About Me

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Albuquerque, NM, United States
I have been weaving Contemporay Fine Art Tapestries for over 20 years, raising a family in the lovely Southwest. I want to show process which usually gets a back seat to product and share the trials and tribulations as well as the joy and excitement of the creation of art out of a bunch of strings. How remarkable!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy Fall!;Harvesting and getting help!

I just wanted to get in this post before September is over , so again lot's of pictures.
A summer of hard work has harvested quite a lot both in the garden and in the Tapestry Studio. Squash and cucumbers and lots of beans. I usually only plant a purple bush bean but this year I experimented with the 3 sisters idea where you plant corn with squash below and runner beans that climb the corn. It seems to have worked! I will cook these tonight.
And I even managed to plant some fall crops of Cilantro, spinach and lettuces. The corn was sweet if not abundant.
I am happy that the squashes survived the attack of the squash bugs ( oh the battles I waged) and are still producing.
So all in all  another pretty productive garden season.
I will take pictures of the now monster Heirloom tomato plant I rescued for 99 cents ,and post them next blog as they are still ripening.

In the studio there has been much productivity as well.
I  had a bit of a scare that another gallery might close, but no, just a change of management. I stuck with them and now I have what looks like a small show at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History's Gallery Store as other artists pulled out in a panic. This is a great gallery and unique in having local artists work instead of the usual gift store stuff.
They sell my Tapestries quite well and now they have given me my newest apprentice,( I'm up to 3 now though one is on hiatus as she moves into a new home)
So I am getting great help asI go into the home stretch for my solo show.
These wonderful ladies are helping me with mailings and yarn sorting as I feverishly weave away. So much to do and now a little help.
Here is the front and back of the post card for my solo show in November. Please send me your address or put it in the comments if you'd like a hard copy sent.
 I have woven 9 new tapestries for this show so far and am about to start the 4 newest ones . 4 10 inch square
pieces  that I do to test a new warp ,
( just put on another 10 yards)
This will be interesting as i haven't done this size in this Series yet.
 Please go to my facebook page on the link at the top to keep up with the progress of the remain ing pieces as i have been posting progress pictures there. These are two of the last ones;

And now it's Back to the Loom! Happy Fall!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The End ( of Summer) is Near: Or How things get away from you

Yes another summer almost gone and now I think I am managing only a post every 1 1/2 months.

So in the interest of time economy there will be lots of pictures!!
   There is always so much more to do! But I am making sure I enjoy my garden , ( enjoy the pics) I finally grew some nice big ears of sweet corn, the sweeter for having grown it my self. And beans and squash not to mention the carrots and beets!!!
   And the tomatoes are starting to ripen. One plant I saved for 99 cents at a hardware store sale has outgrown it's large cage and the tomatoes are baseball to softball sized!!!
And I am making sure I am enjoying  my beautiful back yard and swimming in my awesome little pool ( 60laps /day ,it's a small pool but that's a 1/4 mile!)
Here is a great picture of the back yard and pool from when we were having such lovely storms, now it is back to hot and it 's all good!
 And now to work! I have been placing "In Progress "pictures on facebook . This has been a lot of fun
and please become a fan or friend and keep up with my progress getting work ready for my solo show in November. Here are a few that were posted in case you missed them. It is really fun to see them progress like this and it does server to mark and remind me of my accomplishments.
    And speaking of Accomplishments... A writer asked me for a higher resolution image of a Tapestry that was in the Bridges Art/ Math Show at Towson University Md last month.
   I had no idea she was writing for my favorite magazine Scientific American! And my pice is in the slide show of her article on the show! here is the Link http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=bridging-the-gap
How cool is that!!

  For any one interested and especially Tapestry Artists there is an online Yahoo Tapestry group that they could join. I am a member and there has been an interesting thread of conversation going on about the changes in the gallery systems due to our changing economic times. This is so true but I also feel it has been true throughout my entire career as a Tapestry Artist.
    Just when you think you have all your ducks lined up , one flies away,one gets eaten by a wolf,etc, you get the picture. And then you search about like mad to find another and get it lined up and it begins again. I call it the cycle of entropy and it's this same principle that is the reason why everything only gets dirtier and messier , never cleaner , unless we add our Positive, I repeat Positive Energy to it.
     Which is why I recently joined a very nice group of Artists,(many whom I have known for years but have been too busy and needed a reason to get back in touch with) in a Co operative Gallery. It's in the beautiful Village of Coralles just North and west of ABQ. I'll be working there in September on the mornings of the 11th, 17th and 24th. So if you are that way come visit, place a commission with me or purchase something from the Gallery( I get Gallery bucks to buy other artists work, a % of my sales so come help me out, I've got my eye on a few things.Above is a picture  of my Tapestries in the Gallery! But now it is , BACK TO THE LOOM TIME!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Finally Some Rain and Progress!

   Yes, the monsoon has finally come to the desert southwest and none too soon as the garden was fading away in the heat. But now there are actual Heads of Lettuce! and here is my first thinning harvest of Carnival Carrots and Beets!
    I have taken over the management of my website which actually meant nothing gets posted. Until today! I finally have 2 new images from my May Solo Show about Mathematics up and watermarked. Oh the learning curve on these things. I hope to get a thumbnail page up for each Series as well as a Sold and Available page.Let's see. You can visit the website through the link in LINKS TAB.
I have a New solo show coming up in November. Entitled " FRACTURED SQUARES; Fine Art Tapestries of Donna Loraine Contractor" it will open November 23rd at Marigold Arts,( on Canyon Road in Santa FeNM) with a reception that day, 4-7 pm, and will run until January 2cd.

   I have been posting the progress of the pieces for this show on Facebook which really puts the passage of time into concrete reality. Here are a few of the progress photos if you haven't been following on Facebook. ( Again go to the face book tab and join the FB Fun if you haven't already).These are 4 "skinnies" which will be 63"x10" and they seem to be taking forever, they start out as selvedge (sides of a tapestry) to selvedge, but are actually all tapestry as I do 4 at a time as you can see! Photo at top was the beginning, and left is where I ended yesterday. The real tapestry fun part. These are done as I go with only a few "Rules" to guide me. No Cartoons or sketches. Oh the fun of flying by the seat of your pants!
      The way that everyday life inserts itself into one's working life, especially when you are self employed. I had multiple out of town guests, A crazy virus got me and made me think I had Meningitis and then my son got it and I had to mother him and reassure him it wasn't! But now I think the ball is rolling again ( until the next crisis?) and I hope to finish these tomorrow or Thursday.

Here is a Large Square Tapestry for the November Solo Show in progress. I hope to use it in the post card for the show.
But for now I'd better Get BACK to the LOOM!

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to be Busy without really trying!

   Oh, yes everything just got busier and busier. It's been too long since my last post . The garden is all planted and replanted. The Solo Show is up and plans are in the works for the next one.
an in progress piece for NEW MATH PLUS
This is how the main wall at the "NEW MATH PLUS" solo show started
This is what it ended looking like after selling the rust piece on the right and shipping the blue piece off
   The solo show has been so good that we've had to change it up with new pieces as others sell. That kept me busy. And this was the first time I used social media to promote a show and invite people to the opening. the response was very good , with people attending because of the posts and a Local Magazine, "ALBUQUERQUE the MAGAZINE" wrote a very nice article about it because , partially, I friended the magazine and the editor. So I guess it works, but it's also fun to get feedback , especially on in progress pieces.
  How many things can we do at the same time, or even at different times? I've been juggling for  a while now and will be soon again, but , because this is my birthday month and I'm going to celebrate the whole month, I am slowing down this month of June . ( I say that now but I have solo show planned for November, hope I can wait to crank up the pace until July 1st, ( yeah right sure)!
I'll catch up on paperwork, clean this dust bunny filled studio, and lounge poolside a bit. The water lily above is in my pond which I get to enjoy poolside
  Especially since I just shipped off 3 pieces to Towson University in Maryland. They were accepted into a joint show on Math& Art, put on by the ART  Department of the university: Here is all their info if you are in the neighborhood-

Connections Between Art and Mathematics Juried Exhibition
In conjunction with the Bridges Conference, the largest mathematics
and art interdisciplinary conference in the world, held in 2012 at Towson
University, this large exhibition will be installed in the Center for the Fine
Arts Gallery. Juried by Gallery Director, Professor Christopher Bartlett and
a panel of Bridges organizers, it represents over ninety participants from
over thirty countries with art that incorporates mathematical themes
and concepts. With 130 works many media are represented including oil,
watercolor, digital prints, metal, wood and 3-D printed sculpture.
                                                                                                                   LOCATION Center for the Arts, Center for the Arts      Gallery
ON VIEW Saturday, June 30 – Sunday, July 29, 2012
OPENING RECEPTION Friday, June 29, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
GALLERY HOURS Tuesday—Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm
Information: 410-704-2808 · www.towson.edu/artscalendar
Admission is free and open to the public.
Gallery Director: Prof. Chris Bartlett
Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education presents
Bridges: Connections Between Art
and Mathematics Juried Exhibition 
( a month long exhibit , that "BLUE KOCH SNOWFLAKE FRACTAL, in the middle above) was accepted into) and the BRIDGES organization who hold a conference every year on the interdisciplines of art music math and architecture. Here is a link to them, http://bridgesmathart.org/bridges-2012/
So except for checking to make sure they get there , I wait for them to return. I wish I could build some kind of technology into them so I could eavesdrop on their adventures. I am also looking forward to any connections I can make with the participants in the show as well as the attendees. I hope to attend one of these one day but weaving and teaching schedules so often get in the way.
 So I think I must do one paper work chore and one cleaning chore before i go off to swim.
 And then tomorrow I will tie on the warp again and be BACK TO THE LOOM!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Really Feels Like Spring!

I think spring is rather early this year and I'm definitely ready for it. My sciatica has almost healed and I'm ready to start digging in the garden!
And have you heard of TAFA ? They are the Textile and Fiber  Art List and they just featured tapestry on their website.  You can see it here;   http://www.tafalist.com/t-tapestry
They are doing a membership drive and have great offers so if you haven't joined  yet now's the time.

 And  the good news is I've found a venue for my NEW MATH show at  my beloved TAPESTRY GALLERY in Madrid New Mexico.Called "NEW MATH PLUS it'll be from May 5th through June 16th with an opening day reception on Saturday May 5th , 1-4
With Judy's cookies and tea among other goodies! 

There are so many reasons to go to Madrid, it's a beautiful drive from Albuquerque or Santa Fe,scenic route 14! From ABQ on the other side of the mountain, don't miss the Talking Talons Thrift store! One of my favorites! and in Madrid there are 2 wonderful antique and general cool stuff stores. One is owned by my Albuquerque neighbor, and is called The Real McCoy.It is just south of town and filled with all kinds of wonderful collectibles that Robby has collected . She also makes dulcimers so there are lots of musical instruments around. The Other store is called RED BONE, and it is in the middle of town, up the stairs on a boardwalk type platform. It is a visual feast of a consignment type antique  collectible store. Theres's a downstairs too that's filled with vintage clothes. And before the reception you can eat at the magnificent little restaurant MAMA LISA'S Which is right across the street from RED BONE. The beet salad is always good and big enough to share, but their mexican fare is fab and everything tastes healthy and good for you. And the deserts are to die for, in fact it used to be called the NO PITY CAFE! They are all delicious but definitely try the Red Chile Chocolate Cake!
Now to a sneak peek at one of the NEW MATH pieces; This one is "SIERPINSKI GASKET FRACTAL, rusts"
The inverted white triangle begins the function , which is subtractive. So you "cut out" ( the black triangles) the triangular middles of every subsequent white triangle. The areas of the white triangles approach the infinitely small but never disappear!
But now I must, as I have the finishing work to do on a new piece. So many knots to tie!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Passings in the Tapestry World

  Yes ,  there have been many changes going on so far this year. And last year as well. Tapestry lost an great and influential artist last November with the passing of Janusz Kozikowski, my friend Nancy's ex husband and her son David's father. He has done some of the most fantastic tapestries ever and his work has always been an inspiration to me. I only met him once, at the opening of "The Thread of New Mexico"exhibit we were all in at the Albuquerque Museum in 2001, and there is an accompanying book that you should

try and get a hold of if you can( in fact here is a link to buy it that helps our Museum foundation
 http://newmexicocreates.org/product-11969/The-Thread-of-New-Mexico?category=58 ,) . In it is a prime example of Janusz's work  "Chair Series in Red" and it's one of my favorites. He and his talent will be missed.
  A big change for me was the closing of the Weaving Southwest Gallery, ( just the physical gallery space, supply store and on line gallery are still in operation.) I was getting ready for another Solo Show there as my Solo show at WSW was so successful last year. There still may be a possibility of the show, for which I have 11 new pieces of my "New Math; More from the Universal Language Series", at an alternate location .
 We shall see what happens. Soon after the announced changes up in Taos the Tapestry World suffered another loss, Rachel Brown,

Founder of Weaving Southwest passed away. (Here she is in front of one of  My pieces at the gallery!)  . I have known Rachel for many years and had heard of her before I was even doing tapestry as Rachel's ex husband Malcom  Brown and his sister Kristina had grown up in Taos with my mother in law. I heard stories from my mother in law similar to the ones in the "Three Weavers" and on  one visit (my mother in law lives in India) we went to the "NewStore" Rachel had opened in Arroyo Seco.  I soon started my weaving career, influenced by my then mentor Victoria Rabinow at the Santa Fe Weaving Center. Soon I was making rugs on my own after being a production weaver, then Rugs with pictures = Tapestry took over my interest entirely.
I went up toTaos armed  with my early tapestries which had large landscapes surrounded by colorful frames, made from my $3/ pound Webs yarn. Rachel graciously agreed to show my work and began hinting at changes that could/ should be made. I soon switched to WSW's hand dyed yarn.
 Several years later Rachel, James ( then Jeremy) Koehler, Donna Martin and I formed a group of New Mexican Tapestry Artists, and after much sending of portfolios 3 of us( Rachel, Donna Martin and I) were chosen to show at the Pima Art Gallery in Tucson AZ during a 1999 American Tapestry Alliance Symposium.
This was so much fun. My whole family came and when they were out sightseeing I hung out with Rachel and Donna in the room they shared. Rachel gave a wonderful talk and on an afternoon off Rachel and Donna joined our family ( we all crammed into one car, much laughing) on a tour of the Tucson Desert Museum.
Years later, when ownership of WSW had passed to Pat Dozier, I had a solo show on Mathematics . Rachel was very appreciative of this show and her compliments meant a lot to me. She especially loved the "Golden Mean Spiral" ( Which also won an ATA award at IWC that year) and talked about how she would love to have it but it was too big for her downsized space. She had recently moved due to declining health and her back caused her pain much of the time.
I made this smaller version just for her. I continue to be inspired by her  beautiful  tapestries and her great sense of design  and color ( always very different then mine, those at WSW always joked Rachel is a E , the lightest shade, Donna Loraine is an A). We will miss her continuing great influence  but her great influence will live on in her Tapestries, Books and those of us she mentored so graciously. Thanks Rachel.
   So now to what's on the loom , the last of my "New Math" pieces until I know more about what is going on. Oh Confusion! Good news is That the Albuquerque Museum 's Gallery Store sold my first large piece,!
until now only mediums were being shown and sold. And also I finally made it into one of the American Tapestry Alliances biennial's , I entered the last 6 with only rejection notices to show for it. This is better. The thing to remember about any group show you enter is that your piece of art, no matter how fantastic , could always be rejected just because the confluence of Juror's tastes, who and what other artists/ art is entered and what vision of a Show is conjured up to that juror(s) at that time, etc etc It's a wonder that shows get put on with all the decision making that has to go on. I've been on both ends of this and the show that happens is only one of many possibilities and which is/ would have been best is anybody's guess sooooo I'll just keep on entering, especially to shows whose sponsor's cause I believe in, ( my way of donating.
And here is my husband's Architectural Offices ( DNCA http://www.dncarchitect.com/DNCA_Architect___Home.html) with nice big white walls for 2 of the "New Math" pieces to be seen by his clients.
 At this point I usually say back to the loom but instead I'm going to soak in a tub. This posting is late partly because I wanted to digest it all and let the air clear for those actually involved and partly due to an attack of sciatica which made sitting at the computer too painful, (Icould stand just fine which made me glad of a standing loom) Healing up and hoping this will do the trick so off to the tub, then Back to the Loom!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Year of the Dragon!!!!!!!

Yes! The year of the Dragon! One of my favorites. I do a whole series of tapestries based on Feng Shui 

( let me know if you want to special order one, all sizes welcome for commission),          

                        and the dragon is one of  the most used "cures". Here are a few of mine.

Accomplishments for 2011 were many, 3 pieces accepted for a public Art competition, 2 solo shows, 2first prize awards, over a dozen new tapestries created and over 20 sold.
Of course there were many setbacks and problems, a studio flood, a home burglary, a husband falling off a roof ( he survived with only 3 broken ribs, lucky) 
and my poor website person was diagnosed with leukemia which has delayed our plans for revamping my website, which we are finally back to. The domain is now registered to me and we are switching to a Wordpress site so I can add and edit at will.
But since I haven't posted to the blog since november I better get back to it if i want to keep up  to date.
I'll announce it when it's all ready
                                                                                       Back to the new year,I prefer this Lunar New Year to the Solar one , which is just too close to all that Christmas etc stuff and the end of the year. Speaking of christmas here are some pics of our tree this year,we bought a tree cutting permit at the Jemez Cultural Center ,drove up through the beautiful snowiness, then hiked in to pick and cut the tree.   

 Since the middle of December  I have completed 3 large tapestries, 2 medium sized ones and 4 10"square "smalls" here are the smalls and mediums in progress . I think I was too busy weaving away to document the large ones

 These are from a new show i am putting together  called "NEW MATH" where i am revisiting m "Universal Language Series, doing some previous designs in different colors as well as exploring some early female geometers and new fractal patterns. Sick at home today, so instead of my usual, "Back to the Loom" It's, back to finishing the little straightline spirals (left0, take a nap, work on website, take a nap, post on TAFA http://www.tafalist.com/, take a nap.

Feng Shui Series- "Blue Water Lotus of the North"

Feng Shui Series- "Blue Water Lotus of the North"
I sold this piece on line immediately upon launching my website!