Custom work filled many summer days at the studio this year. Completed projects are now delivered. Before I completely shift into next season’s work, my hands and mind are revisiting techniques and tools: a bit like a family reunion.
Grandma Alice showed me how to tie quilts when I was a teenager. My fingers readily repeat the old motions. I enjoy adding this simple bit of thread into textile art. Seen here, knots added to wall hanging used in the worship space of The Legacy, Staunton, VA.
On the nights we eat spaghetti in front of the television, we carry out artisan crafted Waterford tables made by our friend Ron Light.
In our home these are artifacts, as is the antique table crafted by my husband’s father when he was in high school. We use these items in our daily lives. We admire the workmanship. We celebrate the makers.
Most of our furniture, dishes, and clothing are mass-produced. Utilitarian, attractive, but not in the artifact category. This is my own definition. Hand crafted. Utilitarian. Valued.
My email signature lists me as artist and artisan. I have made textiles into artifacts for over four decades. That gives me joy.
In mid-September I posted about my studio challenge to design one of a kind artistic stoles at a more modest price point than my current work. The solution must maintain the standards of construction that I use for the rest of my work.
After I selected fabric from my inventory, I prepared each selection to be painted with an existing motif from my collection. Stencils, screen prints, and simple masking are all put to use. The second photograph show the five stoles after the paint dried. The next step is to hang them on the design wall for evaluation. Is there enough pattern? Contrast?
My daughter and shop partner challenged me to have six stoles priced at $75 in our Etsy shop, fibergig, by October 15. I do not want to disappoint her.
Pleasure arrived this week in the form of using what I know. I anticipate hitting the finish line on several projects soon.
I have cut with these scissors for over 4 decades. I trust my capabilities when I use them. I began my library of figures nearly 2 decades ago and have added four new figures this year. Familiar tool, familiar forms, but a fresh design.
Brown couched cord creates a clear image, but is warmer than black. A photograph of this choice from several years ago eliminated thinking about yarn color. Of course, I did remember to refer to the photograph.
Hand painted and printed fabric appear in woven strips and leaf shapes. Now that I have a larger stash of my own fabrics, I readily use them with tried and true techniques and patterns.
Beginning today, fibergig will donate 10% of the sales of our food-related products (aprons, mug mats, table runners, napkins) to local and world hunger efforts. Our heritage includes daily stewardship practiced on a family farm in Illinois. I used funds from my part of this farm to create the craft business I share with my daughter Emily. We are moving farm money through textile art and crafts to bring food to tables. We will contribute non-local funds to ELCA World Hunger.
My parents, Wesley and Juanita Terpening, valued good food and the sharing of it. Wes actively farmed, even on crutches, until his body said no more. Juanita worked in a nutrition program and with the community food pantry to improve meals for many people. Every holiday meal began with her request, “Come to the table.” Every family meal began with a table blessing. Their grandchildren are now a generation of foodies.
Loss of employment during the economic downturn reduced our generosity. We want to recover the act of sharing good food. You can help. Products are available at our Fibergig shop.
I listen and observe when artisans speak about the tools in their hands. Passion infects the speech. The tool is clearly an extension of the hand.
The hair stylist demonstrated scissors that rotate with her hand, reducing the chances of injury. The gardener quickly cut tree branches with a lopper that has gears, not a spring. He proudly explains it was a gift from his brother. “Best gift, ever,” he declares.
My friend watches me snip around the appliqué shapes. “Aren’t you afraid you will cut those threads?” I hold up these scissors and smile, “Expertise, and good tools.”
Fibergig, our Etsy shop, invites conversation about our products. This week Sarah admired a linen pillow, but it didn’t match her needs. “I want it to be easy to wash and larger, perhaps a square.”
I agreed to play within those parameters and present several possibilities. The original pillow is in the lower right of the photograph. A cotton pillow front with printed pattern is on the left. I made two more similar to this.
While I was on the bunny trail, I painted a white onesie and hat featuring our sweet bunny with spring blooms. I also took a more contemporary approach with a larger bunny and purple dye, paired with a tie dye hat.
Sarah will decide if my efforts match her needs; we agreed that she would be under no obligation. The rest of the items will be in this shop soon.
Big drama wears me out. Big bites overwhelm me. I often choose a “little bit,” a phrase my father often used and now so does my son.
Both Studio Three 17 and its division fibergig experienced significant growth spurts in 2013. We grew, we learned, and now we are intentionally building on those experiences. This week I am painting on new scarf prototypes, a circular cotton knit and a large rectangle rayon number with fringed ends.
Exploration is in the early stages. Fabric, wet or dry. Paint application with brush, with tip top bottle. Fabric flat or scrunched. More paint? Time to print with ink? I am happy in this Land of Little Bits.