Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I'm trying to take this quiet selling season time to get caught up on my journal reading. As I was looking over my June/July 2010 issue of American Craft (I'm really behind!) I came across an article on "The Cult of Simplicity" by Akiko Busch.  I was struck by the idea presented in this article that things seem more simple than they really are.  You have to go beyond the obvious to discover the complexities. It made me think about the triangular shawls I have been weaving.  They are based on very simple weave structures, that of plain weave, basket, or twill.  In my case I have only been using plain weave which is a simple over/under weave. (Remember when you made pot holders as a child.  This is a simple over/under weave.) The equipment used to weave these shawls is very simple in design. And the actual weaving is not all that complicated.  However if you go beyond the obvious you begin to see the complexity of yarn choice, the color choice, the design possibilities, and the finishing techniques.  When you begin to push on these elements such as doubling the yarn or adding beads or embellishments you increase the complexity and decision making.  What started out as simple is now a thought process of complexity in motion.  How many yards of a yarn do I need?  How will these colors work together? When will I change the color pattern? What length will the fringe be?  Can that yarn hold up over repeated washings or dry cleanings?  Will the finished piece drape appropriately for the use?  And so on and so on and so on! 

My 4th shawl in the series is finished.  In an earlier post, Beads, Beads, Beads on February 5th, I showed pictures of the yarns I was going to weave.  I doubled up the wool and silk yarns with the rayon boucle yarn.  This created a thicker yarn but also added the movement of the variegated colors to the piece.  The shawl is very light weight and lacy looking.  The silk/wool yarn feels very soft to the touch.  It's another lovely shawl on a cool summer night or just to wrap up in by the fireplace in winter. Here are some pictures:
Cutting the fringe

Close up
I'm finding that same simple/complex factor in working with the Habitat project.  There is so much more than simply weaving strips of aprons into the grids to form a simple design.  As I spend time deconstructing the aprons and thinking about which ones will work and which will not, I am also thinking about the end product and how it will be hung. The hanging is the last step but needs to be thought about at the beginning. It may affect how I construct the piece. I've decided to paint the grids black so they will recede into the piece and not show as much. This is another beginning process that affects the end look. Painting will be my next step along with sorting the apron color strips that I am cutting.  Then I will begin to work with the hanging system as I decided that needed to be done first.  I'm thinking of using the knobs as part of the hanging system.  Not only do I need to think about how this will look and be applied but I also need to think about the weight of the piece and how it will be safe to hang on the wall.  This is my thought process so far.  There is more to come.

Here are a few more aprons I have received:

I encourage you to look at the things around you that seem so simple.  Begin to think about the process that went into that item and the complexity to make it seem simple.  How about your I-phone for starters or that GPS that you just plug in the address and the voice that leads you along your way!  Where does that woman live anyway?!!!! Comments welcomed!  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Journey of an Apron

I woke up very early this morning.  Believe me that is unusual!  I am not a morning person.  I started thinking about the Habitat project and my mind began to race.  I decided to get back to writing my Morning Pages.  Those of you who have read "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron know what morning pages are.  They are the first thoughts you have when you wake up in the morning.  You write continuously until you fill up 3 pages of a notebook.  These are the thoughts that you address as soon as you wake.  You get them out there and then they do not hang over you for the rest of the day.  Sometimes it is just plain therapy to get them out there.  Sometimes it is creative inspiration to get them out there.  And sometimes it is just waking your thoughts up for the day and making lists.  

Today I made lists.  I began to think about the process of working with these aprons. My list went like this:

1. Draw out design.
2.Wash all aprons.
3. Deconstruct aprons.
4. Possibly dye some of the aprons or use fabric markers, fabric crayons, and/or Shiva paint sticks.  Play with these ideas.
5. Cut aprons into strips.

And that's as far as I went today.  I'm sure there will be more steps but this is as far as my thought process went today.  It's a beginning.

This listing the process helps me organize what needs to be done and begin to alot the time needed. This is the first part of the journey.

When you have a project you are working on, what is your process?  Do you make lists?  Do you organize your thoughts and work time in any special way? Or do you just plunge in and hope for the best? I'd love to hear how others begin their creative journey.  I welcome you to pass this post on and share your thoughts in the comment section.

Here are a few more pictures of aprons that have come in:

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Habitat for Humanity" Project

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Since today is Valentine's Day and everyone talks about Hearts, I thought I would like to tell you
about the "Habitat for Humanity" Project I am working on.  "Habitat for Humanity" invited artists
in the Plymouth area to go to the Habitat Restore and choose an item to re-purpose into an art
piece.  This piece will be auctioned off to raise money for Habitat.  The project is called 
"Warm HeARTS, Warm Homes Celebration".  The auction will take place April 30 at The
Plymouth Center for the Arts in Plymouth, MA.  We were invited to recycle, re-purpose, beautify, and have fun!  So I took the challenge.

I went to the restore which is a great place to explore and chose an item, actually several, to work with.  Here's what I chose:

Grids and knobs

I began to think about that phrase, "Warm HeARTS, Warm Homes", and the thought that came to me was APRONS!  Aprons represent a bygone error of home cooked meals, families sitting around a table, and mom or grandma enjoying creating  some culinary delight.  OK, so that was the bygone era!  To bring it up to speed and be PC correct, aprons today may be somewhat of a dinosaur but I think they still represent a time when someone, male or female, takes the time to bake or cook something for another person. There is a nice warm, cozy feeling that happens around a good meal or a favorite pastry that is enjoyed by the whole family or that someone special.  So, I have asked friends and family to search their closets and maybe attics for their used old aprons (or maybe grandma's used old apron) and I will re-purpose them into a piece that Habitat will auction off.  I have an idea in mind and will be working on it over the next couple of weeks.  I'm still a little curious myself as to how this is going to turn out!

Aprons are starting to arrive.  It is fun to see all the different kinds. I decided to document them and will post pictures from time to time of what has been sent to me.  If you have sent me an apron, thank you, and keep checking back to see your apron and how it is transformed into a piece that will raise money to help house a family in need.

Here are a few of the aprons I have received so far:

Look for more pictures in another post.  I'll keep blogging about the process of making this project.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Beads, Beads, Beads!

Our local bead shop closed this week.  As a result, I couldn't resist the deep discounts and now own more beads than I thought I would ever have or need!  Beads are candy for the eye and my "bead" tooth was salivating! So now that I have all these beads the next step is to use them, not just look at them!  This is the bigger challenge.

I'm on my way though.  I just finished another triangular shawl and guess what?  It has beads in it!  There are 300 beads woven into and attached to the fringe.

It was a bit of a challenge weaving with the beads and then placing them but it worked.  Here's the third shawl in my triangular loom series.

Now on to the next shawl.  What will I experiment with next?  I've already begun to design.  Here are the yarns I will be using. Stay tuned!

The fibers are wool/silk blend, rayon boucle, and rayon ribbon

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

"Weavette" Loom

I finished another triangular shawl.  After completing the weaving I decided to add an embellishment to it.  It just CRIED out for more!!!!!!  So I pulled out my little "Weavette" loom and wove some square pieces made out of the ribbon yarn I used in the shawl.  I then made the woven squares into flowers which I have done before on my hats (refer back to blog post of November 20,2010).  I added a bead and the shawl took on a very elegant look.  Perfect for a night out on the town!

Woven Flowers Close Up 

"Weavette" loom used to make flowers

All of these shawls are "one of a kind".  If you want to visit my studio and see how they are made go to my website, and e-mail me for an appointment. If you are interested in purchasing, please contact me for pricing.