Thursday, January 24, 2008

We Work With What We Have ~A Day In The Life of A One Armed Fiber Artist...

"Feeling light within, I walk"

~ Navajo Chant ~

So yes, as the Navajo chant says so beautifully, Feeling Light Within, I Walk... I can't do much running these days with a sprained ankle and wrist, but I can do a little. I can walk. I can move slowly through my days and do what I can do, and in the end, if a little sore, I feel worlds better for the trying. So it came to me yesterday morning that I would do the work that I can do, and share it with you here. A day in the life of a one-armed fiber artist.

Yesterday I started this post, and by the evening my wrist hurt so much I had to quit. I am within a hair's breadth of finishing Cecelia, The Singing Serpent, and latest wearable art piece I have been working on for weeks now, and the end of this entry was going to show the finished Rainbow Serpent. Instead, you can see a detailed sequence of photos of where she is today and what work is needed to finish her.

First of all, I spun a new Dragonfly Cottage 'Spindle Set' Art Yarn, and doing it with a sprained wrist was a challenge but since I just had to draft with my left (sprained) hand/wrist (I've got a few good fingers anyway...), and the spinning was done with my right, I was able to spin a spindle full of a yarn I call "Candyland." As to 'Spindle Set' yarn I am now creating a new line of art yarns that I leave on the spindle for up to 3 weeks to set rather than the usual way which is to make a skein, soak it and hang it to dry, with a little weight to pull out excess twist. I spin up to 12 or more fibers at once in these art yarns, will be using primarily natural but also man-made fibers to create all manner of creative yarns, and the finished yarn is very different left to set the twist on the spindle without wetting it. It holds the twist though it may get a little fluffy on the ends with use which can still be twisted manually and woven in, but the whole effect on the yarn I really love.

These 'Spindle Set Art Yarns' are what I use in all of my wearable art. It takes much longer for the spun yarn to be ready and the pieces are very slow going, but every one is a soul journey. I will now be selling some of my yarns in my etsy shop, Dragonfly Cottage Design Studio, but as I spin yarn for my own projects, others for sale will enter the store slowly. The three I just put in the shop last night, which you can see below, were set the traditional way.

So here below are several pictures of that process. And you will note, in taking several pictures, how the color varies. The colors are so saturated and bright and beautiful but the camera just couldn't catch it properly. I took a lot more pictures than these but wasn't happy with the outcome...

Drafting with a sprained wrist...

The finished yarn on spindle, ready
to be hung. I use large spindles, this
one was a recent gift from a friend,
a 4" whorl, from Ashford. I typically
use 4" whorls and I have one with a
5" whorl.

On nature walks I collect long branches, mostly, here,
from magnolia trees who seem to drop
very long branches
after storms. I secure them
to the walls and hang the spindles
here to set
the twist...

Closeup of spindle hanging...

Then, as the day went along, my wrist needed to rest and so did I, so I puttered about the cottage, communed with my animals, and took a nap with a pug on my feet. (That would be Sampson. He's my "vibrating foot warmer!") After I got up from my nap I decided to put three Wabi Sabi Handspun Yarns (twist set the old way) up in the shop and here they are below. There will be more of each kind coming. If you go to the etsy page you can read about these yarns, what fibers were used, and more.

"One Day At The Circus." A big 11 oz. skein.

"Nights Full Of Mystery and Intrigue," gorgeous night
colors ~ watery blue/teal with hints of rose, cranberry
and black.

"Clara's Heart." A tribute to Clara Schumann. A lovely
2 skein set in maize, rose and mocha...

And then we come to dear Cecelia, The Singing Serpent, one of my line of Rainbow Serpents of the Dreamtime, wearable art pieces. She is what I call a "stole" and is comfortably heavy. The yarns are spun of many elements, are very thick, and this piece isn't going anywhere, it will stay firmly on you!. It would be wonderful over the shoulders of a coat, sweater, and can be dressy or worn with jeans. Each of these pieces is one of a kind and takes a very long time to make...

Cecelia, nearly finished...

When she slithered over and wrapped herself around
my computer, I got the hint. She wants to be fnished
and off into her own life, on her own journey, doing
the work she was meant for. And so she shall be,
this week...

Okay, looking at me with those
googly eyes won't make me go
faster. Snails are passing me on
the road as it is with both a wrist
and an ankle brace. Hold your

And you don't need to stick your tongue
out at me either...

You know when you look at me
that way I go all soft inside, c'mon,
I know you're magical and all, but
magic-making takes time...

Singing to me with your
bright orange mouth wide
open, well, truly it just makes
me kind oƒ ƒeel guilty. Ok, I'll
do my best to get your tail
finished. Whip it on up here.

Okay, tomorrow, after my wrist rests, I'll
finish the tail and put you up in the shop. I
know you're excited. I'll do the best I can...

So it looks like tomorrow will be another busy day as well. Slow going, but busy. But, like the Navajo say, Being light within, I walk... I walk steadily forward. We do what can, we keep moving forward. We walk in beauty. We infuse everything we do with love. And some of the greatest teachers we will have come from the work that we do. As it is made manifest it's teachings reach our soul, and as they do, we keep metamorphosing, changing, growing, and becoming whole new beings. Being an artist is the true path of the shaman. In every moment you must look deep within yourself and go on journeys otherwise impossible. Tears ares shed, sometimes it is frightening, sometimes even joyful, but it is meant to be a deep teaching, not easy. And so we keep on walking. We keep on walking...

Blessings and Love to one and all,



Knotgypsy said...

You are an inspiration! Exactly what I needed.

tangled stitch said...

Your yarns are beautiful, and Cecelia is extraordinary. I love to come to your blog and see what you are up to in such an entertaining lovely way. I'm going to link you on my blog too.

Maitri Libellule said...

Thank you so much KnotGypsy! Your post meant the world to me today, and I've enjoyed your blog as well!

Blessings to you this beautiful winter day...

Maitri :o)

Maitri Libellule said...

Debra Ann, thank you so much honey. I really appreciate your kind comments about my work and I'm honored to be a link on your blog. Thank you so much!

Blessings to you and see you on the list.



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