Valentine’s Day today got me thinking, are our closest relationships based on similarities or differences?This is a photo of my daughter and her boyfriend.She just recently entered a “cutest couple” contest using this pic and they won by a landslide.She described the photo in opposites…he’s the marine and she’s the princess…he wears boots and she wears heels.They are opposites in so many ways but are truly dedicated to each other.To celebrate their relationship (while she and beau are 7,500 miles apart) I needle felted a couple of wool ducks to add to her duck collection.I also think it’s fitting that she had her eye on the Valentine SweeTarts while we were shopping one day so there it is, opposites.But in our case I’d say that the apple was swept by the wind when it fell.It fell far from the tree.
Nothing, really, except that they are being gifted today as a 50th birthday present. The 50 walnuts - opened, emptied, filled with notes, and glued back together for the recipient.
The bunny? This is a hand quilted pillow of my first foster rabbit, Dixie, upcycled from leather and suede resale shop finds. It’s been 6 years since I first took Dixie in, at the time with the thought that there would be many bunnies taking up residence in my home for only a few short months at a time. She was with me for 1-1/2 years and partnered with two other bunnies that traveled through my foster home. Now, four years and many bunnies later, I’m helping Dixie’s dad celebrate his 50th birthday! Dixie is a very content, kissing, cuddly and smart bunny. Her dad has taught her to do “tricks” like walking on her hind legs and doing left and right spins. Dixie went to a wonderful home and I’m so very lucky to again be the recipient of her kisses and cuddles.
My good friend Miriam’s wedding shower is tomorrow and I just finished her gift. She had her mother’s winter wedding dress transformed into a spring dress for her upcoming June wedding and she gave me the extra parts. From the pieces I made a ring bearer pillow, a clutch and a tissue cover. This is the second time I’ve had the opportunity to reconstruct from a wedding dress and I have to say, there’s honor in being able to work with fabric that holds such special memories. I’ve always held in higher regard items that have been used and valued in someone else’s life. They can be anything from fabric to furniture to kitchen equipment or to a special pet’s fur. They send me daydreaming, maybe into history or into a life that’s just different from mine.
While I knew that Earth Day was today it didn’t really hit me to do something about it until Google automatically took me to a search of Earth Day. (Could have also been my possessed computer clicking at random as it does.) Every day is Earth Day for me, sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity. At $3.50 a bag for garbage collection I’m inclined to do as much recycling and reusing as I can.
Today starts the Easter weekend holiday so I my daughter will be home soon from college – I posed the question to her – what should we do for earth day? “Aren’t you supposed to plant a tree?” It’s too rainy to dig a hole today so I decided to save a tree. Feeling the “need” for a new purse lately I decided to spin yarn from newspaper to knit one. Spinning paper has been a “to do challenge” in my mind for some time now so why not today? I should be able to knit up a nice handbag from my yarn – and then I can figure out how to keep the ink from rubbing on to my clothes.
On with the yarn! I picked out a few of the most colorful pages from yesterday’s newspaper and cut a few strips to try. Too heavy! And the join that I usually used to connect my plastic bag strips was making impossible lumps in the newspaper. The yarn was stiff and clumpy and wouldn’t feed onto my bobbin. I cut strips about half the width and joined them end to end with a spot of glue. While it made for a nicer yarn I still had to manually wind it onto my bobbin. Still, I feel success!
A word of caution: bunnies love tearing up newspaper so keep your eyes peeled for rabbits lurking around corners ready to make shreds of your hard work.
How do you represent an emotion in a tangible way? At my last spinning guild meeting we had an exercise to help us expand our creativity. We listed a few nouns and then came up with adjectives to describe them. Our challenge was to pick one of the nouns and then spin yarn that represented it. I spun “ice cream” - vanilla, my favorite flavor, with chocolate chunks, mint and strawberry for added color. This was a very timely exercise since I was in the process of trying to deal with a bit of anger that I had been feeling for the past few days. So, I decided that I would spin anger! What does anger look like? Anger is powerful so bright fiery reds, oranges and yellows were my color choices. To the colored wools I added some gold tinsel to feel like lightning striking in all its power. Not good enough! I stripped the seams out of a red silk tie belonging to the person who my anger was directed to and ran my rotary cutter over it until it was only shreds. Then I ran all of my representations of anger through my drum carder to make a batt to spin from. The finished product – a skein of rage. Makes me smile to look at it gracing my coffee table and calms me when I feel the anger surfacing again.
Yesterday I received news that I won a merit award for my fiber painting, “Lily,” showing at the Naperville Art League gallery. I just recently began my membership there after being away for nearly 3 years. When I started working fine art in fiber I was eager to show my work and so I joined the art league. My daughter was in high school at the time and even though I was excited about fiber art it seemed that there was never enough time to get even one piece done a month for the monthly shows. It amazes me how much that changed with my daughter away at her first year of college. While she was away I didn’t come home from my office job and have to put dinner on the table, or sew a dress for the next dance, or just simply be company. Not that I didn’t love to do those things but now, with my empty nest, I can choose to do whatever I want to do. A lot of times that means delving into my fiber stash, maybe creating a new accessory line or working on my latest “painting.” Summer put a temporary hiatus on my work but I’m eager to get going strong in September. I’ve had a summer of inspiration that I’m excited to put into reality.
The NAL pictured my “Lily” in their August newsletter which you can see here. This is a large file that takes some time to load. Here's a partial photo of the painting:
I’m a fiber and textile designer with interest in both practical and beautiful items. My pleasure comes in imagining and bringing into being items whose unique qualities cannot be manufactured or reproduced by machine. Wearable art accessories satisfy the practical side of me while being pleasurable, appealing and totally fun! I also love accessorizing the home. Fine art satisfies my need to delve into detail, especially in portraits. Wool vessels are simply intriguing to create and can be practical too.
I find that wool as a medium is exciting because of all of it's great qualities - it can be dyed to vibrant colors, molded into form and shape, and worked both small and large.
I’m an animal lover and purchase my wool from the Illinois Green Pastures Cooperative
where local farms supply animal friendly products. I’m involved in rabbit rescue and have a revolving door of foster rabbits living in my home. Some of them even give me a little fur to spin.