Monday, August 8, 2016

Convergence 2016

Every 2 years, the Handweavers Guild of America (HGA) holds Convergence at a different location in the US - and for this year, it happened to be taking place in Milwaukee, WI, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from Chicago. It also happened to coincide with Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, IL; rather than going to both, I opted to attend the event that I've never been to that is technically further away from where I live, but much less of a horrific drive, if you ask me (or anyone who lives in Chicago proper - are you taking notes, Stitches Midwest organizers who are definitely not reading this blog??).

Anyway, my pal Lauren and I roadtripped to Milwaukee on Saturday to check out the Convergence marketplace and see some old friends - we both have spun on Team Louet for Spinzilla for the past 3 years, so of course we had to say hello to Dave from Louet:
L-R: Dave, Lauren, and Me. Gotta love convention center lighting.
The marketplace was small but had a nice selection of vendors. My main goal was to leave without adding any more yarn or fiber to my stash, and unbelievably, I succeeded (more on that in a sec). That's not to say there wasn't temptation - I think I have just gotten better about losing my mind and buying all the the things at such events. Also, I'm saving the blowout for Wisconsin Sheep & Wool next month.
The Convergence 2016 Marketplace
There were some really cool things on display, both on the show floor, and in a separate exhibit area. One example would be the Digital Weaving Norway booth, which had some amazing woven tapestry portraits:
The one pictured above (and all of the many others on display in the booth) were all created with a pneumatic computerized loom which was fascinating to watch. I probably should have taken a video of the process since there was someone doing a demo, but naturally I didn't think to at the time. One day I'll learn!

Schacht held a shuttle race earlier in the week which featured creatively decorated shuttles - these were the "People's Choice" awards on display in the HGA booth:
They also had some really interesting exhibits featuring art pieces and garments created by fiber artists. I took photos of a few of my favorites:
Shoal by Donna Kallner
Dragons and Winds by Sally Anaya
The Tao of Cats by Tien Chiu
There were also a few pieces which require a few photos to get a real sense of them if you aren't viewing them in person. This one won the first place award; from far away, it looks like it's all one piece, right?
Lossy Format #1 by Hallie Meltzer
But here it is close-up - it's composted entirely of crocheted "pixels," a fiber arts version of Chuck Close!
I also thought that this was interesting - again, from far away it's really tough to see what's actually going on:
L'heure Bleue by Deanna Deeds
It looks one-dimensional, right? But once you get closer, you see that's not the case:
Honestly, I think I liked the exhibit a little more than the marketplace, but I'm glad I was able to check out both. And, speaking of the marketplace, here are the 3 things that came home with me (along with some New Glarus beer of course - when in Wisconsin!):
After many years of admiring the handmade baskets that Susan Preuss has had for sale at various regional events I've attended, I finally bought myself a small spinning wheel basket for my Ladybug. I am so tired of hunting around for my orifice hook, which has a habit of disappearing right when I need it!

I also wanted to pick up some dyestuffs for some experiments and tutorials to share on this blog later this summer/early fall, and when I spied this small bag of "Instant Indigo" in the Eugene Textile Center booth, I was intrigued. I am definitely thinking of an ikat/indigo dye experiment.

My first purchase at the show was this pair of sheep socks in the HGA booth - they are really thick and I am sure they will be warm for the winter time! I couldn't resist adding to my fun/silly sock collection.

I'm glad I got the chance to go to my first-ever Convergence; I'm not sure where the next one will be in 2018, but maybe next time it's near Chicago I can take a class!

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing what other people create! That pixel tapestry(?) is wow! Just wow! Unbelievable!