Last month, Lise Silva Gomes hosted the first Wovenutopia dinner/gathering and it was fabulous. 

From the site

The hope of this space is to connect generations of fiber artists and admirers   through inspiration, studio visits, interviews, resources and platforms for dialogue, paying homage to the historically overlooked women behind the medium and the power of fiber arts to reflect and inspire social change. Based in the Bay Area, an epicenter for counter-cultural fiber arts in the 60s and 70s, Wovenutopia pays special homage to local Bay Area histories and influences in the fiber medium, as well as the deep ancestral roots of fiber around the world.  

If you click that site link above, there's a great story about Lise's path to creating this space, and it's pretty great and heartwarming. 

The dinner was held at Meghan Shimek's live/work space in Oakland. The space itself is full of her signature plush woven wool pieces, and the building hosts an actual jungle with birds and everything. Being from New England, the indoor/outdoor lifestyle of California never ceases to blow my mind.

(here are some art gals eating snacks and looking at some old-school fiber art pics.)

Maybe you've watched my YouTube video about the origins of Larkin and Larkin? Well, around the time of meeting The Wolf (see, if you haven't watched it yet -- you probably should just go watch it now, okay?) I also met this older lady artist, Martha, who lived up in Sandy Springs and had put an ad in Creative Loafing in an effort to sell some of the supplies she had collected over 30 years or so. It was at Martha's apartment that I first saw so many of the fiber arts classics -- like Native Funk and Flash and American Denim (along with countless DIY magazines, books and pamphlets). To put it as simply as possible, my world was rocked! As this was 15 years ago and the internet had way less content (including rare vintage books for sale and google images/pinterest to revisit the photos in them) I actually made photo copies of these books! I was in complete awe. Textiles have intrigued me since early childhood, and I longed to learn to sew for decades (several people attempted to teach me over the years -- but two were Romanian and one was my impatient nana, and they were all intimidatingly ambitious and I just ended up totally overwhelmed and put it on the back burner until later... which by cosmic coincidence, came by way of a barter deal I made with Workshop SF when I took their sewing bootcamp class  on the anniversary of my nana's death #alwaysinalignment). Once I finally had the skils, well shiiiiiiiit... it was on like Donkey Kong AS THEY SAY.  

Around the time I finally learned how to sew, I finally met Lise IRL (btw I said "IRL) to my brother in conversation yesterday, and not to blow up his spot, but I'm pretty sure he peed his pants laughing at my middle aged millennial internet brain damage) when I responded to her Instagram call for people who wanted to take the adventure of one of her guided meditations. As you already know -- ya girl is always up for adventure! It was a very interesting first meeting, and over the next couple years Lise mentioned this idea of bringing together fiber artists from the back in the day and today when I would see her or talk to her. 

Luckily for all of us, Lise is one of those rare people who makes ideas become reality!


(Lise with iconic fiber artist Janet Lipkin! Please do yourself all the favors and look up her incredible body of work. It's SO GOOD.)

>>>>>>>GROUP SHOT<<<<<<<

(From L to R: Kat Karnaky, Lise Silva Gomes, Lori Goldman, ME, Janet Lipkin, Kate Stevens, Jean Cacicedo, Alexandra Jacopetti Hart, Meghan Shimek I just want to add that I love that everyone in this picture is smiling! All of us are clearly quite cool, but none of us are too cool for school ;)

Here are some more pics from the evening: 

(Mega-cuties Jean and Janet. I mentioned Janet's iconic status before, but Jean's techniques with fabric are some of my favorite textile manipulations and her website is full decades of her beautiful work)

wovenutopia dinner larkin conroy kate stevens

Informal group shot. I've known Kate through the interwebs for years and it was great to meet her IRL <lol sorry, I can't help it>! She's been archiving her dad's INCREDIBLE collection of photographs from the '60s through '90s (as well as other artists, like the ladies at this gathering!) and I highly suggest checking out that Instagram account and following it right now. Speaking of <reductive internet ghetto> Instagram, Kate and I had been dragged into some particularly toxic "lady drama" about a week prior to meeting, so we had lots to gab about. But as you can see about me in any of this pics, I always have lots to gab about! Also: I just want to take a moment to publicly appreciate my hair. My hair actually has a name -- Flashbang (one word, named by an ex who was particularly good at naming things) -- and appeared to me during what I guess would be called "a nervous breakdown" back in 2002. I actually had short hair for most of my adolescence, but my hair communicated to me during a deep depression that it had a mission and an agenda. So, shout-out to Flashbang for reaching out and coming through. I luv u gurl. 

larkin conroy

Here I am again! This is my face/thoughts/heart while discussing copycats and internet dramatists (this is the overly expressive face/portal to my inner reality that made my life very hard as a waitress). Y'all, like why is the social media such a drama pit?! OK, actually I know the answer to that -- it's by design (stay tuned for that blog entry/dissertation in the future). This shirt is my new favorite and a score from the Bolinas Freebox. I'll show some better pics of it later. 

meghan shimek lise silva

Queens of the Eve: Meghan and Lise! Thank you ladies for putting this together!

Also: thank you to Erin Conger for taking all these fab photos. 

At some point in the near-ish future I'll blog some of my favorite works from all of the people who were here this evening. So stay tuned for that and in the meantime, please go check out all of these inspiring women's websites!

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