She who dies with the most fiber wins?


I love that wry saying, “She who dies with the most yarn wins,” because it expresses the reality of how much we love our “stash” and the optimism of being a fiber artist — as well as the challenge of battling the limitations of time and space and available resources.  I have a room filled with wonderful fibers.  Increasingly, I buy from, and sometimes barter with, people I get to know rather than big companies, and it feels good to support a small sheep farm, or silk fabric dyer, or a family-owned fiber business, or ceramic button maker; and to know that in some way I’ve helped sustain these efforts.  I’ll organize my stash and conclude that NOW I have enough for a lifetime, perhaps; and then… Ashland Bay announces two new merino tops in natural colors; or New England Felting Supply is getting some Finnwool in a deep moss green; or my supply of Wensleydale locks is looking sparse and Sheryl Meacham of Gwenyth Glynn Longwools can provide whatever colors my heart desires; or Suzanne Morgan creates some new dyed silk fabrics that look like poetry and a client asks for a nuno scarf using THAT silk, please.  And in looking at the photos I took in June and July of Ireland I see these same textures and colors of fibers that I’ve been gathering like wildflowers, the images and the fibers are synthesized.    Artmaking is a PHYSICAL endeavor for which we need raw materials.  How much do we need, and at what point does available funding or space or a desire for simplicity determine our limit?  Recently in the wonderful blog/website “Felted Garden,” the artist/author, Liz, questioned whether her body could endure the physical demands of feltmaking since she was dealing with carpal tunnel issues.  How many scarves does one feltmaker “have in her,” is a practical question.  I think this question drives how gloriously we aim to stock our stash as well as how we consider our work and the business of our work.    Many artists labor in the studio intensely, as if we might die tomorrow, AND as if we might live forever, putting every bit of what we know into a piece and taking extraordinary amounts of time for the details.   But having written all this, I really do think that once the Finnwool from New England Felting Supply arrives this fall I really will just hunker down and reduce my current stash — although there is some locally produced Icelandic that’s been calling my name…




Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm  Comments (2)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My stash keeps growing and growing in spite of my issues with my hand! My real problem dates back to my design days when I learned how useful it is to have every bit of any kind of color or supply you need to start a project at the ready (of course, other people were paying the bills for me back then!)…….As I work now, there always seems to be one color that I’m missing that will set this idea to the next level. I neeeed that color to the point that it becomes an obsession. My bins are overflowing with fiber and my head with ideas. But in saying that, I’ve become much better about not becoming obsessed with developing all my ideas at once and have been able to slowly have them evolve over months or seasons or even years. I LOVE designing, and I LOVE felting! I’ll teach myself to felt with my toes if my hands give out!!!

    • Yes, it’s a passion! If we ever doubt that our creative sensibilities are a deeply synthesized expression, we only have to remember the overwhelming feeling we get when we see JUST the color/texture/pattern/fiber
      that makes our hearts sing as if we’ve found an antidote. This sort of “knowing” is really a sublime feeling, and I think it fuels artistic exploration through lean times. To access this deep knowledge is to ride a kind of
      pure vibe: you know it when you’re feeling the wonderful flow of energy that tells you that YES! this is the work you need to do to get to the other side. And as artists, we are always just getting over to the other side.
      A process, never a destination. As we get older perhaps we work more with our minds and hearts, and learn to use our bodies more mindfully… sometimes. All the best to you always , Liz. I love seeing how your Felted Garden evolves, and is always fresh and original.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: