Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Artist Profile: Penelope Reedy, Weaver

Today's artist comes to us from Pocatello, Idaho. While I affectionately refer to her as "Aunt Penny" (yes she is my real aunt) to the rest of the world she is Penelope Reedy - professor, poet, weaver and all around creative soul. Without further adieu, I give you Aunt Penny.

1. Where are you from originally?

I'm from western Washington State, Lake Stevens.

2. Where do you get your creative inspiration?

Nature, books about ethnic clothing or art movements, the Back to the Land Movement of the 1970s , Whole Earth Catalog, etc. I love the idea of making something from "scratch" -- it's like magic, and makes me feel less dependent . . .

3. How long have you been weaving?

I've been weaving since the 1970s on a handmade loom -- had to let weaving go in the 1990s because of divorce, returning to university, work, moving 12 times, general fatigue and hysteria.

4. Do you have a favorite type material, yarn, etc. you enjoy working with?

I like working with cotton, wool and rayon. I'm making much finer warps than I used to -- 20 ends per inch compared to 8 and 10 in the "old days" of lovely coarse weavings when the idea was to make sure it didn't look like it was machine made, then machines started making fabrics that mimicked handmade, go figure!

5. Who are your creative mentors?

Artist Lenore Tawney, Iron Age weavers, King Arthur stories, Sleeping Beauty who pricked her finger on a spindle, Rumpelstiltskin turning straw into gold. . .

6. What do you enjoy doing when you're not weaving?

When I'm not weaving, I'm thinking about weaving -- but I love hanging out with my grand kids. And then there's my job, teaching English at ISU.

7. What does your creative process entail?

Process . . .hmm. I'll get an idea from a book or memory, then I'll sit in my house and look at all the cones of yarn and imagine what colors and textures will make interesting cloth. I like having lots of yarns on hand, like having a box of paint tubes ready to be mixed.

8. Would you say your environment (where you live, work, play) influences your creative process? If so, how?

Yes, my environment influences my work. For local sales, I know I have to stay within a certain price limit, and although my customers like unique things, this is a pretty conservative (in terms of dress) area. But living with easy access to mountains, trees, sagebrush, farm ground, etc., gives me ideas for colors and textures. Also, being out of the rat race of urban environments provides a pleasant working pace. However, I would like to visit museums in large cities at least annually, and some day I would really love to attend a Paris Fashion Couture runway show.

9. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I don't like to think that far ahead at my age . . .

For more information on how to purchase Penelope's weavings, please visit her website: waitingforodyssiusweavings.com

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