Batty

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Published in: on January 29, 2014 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wool Weather: for Fiber Folks

It’s a delightful challenge, to blend all sorts of fibers with a particular goal in mind. Working in my studio is like making soup in a kitchen brimming with fresh veggies, herbs and spices, except that the “staples” — like onions, potatoes, carrots, celery — are bright balls of merino wool; and the herbs and spices are silks, yak, camel, cashmere, Finn wool, CVM, kid mohair, Wensleydale… Just the names of the different fibers evokes abundance!
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Sometimes a theme will guide my selection of fiber: a winter sunset, thoughts of spring, the soft tones of a child’s little face… Other times my inspiration is a longing to explore pure color; or to work with a specific fiber, such as a downy, buff-toned alpaca fleece or fuzzy Finn wool or whimsical curly locks.
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I’m still learning how to craft batts, roving and rolags. Quality control is ongoing: I dissect my work in the
process of spinning and felting with it, analyzing the way it looks and works. My goal is a versatile, functional “art batt.” As I work, I see if there are layers of interesting color, sheen and texture; and how the amount and placement of merino in the batt functions in both wet felting, and in spinning — and then lightly felting — yarn.
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For many years, I worked as an illustrator, translating clients’ ideas into visible forms, developing logos, ads, posters, invitations, book illustrations…. Now, as a fiber artist, in addition to creating batts to use myself, I think I would also enjoy the challenge of crafting custom, thematic art batts for others to use for spinning and felting. What sorts of themes, goals, colors, joys, memories might be expressed via fiber — interpretations of others’ imaginations? How creative and challenging, to blend fiber to transform someone’s glimpse of an idea, and to conjure another person’s creative longing. I think it might feel like musical improvisation, or music that is commissioned. It would be a collaboration, although not shared in the moment as music may be. Knowing that the fibers I’ve chosen and blended would be used by another artist would be sweet…

Published in: on January 29, 2014 at 2:11 am  Comments (3)