquet table where I was sitting beside Dorothy Lesher. As I stood up to walk to the podium, Dorothy said to me, 'if you make this too long it will be off with your head!'

I said my 2 minutes worth, then sat beside Jennifer as she showed Audrey's work. A hush fell over the room as moment after moment came up of Audrey's beautiful embroidery enhanced by Jennifer's unrivaled skill with a camera. I don't think there was even a cough in the room. At one moment I looked across at Dorothy Lesher who was totally captivated.

When it was over, Dorothy, long forgetting her threat to behead me, said she could have watched the presentation over and over again hour upon hour. And so could we all.

Good bye, Jennifer, we shall greatly miss you!

Gay Ann

Photograph I took of Jennifer Taylor and a piece of her Japanese Embroidery at Callaway in 2008.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My New World: a Work in Progress

MacSoph is my computer, a little Apple MacBook Pro. MacSoph is a genius and the kids at the Apple Store help me learn how to communicate with her.

For some time how I have had a long term vision of where I want to go and what I want to do with my website and my general classroom at Shining Needle Society. It has to do with creativity in needlework and it will take me a long while to learn, but I am plugging away at it each week. It is all a bit like learning to do a difficult stitch: in the beginning it is a wobbly experience, then gradually it gets easier, or at least one always hopes so.

This morning a wee piece of the puzzle arrived on my website doorstep in the form of a Surprise.
For quick reference:
Click on 'Surprise' at the top of my homepage.

A small step in a long journey.

Gay Ann

Friday, July 09, 2010

Goop Be Gone, coming in the spring

When I found myself in a day-long conversation about Goop a few days ago, I wanted sooo badly to pursue the concept and what to do about it right now but Reality reared her ugly head. My work load is maxed out.

In the spring!

In the spring I will do it and I can't wait! A class called 'Goop be Gone'. I want to tackle the subject of painted canvases, how to buy them, plan for them and what to do with them.

Here's what Goop be Gone won't be: I won't write a stitch guide for someone. What would be the point? I want to show people how to look at a painted canvas, understand its structure and what it asks for. I want people to explore what kinds of stitchers they are and learn to choose appropriate canvases for themselves. I want to take a close look at how and why one chooses threads and stitches.

I would like people to understand the idea that stitches and threads don't live in isolation; they live in a community and you have to consider the whole community before you add a new member. Choosing threads and stitches is not arbitrary; there has to be a reason and each has to serve the purpose of advancing the design.

So in the spring Goop be Gone will arrive and I will see if I can make a bit of a difference.

Gay Ann

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Goop and My Techniques Column

My goodness, but I inspired a flurry of notes to me about 'Goop', my term for needlepoint that is all gooped up with too many stitches and threads. As I pointed out, this usually happens on painted canvases.

After I received a flurry of notes and some guilty consciences, I decided I should pursue the avoidance of Goop further.
So Tuesday morning, I will post another Techniques Column about painted canvases. Tuesday morning, bright and early.

Gay Ann