Something quite wonderful happens tomorrow. Ron Bloom will have his first show, "Weaving to Tapestry" here in Portland, Oregon, at Terwilliger Plaza where we live.
He began to spin wool on a wheel made of PVC pipe. That was in New York, 2002, after he enjoyed the craft at a weekend at the two-acre Shady Grove Farm in Apex, North Carolina. Judy Tysmans was a patient teacher. My article on his early adventures (including my being butted by a goat--twice--during sheep shearing) appeared in the book, For the Love of Knitting under the title, "The Accidental Spinner, or Husband Discovers Wheel."
Long trips upstate to Countrywool in Hudson, N.Y, provided his first spinning lessons with Claudia Kriniski. When we visited family in Portland, his instructor was Laurie Weinsoft. (Her daughter is now our internist). It was and is a moveable feast.
For a while, Ron focused on spinning for his hats. He purchased a finer, beautifully crafted yew wheel, from Wallace van Eaton at the Eugene, Oregon, Black Sheep Gathering on another visit west. Took it back to NYC. He made, continues to knit his own variations of a button hat. Next, Ron began weaving on a rigid heddle loom; Linda LaBelle was his first and most significant teacher at her studio in Brooklyn, N.Y. Weaver, yarn dyer and writer, Linda now lives in North Carolina, travels the world working with indigenous populations to reclaim their fiber crafts.
Sheila Hicks, the noted fiber artist, catapaulted him further into weaving and tapestry. Hicks' 2006 show, "Weaving as Metaphor," at Bard College moved him deeply. Walking through it many times, he recognized In Hicks' work his direction, experimented with weaving small pieces on 6 x 11" picture frames. Hicks sensibility about her work resonates for Ron: this is tapestry because I call it that.
Tomorrow, eight years later, Ron Bloom continues to explore--colors and a wider palette of yarns, abstract designs, a tenement building, the Brooklyn Bridge, masks. A work in progress.
In awe, I admire his work and believe tonight's full moon is filled with symbolism for my spouse, self-trained, latelife artist.