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Monday, September 03, 2018

Fiber: Out of the Box

NO, THIS DOESN'T REFER TO CEREAL!  

Rather...it's a show I'm participating in that challenges the artists to stretch themselves beyond their usual techniques, materials, concepts, and imagination.  Initially I was idea-less... and both awed and intimidated by the talent and creativity of my show-mates.

We were limited to three pieces, and wearables were discouraged.  I couldn't imagine even one piece, but suddenly the opportunity arose - quite by chance.  As a consummate repurposer/upcycler, I was determined to create something(s) that made use of "stuff" that I had already made for some other intention.

The Leaf-Fish began as a mystery knit-along from my long-time muse, Jane Thornley, renowned knitter, designer, novelist, and fellow Scrabble player!  I have never done a knit-along.  And for those who are not familiar with the term, it's a knitting project with clues released periodically with the resulting product unknown to the knitter until much later.  The first clue had us creating what appeared to be a leaf, but HUGE!  As I knitted endlessly for nights on end, I began to realize I was not terribly pleased with my results.  When I learned that a second leaf was to be created, I balked!  It actually was to be a front and then a back of a garment. I NEVER knit or crochet two of a kind of ANYTHING!  That means NO sleeves, NO socks, NO mittens or gloves, NOTHING that requires two identical parts.  And definitely NO identical fronts and backs!

Not wanting to have wasted my time, it suddenly occurred to me that this thing...this leaf....this knitted thing resembled a fish.  Could I possibly create a piece of "art" for the out-of-the-box show using this piece of whatever as the body of a fish?  How could I then take it beyond?

I was in the throes of a 4th amazing online felting class with the fabulous Fiona Duthie! From those classes, I produced a prodigious number of sample pieces which I have been determined to use somehow.  I have made a number of thee-felt bags, needle felting the samples onto the flaps of the knitted and machine-washed felted bags.  I made journal covers with others.  But I still had many hanging around, and a few even had colors and edgings that lent themselves to my fish.

I added crochet on some of the edges and sample pieces from Fiona's recent classes for fins and eye parts, a beaded eye, ribbon-stitched a piece of colorful wet-felted scarf to create a tail, wired and modpodged as necessary, mounted it (first on a rectangular piece of plywood and finally on a corrugated piece of science-fair board) and velcro-ed it in place.  This leaf-fish has endured a number of iterations, but the final creation is the one at the top.  It will be mounted from the wall but projected out about 2 inches.  It is done, I think.

Two other pieces have emerged as well.  But I'll save them for other days!


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

LOST time!

More pressing responsibilities have kept me from keeping up with this blog, but others have encouraged me to return to it.  It is shameful to see that I haven't posted since the end of 2016.  Much has happened in the interim, but the details are mundane, so I won't bore you.

However, in early 2018, a flood to our condo necessitated a total move-out and 4+ months to rehab it.  During that time, we lived in another unit in our building where I had a somewhat smaller studio space, no office space at all, and only some of my supplies.  I suffered the loss of many supplies (roving, yarn, storage units, and some furniture).  The major damage was structural to our unit and many others in our complex.  The enormity of the damages and the scarcity of skilled labor left us displaced for what seemed like an eternity.  We are back at home now - with a mostly brand new condo!  And now I can get back to creating!

I am scheduled to do a show later this month with two others from The Wilmington Fiber Arts Collective (Jan WutkowskiRebecca Yeomans, Louise Giordano) at the Brooklyn Arts Center, The Quilt and Fiber Arts Show.  It's Friday - Sunday, June 22-24.  Please mark your calendars if you have any interest in quilting, sewing, and other fiber arts, including wearables.  Jan, Becky and I specialize in wearable art in many forms.  Please feel free to visit our websites or FB pages to see more of our work.

My work is also viewable on flickr, Instagram, FB, and for sale at Port City Pottery & Fine Crafts in The Cotton Exchange in beautiful downtown Wilmington NC.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Year End 2016

Well, it has been almost a year since I posted here.....shame on me!  Life has gotten away from me this year, but then again, maybe that is every year!  I'm not complaining because my felting work has flourished.  Knitting and crocheting have taken a back seat, but not entirely.  A collection of Holey Cowls, based on inspiration from Jane Thornley, has emerged with many colorful designs that are terrific stash-busters!  They can be worn as capelets, cowls, or hoods.  Some examples below:





I've resurrected Bernadetta scarves that propelled me on this fibertastic journey many years ago. There is a story about the name on my website.  They were wildly popular at the time and then not so much.  I recently started to make them again, and they are selling!



And I have also been making Upcycle Scarves that were very popular several years ago.  They too have recently sold very well.


But the "Pi├Ęces de R├ęsistance" for me has been nuno felting that I am liking more and more!  It is not for the faint of heart!  But the results are just amazing!  Here is an album of my 2016 nuno felts.  I have one more that I'd like to make before the end of the year.  A few special ones:

   


I've been so fortunate to be ale to study felting this year with one very accomplished felter, Susan Garry.  She had me to her studio in Lowell, MA for a private lesson.  And this is the tunic I produced:


And my favorite news of the year is that I have been awarded a grant from the Arts Council of Wilmington to study with Jean Gauger, renowned felter, who incidentally was the very first person who taught me to nuno felt many years ago.  Since then she has become very much in demand around the world.  So I will travel to Stuart, FL to take a two-day workshop with her.  She recently told me that I was her first private student....so we have both come a long way since them - may 12 years ago.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Prolific Weekend!


This is Valentine's Weekend!  Nothing special planned, but had a very sad funeral to attend, and then proceeded to make felt.  And make more felt!

I've been looking for a workshop that I could reasonably attend sometime this year.  So far, I haven't found any that seem feasible - without spending megabucks and traveling very far.  I found a beautiful something new on a FB group for felting workshops, only this was an e-book offered by Merina Lanari on Etsy.  Using materials I had at home (cheesecloth, kitchen string, and of course, merino and silk fibers from my stash), I followed the directions - way mostly!  I seem to never follow patterns or instructions, preferring to use the inspiration and go my own way.  I think it worked!  And it is a technique I can apply to other types of nuno felting.  So I am happy!  It's very textural and dimensional.  I'm not into dyeing (yet!) so at this point, I'll be making these in natural colors (white and ecru).

Then....I decided to make some pin cushions, using supplies in my stash or given to me by other artists.  All four are made differently from one another and turned out to be different sizes and consistency.  But they are all fun, functional, and cute little gifts.

And then I decided to make a black, gray, and white nuno felted scarf including an experiment with cotton threads as a surface design element.  VERY effective, as it just pops on the black and gray wool.  The other side has a number of different silk fabrics in the color theme.  Happy with all these results....but not a little tired!

   

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I'M BAAAAAAAACK!

This morning I received a lovely message from someone who must have inadvertently stumbled upon my last post - NOVEMBER of 2014.  So perhaps it is time to resurrect this blog and at least bring you up to date with my happenings.  And there have been numerous happenings in my life!
It's so interesting to me that my last post was about the disarray of my supplies for all my creative endeavors.  Because in May of 2015 we put our house on the market, intending to downsize - for numerous reasons.  In July we purchased a condo (1000+ less square footage than our house!), and in September we moved.  We had as one of our goals to still have a studio space for me, and surprisingly, the new space is actually more convenient, more compact, and more amenable to felting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, and more in a lot less space.  I am actually quite pleased with this new set-up.

Our condo is in a wonderful location, close to shopping, cinema, restaurants, groceries....just about everything, and 15 minutes closer to my gallery.  My galley kitchen provides a perfect space for felting on a very long counter with upper ledge to keep materials dry, but an adjacent sink for the wet work.  Only drawback that I can see is not being able to engage in  very large projects.  If and when I want to do those, I will go to a friend's studio.


We had a beautiful storage unit with counter built in what is also my study and sitting room (also with pull-out couch/bed) and affixed a counter in the very large closet for my sewing machine and lots of other supplies.  It is all so much more efficient than what I had in my house.  And the kitchen has more cabinet space, so my most used felting supplies are right there.  Only the fiber and fabrics are in my studio/den which is only a few feet away.  All in all, this move has had a  a positive impact on my art work.

I have been focusing on nuno felt wraps or scarves that can also be used as wall hangings and table runners.  I have one hanging on my wall in the living room; when I want to use it as a table runner or wear it, I simply pluck it off the wall.  It is equally functional as wearable or decorative art.  In addition, my newest work includes felted journals, felted soaps, and an attempt to use up yarn stash by knitting and crocheting Cozy Cowls, Holey Cowls, and other neckwear.

So....I'm back!  Moved and settled in and able to create better than before.  Condo living also makes for less indoor and outdoor work, so my time is freed up more.  We are happy!

As always, you can see examples of my work on Flickr, FB, the Scarf It Up website, and the Port City Pottery & Fine Crafts website.


Sunday, November 08, 2015

MOJO RETURNS!

No kidding!  I feel like a new woman, but one with so many ideas now and no time to pursue them.  THAT frustrates  me enormously!

I attended the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild show at the Raleigh Convention Center yesterday.  What a beautiful show!  Now filled with inspiration and new ideas, I am experimenting with a small felt today, but I also want to finish my Jane Thornley knit creation so I can wear it to work tomorrow at Port City Pottery & Fine Crafts.  And it's Sunday, so my usual chores remain (changing sheets, all the wash, and making a trail down the middle of my place - at least.

I have wondered recently why I have no ambition to entertain, and now I understand why.  I had thought it was due to the upheaval (literally and figuratively) of moving, but now we are mostly settled, so it's time to devote to me and my craft.  Tough decision!  Need to nurture friendships and maybe develop some new (that's a completely different story!) in our new environment.  I would much rather just make my felts and keep on knitting.  I wonder what that all says about me and my priorities.

Here is the Jane Thornley design in stages of progress:





Thursday, November 05, 2015

LIFE HAPPENS!

March 4 was the last time I published anything on this blog!  That hardly seems possible, but then a few things have intervened:

  • Prepared to downsize and sell a house
  • Bought a condo but hadn't sold the house yet (June) - never a great idea!
  • Prepared the condo (painting, electrical work, custom unit for living room, custom studio design for me!, sliding screen door, reupholstering some furniture, etc.)
  • FINALLY sold the house (September!) and moved
  • Granddaughter's wedding in SC (August)
  • Trip to MA, CT, PA (August)
  • Visits from family from France (October)
  • The passing of a dear friend and neighbor (October)
That's enough to recall for now.  Meanwhile I'm still trying to get settled in the condo - downsized from almost 2900 to 1800+ square feet and manage to create some new work in felt, knot, and crochet.  My sales have been good for the past couple of months, so that is inspiring me to get going. I've found space in the new place to do it....as always it's a question of blocks of time to do it.  And it still involves using my kitchen counter once again, and in this galley kitchen, that means working around meal prep times and having it cleaned up nice and tidy!

I'm going to try to update this blog more frequently going forward - TRY!!!  I very recently documented my nuno felting process, and will post that in the next couple of days.  Many people have asked me how it's done, so rather than talk about it, I have photographed it.  That plus the resulting explanations will follow very soon.  Above is a taste of the resulting work.







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