Fiber As Medium

FreeformJewelArt

Making lines with a pen is grand. Splashing on a little watercolor is divine. But drawing and painting with fibers seems to take artistic expression to a different plane altogether.

Freeform crochet allows me to create lines for sure. As I choose the yarns in all their varied colors and textures, it’s as if my palette of watercolor has expanded exponentially. Abstraction gets worked into form and shape…something that can be worn.

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I started this piece as a demonstration for a Freeform Crochet class I taught recently at Knit One Smock Too. I love communicating the basic tenants of freeform fiber work: No pattern. No rules. No boundaries (only the ones you dictate for the piece you decide to make).

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For some folks, the magnitude of the choices available to you are staggering and perhaps at first, a little paralyzing. We work with that. We start slowly. Even though we dive into our stash of fibers and just begin. A motif. A bullion circle. A stitch pattern.

Then add on. Whatever stitch. Whatever yarn. Any color, texture, direction.

Scrumbling to our heart’s content. Making shapes of we know-not-what.

Until something presents itself in our minds. A scarf? A hat? A purse? A vest?

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Then we begin to work the abstraction into a shape needed for whatever we want to make it into. For this one, an open yoke. Then add a mesh bottom with more freeform trimming the edge. Asymmetry. Whimsical. Fun.

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And then I have to draw it…the lines of the yoke work.

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But it is also translatable to watercolor. An abstract piece on paper.

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But I prefer the original item, fashioned from two hands, a hook, and various fibers. From humble, leftover, stringy beginnings to a wearable piece of art.

Art To Wear!

GenWearsSHSShawl

There have been a hand full of times when I have envisioned, planned, created, and enjoyed the result so much so it makes me float on clouds for a few days. This  may sound a bit arrogant, but it isn’t meant to. Perhaps it is the reward for a creative person when they are able to see a long-term project come to fruition.

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Somewhere in mid-April I had several capelet/shawl ideas pop out in sketches. Here’s the one for this capelet I’m calling Spring Has Sprung.

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I set about gathering yarns I had on hand, leftover bits of this and that, mostly cottons, bright springy colors. I relish that part of the process…picking the colors and textures that will somehow blend to a pleasing whole in the end.

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I choose an edging from Kristin Nicolas’ book and begin there. I work my way up adding stripes of colors, a decorative eyelet row, intarsia the flower centers here and there, finishing off with a stand up collar mirroring the stripes at the bottom. This is only the beginning.

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I like to think of the basic cape as a painted canvas on which to now collage whatever I’d like to. Crocheted flowers, knitted leaves, embroidered stems, buttons, beads, etc. All of this gets added to the “painting” in yarn.

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It is satisfying work. I love the process. I love seeing it evolve. I love that it takes a while. And then, I love to wear it. Art for my shoulders…so fun and fulfilling.

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I even made a clasp for the capelet out of an aluminum stitch holder. I simply bent the wire out to allow for my chosen beads to slip on. I bent the wire back and voila! A lovely clasp for my new Spring Has Sprung Capelet.

SpringHasSprungClasp

**If you’re interested in seeing a couple of other Art To Wear pieces I’ve made, click here and here!

More views…

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*Please honor the fact that this is an original design! It is not to be copied or duplicated in any way. I am toying with the idea of typing up a pattern so that others can make one for themselves. In the meantime, simply enjoy viewing it as you would a painting. Thank you!