Thursday, May 26, 2011

Just a wisp of Mohair!

A wisp of mohair was left on the floor, like a fallen feather, when Karen and Katie left the shop today. It lay as a reminder of a significant interaction: shiny, beautiful, sky-like, as though it had taken flight and landed gracefully.

I had a visit from Karen Lohn, the author of Peace Fibres today. You can follow her blog at . She came to see Libbie Soffer's show the show in the gallery and to re-connect on the theme of peace and fiber. We had talked at Shepherd's Harvest over Mother's Day weekend. We connected deeply over the search for personal and corporate peace and the role that fiber can play in the search.

It is an odd thing, this relationship with fiber. Perhaps it reaches way back into our early hominid that time of early discovery of the protection and utility of various fibers...they ways they could be employed to tie, net and wrap things...the sinews that could hold the furs to our feet, that could lace skins together, the vines that seemed to invite the invention of basketry, the long thin fibers discovered in the inner back of downed trees, the stupendous fibers of the spider and the caterpillar...

I hope to read more about the history of the development of fibers. But, what I know now is this:

When I am in contact with fibers, I feel a peaceful ease fall over me. I breathe easier. I feel in contact with some kind of deep history of women's work. When I spin it, I feel bliss.

Give yourself space to breathe & thrive: try spinning.

The wool shop reopened today. ALL of it was packed for Shepherd's Harvest and needed to stay in the garage for the duration of the Mending Circles we had with the current show. With the exception of Memorial Day, I will be open on Mondays 10-5 and by very generous appointment. Come, pet the sweet, soft fibers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Social Fabric

With a title like that, you probably think I am going to wax philosophical here...and I may yet, today. But what I really wanted to tell you about was something I learned about from my recent visit with Zach.

Zach Pearl was my incredibly able assitant for several years and continues to be my graphic designer. He moved to Toronto last year to go to graduate school in curatorial practice and critical writing. He has begun an internship with the Textile Museum of Toronto. The Textile Museum has developed an in-house social media platform for their textile collection. Try it out. It is very interesting. You get to respond to the pictured textiles and read other's responses. While it is no substitute for seeing the textiles in person, it does provide a thoughtful virtual experience with a community of people interested in the role of textiles in culture. Click below!

Social Fabric

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yarn about art? Art that is yarn?

I was talking with my friend Ann today, a fabulous spinner. We both share the utter enthusiasm for the variety of fibers, breeds of sheep, styles of spinning available to us as spinners. We get so excited talking about prepping new fibers and the discoveries that lurk around the corner! We see each other as our primary supports in our quest for spinning as fine art.

I seek to make the skein that is so beautiful, or so odd, or so laden with meaning that it can only be perceived as sculpture!

Ann seeks the skein that so expresses its "selfness," the twist, the color, the crimp that expresses the uniqueness that that fiber can become...often in garments. She spins yarns that cannot be found in the natural habitat of the yarn store.

Are we nuts, or something? Are we tilting at windmills? I don't know the answer to that question. But I do know that she and I will talk again soon about an idea that is beginning to form for us:

What if we formed a group of like minded spinners, who were interested in stretching the envelope of what yarn can be?

We are thinking of forming spinning group, but not just another spinning group where we eat and drink and spin. ( Even though we do like to drink and spin especially well!) We don't know what this group would look like, but we know that we want to create a more prominent place at the fiber table for spinners. We want spinners to be noticed as spinners of art, not imitators of store bought yarn.

What could we do? spin together, study together, encourage one another to stretch our skills and ideas, create exhibitions together...other stuff?

You tell me. Are you interested? Do you have ideas? Share them.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Peace Fibres- stitching a soulful world

I have just begun reading Peace Fibres.I met Karen at Shepherd's Harvest and was taken with her book.

"Peace involves relationship to self, to others,and to the larger cosmos. The feminine qualities expressed in fibre work- care, connection, cooperation, compassion, creativity, contribution- are all about relationship." - author Karen Lohn

Monday, May 9, 2011

Shepherd's Harvest ...until next year!

I borrowed this photo from the Shepherd's Harvest Facebook Group to let you know how much fun we all had and how grateful I am for your business. I probably could have taken photos with my ailing iPhone...but I had no time, nor presence of mind, as the day started with a bang on Saturday.

The organizers did a grand job!

I do the festival because I love fiber. I love everything about spinning and dying different wools, bast fibers, sparklies. (Maybe I don't like pricing and labeling so much.) I do all of this for my pleasure, sure, but also to help spread the word about the rewarding and peace-giving nature of fiber work.

I joke about being an
enabler, about Batts being a gateway drug to further fiber addiction, about the potential for world peace through spinning.

But seriously, while I more than half believe we would ALL be better off with fiber under our fingernails, I also seriously want to pay it forward.

5% of the gross sales from Shepherd's Harvest and recent ETSY orders has been given as a KIVA loan to the Sayhua Group in Urubamba, Peru, to help Maria Acurio Paredes buy materials to make jewelry.

And lest I forget, my work at Shepherd's Harvest would not be possible without the help of my dear friends who work for peanuts and popcorn:
Carla Mantel & Gwen Schagrin who have helped me at every Shepherd's Harvest for the last it 6 years? The three of us came as spectators and students one Mother's Day and returned as vendors the following year.
Thank you to Pauline Mitchell who came for the first time this year, And Dale Kennedy who has helped both at the festival and at home in the studio and the gallery through out the years.

Hooray for great friends!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Shepherd's Harvest

Shepherd's Harvest... this year I rent a truck! I will be bringing so much new stock that I cannot fit it in my little Chevy S10!

Watch for me in Building A, with the BATT YOUR OWN station.