Collaboration and Recycling

I came across two neat tidbits today from the fiber world to share.

First, my talented friend Shirley sent a link to the wearable art show in Juneau, Altered States. Many of the pieces in the show used reclaimed materials prominently in the garment. The gallery of photographer Seanna O’Sullivan showcases the event on the runway and backstage as the models are prepped for their appearance.

The International Fiber Collaborative is working on building a tree as a way to illustrate the idea of interdependence. “Much like a live tree is interdependent on its leaves and roots for survival, societies are interdependent on the greater whole, family units, communities, and countries. Participants from around the world are invited to create leaves to contribute to the creation of the tree. “  The submission deadline to have your leaves added to the tree is March 15th. Leaves must be created using fiber, but beyond that, use your imagination. Make sure to look through the gallery to see the submissions they have received so far.

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For several years, I’ve wanted to try making silk paper in an effort to reproduce the embossed leaves from this piece by Emily Archer of Milkweed Arts. I found some instructions on Pat Sparks’ website, but I’d love to hear whether anyone has worked through this process. My son wants me to coordinate a project for his K-1 art class, and I’d love to dovetail the two projects. Am I biting off more than I can chew and swallow?

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If I can’t carve the time out in the next two weeks, I have a box full of these felt leaves to send.

Scythian Gauntlets

Let me introduce you to my new favorite:  the gauntlet.

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Oh, how do I love these. They are soft, colorful, warm and so interesting to twiddle when my patience threatens to wear thin.

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Time for lunch? Flip up the cuffs.

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If you were to follow me around for a few days, you might suspect that I wear the gauntlets simply for the fun of playing with them. I tickle my nose and my lip; I twist the fiber;  I get lost in the color patterning. They are more than clothing, they have become a toy.

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This picture appeared to me in a dream the night before teaching a class using resists. Thanks to Inger for fielding my questions on her methods. I have admired from afar her wrist warmers, but hesitated to try them for myself because I didn’t think the felt would be snug enough around my wrist if it was wide enough for my fist. Her reassurance gave me the confidence to try. Have faith, the felt will stretch and give enough for your hand to fit.

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Speaking of toys, I have finally bought myself a new camera, a Nikon D60 and a fantastic tripod capable of defying the normal laws of gravity. When the salesperson demonstrated the cantilevering abilities of the center support, I knew this was the tool for me. Oh, how I have longed for a camera that has the ability to blur backgrounds.  I dream of depth of field like some dream of skiing through fresh powder.  Seems silly when I put it in writing, but there you go. I expect this may just the tool to get me back into blogging again.  It may also earn me a swift bonk in the head from my closest acquaintances.

PS. Scythian is a great foot-stomping, blood-pumping, make-you-jump-up-and-down Celtic band we heard this weekend at Wintergrass. The word reminds me of something rising from the depths of the unknown; when I wear the gauntlets, I often feel as if I were a sea spirit emerging from the murky water. Hopefully that is sufficient rationale for the name.

Swaddled in Felt

There is nothing I love more than a challenge, though my family might claim otherwise. When Carrie asked me if I’d ever made a full size version of the sleepsack I prototyped in the spring, I knew it was time to pull out the wool.

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Since this needed to be warm, windproof and soft, three layers of roving would be required. Starting with handdyed passionfruit lychee corriedale roving from portfiber.etsy.com, I laid out a large piece of flat felt on a six-foot table, covering just about the whole thing. Next I drafted a second layer of corriedale and finished it with a third layer with solid merino.

Carrie had done some shopping online to find the perfect stroller sack, so she was able to guide me with the finer points of engineering. It had to be wide open at the bottom in case of muddy feet, but a pocket where clean warm feet could rest would also keep her son warm. I bought an extra long two way zipper for one side, and then inserted a shorter zipper on the other side so the front could be adjusted to the right height.