Sunday, April 15, 2012

Common Threads

Halfway through writing this post, I stopped trying to map out all the connections. Suffice it to say, I think I'm about one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon.
After Math by Donna Kallner
On Tuesday, I took the day off to deliver work for an upcoming show at the Riverfront Arts Center in Stevens Point. Point is less than 100 miles each way, but I don't get there very often and I'd never met the new director of the art center. Within five minutes, we had discussed our mothers' wardrobe legacies (mine -- formerly white wool trousers now in the piece pictured above, hers -- a white wool wedding dress), and she had pulled out other work because I was dying to see it (Marilyn Annin had delivered her work already). By the time I left, I felt like part of the community and I was trying to think of ways to spend more time in Stevens Point. For now, though, only my work is there. I have 11 pieces in the Common Threads show that opens April 20 and runs through May 27.

When I got home from Point that afternoon, this was in the mail.

Evergreen Forest by John Malarky

John Malarky, a tablet weaver from Missouri, sent this for a project we're working on together. He wove the band as part of a Weavers Guild of St. Louis study group project to convert boundweave designs into tablet weaving designs (the draft is here, if you'd like to weave it yourself). I'm still mulling what to do for my part in this collaboration, and excited to begin.

When I first met John several years ago at a Midwest Weavers Conference, it took exactly no time for the conversation to turn to esoteric interests (mine -- looping, his -- tablet weaving). That happens often in the fiber community, and not so often outside it. I've learned to take pity on my neighbors, who may be interested in what I do generally but look like deer caught in headlights when I use phrases like "Fuegian coiling."

Speaking of neighbors, a neighbor came over on Saturday to help dig up some overgrown clumps of Siberian iris. Bill's hops vines will benefit from the removal. She and a neighbor of hers will benefit from these pass-along plants. We talked about the plant's hardiness, sunlight requirements, and bloom phase. She had other errands to run, though, so I didn't delay her by mentioning the plant's fiber qualities, when and how to harvest the leaves, or how nice the leaves smell when "mellowed" for weaving.

We did talk about her son's countdown to graduation from the university at Stevens Point. Notice how these threads connect? One of the pieces I took to the show in Stevens Point was another collaboration, one I did a few years ago with Joan Molloy Slack for a show in Rhinelander. At another show in Rhinelander, I met Marilyn Annin, who owns a piece I made from Siberian iris leaves.

The common thread that weaves together this exhibition, collaboration and pass-along plants is community. I think the current buzzword is "tribes." Whatever you call it, I never ceased to be amazed at all the ways we're connected.

I'd still like to meet Kevin Bacon.


  1. I enjoyed meeting you too, Donna. I am so excited about the upcoming show "Common Threads". We are always making connections and the universe seems to make them happen when they are needed. The turnout at the Yarn Bomb was just that kind of story. ....again.

  2. Saw the pictures of the yarn bombing on your Facebook page. Looks like they had a great time, and did a great job!

  3. Really enjoyed reading all the seemingly unrelated events becoming connected. Look forward to seeing what your collaboration with tablet weaving will be.

  4. Imagine what would happen if we tried to map all the online connections, Sherri. Maybe there's an app for that?

  5. If you would ever have some spare time on a trip to Point, let me know. Maybe we could arrange to meet. That's where I spent most of my time growing up, and I'm only 30 minutes from there now. I would treat you to lunch or coffee or ice cream... whatever I can bribe you with. ;-) there are good sources for all just a few blocks from the RAC.

  6. Sounds like such fun no bribe is necessary!

  7. Yes! Kathy, you have me dancing around the room. One degree of separation -- thanks for sharing that! I bet it's a good story?

  8. Donna, I too am showing work in Common Threads and I was suprised to discover that you will be teaching the class I recently signed up for at Sievers (Digital Fabric Design). I live in Stevens Point, just a few minutes away from RAC so perhaps when you pick up your work we could meet. If not, we'll meet in person this summer! More common threads!

  9. All those common threads just keep weaving together! Glad to meet you here, Susan. Will try to catch up with you in Point, and look forward to spending the week with you at Sievers!


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