This has been an incredible week in NYC filled with weaving, studio visits, art, delicious food, and wonderful friends both new and old. Here are some highlights of my trip:

This past weekend I had the pleasure of teaching a beginning tapestry weaving workshop at The Textile Arts Center (TAC) in Brooklyn. I designed my workshop as an introduction to weaving and tapestry techniques using the very simple frame loom. It is approachable, portable and user friendly which is perfect for new weavers, especially city dwellers with limited work space. I taught several traditional techniques and had the students make sampler pieces.

Noriko's sampler

 Cynthia's Soumak and Pile sampler

I celebrated my 34th birthday on Friday by treating myself to a ticket to The Whitney Biennial, where Sheila Hick's work was part of this year's line up of incredible artists. There was a really nice inclusion of fiber arts this year in addition to Hick's work, such as the tapestry work of Etel Adnan and knit work of Lisa Anne Aurbach.

Sheila Hicks at Sikkema & Jenkins Co in Chelsea

Sheila Hicks at The Whitney Biennial.

Followed by an evening birthday dinner at my favorite place, Frankies Spuntino in Carroll Gardens with my lovely friends, Agatha, Vanessa and Carolynn. <3 br="">

Mini Ice Cream Cones are perfect!

In addition to teaching, viewing amazing art and eating incredible food with friends, I had the great pleasure of meeting Erin M. Riley in her Bushwick studio. Riley is a contemporary tapestry weaver whose provocative work is gaining attention for what she calls "dark subject matter" and for the incredible skill and artistry that go into making each piece. We had a great discussion about art and craft and what it means to have a foot in both camps. Riley is paving the way for her contemporaries, proving that labels and boundaries in art are meant to be pushed. Her painterly woven tapestries explore subject matters on sex, technology and female drug addiction. Riley culls inspiration from her own personal experiences and explores her identity as an artist and woman through her incredible work. For me, this visit was a real treat. As both a painter and weaver, I have often had an internal dialogue with myself about the two mediums and keeping them separate. Is it okay to weave what you paint or draw? Discussing this with Erin was eye opening and inspiring and I am quite excited to get back home to Chicago and set work in the studio.

Pink Panties 2, 61" x 48", Hand woven wool tapestry

Sublime, 36" x 43", Wool, Cotton

Bandit, the cute dog from the studio next door to Erin's. He was snorty and sweet.

Liz Spencer works under the name The Dogwood Dyer. She grows natural dye gardens around the trees that line the streets in her neighborhood. She also forages locally around Brooklyn for things like elderberry which she uses to create gorgeous natural dyes. Liz and I sat down one morning at a local coffee shop before my tapestry class, to discuss future collaborations. Trained as a knitwear designer, Liz and her sweetie, a landscape architect, moved to Brooklyn where Liz began her natural dyes business 6 months ago. The Dogwood dyer is definitely a site worth visiting if you are interested in learning about or experimenting with natural dyes for fibers and cloth.

One of Liz's dye garden's from warmer months.

It was a wonderful trip! I am excited to come back to Brooklyn later this summer to teach again at TAC. There was so much to be inspired by and I feel a real clear direction both in my life and artistically. On a more personal note, I feel the truest to myself and the most alive and happy when I am teaching and/or weaving. These are what I am born to do. The opportunity to come to New York, do what I love and meet other incredible fiber artisans was such a special experience and I am truly grateful for it.