Thursday, November 29, 2007

Basket finished

As promised, here is my second pine needle basket. I thought the opaque blue glass beads had a nice vintagy look. As you can see, the basket is a bit bigger than my first one. This basket will be a Christmas present for one of my family. (Which family member? That would be telling. ;-))

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving weekend

Thanksgiving was great fun. Sharon and Ian adopted me for the weekend and let me spend the holiday with their large rambunctious family. Friday we went up to Plumas National Forest, uphill from Frenchman's Lake, and cut Christmas trees. The trees are cut by permit from areas that are being thinned. I picked out a lovely little California fir. It is set up in my livingroom awaiting decoration.

Saturday, before heading back into town, I was able to make it to Joe Winter's semi-annual studio sale. He and his wife make fabulous pottery. There were lots of amazing pieces on display in the studio and outside in two sheds. (Yes, I shopped.) I was also able to get a look at his wood-fired kiln. I especially like the display space/grid he had on the outside of one of the sheds. I think it would be cool to build something like that on the outside of my back porch to display natural stuff like interesting rocks, etc.

Sunday I started another basket. I think it is important to practice a new skill right away, or it may get put away in a closet and forgotten. It is amazing how addictive this form of basketry is. Before Thanksgiving I collected a shopping bag full of cast off pine needles from the Jeffery pines behind the Ag Building on campus. These are about 8-12 inches in length and soften up nicely when soaked overnight. I am using artificial sinew that I bought at Tandy's Leathercraft for sewing the coils together. (It was sort of a trip back in time going to Tandy's, which I swear has the exact same collection of kits that they sold in the 1970s.) My second basket is much bigger than my first (about 3 inches in diameter) and will have a lid that I plan to add some beads to. I will post a picture when it is complete.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Basketry Workshop

Linda and I spent today at a pine needle basketry workshop at the Nevada Museum of Art. Our teacher was Audrey Frank, who is Washoe/Paiute and learned from her aunt and grandmother. In about 5 hours each of us was able to finish a miniature basket. It was fun to see how different they all came out. Mine is sort of muffin shaped and only a little bit uneven. Not bad for my first try at a coiled basket! I have said over and over how I dislike anything resembling hand sewing, but this I really enjoyed. I am filled with inspiration to run out and collect pine needles and anything else that might work. Next year I could incorporate some lavender stalks....

The workshop was given in conjunction with a fabulous exhibit called "Yosemite: Art of an American Icon". Here is the description from the Museum site:

"Yosemite: Art of an American Icon presents over one hundred artworks that explore the rich artistic and cultural traditions that have helped to shape America's understanding of this celebrated national park. Featuring iconic paintings and photographs by artists such as Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, Ansel Adams, and David Hockney, as well as a selection of Native American baskets by Carrie Bethel, the exhibit looks at Yosemite's changing visual identity and cultural role as a national and international destination, and also examines the artistic response to Yosemite's transition from a wilderness ideal to an often congested commercial tourist site."

The exhibit runs until January 13th, 2008 and I REALLY recommend it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Closet full of fun

Friday night I did a bit of kamikaze dyeing. No planning ahead - just mixed up dye in plastic cups and went to work. I pulled merino roving, targhee roving and coopworth handspun out of my stash. Some I painted with dye, wrapped in plastic wrap, and steamed in the microwave. Some I immersion dyed. By the end of the evening I had a wealth of green and blue drying over the heat vents. Sunday, after smugly admiring the (now dry)results, I went back into my chaotic fiber room to put it away. I had an inspiration - since most of the roving was still on the plastic hangers used for drying, why not leave it on the hangers and park them in the closet? The resulting light and airiness (along with some of this year's lavender harvest)would discourage moths, and a simple glance into the closet would remind me what I had available next time I wanted to start a new project.

Once started, I got on a tear, hunting through bags and bins for dyed roving to hang in the closet. I am amazed at how much I had! And these are just some of the dyed rovings. Now if I can find a good way to store and display the fleece and the myriad of fiber equipment, I may be able to clear some floor space and change my "Fiber Room" to my "Fiber Studio".

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fashionably coordinated

I made a reusable cup cozy to match my purse. It is knit and fulled from leftover wool/mohair handspun. The clip allows me to clip it to my purse. The dangling felted braid will eventually be inhabited by a few beads. I was looking at some other folks' cup cozies on the web and saw lots of indignant comments saying that they are not environmentally friendly, since one should really carry a reusable thermos or travel mug instead. Although I absolutely agree that a reusable mug is the green way to go, it is not always possible or practical to carry one around, especially while at work. This cozy I can stuff in my pocket or purse, and when it comes to going green, every bit helps.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More Travels

I promised some more travel pictures, so here they are. While in Tucson I visited the Pima Air and Space Museum. It has been at least 25 years since I was last there, and it is about ten times larger, with five hangers and acres of planes to see. We spent a few hours there and could not even begin to see it all. Don't ask me the names of the planes - I was all about shape and color and cool nose art that day.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Socks in process...

We interrupt the travel pictures (more to come) with a work in progress. Fancy socks. Done with cuffs. Heels, etc. coming soon.