Oh my goodness! Where has all the time gone? Wait, I seem to remember lots of wool… stabbing with barbed needles and production. Yes, I’ve been working on product and things have been selling. Which means more production for restocking. Now the final weekend is almost here and I can shift to creating the holiday card for 2021. The image is in my brain but how to put it to paper is the question. Will it be a block print or drawing? I’ll try to keep you posted. After the weekend, all the remaining felted product will return home and be placed on Etsy for sale. Ceramics are also going into production. Oh my! I think my hands are primed and ready for clay action. They really haven’t enjoyed all the felting torture. So on to new projects!
Hello November with your blustery days. The atmospheric river of storms are dumping rain around the Pacific Northwest (aka “the Pineapple Express” due to the high temperatures). I went walking yesterday with my neighbor and we both had to pull off our coats. It was in the 60’s! The flood of rain is hitting farther north, but it should still reach us at some point today. No worries for me because I’m spending time cleaning up after the frenzy of wool creature creations. Everything was dropped off yesterday. Over $2,000 of product. I sure hope some of it sells!
During the craze of everything, the owl was requested to participate in a show at the local Arts Center in Corvallis. It will be dropped off next week. I’ve been neglecting my photography of product because, well, it just takes so much energy to make that portion of things happen. So to help make things easier, I finally broke down and purchased a collapsible photo booth with LED lighting & swap out background. The biggest problem was what size to purchase. Since I’m hoping to be creating larger works I opted for a 24″x 24″ cube. The brand is Fotodiox. The owl photos below are from the set up
So what’s next? I think, after rearranging the studio to be habitable again, working on finishing the walls and ceiling in the downstairs portion of the house. If that zone can be completed, we could finally move back into the space rather than using it as a dumping ground for work gear. We could finally move the TV and a couch to the space! Of course the flat file cabinets and intaglio press still wait for an actual studio but hopefully that will happen in 2022.
I’ll leave you with a few more photos from my crazy critter creations waiting for the big 3 weekend sale at the Vintage Roost. Did I mention that it’s only 2 miles from my house? I’m so looking forward to seeing the festivities!
Thanks for your patience waiting for a new posting. Hope your November is moving smoothly and life is good.
Another crazy art week has passed with new items sprouting up everywhere plus several gatherings with beloved friends. Above is the pastel set I ordered from the UK. So looking forward to playing with these soon!!!
I spent a day working on felting bear heads in an attempt to better grasp what I’m envisioning with the project. The first ones were all pretty simple but my brain doesn’t like just simple. I want to dive into the complexities. How are the eyes REALLY placed on the face? How big are the ears and in what relationship are they with the eyes and snout? What are the real head proportion and planes of the face? Those are the things my brain is thinking and I’m trying to portray it with the stabbed felt , but it’s not there yet. More effort and time is needed to really reach what I want before actually selling the little guys. I still have time on my side.
Felting quickly gave way to clay sculpture (Georgie’s B mix). I wanted to see how my hands would do compared to the stress of needle felting and less finger stabbing. I think I just have a huge yearning for sculpture in some form or another. Clay might be the medium I’ve been really needing back in my life. The only problem is where to do it. My default location is the dining room table, which again makes the point of needing a true studio space out side the home. The above cat head was the first attempt without any muses, drawings or other visual aids. It turned out to look more Egyptian. Below is a first round with trying to find a cheetah in the clay. It does look cat like, but could also look like an otter or something else.
Now I’ve added in more photos for reference and cheetah head #2 is still not there and needs more work time. Hopefully this week I can sit down with all the cat heads and figure them out more.
Since I was feeling a bit unfulfilled with the cat heads, I pulled together a sheep head from memory. It didn’t do too badly. Still rough and needs more working time.
I had two beautiful clay absorbed days working at the dining room table! This was because I had a Dave free zone! Seriously, I love my husband dearly but it’s been rather challenging working with him on the other side of the wall from my space. Yes, I work better without anyone else around. Thursday he was on-site for work and Friday he went ziplining with my brother Tom at Mt Bachelor. I was totally jealous but we couldn’t both go due to the dogs. They both had such a good time together. What a view!
Saturday we buttoned up the last bits on the blue pine wall. The door still needs trim, but we have a few bits to sort out with that application. The rest of it is done!
Sunday we went to visit dear friends on their farm. This is where I receive the majority of my wool, where I gather sheep face inspiration and tasty sausage. Unfortunately, the herd is undergoing a major illness that might take the full flock of 10. The ewes have an unknown respiratory infection that took two on Friday and two more are already going down the same route. If the veterinary college can’t figure out a cure quickly enough the entire group will be gone within two weeks. I really hope answers come forward to save the girls. This could mean the end of sheep farming for this couple . It makes me sick. However, I did take a few photos while there. It was strange not to have the lambs around.
Thanks for checking in for yet another installment of my art zone. Stay safe and healthy out there!
Last week held promise yet evaporated without much to recall. It started strong with the large Ewe and Lamb charcoal drawing then fizzled until Friday when I did a bit of product development with holiday ornaments. The weekend was beautiful and we took full advantage of the weather by completing numerous outdoor projects and even the front door interior wall. Our old dog Moby was not impressed and spent the majority of awake hours on serious medications to calm his fragile nerves. His noise fears continue to worsen with age so we really have to plan our house remodeling jobs. Nail guns are not his thing. Fortunately he was able to escape to the far back yard and sleep under the hazelnut tree shade. I’m actually looking forward to when he goes deaf.
I think I’ll wait to share the new product designs until later. I’ve managed to create a bit more single spun yarn for the upcoming Birdseye weaving pattern. Sunday night I learned that the oldest son of my neighbor just adopted 6 Alpaca! His mom let him know that I currently work with wool, so possibly next spring I’ll be trying my hand at processing an Alpaca fleece!
We are actually having RAIN!!! Currently the second storm front is moving through since mid-month. With rain, downspouts that haven’t been cleared are clogging. This morning I had a bit of first-hand rain experience perched on a ladder clearing out the gutter. It felt wonderful! Autumn is here! Trees are glowing yellow and leaves are falling. It just feels so good to have rain return.
The above sketch was one I played with today. A quick Fiona kitty sketch in blue and gold. 6B pencil and a bit of watercolor blobbed over the top.
Have a good week!
Last week equated to zero art and lots of recovery. I managed to finally receive a third shot of Pfizer! Hurray! However, my body really disliked this third round. It doesn’t get easier for my body to deal with the experience and it used pretty much the entire 72 hours to recover. Once it left my body, I was up tackling normal household stuff that didn’t receive attention while I was down. Then we cooked like crazy people Saturday for a family gathering on Sunday. We had a total of 11 attending. It made me so happy to see everyone. No photos because we were all just enjoying the time together.
Today, Monday, started calmly and then became a bit more involved. A week without any serious art was hard so I chose today to start a large drawing. All of my previous colored pencil work have been on 11″ x 15″ sheets. I’ve jumped into a grand format: 38″ wide by 48″ high. The image is one from a farm visit during lambing. This is the same farm I receive wool from. The image is currently all in charcoal on Arches Rives paper. Will it remain only charcoal? I don’t know, only time will tell. You’ll just have to wait until next week to find out.
Thanks for reading!
After coming off the long Labor day weekend I kept working on the current house project of revamping the front door wall. Our weather is still good, but rain is actually looming later in the week. Below are a few images of the progress from start to end on the 12th. We still have the upper section of planking to finish but it will have to wait until next weekend. One downfall to the project was Mr Moby. His loud noise anxiety kicked in due to the compressor and nail gun operation. He spent almost all Sunday in the back garden. Poor guy!
Thursday I did step into the art world for a bit with disastrous effects on my hands. So it goes with psoriatic arthritis. The bummer part was that Friday is a standing spinning date with a wonderful group of women. I’ve only managed to make it one week this summer. The group is planning on a natural dye workshop and I had really hoped to join the fun. Hopefully they don’t think I’m a total looser. Maybe this new week will be the one! Anyway, what I played with was felting pumpkin shapes using the shockingly orange dyed wool from a few weeks back. I managed to create 5 forms in one day and sold three to a neighbor (who wants a few more too!). What I need to do is gather together my winter stock levels and see what can go to a seasonal shop in the coming months.
One other thing of interest happened during the week. I was asked to come talk to a high school art class during Fall term. I just need to set up the month and I’m thinking early December.
Looking forward into the week I see several things happening. I might finally get a Covid third shot since the medications I’m on weakens my immune system. I’ve really debated on this one because I feel like everyone world wide needs more access to the vaccine, but I do want my body to be more able to handle possibly getting hit with the Delta variant or others down the road. I’ve read one small study that possibly shows people on Methotrexate doing alright with just the two vaccines (the study group was only 133 people). I’ve also been planning a family gathering to commemorate our mother’s birthday, but that’s also not fully together because of Delta. Infection rates have been higher in the county we would be gathering at and people would be coming down from Portland/Seattle to Eugene. More family discussion to come.
On with the new week!
What happened this week? I’m feeling like nothing happened, but thanks to keeping track via photos, I can look back at everything.
Last Sunday I did a bit of dying. Another half pound of wool and another striking color. The wool will most likely be spun and turned into a weaving project. I also dyed a batch of Periwinkle blue later in the week but failed to photograph.
Monday and Tuesday were Hyena days. The image is resolving itself more, but not quickly. I just have to keep plugging along and (fingers crossed) it will all work out.
Wednesday was completely different. I spent the day scanning the diary from my great-grandmother. It was from 1886! Her handwriting is really tough to work through so it will take some serious dedication to decipher. Plus she wrote in pencil (hence the scanning to be able to darken the lines).
One morning during the week I happened to crack open a most beautiful egg. It was so lovely that I actually wanted to draw it…. and pull out my meager paint and study it more! I have to admit I have a bit of a yearning to purchase a few tubes of paint and just play. Of course, I also want to drag out the 50 pounds of clay waiting in the garage and make animal sculptures. And then there’s all the wool to work with! I think I’m going crazy. I just want to do everything.
Saturday was spent sanding and coating blue pine with a clear finish. Dave found some really interesting wood for the interior wall at our front door. It’s a tall space and has a small, non-functional window. We’ve talked for years about how to revamp that entry way and settled on a wood application. It took many years to finally settle on a type only because Dave happened to take his phone along to the home improvement box store. Now we’re spending the long weekend working through this project plus finishing the final bits of exterior house painting. I’ll post more at the end of the week.
And finally a look at our first harvest of Asian pears! We planted the trees early spring of 2020 and followed the recommended “no fruit” on its first year to help with root establishment. This year I let it produce! It did so well, I had to thin fruit several times. I’ll probably chop up a bunch of the bounty to dehydrate. The rest we will continue to munch through.
Our days continue to be dry but have really cooled down into the 70’s and 80’s. The smoke wafts north from southern Oregon and probably northern California fires. We’re so parched and yearning for the fall rains to arrive. Will they? Seems like all the water is going north to Canada (who also desperately need it! ) or flowing up the east coast. We need some water!!!
Ok, that’s it for last week. The long weekend sucked up too much attention and delayed the posting of this past week. So I guess you will receive 2 posts in one week! Anyway, that all for now. Thanks for checking in. Talk to you soon!
This past week was filled with indecisions that finalized. What indecisions were on the table? Well, the donation for The Art Center’s Art for the Heart. I kept waffling between old and new ideas before settling on the Fat Sheep felted sculpture. I think it’s a better choice that the owl pictured below.
Sometimes I get rather wrapped up in a project that I’ve thought I would donate, then realize that it’s probably way above and beyond the set asking price, which is what’s happened with the Owl. It’s worth way more than the $75 price and I’m not feeling that generous.
As I was waffling, I started another project that’s now part of my Africa series. We will just call it the Colorful Hyena.
It’s amazing how crappy things look at the beginning of a piece and how layers and layers of color can help. I just keep plugging along and trying different things to see if I like the effect. Maybe by the end of next week it will be more resolved.
I had hoped to do some dying over the week but never quite got there. Today, Saturday, I finally have a batch of wool cooking as I attempt to reach a magenta using hot fuchsia and violet. At least it’s a fun looking dye pot!
One more thing of note. I actually went to see the current show at The Arts Center in Corvallis. If you’re looking for color, you shouldn’t miss this show. “Vibrant Fiber: Quilts in the Colors of the Rainbow” is on display from Aug to September 26, 2021. I visited with my quilting sister Kim and she really enjoyed it too. We also had a chance to talk to sculptor Raymond Hunter who was touching up the Ballerina sculpture at Central Park. She was reinstalled this week (after vandals tried hard to destroy her) with vibrant bronze and the original patina on her dress. He fondly explained all the parts and processes she went through before the return to her beautiful home since 1979. Quite a process and we look forward to the return of the squirrel who was also vandalized with a sledgehammer.
I think that’s about all for the week of Aug 21 to Aug 28, 2021. On a weather note, we’re finally experiencing more comfortable temperatures but have a Red Flag warning today: Winds from the north with low humidity. That sort of weather pattern gave us the raging fires last year, but this won’t be as crazy. We are almost a year to date from that weather pattern.
Ok, signing off for now. Hope everyone has a good week stepping into September!
Life has certainly been moving along. With my body aches subsiding, I’ve started working on wool with seriousness. I realize that I only have about 2 months left of outdoor drying as autumn approaches. Yes, dyed wool!!!! I’m loving the colors that are coming out of my crazy dye baths. Slowly but surely I’m starting to hone in on what I want with colors and actual purpose with my spinning. Go figure!
Let’s back up a bit: I do have several things in the works. First off is The Owl. It’s been coming together and actually having a true background added with “aged cedar”. I haven’t shown any images here regarding the owl, but it’s a donation to my local Arts Center in Corvallis. Below are a few progress images to the final piece (well, almost final!)
Cedar is a lovely color, but I really wanted a greyed out aged finish of barn wood. I recalled that my father aged the cedar shakes on the exterior of his houses using a simple solution of vinegar and iron. I stuffed a OO size steel wool bundle into a jar and pickled it with vinegar. After 24 hours I mopped it on after first treating it with black tea tannins. It went much darken that I thought, but I think it’s ok. Mounting of everything to come.
Next up: the weaving project! So, I’ve been dying wool this week and that’s been just lovely!!! The wool was a 2019 fleece shearing from my friends Cheviot cross ewes. This fleece was cleaned via my now normal fermentation process and washed with the Unicorn Power Scour (not Dawn Dish soap). The fleece was air dried on my homemade rack and bagged for future use. 4 or 5 fleece ended up in 5 gallon pails with lids out in the garage for safe keeping. So, I’m working through this first easily accessible fleece and totally loving the wool! I’ve even spun up a whole bunch for a near future weaving. First dye bath was for green.
Next dye bath was for a crazy intense blue.
Now I’m just dying for more blues and Orange!
Carding has become more intense because I’ve been learning more. With my hand problems due to Psoriatic Arthritis, I need to card my wool multiple times. Originally I was only carding it twice. Now I card it about 6 times with all the color blending and it has improved the flow of wool through my fingers. The easier it flows, the easier it is on the tendons in my hands. Wow! I had no idea it would make such a difference. This year I also figured out that the roving processed off site requires multiple cardings before use. I originally thought it was going to be perfect from the start, but it wasn’t. Now I know and can work with the wool more in order to make it easier for my body to handle.
Heading into the weekend I have more dyed wool, an owl donation almost completed, and a spinning project well underway for future weaving! I do have one more project/reworking in the mix, but the garage studio hasn’t been able to incorporate the mix as of yet. Hopefully next week will bring about it’s completion and I’ll show you then.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Drawing is my greatest nemesis that causes uncomfortable brain challenges, but pastels might prove to be a way in overcoming the pain. I’ve become glued to several YouTube channels over the past few months with one being a UK pastel artist who gives incredible tutorials. Since I’ve been floating around in the art world not feeling connected with any one particular medium, I decided to make a side step back into the world of drawing with the help of pastels.
I stepped into a charcoal drawing, initially thinking playing in black and white values would suit my brain, but the colors started jumping on the page.
The lioness model is from a photo I took one morning in Kenya. The group of sisters were snoozing under cover of a bunch of shrubby trees. Such a beautiful bunch of cats! I think there was a family of Black Backed Jackals skirting round the lioness group, looking for food scraps. This drawing is my first attempt with pastels and hopefully the image will be mounted on an 8″x 8″ block for a fundraiser at The Arts Center of Corvallis. Hopefully….. I still have plenty of time to screw it up.
Thanks for your interest! Pastels are Faber-Castell soft sticks and pencils. Paper is Sommerset. Hours more fun to come!
You can always find me on Instagram where I post more images than the blog.
Oh, and there’s also a felted goat in process. It still needs a coat, but he/she is looking pretty fine for the first attempt!