Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Art Dream

We are again enjoying unseasonably warm weather here in the middle lands.  It is all my fault.  I finished knitting a lush blend of alpaca and wool hat for Mister on Sunday.  I told him that if the weather closely follows my knitting he would not be able to wear his hat on Monday.  Sure enough, we hit the 60s and Mister's hat lay sad and neglected.  So I have no photographs of his finished hat as of yet.

Spinning News

I have a bit of a joint project to share with you.  I spun this lovely Falkland blend wool form Dyeabolical on my little Dutch wheel, then plied it in my ladybug wheel.

I'm in love with the color and I think it is one of my favorite things I've ever spun.  It is destined to be a knit hat and I'm so excited to begin.  It is just a little bit damp, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to cast on.

This one surprised me - I would have never guessed that it would look like this.   I spun this with the fractal method and I couldn't be happier!

The Art of School

I've been hitting the galleries in search for a paper topic for my contemporary art class.  Yesterday Mister and I went to a showing of John Stezaker's work.  We got a bit of a personal tour by one of the museum attendants. The work was intriguing, surreal and very thought provoking.  Click on his name to see some of his work.  One of the pieces made a huge impact on me.  When I first saw it, I exclaimed and then went to get Mister to see it.  It was unsettling, creepy and with the reflection of the glass, integrated/involved the viewer.
The Voyeur, 1979
Apparently it really did impact me.  I woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare.  I was in a room watching as the shadowy man entered the woman's apartment.  My nocturnal mind worked over time and I was finally able to wake myself up.  My first art inspired nightmare!

Last day to get 15% off in The Cloistered Lamb shop!  Use coupon code: NEWYEAR12

Friday, January 27, 2012

Inside of a Mix

It has been one of those weeks.  You know the ones - good and bad all folded into some sort of batter.

There was the visiting artist that demonstrated and talked about his ceramics.  He was fascinating and I had many moments that gave me many more moments to ponder.  Here is a photo of Russell Wrankle and one of his hares.

Later that day, my car threw up all of the oil and was taken to the hospital.  Mister and I worked clean up crew to not leave a mess of the parking lot that we managed to coast into.  The car guy said - sorry, engine is gone.

In ceramics class, we learned how to make stoneware clay.  It was really messy and a lot of fun.  Riding off the inspiration left by Russell, we began our first project.  We selected an animal and made maquettes (model sketches).  Working with the clay made me feel so much better about the week.

Mister and I are going to spend out weekend working, researching car options and possibly doing a art gallery crawl.  Lots of galleries are opening this weekend with new shows.  I'm in search of inspiration and a topic for paper/presentation for my contemporary art class.  Regarding car options, perhaps I should just do what I've threatened each time my car was in the shop - get a mule.  After all this person did:

Mule tied out in front of a Steak N Shake in Southern Missouri.   Stopped on one of our many road trips.
 No oil leaks, fuel efficient and his emissions are good for the garden.  Perfect!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Road Buddies

Mister and I took road trip this weekend to southwestern Missouri.  It all started off quite innocently.  I found an ad on Craig's List for a spinning wheel, I thought about the wheel for a month and then suddenly we had a trip planned to get it.

We decided to stay overnight because six hours of driving was not really appealing.  After doing some searches, we picked The Dicky House Bed and Breakfast in Marshfield, Missouri to stay in.

We were really really REALLY happy with our selection.  Our cottage suite was ENORMOUS!

And complete with a fireplace to spin next too.  It was heaven; my only regret was that we couldn't stay longer.  We enjoyed the town as well.  We had dinner with a VERY large party of people.  We were finishing our dinner when a lady came up to apologize for the noise.  She was having her 82nd birthday and was surprised with a party by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  We wished her a very happy birthday and assured her we weren't bothered by them at all.

Now for the part you are no doubt curious about.  Here she is:

When I first saw her pictures, I didn't know what this string with the ball was

It holds the flyer in place and allows for it to be removed to change the bobbin.

Leather folds over 
Secured with the string band

I love her undulating wood turnings

I love the triangular treadle.
Here is a fun video that I made with my new Macbook of the wheel in action.

The wheel hasn't told me what her name is yet.  I'm looking for a Dutch name for her.  Big thanks to Mister for insisting that this wheel should come home with us.  I had been looking at her ad for a long time.  I hadn't seen many of this type of wheel before and I loved that the wheel is Dutch.  Mister lived in the Netherlands back in the day.  We have many friends that live or have lived there as well. It just seemed to pull at me and now she is home.

While we were in the area Mister and I did some antiquing.  We found many other spinning wheels and I snapped their pictures with my phone.  No, these wheels didn't come home with us. 

This one was so sad.  It was just the table and the upper part of the wheel.  No legs, footman or treadle.  The wood was rough and it makes me wonder if is an unfinished woodworking project.

Little wheel snapped from on top of a display cabinet.  Price was shockingly high!

Lovely flax wheel - flyer broken and repaired; missing the distaff

Micro mini wheel - decorative object

Gorgeous green beauty.  Needs some TLC and cleaning.  Missing distaff.  Needs some flyer work.  Remove green and gold paint as well?

Great Wheel/Walking Wheel - missing spinning parts

I love traveling with Mister.  We take these road trips and it is never really about the destination, but what we find along the way.  This trip was quick, but filled with memories.  Now if we can plan a trip to find the other three wheels on my wish list: Frank Fell/Mayfield wheel, a Finnish wheel and a Swedish wheel...

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Beautiful Mind

Happy Friday everyone!  My blogging schedule is off a bit as I get used to a new semester schedule.  This week brought the addition of another class to the mix.  It is nice to be able to tweak my schedule to what works best for me.

The Art of School

I added in a ceramics class and I'm very much looking forward to it.  We were given a tour of the studio and that only served to increase my excitement.  I got to work with classes long ago and I've always enjoyed it.  I realize now that I've secretly longed to learn more about it.  In dusting the house, I've discovered that I have quite a collection of ceramic pieces.  The school has about ten different kilns for firing pieces.  One of the outdoor kilns looks like a Gothic mausoleum and is a very primitive type of kiln. Many of the students are nervous about working with fire and high temperatures.  I'm going to be cautious, but the word primal comes to mind.  Clay brings together all the elements (earth, air, fire and water) in the process of making a piece.

We looked at slides at historic works in ceramics and contemporary ones as well.  One of the slides that the instructor showed was of Moorish palace/fortress, Alhambra, in the south of Spain.

Ever since I first saw pictures of Alhambra, I knew I had to go there.  I have a photograph in my dinning room of it and it is an inspiring place to behold.

My instructor said something that really struck me, "Alhambra was the coming together of two great ceramic cultures."

M.C. Esher reportedly visited Alhambra and was inspired by the tessellations of the tile work.  The slide show reminded me of a mathematician friend who studies Islamic tiles.  Muslim artists and mathematicians (they gave us Algebra) were way ahead of their time (and people like my friend have been working to uncover what they knew.  Math and art frequently collide; a fact that I am beginning to see again and again.

Tessellation close up at Alhambra
 Long ago I considered myself a math dummy.  I struggled for many years.  The teachers went too fast.  I never got my big picture first questions answered.  I hated math.  Then I had the luck of working with a few teachers here and there.  I found that I could do the work.  Just when I began to experience the pleasure that math can offer, the school year would end.  Then the cycle start over and I was left behind and hating math.  Fast forward many years later and after swearing that I would never teach math - I picked up two sections of math.  Then I met Mister (mathematician in case you were unaware).  My life began to get very mathy.

 It all comes back to math.  The theme for my first year of art school has been symmetry and mathematics of beauty.  Math has been tucked away into every class.  In drawing and in art history I have learned about linear perspective.  Photography has been about various compositional tools which are math based.  Math is everywhere!  So the next time you meet an artist, just know they are really mathematicians in disguise.

Reminder- From now until January 31st, I'm having a sale in The Cloistered Lamb Esty shop.  Get 15% off when you use coupon code: NEWYEAR12

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When All I Want To Do Is Knit

Saturday was a big day.  I finally pinned myself down to begin to knit a sweater.  I've had the pattern since August and I have been flirting with it long before then.  I took myself up to my favorite LYS (Local Yarn Shop), Hearthstone Knits, got measured and set to pick a yarn.  My yarns is on order, so there is no instant gratification, but I can wait.  Of course, I don't really want to knit a whole lot else right now - I'm saving my knitting mojo for my sweater.

The sweater I'm knitting is the Cassidy, a lovely cabled cardigan, by Chic Knits.

The yarn that I picked is by Cascade Yarns, Lana D'Oro, colorway 1064.  It is a 50/50 blend of alpaca and wool and it is yummy.

I have been knitting for a little over a year now, and why haven't I knit a sweater until now?  Shawls, socks and hats have been hoarding my attention.  I am still spinning my Allistar fleece for a sweater, but I wanted to knit one now.

Big thanks to Hearthstone Knits for helping begin my sweater story!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First Day of School

The semester has started and I'm very excited about digging in with my classes.  I packed my bag this morning with lunch, schedule and of course some knitting for the downtimes.  The parking lots were full today and I saw signs for overflow parking (wow)!  I start my day with contemporary art history (doesn't that seem like an oxymoron?), 3-Dimensional Design and then finish with figure drawing.  I might pick up a ceramics class next week.  The Art of School is back.

The Art of School

Today in art history we jumped right into Abstract Expressionism.  What a time that was.  World War II is over and many artist have fled Europe to the States.  The world is asking a lot of hard questions; there is a lot of dust to sort through.  Carl Jung is in vogue.   The center of the art world shifts from Paris to New York.  Life Magazine asked if Jackson Pollack was the greatest living painter.  

Pollock, One: Number 31, 1950 from Smarthistory Videos on Vimeo.

Spinning Around

I finished my first bobbin of singles of Allistar's fleece.  Still aiming for a sweater.  I'm combing each lock and spinning from it.  It looks like frothy hot chocolate - yummy!

I also finished a skein of handspun.  These colors were knocking around in my head at the end of last semster.  I finally had a chance to dye some fiber and bring it to life.  This is a gradient worsted weight yarn.  The colors go from a pink with orange, green, blue and then violet.  The skein is 140 yards of squooshy soft wool.  Look for it in the shop later this week.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Holiday Break Part Two

Break is winding down,  Mister and I have been busy.  Mister is getting ready to take on teaching two upper level math courses at a new to him university.  I know he'll do great and I'm over the moon for him. 

I've been working on playing computer games, knitting, spinning Allistar's fleece for a sweater and doing a lot of cooking.  I feel relaxed and ready to dive back into school.  

I have also completed a commission for a client.  I was asked to restring and knot a pearl necklace.  I had to make an emergency dash to the supply shop for silk cord.  I was chatting with the sales woman and she called knotting pearls a lost art.  I smiled and told her I was really into a lot of lost arts.  Knotting beads is one of my favorite things to do and I hope to get more of it up into my Etsy shop.  I have some ideas kicking around.  I finished my client's necklace and here is the result.  I love the way fresh silk wakes up a necklace!  I hope my client will like it.

For the remainder of break, I'm planning on warping my loom again, keep on spinning away and maybe finishing my socks that I'm re-knitting.  I also started a new book recently, and maybe I'll spend on day this weekend doing nothing but reading.  Hmm, decisions decisions.  Have a great weekend everyone!

From now until January 31st, I'm having a sale in The Cloistered Lamb Esty shop.  Get 15% off when you use coupon code: NEWYEAR12

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Happy New Year!

From now until January 31st, I'm having a sale in The Cloistered Lamb Esty shop.  Get 15% off when you use coupon code: NEWYEAR12

Loom with a View

I finished my weaving project that I blogged about last week.  I left out the mohair.  I'm so happy the way it turned out.  I love how the warp threads create a flow through the fabric.  The handspun had random stripes of blue, charcoal, black and brown.  The warp was made with leftover Dream in Color Baby in Cloud Jungle colorway, Dream in Color Starry in November Muse colorway and a smidgen of Wollmeise Blaue Tinte colorway.  Who would have guessed that leftovers could be so yummy?

I also finally did the finishing work on Mister's scarf.  Why did it take me forever to clip my threads?

I have one week left until school begins.  Today I headed out to pick up my textbooks and got a peak at what is in store.  My contemporary art book had a Jackson Pollack image on it and that was enough to get me excited.  Bring it on!  Until then, I'm enjoying my break and getting some things done.