Category Archives: Fiber Art

Back to my loom

My loom has been sitting idle for a year and a month, but this past week I warped it and began a custom wall hanging. It felt truly wonderful. I look forward to posting a photo of it when it is completed. I’m finally using the fabrics I pulled from my stash so many months ago that were inspired by the paintings of my dear friend, Donna Forgacs. (You can see Donna’s paintings in an earlier post.)

"Unfurling October's Promise", which was exhibited in the Horizon: Contemporary Landscape, a juried exhibit in October and November 2015

“Unfurling October’s Promise”, which was hanging in the Horizon: Contemporary Landscape juried exhibit in October and November 2015

My artistic energy has been focused on quilted fiber art this past year, the first being a joint effort with 8 other fiber artists for a collaborative exhibit with the Gathering Artists called Homage to Barns, in October and November at the Community Arts Center in Danville, KY.

During the same time and venue, I had a piece in a juried show, Horizon: Contemporary Landscapes, which was a quilted autumn landscape titled “Unfurling October’s Promise”. This piece stretched my art quilt skills quite a bit and was so much fun to create.

Most recently, a winter scene, also a quilted piece titled “Blissful Release”, was hanging in the invitational exhibit, also at the Community Arts Center, called New Year New Art, which ended this past weekend. This piece expresses a spiritual emotion from deep within, something I hope to do more of in my future work.

"Blissful Release", exhibited in New Year New Art, an invitational exhibit just ending.

“Blissful Release”, exhibited in New Year New Art, an invitational exhibit just ending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beginnings and endings

A Table Rug given to Jim and Carla

Inspired by the chakras, this Table Rug was a gift for Carla and Jim. Carla was always a cheerleader for my weaving for which I am so grateful.

Life on this planet is such a mystery; at the beginning, at the end and all throughout. Though this story weighs too heavily on the predestination end of the continuum for my tastes, I enjoyed the old Jewish myth where a soul is given a choice to come into the physical universe after being “granted complete foreknowledge of the life it is about to enter, [seeing] everything displayed before it, as if on a movie screen, but collapsed into a timeless less-than-a-moment…And in order to make things more interesting, a split second before the sperm pierces egg…it forgets everything.” (Mitchell, 1991)

The veil of forgetting that the story describes certainly seems real. According to Emmanuel, “When you enter into the womb you begin to acclimate to a limited reality…Somewhere you hear a baby crying and you know that’s you…Identification with that ‘you-ness’ takes many months, indeed years, to accomplish.” (Rodegast, 1985)

It has been fun (and sometimes trying) to watch the development of necessary, healthy egos, first in our children and more recently with our grandchildren. This “sense of a personal self, separate from the rest of existence” (Innes, 2003), is actually just our perception of ourselves. I can’t help but smile when the youngest in our clan, who at two is in the throes of this ego emergence, announces on a regular basis, “I name Sam!” The “I” we perceive is constantly changing, though; “too young and then suddenly too old” (ibid.). (Going out on a limb, here, we eventually get glimpses of how we are not a separate “I” at all but “one partial expression of the divine whole” (Mitchell, 1991), but that is another story to tell.)

At my age it is expected that one will begin to experience more of life’s endings. Death lost a great deal of its fearful grip on me when I read in Emmanuel’s Book many years ago, “Death is like taking off a tight shoe.” (Rodegast, 1985) I immediately thought of this quote a few days ago when I lost a dear friend, Carla L. Rueckert.

As I wrote elsewhere, she is “a powerful soul with unblinking faith [who] has no doubt burst through to the other side with her voice raised in a song of joy and skipping and dancing on new legs”. Carla was quite a cheerleader for our homesteading adventure, living it vicariously but kept from such a lifestyle herself by her longtime physical restrictions.

Her life epitomized the following Q’uote, which from her own lips was channeled: “Each came into the world to be the light of the world; each has the capacity to be the hands, the arms, the loving hearts, the loving mouths of the Creator that speak, that reach to hug, that curve to smile and stop to recognize and honor the divinity of each other self. This principle that is you is unique, and yet you carry crystal within you through which the light may shine. (L/L Research, 2002) We will miss your light, Carla.

Incompatible with inspiration

Fox at her loom in her studio creating a wall hanging

Fox at her loom creating a wall hanging

Only a fool would deny that industrialization and technology has brought many conveniences to our world. Even so, “every gain has to be paid for” (Huxley, 1945), and too often such mechanization is incompatible with inspiration. It seems as though “the automatic machine is fool-proof; but…it is also grace-proof” (ibid).

I find myself mourning the passage of the traditional arts and crafts created from their conception to completion by artisans in their shops and homes. “A piece made by hand holds the steady, solid vibrations of its maker rather than those of the jarring, impersonal machine. Surrounding yourself with things made by real people invites a tiny piece of each craftsperson into your space.” (Lawrence, 2011)

My attitude about my own art was transformed a few months ago when I visited the open studio event of my good friend and mentor, Kathleen O’Brien.

When I got home after choosing a necklace titled “Talisman for Clear Thinking“, I wrote her the following:  “I am so thrilled with the piece, Kathleen. It was so much fun showing my husband all the beads and telling him the story. Having this talisman created by you prompted an insight into my own art: the realization of the joy and excitement of picking out a piece of art which means so much and is so beautiful. I hope to keep that feeling in mind when I create my own work, with the hope it might evoke such feelings in someone who eventually picks a piece of my work to have as their own.”

You can read more about all of Kathleen’s artwork on her website.

Spring Cleaning, Part One

Lighting the wood cook stove in the early morning

Lighting the wood cook stove in the early morning

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music. – Kahlil Gibran

I wonder if spring cleaning has any instinctual basis or did we just learn it through our culture, from our parents and grandparents? Did the early humans sweep out their space when the cooking fires were moved outside again?

Spring cleaning in the form of removing dust is required in several areas in our living space. One source is wood heat. I wouldn’t say I have a love/hate relationship with heating with wood. I’m glad we do it, but not sorry when it ends. Supplementing our heating and cooking with wood is a labor intensive and time-consuming activity, but it is very satisfying and feels, for us, like “right and worthy” work. The toasty warmth (not to mention much lower electric bills) offsets the annoyance of ash dust and bits of bark, which, despite our efforts, accumulates over the winter. This chilly morning may be the last time I’ll need to light a stove, but I’ve been pecking away at the dust now that mild weather has arrived.

"Pulling" wool for spring weavings

“Pulling” wool for spring weavings

Another source of dust is fabric in my studio, especially wool. Another spring cleaning project besides dusting, though, began with “pulling” wool in the luscious colors of my friend, Donna’s, paintings, for the spring collection I have begun working on. My bins had begun to be chaotic and disorganized and needed culling and sorting. I have found pieces I had forgotten about, which is always a treat, and a nice pile of great fabrics has begun to form.

With longer and more urgent to-do lists, the whispering of the hours Gibran spoke of has a different volume and beat than when we were snowed in this winter, but the music is good.

 

Working outside the studio

Missing my studio

Missing my studio

It has been so cold that it hasn’t seemed prudent to use the firewood or electricity to heat my studio very often these past weeks. I did spend a day recently cleaning up and washing some wool skirts and pants from our Goodwill tour and working on an unfinished sewing project, but for the most part I’ve longed to get back to a regular routine in my studio space.

Donna Forgacs paintings have inspired my next weaving project

Donna Forgacs’ paintings have inspired my next weaving project

 

Even so, I have been working on my fiber art while outside the studio. As it often happens, I woke with an inspiration for my next set of pieces. We are so fortunate to have several paintings by a good friend and wonderful artist, Donna Forgacs.

One of her paintings depicts a scene from our farm and the others are of farmland much like ours near here. You will need to come visit sometime to see them. These photos don’t do them justice.

The myriad colors are rich: the greens of apple to lime, fern and forest, buff to sepia brown, buttery yellow to gold, blush pink to magenta, sky to teal blue, pearl white to mouse grey. I have decided to do a series of spring weavings using the colors of Donna’s paintings. I’ve started pulling out the wool to begin and I will need to warp my loom as soon as the weather improves. I’m looking forward to showing my new work to you soon.

This painting depicts our road from the house

This painting depicts our road from the house

This painting Donna said was inspired by a field at Shaker Village

This painting Donna said was inspired by a field at Shaker Village

It won’t be there much longer…

I was so excited to be included in the New Year New Work exhibit at the Community Arts Center. I am now excited that my piece has been sold. If you weren’t able to go to the reception and haven’t been to see the exhibit, my piece will only be there a short while longer. The piece will be a gift and the person who is doing the gifting, a good friend of mine, has requested to have the piece before the end of the exhibit. If you miss my piece, though, I highly recommend the exhibit. There is a wide range of very beautiful art in many styles and media.

In case you miss it here is a photo of my piece.CAC WH eclipse2 edited for email

Whew!

I’ve been working all day to rebuild my web site. I am moving it to a new hosting company, Laymon Designs, in Harrodsburg. My mentor, Kathleen O’Brien, who I’ve mentioned in past postings, recommended them to me and I have been thrilled so far. It is a relief to have a local company who actually answers their own phone!

It has been quite a project but I’m pretty happy with the result. It will simplify things considerable since my blog will be on my one and only web site, lacetree.com. I’ve copied all my older blog posts so you can go back and look at the history of this blog if you are interested.

I’ve been adding photos and descriptions of all my inventory, too, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look around at my handwoven fiber art and wearable art.

This is a busy time of the year with the garden in full swing, but we are having a lovely cool rainy day in the midst of hot and humid weather so it is nice to have a day inside to do this work. It has been a pretty good garden year, not too wet and not too dry. I suppose Goldilocks would say it has been just right. We have continued to have fungal diseases which began in the spring and the insect of the year has been the incredibly pesky flea beetles.

Spiritually I have been doing some bungee jumping with incredible lows and wonderful highs. Both my parents passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s disease since February, four months apart, but the catalyst generated with their passing and the aftermath has fueled much spiritual growth.

I believe I will be able to post regularly now, at least that is my goal, so until next time I leave you in…

Love and light, Fox

 

Getting the juices flowing again

Blogging has taken a back seat to family and other issues for some time, but with the new life of spring, I’m feeling my blogging juices flow again.

My winter offered several crises giving me much spiritual “grist for the mill”, as a good friend of mine calls it. I believe I have grown with the challenges I have faced and continue to face, though, and I am so glad for the change in the weather which has lightened my mood and given me new eyes for the events as they unfold.

I have spent much of this last week in the garden, weeding, moving trees and brambles to their new locations, and today putting in a bed of broccoli I had started in the greenhouse a month or so ago. The winter lettuce is lush and baby lettuce and greens are up. The winter greens have bolted and so the timing is working well.

The hoop houses were wonderful this year. Our winter harvest was the best yet. I need to work on a way to deal with the gales which played havoc with the plastic covers, but I have a few ideas which I’ll fill you in on when I figure it all out.

Work in my studio has been spotty, too, with my attention in other directions, but I am working on a custom rug right now and have many projects planned for the coming months. It works well to do my garden chores in the cool mornings and evenings and then spend time in the studio during the heat of the day and I’m feeling excited and inspired about the upcoming work and play with my garden and my art.

I’ve mentioned before my friend, Kathleen O’Brien, who sparked the idea and set me on the path of trying to integrate my spiritual life, my gardening and my art, which are all interests we share. She suggested this blog as a way to work on that process.

Kathleen has been such an inspiration to me in many ways. I am so entranced with her art, which is filled with visions of nature and spiritual geometry of which I am also so connected. She also has been such a role model for me through the way she gets her art out into the world.

I’d like to tell you about her exhibit I am hoping to see this month. Realms of Wonder is Kathleen’s solo exhibit at the MS Rezny Gallery in Lexington, which began on April 1st and will be open until the end of the month.

Thanks! Happy Spring!

Love and light, Fox

Synchronicities in the round

I can sense when I’m in a groove sometimes, because the universe starts feeding me synchronicities and coincidences. I’m reading a book about a theory that is able to mathematically account for the cosmic or metaphysically components of the universe. Thankfully it is written in laywoman’s terms. I’ve begun to have supplementary information popping up in other areas of my life. I was noticing a circulation of coincidental happenings when this quote came up in my reading and really pulled the phenomenon together for me:

You see, where you put your energy, where you put your mind, is vitally central to your experience. If you begin with an act of faith and say, “I think life is this way and I’m going to live as if it were this way,” then you cast yourself into the midair of faith having no proof of anything but the simple feeling, the knowing, that all truly is well and that the universe does make sense. …You simply need to let go of any preconceived notions as to how that works and simply engage in life to the best of your ability… The universe will begin to perceive you as joining the dance. You will begin to get synchronicities…The universe will begin to help you. You will feel that feedback. And the more you lean into that, the more you will receive it. *

Since I find that this groovy thing rarely happens when I’m stressed or over scheduled, I have been trying to keep my calendar more clear. This folds in well with the fact that I’m trying not to drive as much with the gas prices as high as they are.

Even so, I do need to go to town now and again. Yesterday I went to a meeting of local artists, a group called Gathering Artists, where we have been planning a collaborative exhibit for October. I have been working to finish a hand woven Wall Hanging of a sunrise I saw when I was in Nag’s Head, North Carolina, and I brought it for “Show and Tell” at the meeting, despite the fact it wasn’t quite done. I will finish embellishing with hand dyed silk and mount it in the next few days so I can put it in the fiber art exhibit of my work that is currently on display at the Boyle County Public Library. It is in the Mahan House Gallery if you’ll be at the library and would like to stop in and see it. It will be there until May 6th.

When I was in town, I also needed to pick up some potting soil so I can pot up a bunch of bedding plants I have growing in the greenhouse. This has been the strangest spring and it is really hard to know when to start things both in the garden and inside, and when to put the plants from the greenhouse out in the garden. We have had downright hot temperatures, interpersed this past week with a number of frosty nights. We are waiting to see if the cold temperatures have damaged the blueberries, apples, pears and peaches. It did some damage to the strawberries, but they will bounce back, I feel certain. I had them covered in a hoop house, which added several degrees of protection. All my early greens and the broccoli and cauliflower are in hoop houses still, though on warm days I pull off the row covers.

As you can see, even with trying to keep the calendar clear, this is a busy time around here. Wish me luck with going round and round in the groove!

*http://www.llresearch.org/transcripts/issues/2010/2010_1113.aspx

Trilateral Blogging

After reading my recent blogs, my husband, Steve, asked me what exactly a blog is. I assume many of you already know, but I had my own opinion, which I offered. It seems to me to be a rather open-ended form of communication on the Internet, and, for me, it is much like a letter written in installments to a bunch of friends and family, as well as to people you don’t know. My Webster’s dictionary had no definition, but Wikipedia says it is a blend of the term web log with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. It is quite a phenomenon these days and I see it as a way to bring the humans on this planet closer together, which seems to be a good thing.

I shared in an earlier blog that I had been encouraged by my Kentucky Arts Council Peer Advisor, Kathleen O’Brien, to blog (yes, it can also be a verb) to help me integrate my weaving, gardening and spiritual aspects of my life. I have found that I am happy to share what I’m up to with my weaving. For instance, I finished weaving another of my handbags with the new design today and always feel a relief when I weave again after a period away from my loom. It is like scratching an itch. I am also looking forward to making some Christmas gifts so I can do some sewing. But I am especially eager, with a side of nervousness, to try some new techniques and create some things I’ve had incubating in my mind for some time. I got a book on dyeing at the library and hope to create some handdyed fabrics soon. Having a wonderful workspace and having regular blocks of time to devote to my fiber art is such a luxury. My art is feeling like a bud finally beginning to open as I approach the late afternoon of my life.

Sharing what happens in my garden is also a treat for me. I believe growing our own food and helping others do the same is an important way to be in sync with the Earth. If you would like some material about Fall and Winter Gardening and/or an article on building a hoop house (also called Low Tunnels or Quick Hoops) , contact us.

While I have much to say about my weaving and gardening, I’ll admit that writing about my spirituality is troublesome for me. I believe some of the difficulty lies in trying to use words to express something that exists in a realm where concepts and feelings are the norm and where words fall short. I am also a little self conscious about having such non-traditional, eclectic beliefs and wonder how many of those who might read my blog are even interested. Even so, I will continue to throw in some of my spiritual thoughts. Feel free to skim or skip if it isn’t your cup of tea.

Well, Steve is downstairs whipping up a batch of chili rellenos from our Anaheim peppers which we grew this summer and then roasted, peeled and froze. My mouth is watering. I ‘m off to pick some cilantro under the hoop house before it gets too dark.