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The Adventures of two Fibre Artists.



Contributing Artists

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Another Adventure

Last night my husband and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. Twenty-eight years of marriage is an adventure in itself but this is not the adventure I mean to discuss here. I only mention it as a lead in, of sorts, because after dinner he took me to Lowes to purchase supplies for a new fibre adventure. Now keep in mind I barely have time for the myriad of fibre adventures I already participate in. In point of fact I have resisted taking this particular adventure for some time, but the temptation has proved too alluring and my resolve all but exhausted. Whenever I mentioned to my fibre sister that I was considering embarking on this path she would offer a grin, in lieu of spoken words, that communicated sincere empathy, that another adventure would indeed be exciting, but how in the world would I manage getting anything finished. I suspect most fibre artists can relate. Whether you want to experience every aspect of the craft, or it's a matter of one thing leading to another, suddenly you find yourself overwhelmed by the possibilities.

I started out wanting to learn to spin and decided it would be great fun, since I love animals, to raise a small spinner's herd. After spinning several skeins it occurred to me, as beautiful the yarn was, some projects may require a colour other than what the animals were capable of producing. Subsequently the next logical step was to learn to dye, and with everything I do in my life I wanted to do this as natural as possible. Resultantly my fibre sister and I began researching and experimenting with natural dyes.

I want to say that our decision to learn felting came about, as with most fibre enthusiasts, by mistake, but maybe I should speak for myself. It takes little effort to discover felt when working with wool, water and soap. Then one year while at SAFF, almost as an afterthought, certainly out of curiosity, we decided to take a workshop on a different kind of felting, done with needles. So you begin to see how one can get caught up in all aspects of this multifarious craft.

The decision to embark on this new adventure was bourne from the difficulty of trying to demonstrate weaving outside the home, due to the size of our 4 harness floor looms. My fibre The triangle looms, though not as heavy, were twice as cumbersome due to their size. Until recently I had a van large enough and a husband willing to do the heavy work of getting us and the equipment to our destination and back, even the triangle looms, but with some real complications. I have since had to retire that old van and due to the rising gas prices replaced it with something smaller. This gave weight, no pun intended, to either no longer offer weaving demonstrations outside our homes or explore an alternative form of weaving, one that could be done on a smaller loom and something more sophisticated than weaving potholders like the ones everyone remembers making in school.

Tapestries have always held a real fascination for me. If done well they seemed to have a life of their own, as individual as the piece and technique. Some so moving you could hear the life within softly whispering. I can only hope that I can induce the same in my work.

When I came home from Saturday Tea this afternoon my dear husband had the frame finished. Now all that needs done is to mark the spacing for him to drill where I will place each nail for the warp. I would have some difficulty petitioning his help in hammering the nails as the memory, or should I say nightmare, of tapping nearly 400 bard nails in a Triangle loom he made me one Christmas some years ago is still too raw in his mind. Since we, like many, find ourselves on a strict budget, I am very grateful for my husband's ability and willingness to build this loom for me. The materials came to just under $22.00, which is 10 times cheaper than the more affordable, and smaller looms. Even though I could manage, with difficulty, I would be hard pressed to spend that kind of money rather than direct it toward something more important...like food. But very soon I will be ready for my first attempt at creating something that I hope others will appreciate. Something that will represent the energy of the animals that provided the fibre as well as, to some measure, my appreciation for the beauty of our Heavenly Father's creation.

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