The Things I Used to Do – Textile Influences in New Mexico

Ghost Ranch rag on pipe


I used to belong to an art group that consisted of several artists from around the country. It seemed like a good idea to be with others who I respected and shared common interests in how we worked. Many had textile backgrounds and were recognized in the field of tapestry and stitch. We would meet somewhere in the United States that was inspiring for the one week of making and discussing, making and discussing.

The members changed over time. Some left, other joined and then it ended. The first one was one I set up at the original site of Black Mountain College. We had a large old house away from others at the location that is now a spiritual camp of some sort. We made our own meals, worked on a large covered porch, drank wine and talked art. Sometimes I read from Remembrance of Things Past by Proust. A couple of years later with some leaving and others joining, we met out on the Pacific Coast. It was on this retreat that I spent more time by myself and more time writing. And a few years after that we gathered at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. I took the picture above on a walk into the outback. I set out to concentrate on using just gauzy fabrics to capture visually how it felt to be there through layered images of what I saw.

Here are what ended up being some of the pages of a book.

Ghost Ranch Textile 1


Ghost Ranch Lizard


Ghost Ranch Holes


I liked doing these small pieces. And I liked sketching and walking and visiting. I also liked that I could get up extremely early and do my tai chi in the desert where no one could watch and prepare myself for how to proceed that day with fabric and thread – how I could ignore everyone around me until the magic hour of five o’clock when we gathered to show what we had accomplished, talk about our journey and drink the wine that made that last part easier to do. It was our final meeting. Life, careers and other more important things took our interest and time. I assume all of them are still doing their artwork. A few I keep in touch with, but mostly I simply remember those times as ones of great discovery about myself and my passions.

Ghost Ranch Sketchbook