Like many other weavers, my blog this week is about old friends and new friends.  After visiting New Mexico for the Complex Weavers Seminars and HGA’s Convergence 2010, in Albequerque, many of us are buzzing with new techniques and information that we’ve learnt, and ideas from seeing others’ work and the surrounding areas in New Mexico.  The art galleries that have been visited, the different approach in cultural terms that we have absorbed, and the camaraderie that we’ve shared are all food for our brains, our eyes and our souls.

On stepping out of my taxi at 11pm after a very long day travelling the first person I saw was my room-mate for 3 weeks, Agnes Hauptli from New Zealand.  Agnes and I first met at the last Convergence in Ruby Leslie’s workshop, the 3Ds of 3D.  Then last year, Agnes came to me on a bursary to study jacquard weaving on my old card-driven jacquard sample looms, and then we met up a week or so later for the European Textile Network’s conference which was held in Haslach, Austria with the theme of jacquard weaving.  On the strength of getting on well together, we decided to be room-mates at the two Albuquerque conferences and then to go on a road trip together (more of that another time). 

The next day it was wonderful to meet up with lots of Complex Weavers I’d met before, and lots of laughter and hugs abounded!  The fashion show was good fun, although I didn’t really get to take a close look at the wonderful garments and scarves that were paraded round as I had to read out all the technical information on each item, but this has to be one of the great parts of the Seminars.  The work is outstanding and the reception of each item was warm and admiring.  The weavers’ handshake (going up and feeling someone’s handwoven item) was very evident and this is one of the few occasions when you know you aren’t going to get funny looks at the mildest, and a slap on the face as the most extreme reaction! 

At each meal-time, we try to sit at a table which has people we’ve never met before and have a chat, and the atmosphere is so congenial.  Every meal is a time to enlarge our friendship pool and find more soul-sisters (and brothers!!) 

The seminars are all given by the knowledgeable CW members and what a variety!  From historical techniques to cutting edge techniques, from kumihimo to shibori, and everything in between, it is a feast of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm!  Also I just have to mention the Lillian Whipple Retrospective and the wonderful surprise event of an animated weaving movie created by Alice Schlein with the woven help of many of our most respected weavers!  It was awesome!! 

There’s loads more I could say but I’ll run out of room to talk about Convergence if I don’t move on now.  Convergence had a wide range of classes of various lengths, from 1 1/2 hours to 3 days, some practical hands-on, some lectures.  The vendors hall was busy and there seemed to be more booths there this year than on the previous occasion, at least to my eyes.  There were so many wonderful, delicious yarns and gadgets to drool over, and looms to try out and covet!!  There were lots of events going on in several places and it is my one regret that I didn’t have the time or the energy to go to them! 

My heartfelt thanks and congratulations go out to both the organising teams for their wonderful skills in pulling off two excellent conferences.  Meg Wilson and her team at Complex Weavers broke new ground in setting up this Seminar, and Candy Burbag and her team had a huge task (usually thankless!) in putting on Convergence.  Thanks guys for a wonderful, inspirational, heart-warming, friendship-enhancing time in Albuquerque!