Sunday, December 2, 2007

Spinning The Earth, Healing The Heart ~ Elemental Art...

Several types of wool (Sheep); Silk, and Silk Noil (Silk Moths);
Ingeo (From Corn); Basket of spindles of yarn already spun ~
Spindles (Wood, Trees, Of the Earth)...

I have been spinning, this past week, the last yarn to finish the edge of Cecelia, The Singing Serpent, which I wrote about in the entry just below. I have also been very sick this week so the work has gone slow, and slower still because there are so many elements in this yarn that I'm spinning.

Different rovings (the processed wools) not only provide different colors, but different textures. The super silky ingeo made from corn slides through your fingers and gives the yarn a silky feel as does the silk, while the silk noils add texture and a kind of springy quality to the yarn. The spinning has gone slowly because of the way I layer all of the different elements and prepare them for spinning. There are 10 different fibers in this one yarn, and 3 of them are man-made, Angelina, a very irridescent fiber that makes the yarn sparkle. I seldom use it, but this edge was meant to be celestial in feel, otherworldly, like musical notes floating up into the air and out into the atmosphere as we know it, and beyond. There are 3 different colors of Angelina in this yarn. Similar, yet different colors. It is a very lively yarn, and if it takes awhile because of all of these different fibers, then so it will. And I will be spinning 3 spindles full of this yarn because the last yarn I spun, on the 5" wooden spindle, wasn't enough to go all around the last edge. I spun another spindle full of that yarn (You can see it in an entry below, the turquoise blend with Cotswold curls, very thick yarn.) as soon as I used what I had, and then set in on this new yarn.

Something occurred to me this week. Almost all of the materials I use are of the earth (... with the exception of the Angelina and other similar manmade fibers which I seldom use, lovely though they are...), even the tools I use, my spindles, and the crochet hooks I wrote about in an entry down further, the Gulliver Hooks made by Noreen Crone-Findlay, are hand-carved out of wood. I have a great many spoolknitters and other tools made by Noreen and her husband Jim, and the earthy feel of the wood feels so right in my hands. I live with many animals, there are plants everywhere, I like the feel of the soil in my hands in the garden, I love to collect things in Nature, and suddenly I realized that my art is of the earth, and it was a very deep thing to me.

Imagine the wool, coming from several different types of sheep, who have stood out in the rain, the sun, brambles caught in their wooly hair (we call this vegetable matter (VM), and it will still be found in cleaned and dyed fibers and needs to be picked out as I spin with a tweezers I keep nearby). Even the sheep, once shorn, send pieces of nature to the spinner to keep her grounded and connected to the earth.

Spindle-spinning is the most ancient form of spinning, long before there were wheels. I love spinning wheels, but I am more comfortable with a spindle in my hand, and when a spinner spins, she connects back and back and back through centuries of spinning women who came before her. It is a long lineage, spinners through the ages, and has an ancient feel that brings reverence and a bit of awe every time you watch piles of fiber around you becoming yarn.

This gorgeous spindle was
made by Gabe Jaramillo, and
among my favorite spindles...

Click on the picture above to
see a much bigger, clearer
picture of the yarn/spindle.

So spinning I go, and when I spin I dream, I think deeply about my life and all of the myriad pieces, which can leave one feeling jangled and pulled in too many directions. There is something very special about the fiber arts in that whether you are spinning, knitting, crocheting, weaving or other crafts, you are taking many different elements and making them all of a piece, you are weaving your life together again, as it were, and it is very peaceful and soothing. I have had a rollercoaster emotional life, and finally, truly settling into the fiber arts, has been one of the healthiest things I have ever done. We have the ability to heal ourselves if we truly immerse ourselves in our art. Art heals the heart.

Using the materials of the earth to spin the fiber to make wearable art also infuses it with an earthy, grounded feel, and this is good. The pieces themselves are heavy, comfortably so. I hand-spin very thick yarns so once crocheted around the edges, after making the core of the snake it settles in on your body as if protecting you. These pieces just have a wonderful feel to them. I received the wonderful affirmation from Mary, who bought the first Rainbow Serpent, and she affirmed this and it gave me the courage to continue on, following my intuitive leanings. Hopefully Cecelia will be up in the etsy shop by the end of this week.

I am having fun sharing my process with you along the way. There is so much else I want to share here, but with the holidays upon us, and the work that I do is slow and takes much time, I really need to concentrate on making as many things as I can. After Cecelia I am going to make the first Goddess Bag, made on an old antique basket loom. I have my own twist on the thing (I made one on this loom last year for my son's partner for Christmas.) and want to get some of these bags up for Christmas as well. The wearable art takes so long to make that I need smaller projects along the way so that I can get the 50% donation to MAPR section filled up.

19th Century Antique Basket Loom found in a very old barn at an
estate auction. Strings were so old they fell apart in my hands as I
was removing them. I will be making the Goddess Bags on this loom...

ALSO NOTE: I have redone my etsy shop, Dragonfly Cottage Design Studio's "Wearable Art For The Spirit." As you know, 10% of all proceeds in the shop go to Mid-Atlantic Pug Rescue, and with the smaller items, $25 and under, 50% of the proceeds goes to MAPR. I am working on little amulet bags as well to add to these smaller items in the shop. I want to create as much income as I can for MAPR, and making small items gives me a break here and there from the big works. There are little Treasure Bags and Mini-Medicine Bags now. I just added a new one. There are 4 items in the store now but it will be filling up FAST!

The holidays are upon us. Take care of yourselves, be well, be gentle and loving and kind and feel it flowing back to you. 'Tis the season of love. May it fill your life and days...



zquilts said...

I loved this article! I feel the same way about spinning -touching history through fiber - though I am not facile with spindles and have, only recently, returned to a wheel. Where do you like to get your fibers? The corn derivative sounds heavenly!

tangled stitch said...

I don't spin, yarn at least. I enjoyed reading your post and will be spinning back soon(the rest of me spins on a daily basis). Beautiful colors and descriptions of the fibers you could actually feel them with your eyes.

Michelle said...

This is one of the neatest looms I've seen. Do you have any resources for learning how to weave using this type of loom? I love your blog - so many colors, so much beauty.

Post a Comment