Monday, October 16, 2006

I Do Textiles

I don’t know about you, but I have really strange dreams sometimes. This morning just before I woke up I dreamed that I made a black sweater for a white seagull. But the poor thing was having trouble flying with it on because I made the wing-holes too tight so I was trying to catch it to fix them. Then I went to a café and was listening to a couple of folk musicians when their sound system went off. While they were waiting for it to be fixed, I chatted with the fellow who asked what I did. “I do textiles,” I said, but I’m not sure he understood what that meant. I’ve always had trouble explaining what I do, even in waking life. After all, I don’t really make a living at it. I just have to do it. I sewed and knitted and crocheted as a child. I added spinning and weaving as a young adult with small children. Later I learned kumihimo and bobbin lace and rug hooking and a lot of bead stitches. Recently paper and book arts have crept in there along with some wire to go with the beads. So just how do you put all that into simple terms that anybody can figure out? “Fibre artist” usually has them asking where I sell my work. I don’t. “Fibre arts instructor” doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t even count as a part-time job. Maybe I should just say “I’m a housewife” and leave it at that? Heh.

Had a lovely time with my Spectrum Study Group on Saturday. They were all working away on more Coptic stitched books but I decided to carve my 2 vine maple leaf rubber stamps. I had pressed a small leaf and an even smaller one from our last holiday campsite inside my journal. When they were good and flat I traced them onto the pink Speedy-Stamp material but I hadn’t gotten around to carving them. They turned out pretty good. I think I’m getting the hang of being loose with my cutting but not too sloppy. Whenever I got too anal it didn’t turn out as well. The stamps have the mark of the hand rather than the perfection and fine detail of the commercial stamps. They work well on fabrics too because they are bold. It's hard to photograph them though! Interestingly most of the stamps I carved recently are leaves. Fall always inspires me that way. Leaves are infinitely fascinating to me especially when they are more colourful than just green. Here’s a bobbin lace cherry leaf bookmark that I made a number of years ago:

That was before the pinched nerve in my neck and resulting numb forefinger made it hard to pick up the bobbins. I might be able to do it again now that I’m used to not feeling with part of my finger. I find lacemaking a real challenge to my brain, more so than any other craft I’ve tried. Like knitting it only has 2 stitches: twist and cross. But it’s what you do with those moves and where you put the pins that makes incredible pieces in the hands of the experts. I’ll never be an expert but it’s fun to do a little piece. This one is my own freeform design so it wasn’t that hard. If I made a mistake it was part of the plan!

We were going to go to the Fraser Valley Bead Show yesterday but it was raining. Lots of rain. More rain than we’ve had since December of 2005! Instead of driving out to Langley it was lovely to sit around reading and listening to the sound of the rain. I got caught up on all the newspapers and magazines that I haven’t had time for. We’ll be tired of it later when we’ve had days and days of gloom but it’s been so long since it rained hard that it was refreshing. T-Man and I were joking that we should have put up peace signs and called the news stations because we spent so long lazing around in bed it was starting to resemble John & Yoko’s famous bed-in! The cats of course loved it because they had nice warm bodies to snuggle up against. I should have checked for crumbs in the sheets before we went to bed last night, though the cat hairs are normal.

I hope the bead show did well anyway. This is the 3rd annual and they’ve had to move to a larger venue so they can include classes which is a good sign. Two of my friends were teaching this year which is great to see and another friend had her own booth for the first time. However, neither T-Man nor I needed anything after our visits to Shipwreck and Frantz Glass on our vacation and it was a long way to go just to pay $5 each to look at other people’s work. We don’t buy finished pieces and rarely others’ beads. Next year we’ll go again. It’s good to keep up with the local beadfolk and see what they’re up to at least once in awhile.

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