Took a trip out Washington way to see family and was thoroughly energized by the many surfaces and textures of the Pacific Northwest.  Lots of new visual and tactile information to fuel the Work.   Here are some samples….

A wildly diverse outcrop of Chuckanut sandstone along a Puget Sound beach. Both images look like they contain digital noise but that is a reflection of what is an extremely grainy surface, pocked and incised over time by the action of salt water (among other geologic forces).

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The bark of a Pacific Madrone  is a smooth yellow-green skin covered here and there with an orangey-brown, papery layer which lifts away from the skin’s surface in thin, delicate strips.  The graceful but sturdy Madrone is a guardian of the erosion-vulnerable cliffs above the shoreline. 

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Bull kelp bulb washed up on Puget Sound shoreline – a frequent sighting.

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Burned and weathered, with its tile-like delamination, this piece of driftwood was nesting in the rocky shoal of a mountain river.  I can’t tell you how many photographs of rocks and driftwood (always a great source of inspiration) I took in this vicinity alone!

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In this same riverbed, I was attracted to the play of sunlight through the river water as it rippled along the shoreline.  It lent a great fluidity to the rocky bottom and I was curious to see what sort of results would come from the images.  At first, there seemed to be nothing very interesting but as I enlarged them and adjusted the contrast (the only adjustment I made), so much more was revealed.  Since the glacial rocks on their own are quite varied in shape, color and texture, they enhance the image further.   The distortion is the product of moving water bathed in sunlight – stunning!

This past weekend’s workshop was loaded with creative energy and enthusiasm.  It was a delight to see each piece unfold from layout to completion and I was (and still am) inspired by the intensity and attention that everyone brought to their projects.  As you can see from the gallery below, the results were wonderful!  Thanks to the participants, GiGi, Hellenne and Libby who made my experience as a facilitator sheer joy! 

 

The Spring nuno felting workshop is fast approaching!  I thought I would provide some fiber and other images in the next couple of weeks to whet the appetite a bit.  I always enjoy pulling these bundles of fiber together – silk and wool, roving, hankies, batting, locks – and marveling over the combinations of texture and hue! 

Other doings in the studio:  I continue to work on the nuno felt surface studies as part of my process of building new techniques and expanding vocabulary in both wearable and non-wearable formats.  This has been a very inspiring and motivating practice, one I will break out further in this blog (when I can take a minute to collect my thoughts and put them into coherent form!)  I have also been pretty busy with day-to-day activities (including integrating work out of the house, i.e., a job) – all of these goings-on are challenging my time in the studio these days.  I always trust that the Work happens when the time is right.  In the time I have available, my focus is preparing for the upcoming workshop – I am really looking forward to it!

Glorious Spring to you all!

 

Sometimes, the inspiration to create just isn’t there – no use in forcing the work to unfold – it does so in its own time.  Under this spell, I decided to surrender and take a break.  I knew my muse and I needed a rest, and so I gardened and read and cooked – creative but quiet activity.  But lo! While on a walk yesterday, I felt an overwhelming tug, an urge to get back to the studio…. and so today, I resumed the work of studying process. 

Recall that I began this project with a desire to comb my depths for some new information that might open a door to a more authentic expression.  My general overlay has been the approach I routinely took when developing a landscape design; i.e., working with a program from concept to finished work.  In the current context (with fiber), this process is my program.   I am half-way down the path of addressing that to my satisfaction.   

To recap:  I began with my camera, gathering photographs, mostly in nature.  I captured enough images in that phase to “feed” the work for many series to come.  However, with the seasonal transition approaching, I will no doubt want to work with the camera again, starting the process anew.  For the current project, I narrowed my studies to an enlarged view of a creek’s edge with rock, moss, sandy bank and a tiny bit of standing water.  From this image grew renderings and diagrams, along with word play. 

Today, as thoughts moved to texture, I initiated my first studies in the actual materials and techniques I have chosen to explore.  This will be the first of many studies – extensions of the sketch phase really – very raw, loose.  They are opportunities to stretch and open, to dialogue with the surface and ultimately the form of the work.  They are not meant to be made too concrete…yet.  There are still further studies to be made at the third dimension (also happening to some extent concurrently with this surface study phase).

The question, still unanswered, is  – what do I want to see in the finished piece?  I trust that the answer to this question will emerge as the studies evolve. More to come…..

Nature is us.

I’m thinking about inspiration and how creativity happens in our intersections (conscious and unconscious) with the “natural world.”   There are few things more direct in their ability to shift us out of our normal way of interacting with ourselves, others and the “mother of all mothers,” than when faced with a dramatic change in the weather and landscape.  The chemistry of snow, the meteorological fact of snow, pales in comparison to the subtlety, the sublimity of it – the way it can calm and quiet us, and also the way it energizes us and draws us outside to move about in it.  Snow is one of those events that invites us, if we are so inclined, to move beyond “looking” and see, feel the deeper significance of a thing.  How we actually do that is unique to each of us, yet we also share a cellular memory of that significance and are all supported by it as trees in a forest support each other at the roots (to paraphrase Rumi).  When we access the creative process or the result of that process, we are accessing that shared support.  Nature.  Sun comes up.  Snow retreats.  Icicles shed their mass.  Birds, squirrels, worms and humans all go about their daily activities.    Nature is us.