Artist of the Week: Beryl Moody
Beryl Moody of Nevada City answered some questions for the Prospector about her artisticendeavors.
Town you live in:
I live outside of Nevada City on Banner Mountain.
What is your career and your current job title?
I retired from the telephone company over 13 years ago. Since my retirement I have been privileged to have the freedom to pursue my interests in weaving, spinning and dyeing.
Describe in a sentence or two your art.
I am a contemporary hand weaver whose focus is on complex structure and original design. My work is primarily utilitarian.
How long have you been working in this discipline?
I’ve been weaving for over 20 years.
Why do you do it?
What attracts me to hand weaving is the limitless range and variety of cloth that I am able to create. Since I dye and spin many of my own yarns and design my own weaving drafts, the potential for individual expression is endless. I embrace new weaving technologies, so there is always something to challenge me in taking that next step.
What do you hope to accomplish?
My aim is always to create textiles of quality and beauty.
Do you create your art with an exact message you want the viewer to receive and if yes, what is that message?
So far, none of my work has had any underlying message but I won’t rule it out for the future! Sometimes I design drafts that mimic geologic formations and many of my designs are geometrical or abstract, so there is always the potential for viewer interpretation.
Where do you want to be with your art, in terms of part time versus full-time status, art positions and where your works are seen?
Someday I would like to collaborate with an “Art to Wear” person. I have lots of ideas for using my handwoven yardage that needs the expertise of a creative seamstress or tailor in order to make a stunning garment.
What kind of special training did you take?
Early on in my weaving career, I took a two semester class at City College in San Francisco with well known weavers Deborah Corsini and Peggy Osterkamp. Since that time, I have studied network drafting techniques from the written works of Alice Schlein. I belong to a local weaving group, the Not 2 Square Weavers and an international group called Complex Weavers. Individuals from both groups are my constant mentors.
What’s your favorite part of your endeavors?
I love to throw the shuttle and watch the cloth coming to life. Seeing the interaction of color and weave structure is endlessly fascinating to me.
What’s your least favorite part of your endeavors?
Dealing with the inevitable broken warp threads and loom problems.
How many hours a day, or more appropriate, a week, do you spend on your work?
Typically I spend about 20 hours a week working at the loom, dyeing yarns, designing weaving drafts and doing finish work on scarves, towels and shawls. There is enough range of activity that it is never tedious work.
Do you consider it hard work and could anyone do it?
I don’t consider weaving hard work but it is a skill that takes time and practice to learn. Weaving is a rather solitary activity and it doesn’t suit every personality.
Any other comments you’d like to include?
Currently I sell handwoven shawls and scarves through Shawls Unlimited (www.ShawlsUnlimited.com) which is a locally owned Internet business. I also have online shops at 1000 Markets and Etsy. This year I will be selling scarves, shawls, towels and handspun knitted caps at Winterfaire, presented by the Craft Guild of Nevada County on Oct. 23 and 24 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. My work has received awards at the Nevada County Fair and the Conference of Northern California Handweavers (CNCH). I write a blog about my processes and to show finished work at BannerMountainTextiles.blogspot.com.
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