Farewell to Kansas City

Wednesday, June 3, 2009; Goodbye to Kansas City
Today my workshop ended, and I am off to Albuquerque now. I was so caught up in my work that I didn’t take any pictures during the last three days. I also realized on Sunday that as I was blogging about the conference, I had not given any comments on the speakers or the ideas they were addressing in their talks. I’ll have to deal with that later.
The Free Form Crochet workshop was great. Tracy Krumm is a wonderful artist and she gave a good workshop. I realized some things about how I like to work. I like to make things, I like structure. I don’t want to paint and I don’t want to dye. I’m not interested in mixing chemicals and liquids. With the crochet I have been most interested in learning how to use the stitches to make sculptural forms. I stuck with the surplus materials I brought; I didn’t sample Tracy’s materials. She had some wonderful and interesting things, but in my gut I knew I’m not interested in new materials. I’m not going to buy new materials for my work. I am interested in going to the electronics surplus yard in Sun Valley when I get home to stock up on wire.
I became enamored with the crochet stitches, and the building of a form and that’s all I wanted to do. Some people feel they must try a little of everything in a workshop, but I go with what attracts me most on the day. I also didn’t sample the stiffeners or Patinas. But I saw the process, I have the supply list, I can return to it in the future. I just wanted to keep crocheting, making the stitches. This workshop was a chance for me to take some time to try something that’s been on my mind. For a while now I haven’t wanted to deviate from my weaving and basketry work, I wanted to focus and not be all over the map. But its summer now, I’m not working on anything specific; it might be a good time for a little deviation.
And then something shifted. I picked a net produce bag out of my stash today and started a coil with it, thinking I would experiment with crocheting onto a coiled form. And I had no patience with it. All day I was working on a copper wire tube, gradually increasing to make of wider, and I was loving it. As I walked away from the design building, headed back to the hotel to catch my shuttle, I felt something had shifted. Crochet is faster than coiling. There are other things about it that make it a great method to work in. Will I still want to coil?
One of the best things I learned this week is to wear compression gloves to work. Tracy opened the workshop on Monday with a discussion on safety in which she talked about preventing hand & wrist problems. Her message was practice prevention and it was an a-ha! moment. My view of those gloves was always that you wear them after you already have problems, or when a doctor tells you to. I asked Smadar to stop at a drug store on the way to dinner and I got two gloves. The benefits of wearing them were immediate. My hands were not as sore as usual when I finished working that evening, and they weren’t as stiff as usual when I got up in the morning. But I may have overdone it on the plane to Albuquerque. I was working on the copper tube and my hands were hurting. I pushed through one last row, and now my hands are quite sore.
The shuttle from the hotel drove straight down Main Street, through the Crossroads Arts District and downtown Kansas City on the way to the airport. I was a little sad to be leaving knowing I won’t be back any time soon. The people of Kansas City are wonderful, and have been wonderful every time I’ve been there. But its time for a change. KCAI has hosted the conference something like five times, and we owe them a huge thanks. We owe Jason Pollen a huge thanks, as well as everyone in the SDA who makes it happen.
So, goodbye for now to Kansas City, I hope to be back again someday.

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