Sunday, January 16, 2011


By George! I think she's got it!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

General maintenance!

So, forty (OK, more like 50) years later, some maintenance is required.

First I made a commitment to lose weight a few years ago. I accomplished that and continually re-visit that commitment and commit to maintaining it.

Second, I made a commitment to exercise regularly, 4-6 days per week. I have stuck to that, but as my fitness level improved, I had to re consider what constituted a sufficient work out. Maintenance of heart health mean increasing intensity and duration of my workouts...and more movies from Netflix to keep me on the treadmill.

Third, I made a commitment to my aging bones and slowing metabolism. I needed to add on upper body strength training. This is NEW, but goes pretty well with weighted boxing gloves while on the treadmill.

Fourth- and maybe, really, primarily- I am committed to continuing to work in the field of visual arts and crafts. My recent sabbatical was spent honing my skills in the fiber arts, investigating my interests and limits. In December,2010, I met a limit. My hands began to swell and my right index finger hurt all the time. Can you imagine calling the doctor to say, "My finger hurts?" Well I did, after some delay, call. That call led to some more major maintenance efforts. I went to physical therapy for 5 or 6 weeks, learned stretching and strengthening exercises and was fitted for braces to utterly rest the now arthritic joints. My hands are happy now. I only have to wear the braces at night, currently.

Some things I learned are common sense, some not so much:
Spinning for 8 hours might hurt me, especially if the fiber or style is difficult.
Stretching before work is a good thing that I rarely remember to do
As a woman, building up strength in your hands is just as important as other upper body work for your general health as an art worker!
Tennis balls are great for stretching and massage
Oxo Bag Clips can be used for pressure point therapy on your hands...really.
And gravity can be your friend for simple hand maintenance...really.

Now, if I can just maintain my commitment to doing what I need to do to maintain my hands, like I do the rest of my body. Old artists never retire, we just might change media...or eventually, close the gallery.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

More experimentation in the fiber studio

I made a spindle bag for myself several years ago. It travels with me very frequently. When I meet with my knitting group, who I call the Church of Knitting, although they call themselves Corcoran Knitters and Stitchers, I take my spindle bag with my favorite spindle and some yummy fiber.
.This turquoise bag is a prototype...too stiff for comfort, but the shape an size works well. It even holds the rather large Babe brand Spindle.This spindle bag, made from a swatch of Japanese obi, is totally functional and ready for sale..once I figure out the price.

There will be more to come. Watch this space and Sues Luxury Fiber on Etsy. I'm not sure how soon things will be posted as the gallery opens up for the season this week. Sigh! Bye, bye sabbatical!

Purple stuff: what do you think?

The new year brought some experimentation. Even though I rarely change purses, I have been attracted to the "poofy" cloth purses I've been seeing at the craft shows lately. So, I dove into my stash of fabric. Pulled out old figure drawings to cut up as pattern pieces (Must recycle, afterall) and began designing.
It was fun to be designing and building in 3 dimensions again. It was fun to be using my re-furbished sewing machine. (Thanks, Steve Pauling of the Bobbin Doctor)
It all went pretty well. I had most of materials, although the interfacing was lighter than ideal. I did not have magnetic snaps .
I even figured out how to put the pocket in the lining. What I got confused on was how to design in the purse straps! By the next morning, I had figured it out, but things were all sewn up! So, it became a clutch with a wrist strap. Not ideal. No zipper...would have needed to sew that in much earlier in the project.

So what do you think? Does it have possibilities?
Here is what I am thinking, in the long run, for shows and the retirement use of the gallery space: The purse reflects the colors and sensibilities of other products I make or carry. Much of my hand dyed roving, hand spun and hand dyed silk scarves relate to the purse. Other materials I order in also relate. So, it makes a lovely display...and a person could, I suppose, buy a purse, a clutch or whatever, and spin a yarn to make a scarf or a hat or, or, or?

What do you think?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

The wool nook is open! OK, it's not really and baskets are still being sorted out. More wholesale accounts are in process. But it HAS begun. One corner of the gallery is now devoted to wool and silk and cool fiber related stuff. The gallery is open on MONDAYS, 10-5 and by very generous appointment. Since the storefront is on the first floor of my building, and I live above the store, and I work at home....Obviously, appointments are easy. We just compare schedules and see what works.

What will you see in that tight little corner? Lots of roving, hand dyed and ready to dye, mohair locks, yearling mohair top (YUMMY!) It is so glossy! There are art batts, hand dyed silk and cotton scarves, lots of handspun and art yarn.
So much color! It is exciting!