Elsa Knows How to Relax

Elsa, the four-year old “Lab in Drag” (Labradoodle) we adopted in August.  Yeah, she’s fully settled in.


Published in: on January 31, 2012 at 8:21 pm  Comments (2)  

Hand-Spun “Improv” Yarn

Here is a highly kinetic hand-spun yarn.  I added strips of pale rose-colored hand-dyed silk fabrics and bit of chartreuse hand-dyed silk fiber,  as well as juicy orange curly wool locks to augment the variegated merino/silk blend roving, deep plum roving,  and spring green Finn wool batt.  The result is a loopy, happy yarn waiting to be lightly felted to set the twist and let the fibers “bloom.”  I can’t wait to use this yarn.

Published in: on January 31, 2012 at 8:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hand-spun, Lightly felted and Knitted into Lacy Collars, with Hand-dyed Silk Accents

Published in: on January 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Felted Cards in Progress

The cards came out very cartoony.  Sometimes it seems like I’m just following directions that emanate from the work-in-progress, and this was the case as I slowly embroidered the small pieces of colorful felt to get them ready to glue on blank cards.  Not yet sure what the title of this series will be; a title usually comes to me as I’m gluing the felt onto the cardstock…

felted card in progress

Published in: on January 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Great Studio Weather…

Outside: snow flurries, with wind gusts to 35 mph — it feels like five degrees.

Inside: A table filled with layers of fiber, the start of about 40 cards made of wool, silk fibers and fabrics, curly locks, fuzzy hearts cut from a piece of Finn wool prefelt I made a few weeks ago; and my hand-spun yarns coaxed into shape.

Next: I’ll cover the fiber with a door screen; then wet/felt/full/rinse; cut into individual cards and then work on each card to enhance the designs and get the edges “just so” before laying them all out to dry; then glue images onto blank card stock.

Felting, like chopping wood, is a good way to get warm.

Published in: on January 13, 2012 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Improv Spinning

There’s an interesting conversation taking place on the Facebook site of fiber artist Lexi Boeger, a.k.a. “Pluckyfluff.”  For fiber lovers and others, it’s worth taking a look, as spinners collaborate to figure out what to call this very free-form spinning that yields “art yarn” — yarns that are works of art.  Some of these yarns are functional in the traditional ways that yarns are used; some are not intended to be functional.This is a new-enough way of considering and crafting yarn that folks are still figuring out how to define it and what to call it and how to refer to those who create it.  It’s exciting to see, in real time, discussions about this green and tendrilly growing edge of fiber arts…  When I spin “art yarn,” I feel akin to a jazz musician playing improvisational music, taking cues from everything around and within and being open to change, wanting my creation to evolve and be alive and in-the-moment and unique every moment.  So I think of it as “improv spinning.”

Published in: on January 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Turbo” Art Yarn Collars

My hand-carded, hand-spun art yarn — knit with circular Skacel “turbo finish brass tipped” needles.  It took me five tries to figure out how I wanted to do this.   The stitch is very lacy and stretchy, and highlights the kinetic, thick-and-thin, twisty (turbo!) nature of the yarn.  These samples show how two small skeins look when each was knit and embellished with some hand-dyed habotai silk ribbons.

Published in: on January 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm  Comments (2)  

Following Your Bliss

Artists are no more or less immune to relentlessly workaholic interior monologues than other folks.  I think we just talk back with more conviction, because we know that so often the right prompt is a quiet voice, and we hear that guidance best by becoming still, even for a little while.  When we feel enthralled by some process or theme, how much of our artistic “to do” list can we afford to discard in order to pursue this deeply satisfying creative direction?  How do we discern self-indulgence from true calling?  Given the overwhelming busyness of each day, how do we find appropriate discipline and sane time management while following our bliss?

Deadlines and commissions and other commitments can help or hinder our artistic growth.  It takes many hours to master a craft.   If one accepts conventional ways of  determining time as “well-spent” or “wasted,” then achieving mastery in a craft may lead to misery rather than bliss.

My heart skips a beat when I’m on the right track in my studio work, and when I feel this thrill I know that the way I’m spending time is a kind of essential nourishment.  Is it indulgent to express one’s own unique vision:  to take the time to synthesize what one knows and knows how to do, to create something new?

For professional artists, the business of art in a challenging economy may suggest that spending lots of time on each creation is not financially viable.  Despite this challenge, it’s important to continue to explore and grow.  When I’m in the studio on a good day — surrounded by fiber and full of ideas — it feels like falling in love, over and over.  Sometimes, working on a complicated piece feels like a difficult conversation: the outcome is an unfolding dynamic; how will it turn out?  Sometimes the tedious parts of the feltmaking process feel like scullery work and demand patience and care and a sort of submission: I cannot create a glorious nuno scarf without slowing down so much that I am having to remind myself repeatedly to slow down even more.

Each artist continually navigates the balance of “following your bliss” and following through with responsibilities, promises, mundane tasks.  Inspired, bliss-fueled art work glows.  Choose bliss.

Published in: on January 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rhapsody Rose Felted Corsage Pin Donation for State College Choral Society Silent Auction

Wool & Silk fibers and fabrics; curly wool locks; hand-spun yarns; glass/pearl/vintage/crystal/turquoise accents and just a bit of embroidery combined in one funky felted functional item to benefit the State College Choral Society fundraiser.  My number one new year’s resolution was to attend more live music events; it’s only natural that I should support local music.

Published in: on January 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Spinning Art Yarn

I’ve been spinning small skeins of art yarns, tied up with bright yellow yarn, using mostly merino and silk and curly locks, baby camel and cashmere.  From these skeins I’ll knit soft cowls that I imagine will be like little hugs.  The temperature here this morning was 8 degrees.  It feels good to be surrounded by fiber: the softness and warmth balances the sharp needles of frost that have been climbing up the windows.

Published in: on January 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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