Friday, January 29

Amazing paper art

There are some mediums as an artist that you just never touch.  I would have said any kind of "paper craft" would be mine.  It brings to mind die cut scrap-booking and fussy old Victorian valentines.  Well a few artists I've come across recently have totally changed my mind!
Last night I saw a few episodes of Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno if you haven't seen this go  & watch it now!

I have always loved Isabella Rossellini and this made me love her even more, funny and informative.  But, the thing I couldn't stop being amazed at was the sets & props.  I am pretty sure they are mostly made with paper which (to me anyway) is an amazing feat!

The artist's name is Andy Byers and I can't believe I've never come across his work before.

Yup, those are leaves!  I guess this isn't "technically" paper art but Jenny Lee Fowler does use paper in her cutwork as well.  I love these & was really excited to find out she is teaching a few classes at a new shop I'll be teaching at too (more on that soon!)

The work below is the AMAZING work of an artist that goes by Crankbunny.  Her work is so beautiful & intricate it was really hard picking which images to post.  I always loved pop up books or any kind of book that had a 3d quality

Thursday, January 21

The State of Organization

Today a box I made was featured in the Etsy "Finds"  on  It is funny to be included in a grouping called organization nation because try as I might my craft space is well, slightly less than organized.  I pine for a clean uncluttered craft space you see in so many aspirational magazines and blog postings but, alas my personality and available studio space won't allow for it...I've decided to share some pictures of parts of my studio I love and although it may never grace the pages of Martha Stewart living it is my happy place...

A close up and a bit further back on my fabric shelves, not perfectly pressed or all turned with folds facing out but, I can usually find what I'm looking for and always need to iron it no matter how neatly it's folded.

A collection of embroidery hoops, my much loved dress form, a strange vinatge toy called The Little Red Spinning Wheel although it actually & inexplicably makes I-cord (remember those little mushrooms with a hole & 4 pegs) well it does that or more rightly, you do that with this, the giant wheel is purely decorative...

Above on the right is a combination of two strange and amazing gifts when I think about them I call them Harold & Maude.  They were separate gifts from different people at different times but, they just seem right together.  Harold is a pigeon skeleton and Maude is a perfectly preserved butterfly some friends found just laying in the street. The picture on the left is just some of my straight knitting needles, the giant circulars too big for my case, double pointed needles and crochet hooks.  Somehow though it always seems the one I need for my newest project is still enmeshed in a forgotten or abandoned something.

Anyway, if anyone is reading this I'd love to see pictures or blog posts of your loved & lived in but not ready for TV studio spaces. 

Sunday, January 17


Two things will be revealed about me in this post.

1. I am an unabashed Carly Simon fan - do with that what you will, I know it's cooler to be into Dirty Projectors or Grizzly Bear...
2. I hate waiting!  Not for most things, I am actually quite patient in life but with fiber it kills me to wait.

I bought yarn to dye & add to my shop (eventually) but it's so hard to wait for it to dry!  I just want to play with it now.  It's been so cold that even with fans on the drying racks it is taking d a y s, yeterday was sunny enough it got to sunbathe for a little while.

Here is a little peek 

I feel the same way when I've just dyed a new batch of top, all the top I've dyed before becomes "old" and I only want to spin the newest braid off the drying rack. 

Tuesday, January 12

More on goats and a little something on bunnies too

Angora comes in both rabbit & goat shapes...
Both goats and rabbits have breeds called Angora, I think this is because they are both originated near Ankara, Turkey.  Why we call the fiber they produce mohair for the goats and angora for the bunnies still remains a mystery.  I am lucky enough to have a good supply of both mohair and angora from my mom's little farm in Upstate New York.

I have been s  l  o  w  l  y  processing the first shearing of Elijah pictured in my last post.  It is really rewarding to go from this:

To this:

There are a few stages in between that don't make for interesting photos so here's a quick rundown of the steps

1. Acquire a beautiful unwashed mohair fleece, keep the fleece in a old pillowcase so the fiber can breathe
2. To wash the fleece I first lay out an old sheet (really old, you will NOT want to sleep on this sheet again)
3. You will need a plastic mesh basket (like you would have in a dorm shower) that fits into a plastic storage bin, pick through the fleece, making sure all locks are laying the same way pick them open & lay in the basket
****the more you pick the locks open the cleaner & shinier they will get***

4.Once your basket is full or opened locks fill the storage bin (or sink) with hot water & a couple squirts of dish soap - 
***I tried Castille soap first & it just didn't get the locks as clean***

5. Push basket of fiber into hot soapy water and let it soak for about an hour
6. Dump the water from the bin which probably looks like a disgusting tea at this point repeat steps 4 & 5 twice more and then continue changing water but stop adding soap until the water in the bin looks drinkable
*** I do not advise actually drinking this water***
7. Since I dye the mohair & it needs to be wet to absorb the dye I dye it at this point.  I put the locks into a crock pot (one dedicated to dying) , turn the heat on low
8. Pour acid my acid dye mixture on top, poking it into the fiber and let it simmer until the dye is exhausted & water in the post is clear.

All that's left after that is to spread it out on a sweater rack to dry and then I have dome what I think of as a "preliminary" carding on my Ashford drum carder.

I plan on eventually carding the mohair into with some of the angora from the aforementioned bunnies.

To be continued...

Saturday, January 9

On Goats

Goats are truly incredible and under-appreciated creatures of the earth.  I am constantly amazed at the plant and animal life that surrounds us on this planetI have a collection of natural history books that I can thumb through for hours and never tire of the different combinations of textures, shapes and colors of the plants & animals we share this planet with.  
But back to goats...

The picture above is a goat I've been calling St.Cashmere, he is being raised by nuns at a convent in Upstate New York.  The picture on the right is my mom's sweet angora goat, Elijah.

So from the various species of goats we get milk for delicious cheese and silky soap, lovely fiber in the form of mohair or cashmere and then there's this:
Rectangular pupils!!! 

It seems like from my quick web research that it has to do with enhanced peripheral or night vision but, I went to art school so don't take my word for it, that's what the library is for.

Thursday, January 7

Welcome one & all....

So, like every other human with internet access, I decided after much friendly prompting I too, should have a blog. Here it is. 
I make no promises as to what you might find here.  There will be animal photos, random fiber-y rambling, works in progress and hopefully some information that someone will find useful...