CNCHnet . . . The Textile Arts Webzine of the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

Weaving on the Wall/ Recycled and New Fibers


“Caution” by Sandy Drobny 2009 photo by Sandy Drobny

The Golden Gate Weavers Guild (GGWG) recently had a weaving exhibit for six weeks in Oakland. This opportunity came out of the blue. The Guild was invited by the East Bay Municipal District (EBMUD) to submit a proposal for an art show. EBMUD has a large gallery in their Administrative Headquarters Building in central Oakland. The surrounding community is invited to submit proposals for art shows, each of which runs for six weeks, throughout the year. There is a very formal process for submissions which are reviewed by the EBMUD ART Committee. If accepted, the show is usually one year away. All previous shows at this point were paintings or photographs mostly by an individual artist.

One of the members of the EBMUD Art Committee, Catherine Anderson, is the daughter of a weaver who is a member of the Black Sheep Guild. Catherine persuaded the committee that the time had come to have a weaving show. Catherine looked at the website and found that the Golden Gate Weavers were the closest Guild in the area. In the middle of 2010, I received an e-mail from her as I was listed as the liaison. She invited the GGWG to submit a proposal for a show.

I presented this information at the next meeting of the Guild. The members were enthusiastic about this opportunity. I was asked to write the proposal. The formal submission had to include a proposed theme for the show and at least six photographs of current works that would allow the Art Committee to understand the content of our works. We also needed to guarantee at least 25 pieces and would have to include artist information, a biography for each artist and an artistic statement.

Our theme for the show was Weaving on the Wall/Recycled and New Fibers. We wanted to include all members in the show and about half the group were making recycled items. Many of our members make functional objects much of the time so having something that was to be hung on a wall was a challenge for us. Some members had exhibited quite a lot. Our members began making new pieces for the show although we were also willing to accept older pieces.

We set up a time line for things that needed to be done for the show. In October 2011 we had a program on hanging items. EBMUD uses a system that requires all works have a secure system of hanging that will not be visible. In April 2012, three of our members juried all the pieces that were submitted by members and we reviewed how they would be hung.

“Shopping Bag” Anne Maris, material plastic bags cut in strips 2011

“Ultimate Recycling” by Emily Brown 2012 -Linen and Cottolin

“Saki-Ori Vest” by Koko Baker woven with 1/4″ strips of an old pink kimono

By May 21st we had to submit a photograph for the postcard that EBMUD would provide to each of our 15 members of GGWG that were participating in the show that they could send to friends and family. EBMUD also sent a number of postcards to various galleries and newspapers to announce their new show. The photo at the beginning of this article was the photo that we chose. At the end of June we submitted artists’ statement which included insights, inspirations and information about the GGWG. This statement was printed and hung with the show.

“Quetzal” by Patricia Johnson 2012

“My Life” Shibori Scarf by Kate Colwell 2012

“Hello Dollies” by Susie Hodges 2011-2012

We had been sent plans of the gallery and we also visited it as a Field Trip. We were lucky that, on the day that we visited, an artist was hanging her show so we could really see and understand the hanging process. Before the scheduled installation date, which was the Guild’s responsibility, a committee of five people met twice and partially planned the hanging. I was fortunate that two members of the committee, Sandy Drobny and Anne Maris, had previous experience in hanging and told us that you cannot plan everything on paper as you need to look at light and how the pieces look when they are hanging and next to each other.

“Linen Rug #3” by Mary-Helen Binger 2011

“From Bags to Riches” by Jodie Schoenhard 2012 recycled plastic bags

“Tapestry in Black and Grey” by Sharon Lawless 1987 wool


July 10th was hanging day. This took most of the day with a break for lunch. We were fortunate that Koko Baker brought her husband along as he was very helpful making sure all the pieces were secure. We ended up with 41 pieces.

We were delighted that many EBMUD staff walking through the atrium as we were doing the hanging stopped to say that they liked our pieces, that it was so colorful and so different from previous shows. They were surprised by the bags made of recycled plastic bags and how varied they were. For many people the favorite pieces were the five aprons made by Sandy Drobny. I have included at least one photo of each piece from the 15 people that contributed to this show.
On July 19th a reception was held at the gallery by EBMUD. Many friends and family members attended the show and it was well received. We have learned a lot from this experience. We are planning to try for another show soon and know that we are well prepared from this experience.

“Mrs. Clean” by Sandy Drobny 2009 handwoven material

“El Venado” by Sandy Drobny 2009

“Moonlight” by Sara Ruddy 2011, Painted warp, rayon and cotton

I want to thank everyone in the Golden Gate Weavers Guild who lent us pieces for this show. I want to thank Emily Brown, Susie Hodges and Patricia Johnson for being Jurists. I want to thank Koko and David Baker, Sandy Drobny, Sharon Lawless and Anne Maris for being on the hanging committee and for hanging and taking down the show. It more work than I had anticipated, but well worth the effort. Many thanks also for the support provided by Catherine Anderson from EBMUD.

Silk Scarves all hand dyed at a Nancy Roberts Workshop. Scarves #1, #2 , & #5 by Lilia Rosenheimer, “Green and Gold” by Lynn Sullivan and “Sydney’s Rainbow” by Karen Tripp

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