…to let you know what has been going on in my life. Although with the current COVID-19 situation, it is not very exciting right now!
I officially stopped teaching. Basically that means I am not going out of my way to set up workshops or classes. Still love to pass on my passion for fibers, so if anyone is interested, just contact me and we can set something up.
The grandkid population has increased to 6 with each son/wife creating two. Those little ones are a blast! And they are not so little anymore: two almost 9, one almost 8, two 4 yo and one going on 3. Soooooo missing their company this year…
The biggest challenge right now is upping my sales game virtually. For the past 10 years or so I have been a part of a 12-woman group, Studio Collection, putting on an annual sales event the weekend before Thanksgiving. This year we had plans in place to change our venue which was promising and a bit scary as the event had been held at the same venue for more than 20 years. Now, bless that little virus heart, we are thinking we might have to do it all virtually!
The majority of the artists are pretty capable with their online presence. I am a bit of a dinosaur. Trying hard to put online stuff in place that will be easy and productive without having a degree in website building. Seems like each potential web sales possibility has just enough that I don’t know… and they all seem to make it hard to put it all together. But I am trying. It will be an adventure, for sure!
You all stay safe!
…waiting for me to make another post here! Hah! Already a year has passed since my last post and a lot of life has happened.
Two major developments: I have removed my work from Gallery 708 in Cincinnati (not enough sales of my work after a year, unfortunately) and I have officially retired from teaching workshops! A number of reasons for the second decision, not least of which is wanting more time to do my own work. I will miss the meeting and ‘playing’ with like-minded folks – and visiting with those wonderful fiber friends around the world! – but I will not miss the prep and schlepping of all the materials necessary for a good workshop nor the hours/days of travel time away from home.
I’ve spent more time this year with some of the grandkids doing ‘grandma duty’ and I realize this is the time to do it, while they are still small and interested in having grandma around. I think my ‘retirement days’ will get filled pretty well with grands!
Still part of the Studio Collection Fall Sale group (Saturday, November 17 this year at Harmony Hall in Spring Grove Village, Cincinnati). And still very active in my pursuit of mud and contact dyeing perfection. Papermaking, bookmaking and stitching rank high on the list, too. I may not be trotting around teaching in the future, but I will remain fiberly active!
Bookbinding is something that can take many forms: from the simple folded book to the elaborate Coptic style. Artist books can be even more inventive and strange. I delight in using all manner of materials for book covers and enjoys the challenge of new book designs. Blank journals are a specialty, using handmade papers to create unique spaces for keeping treasured thoughts and ephemera.
Handmade papers, made from locally grown plants and recycled materials, add an excitement and elegance to correspondence and books. Each plant has different qualities which make for unique pulps and papers. Recycled pulps benefit the landfills.
Some of the plants that I have used in my papermaking include:
- wheat straw
Bogolanfini = Mudcloth
Bogo = clay, mud
lan = result of
Fini = cloth
Bogolanfini is a technique historically used by the Bamana women in Mali, West Africa, to dye cloth for important life occasions. The cloth is locally grown, spun and woven cotton – the dyestuff is mud collected from the Niger River – the tannin is from the leaves or bark of several bushes/trees. The finished product is a white symbolic design on a black background.
There are a whole slew of variables that make the process work perfectly in Mali. Those same variables make it difficult, if not impossible, to follow the process exactly anywhere else.
The modified version of bogolanfini that I have devised produces cloth that is similar – in that it uses the color from mud to dye the cloth – but certainly not the same.
There is an ongoing debate about the use of the terms ‘bogolanfini’ vs. ‘mudcloth’ – who should use them and when and why. As she cannot duplicate the process, I refer to my work as mudcloth, leaving bogolanfini to be used by those who practice the original, traditional process.
A bibliography and some links will be listed in the future for you to research the discussion.
In the meantime, enjoy the work that is currently posted! (The first two photos below show original Mali work.)
Gut – sausage casing / intestine – is a wonderfully versatile material. Used by the Eskimo peoples to make water repellant coats and pants, gut can be used like cordage and like sheets of material.
Most of the gut work that I create is made with pork; sometimes lamb is used for the smaller diameter. The work is both 3-D and 2-D and mostly sculptural.
When stretched as flat pieces, the gut is typically layered to create a sturdy surface. When left whole, the gut dries on itself to create a solid, strong thin string-like material. Due to the nature of the material, the gut is worked fresh and wet. Once dried it can be softened, but it will never return to its initial, supple state.