Returning from afar

Oh my cocoons, it has been a long time since we talked.

I both missed these creations, these creatures... and didn’t miss them at all at the same time...

This September I picked up my beads and needle again. A trade with a brilliant artist, I finally was (gently) pushed to finish a cocoon that had been languishing away, three-quarters finished, waiting to find her home.  I was glad to finish the stitching I had started. I thought I would turn back to wool and beads.

Then I didn’t.

Was I finished with these sculptures?

                I didn’t want to admit it, even if it wasn’t true.

I realized lately, as the unadorned cocoons hanging in my studio began to whisper to me, that I had been avoiding them because of grief that was inadvertently attached to them. They carry emotion so well, these beauties.

The weekend before my beloved Kelly Call suddenly died, I came back full to the brim and eager to create after taking a brilliant workshop on wet felting sculptural forms. To say the wind was knocked out of my sails begins to scratch the surface. A too-short 6 months later, Kelly {Umberdove} Clark died. The progress I had made walking back to felted stitches was lost.

These blows of loss did more to my creative freewheeling than I knew. I buried it in sewing dresses and weaving. Practical beauty, repetitive in their rhythms, comforting and safe. Painting with watercolors was the closest I got to the deep-down parts I used to be in frequent touch with, via my cocooning meditations.

So.

The truth was found.

Now what?

New cocoons, that’s what. Two forms that have been waiting patiently for their adornments. A large, opalescent cocoon, cavernous. A small, comforting dusky indigo.

This is how I restart this journey.

 We’ve rested long enough.

Come with me, won’t you?

A Brain Full

I had the delightful honor of learning from Lisa Klakulak of Strongfelt fame a few weeks ago. Not only did I get to learn techniques that would've taken me ages to figure out, but I got to spend time in one of my favorite places, Asheville NC. 

study one

study one

I lost track of how many times my brain exploded within the first few hours of the four-day workshop.

Study two, mid-felting

Study two, mid-felting

She presents techniques and goes into mathematical formulas to figure out how to manipulate the wool to do what she wants it to do. Seriously awesome, if you're interested in expanding your understanding of wet felting, get thee to her workshops! 

Study three, compared to original resist template.

Study three, compared to original resist template.

Thank you for sharing so generously, Lisa!

Spaces Between. A Reflection

Where do they come from, your cocoons? What are they?

These are questions I get everytime someone sees my work, sometimes it’s the third, fourth, or tenth time they’ve seen the cocoons.  They’re puzzles to their viewers, and puzzles to their maker as well. The night at Goodyear Arts, I was happy to attempt to answer these questions over and over again. I got a closer to the truth of them, and for that, I'm grateful all over again. (My favorite part was telling people they could touch the cocoons, gently. It was the BEST.)

I struggled to tell people what they are, because I don’t understand fully where they come from.  I found myself (a hand talker) reaching into my ribcage to hand them the answer instead. I explained that instead of giving each a public name, they were meant to be named by each viewer. To hold the space they need most in their heart. To go home with whomever connects the deepest. 

As to what the cocoons from... They come from within, from the place of truth and magic and ancient knowing. I am the vessel, not the sculpture.  They tell me what colors they need. I ask them more questions than I receive answers.  They let me know when they’re finished. Sometimes they need to rest. Or maybe I need the rest, so I can listen and hear their whispers more clearly. Other times  they get loud, demanding attention. Picking at my brain when I’m not working on it, like an itchy tag on a dress. They take up space, holding intentions and reminders in each nook and cranny.

I close my eyes and take a deep breath before I start stitching. Letting my mind settle, like leaves after a breeze. Letting my heart ease, and open to the task at hand. My hands wander, working with my eyes in search of balance between wool, beads and stitches.

The physical weight of embellished wool felt calls me forward. It’s just as much about the needle pushing through the fibers as it is the finished piece.

They’re meant to change the room they’re in.  Holding their own space for the viewer, changing how we react to the familiar room.  Hanging things from ceilings has always fascinated me, how it can make a large room smaller, or a tiny space more welcoming. There’s something about it.

Fiber arts are my heart’s work in this lifetime. The medium is transformational and broad, challenging my boundaries and comfort zones. I adore that something so soft and gentle can push me so hard to find my Truths. 

Spaces Between

I’m still tumbling this experience in my head, up and down, like a coin flipped through fingers. Shaking it out like runes to be read. In a nutshell, it was amazing and brilliant to have my work seen by so many people. Being able to see peoples’ reactions to my work is such a gift, most of my patrons are long distance, and I’m grateful for each and every one of them. But to witness people Seeing my work for the first time, words escape me, for now.

Knowing that people believed in me and my art enough to let me show it to the world (thank you, a million, a billion times Goodyear Arts!). My heart is full of gratitude to everyone who has played a part in this show, from the first person who ever bought a cocoon, to my family and friends for their support, and every single soul that walked through the installation. Thank you. Thank you.

And now, I am in the between space. Holding onto my work, turning it here and there to see where we will go next. The cocoons will slowly make their way into the shop in the coming weeks or so. It's time to finally remove them from the space this coming weekend. 

Deeply Guarded

a custom cocoon. 

focus, grace in rawness, intent, and motivation. 

all love. 

 

Glory, Glory

This brilliantly warm cocoon is dripping with beads, its weight spins it slowly around as it holds space. Space for dreams, for creativity, for love of making and life. 

Made for my mentor/art-sister/friend.  To hang in her studio. 

Keep up your shining, dear heart, I adore you. 

Wool/silk yarn, felted, dyed and embellished by hand. Glass beads, citrine, copper, cotton. 

For the curious: original weight was approximately 0.4 ounces, final weight- 3.6 ounces! This one is up there in heft for my cocoons, I loved every single stitch of it! 

Luminus Cave

For the one who helps me shine.

Who finds the thread for me to pull.

The one who interprets my reluctance and hands me the hammer to break down the walls no longer needed.

All my love, always.

 

Gratitude Project Part V

For a dear, far away friend

To remind her of her Artist Heart.

Keep exploring.

 

Love