Making Fiber Art: It is all in the details

Making Fiber Art: It is all in the details

Check this out. This is my most recent yarn…

It was made from this fiber I dyed a couple of weeks ago. The first in the new dye space.

So this fiber was a miss mash of mill ends, farm wool, angora from my late great bunnies, and sole roving ends. I could not tell you what breeds of wool was in there. This was in a box and I just needed it dealt with as opposed to actually having to sort it into the organized stash. I did not even bother to card it all together. I just dumped it into the dye pot. It was my first run in the new dye space and I just needed to see if my set up needed tweaking. When I spun it up, I just divided the whole batch in half and set about spinning it up into a mindless two ply I could make while watching a movie and using my espinner.

There is something about the mishmash of subtle textures that is just awesome. Look closely, you can see a sheen from a mixed fiber containing silk, some fuzz from the angora, rich colors where the dye strike was deeper in one type of wool compared to another. There was also a good bit of white in this batch. I know so many dyers hate having white in their batches. I think the white provides a much needed separation in some of the colors. The white also affects the range of values for the colors, adding a lot of depth within the yarn.

Check this Superwash BFL dyed and spun similarly. While this is a lovely even yarn, there is something predictable about every inch of the texture. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is interesting how just the subtle difference in the wools of my recent yarn adds so very much interest was. This yarn was also dyed with no white, and a smaller range of colors that were within the same value.

You can see while these yarns are similar, the subtle differences will affect how I use each skein.

While I love this new yarn and I am all about art weaving lately, I have to admit, I do not think this new skien would be best suited for art weaving. I think the texture would get lost against the warp (I am not a big fan of weft face weaving). There is a lot going on within one skien, so there is not much need to add to that visual language with other yarn. I really would like to use this skien in some knitting. But chances are I will need to add come other skiens to stretch the yardage for a project. Those yarns will need to just amplify what is already going on in this skien, be it a color, of texture. That may be as a compliment or a contrast.

The BFL skien however would be great in some art weaving. It has a subtle enough variegation to make a weaving section to work in concert with other sections and a panel as a whole.

So yeah, for me fiber art is not necessarily about high end materials or even the techniques I use, as much as it is finding the the ways to show off the best part of each material and technique in a whole piece. You kind of have to really get down to the details of your work and how each bit contributes to the aesthetic of the whole. It is really not that different from what you may be doing as a hobby knitter/crocheter/weaver, It is really all about being thoughtful and observing how each of your choices affect your project as a whole.

Want to know more about how to take turn your knitting/crocheting/weaving hobby into honest to god fiber art? I am hatching a new offering. Sign up here to get updates and notices for when these lessons go live.

100 day project

100 day project

I know this is totally last minute, but do I dare to make the blog my 100 day project?

It certainly would stretch my comfort zone. But then again it would totally fullfill one of my big fat business goals– blog more.

I mean a part of me wanted to fold the #30daysartjournaling into the 100 days, but then again that might be cheating a bit. Hell I suppose for 30 days I could always just fall back on posting some journal pages…

So without any forthought or any prep whatsoever (prep=nailbiting and stressing), I am daring to jump head first into this 100 days project and doing it.


Today is an art center studio day. Glass studio is tonight and I tack on a few hour of clay studio while I am there. I usually wake up with ideas, eager to get there. I will not allow myself to go until I get my work done for the day. I’ll admit lately I have not been piling on ANY admin tasks to complete on Tuesdays because I want to make sure I can get to the studio by 1. That has gotta stop, I have some major projects in the works.

The plan is throw more mugs. I am in the thick of learning all about glazing. AND I am trying to wrap my brain around how big/small to make my mugs to account for shrinkage. So here is hoping I can crank out 8. I average 5, last session I hit 6.

Time to hit post and get to work… so here is to day 1 of 100 (gulp). See y’all tomorrow.

Getting back to the art journals

Confession time….I have fallen hard off the art journaling.

While I would like to be able to say I am one of those people who can not live without her paper brain, lately that just has not been the case. I have always admired the sketchbooks of artists who are constantly working in them, Those books are a work of art in and of them selves. And I have seen first hand in the Graphic design industry, how those journals have helped some of the most successful creatives in the industry grow their work. Those journals are how they process ALL their ideas into form. It is how they keep their creative brains limber. It is where they let their creative ideas play and grow without judgment or outside influence.

I find artists are pretty polarized when it comes to working their ideas out on paper. I once taught a college level design class and required the students to keep sketchbooks as well as provide thumbnails and roughs of their work. Half the students hated going through the documentation process, thinking it was wasting creative time. The interesting thing was it took those students more time to do the work, and they did not have a reference to refer back to for future projects.

Since the beginning of the year, I have been in a much needed creative flow. Finally settled into a routine in my new town, with an amazing new studio resource available to me, I am awash with so many ideas right now. I am so grateful and it i like a breath of fresh air after 2 years of stagnation while we sold our house and moved. But alas, my ideas are scattered among so many tiny little notebooks. It is time to wrangle those into one place. Here are some of the things I need to document

  • I am on the edge of a new body of work with my weaving integrating my new love of clay
  • I have been in the thick of a LONG website overhaul and with each page I start to rework, I find 3 more pages that need to be redesigned or created altogether.
  • I am developing a series of dyeing tutorials and will have copious notes
  • I am making clay stuff and have so many new ideas I just can not keep up with them all.

 

I have an art journal that I started last fall that has been shaping up very nicely. I am loving all the pages so far. Liking them enough to be afraid to actually write  on them! I have added quite a few pockets, not just because I have written my notes in other notebooks, but because I am kind of afraid to mess up my book.

BUT…If I were working in my journals on a much more regular basis than I would be less afraid of messing up.

So if I understand why journals are so important , than why the hell do I fall of the habit? A few years ago I created the 30 day art journal challenge as an exercise for myself to get back into the art journal groove. And Ironically as I am finding I want to get back into the journaling groove again, I am also in dire need of updating the 30 day art journal challenge.

So here is my accountability, For the next week I am posting my daily journal work to my Instagram. In the mean time here is a journal flip of my current book.

 

 

Want to join me in the 7 day journaling challenge on Instagram? Leave me comment below with your Instagram link and use the hashtag #7dayartjournalchallenge on your posts this week.

Other art I do

Other art I do

I suppose you could say I have always had a thing for art. Most of us creative types generally do. Once we are introduces to crayons and the ability to make marks to express what is in our noggin, we are hooked. I have always been an advocate for having some creative projects that are not connected to how you make your living. Something that is not influenced by trends or kudos or profit margins. For me that means stepping outside of the medium that is my income. I started knitting when I was a graphic designer for that very reason. Now that fiber art is my full time work, here are some of the other things I do to keep my creative brain nimble.

The Cary Arts Center. OMG. I love this place. I have never lived in a place with such a beautiful, well funded program for the arts. The community classes that are offered are so freaking awesome. Better yet, once you take a class there are studios where you can dive right into your new found skills and create to your hearts content. AND it is so insanely cheap. AND filled with so much equipment. So far I have take three classes. And have passes for two studios. Here is what I have been playing with

Fused Glass. This is another one of those  thing I thought I would never have interest in. But on a whim I signed up for the class, got hooked on the enthusiasm of my awesome teacher, and have been making plates bowls suncatchers and pendants. My latest thing is making glass puddles for pendants. They are super easy and is a great way to use up scrap glass. Pulling these little jewels from the kiln is like Christmas. I definitely have all my birthday and Christmas gifts for the year, yet I just can’t stop making these. I have been researching ideas for windchimes and night lights, so I image those are next. Here is my Glass Inspiration Pinterest Board.

Clay. I have had a lifelong fascination with clay. And this is certainly not my first rodeo with the wheel. But in the studio orientation, I FAILED the wheel portion of the test. It had been 10 years, and I was rusty! AND the glaze room was so large and there are so many types of glazes I was just not familiar with. I am so freaking glad I am working through a refresher, because there is also a bunch of equipment I have never used before as well.  I am really interested in making some wall tiles that I can incorporate some fiber with. I also want to make some coffee mugs and gigantic noodle soup bowls. I want to try all the techniques, there are just so many different styles I love. AND THE GLAZES!!! I want to throw a large set of tumblers just to play with the dozens upon dozens of glazes and all the possibilities. I am making a set of pendants that are essential oil diffusers as well. My Pinterest clay inspiration board is ginormous.

Graphic Design. It is funny to write this, but I find myself LOVE LOVE LOVING to work on my website. I love making pretty graphic quotes. I was a graphic designer for 25 years, and now I get to do it without a sales rep breathing down my neck.

Art Journaling. If you have been following me for a while, you know I am a huge advocate for art journaling. It is related to the sketch books we learned to keep in art school that helped us develop our ideas into an actual piece. And for many it was a place to harness passing inspirations for later. I can honestly say art journals have been the glue that holds all of my work together. It is my paper brain. Here is my Pinterest board for Art Journals.

Painting. Painting is not something I do too often, but it is definitely something I enjoy when I do. In 2015 and 2016, I took Alena Hennissey’s A Year of Painting series. It totally changed the way I approach painting and I find it LIBERATING. It is almost like a deeper approach to my work than art journaling, with a little bit of soul healing tossed in. I mostly work in Acrylic, but have found a love for mixed media. My favorite mixed media tools are Inks, paint pens and collage. Here is a link to my mixed media Pinterest board.

So, share with me. Do you have any other mediums you like to work in? Please share in the comment below and by all means! If you have any picture you want to share, do so on my FB page of in the Fiber Art collective.

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When fiber becomes your obsession

When fiber becomes your obsession

I woke up this morning with art on my mind…I was obsessed with potholder looms

Yep…Potholder. Looms.

You know the kind you use to make those girl scout craft potholder, that uses loops of knit fabric. I imagine for many of us it was the first kind of weaving we ever did. For me it was not so much about the potholders as much as it was about the small loom and all the other possibilities I was imagining I could create on the little 7x7 loom. This has been an idea festering in my head for months now, and I was sick of not acting on it.

Okay maybe it was a little bit about the pot holders…

I love the asymmetrical designs that remind me of Gee’s Bend Quilts.

So after my day of pot holder obsession, I began to play with some possibilities working yarn on the little loom. Now I know it seems counter intuitive that I am moving away from say a table or floor loom. Here are some of the reasons I am actually looking to go with a smaller loom as opposed to moving to a bigger more complex loom.

I hate warping. The bigger and more complex the loom, the longer it takes to warp. In fact once you get to something like an 8 heddle floor loom, you could easily spend more time warping a loom than actually weaving. Now granted a Saori loom does have a feature that allows one to easily warp their loom by using a rewound warp and changing out the removable beam. And there are also tricks of tying a new warp onto the end of the old and advancing the ties through the heddles. But for the most part. I am just not a fan.

Looms are expensive. Maybe when my profit margins are bigger, I might consider a bigger loom. And in terms of teaching others to weave, it just makes more sense to help others find their art without such a hefty financial commitment.

Art weaving is best in small doses. This is totally my opinion. My short stubby body can not pull off too much lock spun without looking like Fred Flintstone. If I want art weaving to be a focal point, the best way to do that is by surrounding it with a contrast of smoother textures.

Instant gratification, diving deeper into study. My ceramics teacher recently said, “When you get an idea, exhaust it. Don’t just make it once, make it 10, 20, 30 times. Explore it deeply.” YES! This. When you do a technique just once, it remains just that. A technique. When you do it over and over and over again, each time you are adding you own style to what you are making. It becomes your art. Working on a smaller loom takes way less time to to finish a piece than a length of cloth. You can blow through a series in no time. I find myself flush with new ideas when I am working with smaller weavings.

A different approach to construction. Nothing makes me want to drink wine more than having to cut fiber art. And If I am making yardage of hand woven cloth for a garment, that is exactly what I would have to do. In my reference library, most of the garment books specific to hand woven cloth spend a lot of time constructing garments with the least amount of cuts possible. I have been toying with ways to piece a garment as you would in freeform crochet of working with granny squares.

 

So, this week I am working through the quirks of this loom, exploring different ways to warp, different ways to finish. I am really hating the gap of “teeth” in the corners. But once the square is off the loom, It seems to close up naturally. I can feel this frustration dampening that fiber obsession with my pot holder loom, just a little bit. So I am looking for a win to get me back in the drive. And that is what fiber obsession really is, a drive.

So what is rocking your creative juices right now? what are you working on? You know I love to hear about your work. It inspires me so much. Leave me a comment below, or head over the the FB page and/or FB group(Sign up below!) and share your work.

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