Monday, December 9, 2013

Bouncing all around

Things have been very un-normal around here since I last wrote. I feel like I have been in a time warp. I think that when I do so many different things I have a hard time feeling...stable. I had to pack up my studio to turn the room back into a dining room for Thanksgiving. We postponed our meal till Saturday so that we could have more family members able to attend. We wound up with a count of 22 people from 4 generations, and we were still missing many members. It was chaotic and stressful but also nice. It is especially nice to have little ones around on a holiday. Three days after that gathering my dad had elective surgery on his shoulder for a torn rotator cuff. Being a professional stress-monger I think those two events sucked up a lot of my energy emotionally and physically; that and the time of year have caused me to struggle a bit more than I have been, but I am still hanging in there and fighting the depression demon.
I was able to do some creative things, but even with that I was bouncing around. I finally tried the piece of sanded paper for pastels that my friend Debbie Wagner gave me back in August when she came east to attend the Felter's Fling. Debbie is a wonderful artist and her pastel paintings of sunrises are so beautiful and her spirit shines through each piece. Her story is amazing and can be read about at the above link. The piece of paper she gave me was one that she uses for her sunrise paintings; she brings her supplies with her when she leaves home. I asked her to show me how she does her pastel work and I learned a lot just watching how she manipulates the medium. I find this true of watching other people felt, just seeing how they hold the fibers and do a layout can be so informative. I was all excited to try the paper but other things were more pressing at the time. Since most of my felting supplies were packed away it was the perfect time to go down to the basement "studio" where I do my messy stuff like dyeing and get my pastels out and finally try that paper. What a difference it made! The pastels perform very differently depending on the ground. I don't have a lot of professional grade pastels so my color choices are limited but after trying a this better grade of paper I decided that I wanted to buy some more quality pastels. Yesterday, after making a bit of money at a craft show...and since I WAS so close to Dick Blick I invested in a set of Sennelier half sticks. Here is a photo of my new colors and of the image I did with Deb's paper. I can't wait to try the new pastels, I think the colors will be richer.

After the get together I got out some wool to felt some soaps for the craft show. (I am not going to get everything out because we need the dining room for Christmas dinner in a few weeks). I did some to look kind of like stones...soap stones! 

I also worked on making a 'Scape Scarf'; a scarf with a landscape or other image on the ends. I proposed teaching this as a one day class at the symposium so I need to make more to work out how to teach it. That takes a lot of noticing what I do and my thought processes instead of just 'doing'. It takes some of the fun out of creating when you have to be so mindful instead of just letting it flow. Here it is not quite finished but it will give you an idea of what it looks like.

Below is my first Scape Scarf made many years ago. 

While I was waiting at the hospital I worked a bit more on my piece from Wiawaka. It was good for distraction. I am starting to think that in a way this piece is a self portrait; the black and white symbolic of the extremes of emotion that comes with being bipolar, and the problems of having black and white thinking especially where decision making is involved. The antique laces showing my old fashioned sweet girly side but placed along with more modern, somewhat eerie or sinister elements ; the odd bits of often opposing textures and surfaces that combine to make a complex whole. The piece was begun in Sylvia Watts class and since Sylvia is a psychiatric nurse who specializes in art therapy I think I was reminded of some of the times that I was in the hospital. I would have loved having her for a nurse!


  1. Hi Diane - I'm new to felting... glad I found your blog! Your felted scarves are wonderful. The black and white piece you've started here looks most elegant.

  2. Thank you Deborah! Welcome to the world of felt, there is so much to explore.Your silk paintings are beautiful. You may find some interesting ways to incorporate the two. I have done some pieces that involved silk painting either before or after felting. The combinations of other processes are endless it seems. Have fun!

  3. Hi Diane. I just visited your blog and feel so excited. I don't know where to buy the good and correct wool. I bought 2 years ago and i think was not the accurate one for the main body. That is a while i would like to purchase, and i can see great colours but i do not buy an leave them beside my previous purchase. What do you suggest? Is roving, top wool 100% merino good or should be something else. Then to make a cloth, how big should the pattern bed? forexample for a 12 size, should i make a 14 or bigger. I am more than thankful.