The Ox Cart Woman

IMG_4489

I’m thinking that “The Ox Cart Man,” a 1979 children’s book written by Donald Hall and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, may be the most appealing business model I’ve considered; except in my imagination, the ox cart would be an online post shared on facebook, of my fiber art for sale… The post would carry my work along, across the miles, so it could be shared more broadly.

IMG_1132

I envision that after posting a collection (batts, yarns, scarves, cards, tea cozies, book marks, wall hangings and other things) for sale, I could return to my basically-18th century mindset… hunker down for the winter at home and in the studio, til it seems time to load up the ox cart again.

IMG_3499

IMG_3498

Sweet vision.

Advertisements
Published in: on October 29, 2014 at 5:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Eco-Printing, Echo-Printing

IMG_5206

I’ve spent a lot of time this fall learning about eco-printing as if my life depends on it. My creative life does depend on this re-enchantment. I know it’s a luxury to set aside my to-do list, and play with leaves and berries and acorns, copper/tin/brass in an old aluminum roasting pan in the backyard, like some happy wood sprite.

What is so magical about this process of bundling natural elements into cloth and adding moisture and heat to create imprints?

IMG_5210

The echo of a maple leaf is thrilling, captured in an organic array of bronze, copper, tin, gold tones: it has given its design in a collaboration.

We artists all know that, try as we might, we cannot ever capture colors as perfect as those seen in nature; we cannot ever create compositions as perfectly balanced as the scattering of fallen leaves on any sidewalk or the soft ghostly imprints of leaves on the sidewalk.

IMG_5214

But with eco-printing we partner with nature to coax the contours, tones, textures and compositions; we know that in subtle ways the resulting chance alchemy will be superior to any deliberate effort on our part to mimic nature. We assist, we experiment — knowing that so many factors will influence the outcome.

There are many people who will look at eco-prints and think “hmm, smudged fabric.” And this is OK. There are the few for which these marks are almost spiritual: a kind of message, a whisper from nature in a language we are inclined to comprehend, if not master; and for which we’re so grateful.

We each have our talents and our gifts, and legacies we leave for those we love. I hope that my delight in creating in collaboration with the natural world, and continual re-enchantment with life will bless others.

I thank these artists for their inspiration and generosity in sharing about their eco-printing work and process: Lena Thynell, Nicola Brown, India Flint.

IMG_5213

Published in: on October 28, 2014 at 6:06 pm  Comments (2)  

New Work: Felting and Eco-Printing

IMG_5162

Here are pics of work delivered to The Gallery Shop yesterday for the November “Fabulous Fiber” display, a special month-long celebration of fiber that features all of the shop fiber artists (hand-made books, woven and felted and knitted wearables, quilted wall hangings, marbled paper and silk… and more). Highlights will include fiber demos each Saturday during November: weaving, spinning, knitting, quilting. Please check The Gallery Shop website and newsletter for details and times.

The first pic is of a double-sided nuno felted wrap, which is constructed of a top and bottom layer of collaged silk fabrics with a thin layer of merino wool in the middle. There are silk nuno felted fringes on one side and holes here and there through which you fashion the fringes to shape the wrap. I have to credit Jean Gauger with the design and for sharing so much about the felting process. Even though I have not (YET) attended one of her workshops, I consider her one of my teachers.

Here’s one side of the design of the wrap, which has a floral theme:

IMG_5173

And the flip side has a peacock design, in colors that harmonize with the floral side:

IMG_5172

Here’s one more detail that shows the richness of the colors. The fabrics include some hand-dyed silks, some from Suzanne Morgan and some from Lori Flood; as well as an eco-printed fabric, one of the first I did on already-hand-dyed silk:

IMG_5170

These next scarves are eco-printed. After four successive eco-printings using various elements that included eucalyptus leaves, local leaves, elderberries, chestnuts gathered in the neighborhood, onion skins… old tin cookies cutters, the lid of a copper vessel, I loved the results. These have been rinsed repeatedly, and the color remains:

IMG_5189

IMG_5202

There are so many nuances of color and pattern in these silk scarves, the photos don’t show them very well. I need to learn how to share them more vividly.

These next pics are felted scarves, some of them feature silk and curly wool locks that I hand-dyed. This one has soft yak fiber and some little dots in the surface layer, along with lots of silky fringes and curly locks:

IMG_5175

This one is geometric in design, very soft and light-weight:

IMG_5180

Some are very expressive and bohemian:

IMG_5182

So many blissful hours in the studio. I feel fortunate to begin studio days asking myself “What do you want to learn today?” and to live my life as a student, learning about art making and nature, focused on such beautiful fibers and fabrics. I hope you’ll visit The Gallery Shop during November if you’re in central PA!
There’s quite a lot of wonderfully-crafted fiber art to enjoy:

IMG_5204

IMG_5205

IMG_5165

Published in: on October 27, 2014 at 7:19 pm  Comments (2)