Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wool gathering

On this last day of 2008 I've spent further time mulling over what's next for me on my fibre journey and revisited some of what I accomplished over the past year. I am especially pleased that I displayed my art quilts in two shows. This year I will enter a juried show, join Fibre Art Network, continue to improve on technique, sink deeper into my style, sell a piece, complete one quilt a month, delve further into surface design, make business cards, read daily about art, work in the studio nearly everyday, go on an artist date once a week with my camera, keep a list of books I complete, write an article, teach something and create storage for my fabric (Is that laughter I hear?) Each of these intentions is much more specific and to help keep myself aware of them, I'm going to make a collaged poster to hang.
So what is that photo above? I decided I wanted to try knitting. When I was a young girl my Grandmother taught me how to knit. I knitted 6 or 8 inches of a 'scarf' and that was it. Well - it turns out that the body does remember. I did have a book with diagrams that I planned to use but these proved undecipherable to me and when I played around I got it. Earlier today I went to Beehive Woolshop for roving and to find some hand felting needles. Part of the morning's planning was deciding how best to spend my Christmas money. I have a library book on hand felted pets - and every one of them is so cute I want to make them all. I never found the hand felting needles but I walked out with some sparkly blue and silver sari ribbon to trim the last gift journal cover I plan to make. Funny how that happens :)
Earlier in the day when I was in the studio clearing supplies from the last journal project to make way for the next, my eye was caught by an embroidered piece I've made and I wondered what if I put it on velvet and made it a journal cover? So then I went to my basket of velvets and began trying a few out and found a good fit. And then I realized how disorganized the basket was and that some of my velvets were elsewhere and suddenly I was reorganizing and that's when I came across a piece I'd forgotten about that I got at 'Mostly Silks'. I knew it would be perfect for the next journal cover. So my point is that I love working in this random 'feminine' fashion - cruising from one thing to the next as I desire and somehow this leads not only to productivity but to a sense of joy as I work. No stern task master saying 'You can't reorganize the velvets now, you have to look for fabric for the next journal cover!' I wasn't looking and I found it anyhow.
Also today I bought a silkscreen, squeegee, fluid for inkjet printing on fabric, a collage book and a lino cutter for stamp making. Okay - and a bit of roving and a purple shiva oil stick that is the only iridescent colour I don't have. Oh -yes - and another wildly exciting thing I did was sign up for an on-line class with Susan Sorrell called 'Fertile Earth'. I was actually looking for a different class when I came across hers and felt that unmistakeable call...
And now in the last hours of the year I'm going to do the I Ching and draw some cards with an eye to the year ahead.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pona - my cloth doll

Finished felt journal and planning

One thing I love about felt is how both sides end up looking interesting and it's often hard to choose. I should have taken a photo of the underside, which was more muted - next time. I've cut the felt piece down from it's original size after the wet felting, added yarn, commercial wool felt, roving and ribbon - glueing it to the journal. Many of the journal covers I make are transferable to other journals the same size - but I like the wavy edged, looser look that is glued on, too.
I'm also continuing to explore what I want to focus on and accomplish in the year ahead. I don't want too many specific goals as I want to keep my learning fun and leave room for what wants to arise organically. Also, I like being realistic - I simply can't work on fibre 8 hours a day everyday in the middle of family life and keep the lower stress life I prefer. So I choose flexibility and self-compassion - as in - I commit to work on something fibre-related most days - and that could be as basic as reading about a technique. I am amazed to look back to 2 years ago when I first got a sewing machine and began spending time most days on art. I made a cloth doll and I remember feeling quite guilty at all the time I was spending making her. Wow - has my attitude ever changed! Fibre art has really become my work and my love. I'll post a photo of my doll soon.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Journal covers

Today I didn't get into the studio until after dinner. Some days there are other areas of life that need tending and I think maintaining a balance is important. When I was getting my master's degree, I came up with an anacronym I use regularly to remind myself about balance: PRICES. And I do pay a price if I do too much of one thing at the expense of others. Physical (diet, exercise, health), Relational, Intellectual, Creative, Expression and Spiritual. If I ever feel stuck I run through these areas and check out which one needs addressing.

But back to what I created today. I collaged lace, satin, silk, ribbon and another fabric I don't know the name of onto a wool journal cover I'm making for my niece. Yes - that's right, I'm still making a few 'Christmas' presents because family is visiting next weekend and I took advantage of the extended time period to prepare gifts after the actual day. I also used my embellishing machine to attach roving to chiffon and then I wet felted it and now it's drying. This will become a second journal cover. I keep thinking about weaving strips of felt together and then sewing them down - and - I have a new book 'Uniquely Felt' by Christine White that I might look in for inspiration.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Work in progress

I've done a small amount of hand dyeing and I love it. I decided to see if I could create a small quilt from various pieces of linen, flannel, cotton and rayon. I find myself wanting to include a variety of pattern sizes and shapes and I think it needs some tiny shapes added. So something about marrying all kinds of textural differences is at play here, as well as combining the opposites of red and green. One of the series I've been working on is the 'middle ground' - the place of tension between opposites where something surprising emerges. I'd like to take this piece further by stamping, foiling, painting or any other method that feels right.

Feeding the fire

As the new calendar year approaches, I find my energy building to assess where I'm at on my fibre journey, and to refocus with intention on expanding my learning. I hope this blog will be like adding daily fuel to my creative fire - and that I might meet other artists that share a passion for expressing with fibre through this form.

I'm thinking about time management - I have so many ideas I want to birth and many techniques I want to experiment with - as well as books to read, art quilts to complete, courses to take, and groups to join. And a Pfaff that's been acting up. So I want to weed and sort and deepen in my art, expanding while not spreading myself too thin.