Friday, August 28, 2015

expect change

I'm getting ducks in rows in preparation for a big reveal. Blogging, for me, has increasingly been about the visual. Words sometimes fail me but articulating what I'm up to with pictures feels more intuitive and direct. With that in mind I've been hunting for a way to blog that focused more on images than text. While I was searching it occurred to me that I could incorporate a name change and why not just do the rebranding thing while I'm at it?

Consider this my two months notice, then. Because in searching for the visual solution to my blogging druthers I realized it meant a move to a more flexible platform. Namely, wordpress. I'm currently tweaking and playing with themes and layout but by November I plan on officially moving over there. Eat Agar Handspun will transform into...The Woad Spindle. Those new spinning kits inspired the new name.

So much for nightshades keeping the fauna at bay. 
Did you know that voles will eat potato plants. All of them. Or maybe it's just my voles that do. This pitiful handful is all I managed to rescue from my garden/their buffet. They made a delicious addition to some breakfast burritos last night, though. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

respect the cycle

 I've been thinking a lot lately about the cyclic nature of my process. I can get frozen trying to start my day because there are so many tasks between fleece and finished object to choose from. Clarifying the steps, right down to dorky diagramming has helped. Having a timeline does, too. Yesterday I watched Tara Swiger's creativelive class and the math at the beginning helped even more. After plugging in some numbers I discovered how doable it would be to achieve my production/financial goals on a quarterly basis. As long as I respect the cycle.

Blue spindles! I had a notion to dunk some spindles in my now ever present indigo vat and it turned them gorgeous. I'm going to put them up in the shop as part of the kits. They should be on display at the farmer's market next month, too.

The garden produced a lot of garlic and shallots this year, despite the wildlife slowly developing a taste for the sweeter shallots. It's the first year I've tried such a large crop of them. Aside from a few I left in the ground just to see what they'd do, I've been curing all of them on top of the fridge and putting them into everything. The garlic are all hardneck, so I'm nervous I won't use them up before they go bad. I suppose I could make dried stuff, but I love it best fresh.

Friday, August 14, 2015

high summer, deep shade

My focus has been on the dye pots lately. There is so much to gather, so many things are peaking, flowering, on the verge of fading. My goal is to have a studio full of plant dyed fiber that I'll mix up into yarn during the fall and winter.

It's not just dyestuffs, though. We found a dandelion patch on a walk to the cemetery a few weeks ago. The red stemmed kind that I swear taste better than the usual green stemmed sort. It's also a good mushroom patch. There were scads of puffballs, even a few alien looking orchids. They look like orange-red asparagus before they bloom.

I don't have a shop update this week. Toby's scarf took up all my productivity. I do have a few new things to introduce. A new twist on the spinning kits, maybe some new yarn. On a less than fibery note, I've also been Desire Mapping. I'm not usually one to go in for woo, but the woman behind the method passes my bullshit test and the message speaks to me so I'm giving it a go. My core desired feelings are: illuminated, shakti, prolific and quixotic.

Friday, July 31, 2015

emPHAsis on the art

I hate making up words to describe myself and what I do. For the longest time I didn't consider myself an artist, maybe a writer, but not an artist. There was no future in that. So I've gotten good at circling around, coating it with practical applications and poetic license. It feels sticky and gimicky at worst, far too prescious at best. When I started all this fiber business for fun and profit I told myself success would be being able to call myself a fiber artisan without feeling like I was lying. But even when i got to that point on this journey it felt untrue. Yes, the end result of what I sell often looks like a hat or a scarf or the materials for others to make the same, but the making part never felt utilitarian. It's always been my kind of art. The deeply process-based sort.

That's been my number since day one. I'm a notorious medium jumper. I've dipped a toe in oils, clay, photography before this and it's always been that flow state, like a trance, that feels like I'm doing the right thing. It has almost nothing to do with the finished object, if that turns out nice too its a plus but it's not where the joy comes from. I find that embedded in the doing.

Applied to fiber I've found materials that fit my meandering nature. I can go from wildcrafting to weaving in the space of a day. I can explore scientific journals for information on dyes or play with color and texture to mix a sukoshi batch or get me to a craft show and infect other folks with this notion of learning to do things from scratch. There is so much to explore here and I'm glad to have peers out there. I discover more and more every day. Artists and crafters and all the inbetweeners, too. I'm going to pick a side now, though, imagined yet unnamed consequences be damned. I'm an artist, a fiber artist. A process-based fiber artist specializing in eco-ethical methodology - if you want to get fancy. But artist works just as well.

Friday, July 24, 2015

I am rainbow-freaking-brite

 I think of what I do as art, even if the outcome looks like a bit of craftwork. I think it okay to be both, but in my heart I call my self an artist before I correct my inner monolog with 'artisan'.
Whatever I am, my work seems to be moving toward accepting how much I love the minutia of the process of building a finished piece.

To that end I'm building up the studio's supply of naturally dyed fiber, because the process gets stretched out more going that route. And because I like it when my actions reflect my values. The past couple of weeks have been focused on working through what dyestuffs I have on hand, stashed away in bottles and jars. Aspen liquor and black walnut tea from last year. Madder root and cherry bark. A dormant indigo vat brought back to life with yeast and sugar.

Last week I spotted lupins on a walk with friends up to the cemetery and went back the next day to gather enough to experiment with those, too. It's given more of a yellow than that gorgeous inbetweeny green I've seen other dyers get, but I'm glad to add them to my list of wildcraftables up here. I'm headed to the western slope this weekend and plan to bring back some big basin sage for a dye workshop I'm leading on the August 1st. Sages give off a yellow, too. but it's a brighter, acid sort of yellow that shifts to greens with copper or iron. It's one of my favorites.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Things are turning green, even up here at 9000'. I've been poking around looking for potential wildcrafting spots. So far I've found pokeberry thickets and plenty of sages. I'd love to ferret out some elderberry and some weld or wild woad. Despite how much I love it when I get there, getting my butt out the door is something I've spent a lifetime unperfecting. Having a dog who lives for hikes has paired nicely with counteracting that.

Oh! the rain. It does not stop, and sometimes it turns to snow. The rain kept messing with the kids plans to camp in the tent, which has now come to live permanently on the back porch. When their first break in the weather came they lasted about an hour before they tapped out and came back inside. They'd spooked themselves reading scary stories.

Now that I'm warping a full-sized loom I have waste yarn, which generally makes me sad.  But, as it happens, they are the perfect length for weaving bracelets. I plan to have several woven cuffs at this Saturday's farmer's market. They'll be crafted from either a colorway called Viola or Emma the Pink, the batch I was demo spinning at the first market. If you miss the market I also have a few at The Corner Studios in Lyons.

Friday, April 24, 2015

market preview

I have a ginormous Etsy update this week. Lots of hats and cowls and some yarn, too. I fell off the schedule wagon the past few weeks and had some catching up to do. All of these things will be at the Longmont farmer's market this Saturday from 8am to 1pm.

I've created about four colorways of natural dyed reclaimed, unsweatered yarn to take to market as well. These will be exclusive to that venue for a while until I figure out if it's worth it to add them to the line permanently. I'll also have a few short / seconds skeins in indigo if anybody wants to try them. If they turn out to be a winner I might go in for buying actual base yarn to dye up.