Let’s start over

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Wow.  It’s been months since I’ve written a post here.  I have been enjoying the mini-posting over at my Tumblr blog, but I gotta say – I kinda miss writing more than a sentence or two.
It’s not that I haven’t thought about it, but I just feel as if it takes too much time to write out a proper blog post complete with photos.  In actuality, it doesn’t take all that much time. . .

SO.  I feel that the best way to approach a new blog post is to just share what’s been going on in the last few weeks instead of trying to remember everything between this post and the previous one.  I’ve got great news, good news, and bad news to share in this one so try to keep up!

Bad news (let’s just get it out of the way, shall we?)
I’ve closed down Spinning Colors.  I’m pretty sad about it, but it wasn’t doing well because I don’t currently have time to dedicate to the shop to keep it stocked and current.  There is still plenty of dyeing going on around here, but it’s just all personal for now.  The decision isn’t set in stone, but for the time being, it is the right thing to do.
I want to say that I really really appreciate all the support that I’ve gotten from folks over the last couple years, and you have driven and inspired me in ways I can’t describe in words.

Good news
I got a job.  It sort of came out of the blue one day, but I’m pretty stoked about it!  I’m working in retail, and I’m surprised at how much I like it right now.  I can be sure that I’ll have a paycheck, I don’t get filthy (as I did when working around food), and the people I work with are awesome.  Can’t beat that!

Great news
First – Monster is rocking the school scene.  He’s a quick learner and has been doing great with reading and homework, and currently has multiple “best friends” (meaning every friend he has is his best friend).  So cute!
Granted, it’s only kindergarten, but I’m really glad that it has made such a great impression on him because he’ll likely carry his good attitude about school throughout high school. . . at least that’s what I’m hoping for. ;)

Second – I’ve had my work put up in multiple shows this past fall!  I had two photos selected for a photography show, and 2 felt pieces selected for a fiber art show.  I’m pretty excited about all of it!

Here is a video by Bobby Scheidemann of the most recent show (fiber) called Gallimaufry.  Don’t know what that is?  I didn’t either at first, but according to my dictionary.com app it means: 1.) a hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley.  2.) a ragout or hash.

I’m gonna go with #1.

And here are photos of my most recent felted work:
Grounded by Stephanie Gage Grounded by Stephanie Gage (detail)

The piece is titled “Grounded”.  Materials are handmade felt and yarn.  As with a lot of my work, there is embedding going on in this piece (the yarn in this case).  The spiral created by the yarn is a really bold form, but overall, the piece is really subtle.  I really love this one.

Well, that’s the update for now!  Hope everyone has great holiday. :)

Falling off the Earth

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This post is a collection of my thoughts and concerns from the last few weeks.
I promise I haven’t really fallen of the Earth although my posts here seem to have indicated it.  In reality, I’ve been overcome with things to do and I have too many tasks going on, and I think I’ve found myself at yet another crossroad in my life.

Lately, I have become extremely scatterbrained (instead of just a little bit like usual);  I find it really difficult to remember little things such as a conversation that I held only a day ago – because during that conversation I was also thinking about something else that I need to get done, or an idea that I need to make sure to write down before I forget.  In terms of my knitting and crocheting, I have felt blocked every time I have tried to start a new project – as if I’ve forgotten how to do it even though I understand and remember all the motions.  Even though I want to make something, I feel as if it’s lost some of its appeal to me because for the last few semesters it has turned into a daunting job instead of a relaxing hobby.  I don’t like this feeling of being unfocused.

I have gotten to the point where I feel as if a stick has been thrown into the spokes of my life, and I won’t be able to move onward until I decide the best way to remove it.

For me, I have determined that the best way to remove the stick is to choose a single subject to major in.  At the moment, I am majoring in both Fibers and Photography, and not only do I think it is unwise to have two different focuses to be identified by in my artistic life, but I think I should lessen the burden on myself (and my living space) by choosing one or the other to focus on.  The decision that I have made is to focus on Photography.
I have a lot of reasons as to why I have chosen Photography that I won’t go into right now, but inevitably I think that it will create space in my life that I desperately need both emotionally and physically.

I will continue to do fibers work because I do love it, but it will not be what I focus on as a working artist.  I enjoy the processes of fiber arts, and the colors and textures are always interesting to me, but I don’t see it as a subject that captures me as conceptually as photography does.  My mind sees “pictures” all the time, and I feel that I can best interpret, express, and share those mental images through a photograph.  In speaking for myself as an artist, I feel the need to be able to speak about the work I create in a way that can not only cause reaction with an audience, but also to feel a deep connection to what I am trying to share with others.  I need to feel that I am creating a sort of message instead of creating something that is only aesthetically pleasing, which is how I feel about my fiber art.  This is not to be confused with how I feel about other fiber artists, because I can find meaning in many other artist’s work, but I feel that I personally don’t convert my feelings and thoughts into fiber art successfully like I can through photography.

So overall, my decision to narrow my focus will give me clarity in my life.  I also believe that I will be able to enjoy the simple act of crafting something through knitting, crochet, spinning, etc. and it will bring me more joy than it has in the last few months.

I’ve Been Judged

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It’s been pretty exciting around here lately – not only because the end of the semester is quickly approaching – but also because I finally entered my art into a show, and was chosen!
My piece Ensnared, 2010 was selected to be a part of the All-Student Juried Exhibition we had at the Texas State School of Art & Design;  it is a hand dyed, hand felted fabric that incorporates rope.  When viewed in person you can see how something that is normally used in rough conditions is able to be supported by a more delicate material.  Although, felt is definitely durable in its own right, but it can look as if it is fragile.
The judge was Risa Puleo from the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, and I feel so honored to have gotten in to such a terrific show; my peers entered tons of their amazing work, and the opening reception was successful.

It feels as if I am finally getting somewhere with all my years of school and only in this semester have I found the medium that I love to work with.  In saying that, I know I’ve loved fiber art for a long time, but I’ve narrowed it down to felting.  It makes complete sense now because most of what I enjoy doing stems from wool roving; dyeing, spinning, knitting, crocheting, and now felting.
I still have a lot to learn about felting techniques, but I am enjoying every second of it.

Here is my piece hung up in the gallery:

To view more of the opening photos, go to my flickr set!

Craziness!

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It’s been an interesting couple of weeks around my house lately – Monster goes to a museum for the first time, a couple days later he fractures his collar bone, and I got a tattoo!  Crazy combo, huh?

Museum:
I had to go to The Blanton Museum of Art for a class assignment, and realized that Monster hadn’t been to an art museum yet!  Since he loves to paint, I figured he would enjoy going with me – and he did. . . for about 30 minutes. ;)  He really liked the modern paintings, and laughed at an ancient greek sculpture while proclaiming: “Ew! His butt!” lol.  We both had a lot of fun, and the trip was 10x better because he went with me.
While we were there he also participated in the Missao/Missoes [How to Build Cathedrals] installation by Clido Meireles. It’s a piece with A LOT of pennies on the ground that people move and swirl around. Good times. :)

He also got to view a piece done by one of my favorite artists, El Anatsui.  I have no idea why he posed like he did, but I think it’s hilarious. It was a great day.

Fracture:
Monster, Bobo and my dad were being boys and wrestling/rough housing one night – Monster was jumping from the couch to my dad’s back and then he would roll off onto the floor, except he rolled off and landed on his shoulder *justso* and it fractured his clavicle/collar bone.  It was an interesting night.  We took him to the hospital and he was giggly instead of in pain as most people would be; but he did hurt if we tried to lift him. :(
So we didn’t know if maybe he was really hurt, or just playing games. . . but luckily there is x-ray technology, and it clarified that yes, he has a fractured collar bone.  I’m guessing that his body was just in shock at first and that’s why he wasn’t in serious pain.
He’s doing fine now, and is quickly learning how to use his body without the use of that one arm. :)  Pretty cool, me thinks.
Here he is, hammin’ it up:

Tattoo:
I finally went and got a tattoo, much to the disapproval of my parents, and I think it looks great!  Mom called it trashy/Dad said “Idiota!” and asked if I was having another rebellious stage. . . no, I’m not.  I just wanted a tattoo.
It was done by the awesome Ben T. Fiedler at Resurrection Tattoo (in Austin).
Did it hurt? Yes.  It still does, but it’s okay, because I think it looks great. :)
Here’s the finished photo (it was just finished when this was taken), and if you’d like to see more, head on over to Amanda’s flickr set to get more photos of the event.  Thank you, Amanda for documenting it with your amazing skillz. :P

Finished Yarn!

I’ve also finished my Featherweight Cardigan and the handspun shawl, but I’ll post about them later when I take some photos. :)

Also, my youngest son, Bobo, is still around!  He’s getting bigger by the day, and on his way to the terrible-three stage (my kids are still angels when they’re 2. . . ) :P  At least he’s happy when watching the Disney channel!

Ready for a break.

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There’s so much to talk about right now, most of it dealing with school, but I’ll wait until the semester is over to recap on that.  I’m doing fine in all of my classes, and am quite ready for a wee holiday.
At this time, I would love to introduce to you my mini painters: Monster & Bobo.  They are quite the duo, you know.
Monster loves to paint – he specified to me today that he “likes to paint more than crayon.”

I’ve finished all of my potholders for the Crocheted Potholder Swap!  I still need to do some labeling, but they’re off the hook.
I used motif #31 from the Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs book, and I love it.  The potholder is nice and thick, so I’m pretty positive that it can be quite useful when picking up hot items.  [Rav details]
The “back” of motif #31 is the front for motif #32.  I much prefer the front of #32. :)

Not much knitting has happened lately, but last night I did a gauge swatch for Decimal by the much talented Snowden.  I’m using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in the Powder Blue colorway; it’s such a nice yarn to work with, and this particular color is a new favorite.

Other than that, life is going along fine.  I’m quite broke without a job, but I’m managing thanks to family donations. lol  (I’m not spoilt! ;) )
Feel free to buy some fiber or yarn at any moment!

Projects GALORE.

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I feel really terrible that I have been deglecting the blog lately, but I want to try and get back into the swing of things; and I’ll start off by dedicating this post to projects of all kinds!

First up: Art Classes!

2-D Design:


This project was lots of fun. I can’t wait to post my newest stuff but I’m waiting for it to be graded. :)

3-D Design:


This project was a bit mind blowing because of the technique involved, but it’s pretty cool. It has two sides, and I like the side from the first photo more than the second. . . it’s all a learning process at this point. lol

Basic Drawing:

This project isn’t done yet. The rules are for us to make a 9×12 collage from cut out photos found in magazines, and then draw it to fit the scale of an 18×24 sheet of paper.

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Knitting/Crocheting!

  • There has been a lot of scarf knitting lately for my grandma’s clients. (Shifting Sands and Scrunchable Scarf)
  • I’ve finished one of two socks from the Spring Forward (rav link) pattern, which I LOVE.
  • I’m ALMOST done with the Texas Flag blanket. . . I only need to put the star on it (by means of duplicate stitch).
  • And most importantly, there is a new crocheted cowl pattern found in the “Patterns” tab at the top of this blog! (designed by yours truly)

Crosshatch Cowl (rav link) by Stephanie Gage ;)


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Kiddos!

Halloween was fun, except the Monster felt feverish halfway into trick-or-treating so we headed home. . . which is fine by me! But before sickness reared it’s ugly head, I got some super cute photos of my two superheros.

Okay…. so that about sums up the last few weeks! :)

I Never Sleep

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This semester has definitely been a whirlwind for me; school, spinning, knitting, dyeing, social life, work, kids…. I’m exhausted.
I’m exhausted, but happy.

School
School is going fantastic for me, I love my classes, and after years of not drawing or doing anything artistic with my hands, I’m finding that it’s all coming back to me and I love it as much as I did when I was a little kid. I just kick myself now because I didn’t take art classes past elementary school until now. I suppose things like that happen for a reason though… maybe I would’ve been burnt out on it and wouldn’t be where I am now. Who knows.

I will probably post some projects next week after the critiques.

Spinning Colors
The store has been doing well for me, and I just wish it could be my full time job. I could definitely spin and dye all day long! I’ve been keeping notes of the colorways, so I can begin taking custom orders from people. I’ve got some work to do on the site to promote them, though. :)

Knitting
I’m almost finished with the Texas baby blanket that I’ve been working on, and the Shifting Sands scarf is running out of yarn quickly (that’s a wonderful thing). Again, I’ll have more on that when I finish. lol :)

Life
If you haven’t heard, The Knitting Nest won Best new local business in The Chronicle (it’s toward the bottom of the page)!! So go and get you a copy. Thanks for all of the support on that, it means A LOT to us.

The kiddos are doing great and getting bigger every day. Owen is beginning to talk, and Logan is entering his “I want to be independent” stage… which is fun, but frustrating at times. I get all weepy when I think about him not being a small child anymore, school is just a year away from now for him and I try not to think about what the school system will do to my child. I know, I know… I’m such a crunchy mama.

Store Update

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Spinning Colors:

I updated the store today with some sock yarn! Check it out!

School:

I had a great day in Basic Drawing today, and I’d like to share it with you. The project was to draw still life with our two paper bags that we had to shape in some way. On the first bag we had to use pencil and shade by crosshatching, on the second bag we drew it using a Sharpie fine point marker and shaded by multi directional lines (squiggles). So I’m proud of my first bag at least!

So, if you can’t tell, I’m loving my new major. ;)

ALSO!
I got my copy of Blueprint Crochet today, and I love the patterns that Robyn has come up with.  Her patterns help boost crochet’s reputation from being all about afghans and scrubbies to delicate and tasteful garments.  Pick up a copy for yourself. :)

Update!

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Life is at full speed right now which is why there is a lack of blogging from me. I am busy, but I’m loving it right now! So….

School:
My classes are going well so far, and I’m excited about all the projects that I have.
- 2-D: We finished our symmetry project and I think mine came out pretty well considering I’m not very good at drawing. I’ve realized that I need to make my lines look cleaner, so maybe the next assignment will be more to my liking. It’s kinda hard, but I can manage!

- 3-D: We finished our Texture Rubbing today with a critique (we made rubbings with pencil and paper, then turned it into a 3D object using bristol board), and mine was okay, but I’m going to put a lot more effort into our next project now that I know what to look for.

- I took a photo of me working on my 2-D project the other day, and I’m really pleased with the way it turned out:

Knitting/Craft:
- I am almost done with both baby blankets, one for AA baby (I’m going to start vocalizing the baby as “The Double ‘A’ Baby”!), and the other for Baby B. Pictures to come.

- While I really do love knitting for others, I really want to make myself the Tapestry Cowl by Minty. (Rav link)

- This Saturday I will be at TKN pretty much all day for the 1 year anniversary party. I’m hoping to bring my spinning wheel, but we’ll see; I’m worried about there being a lot of rain from Hurricane Ike, and I don’t want my wheel to get wet from carrying it in and out of the store. However, rain or shine I will have my Spinning Colors goodies with me. :)

Life:
In about two months my youngest son will be 2 years old!! I haven’t even planned a party for the little guy yet, but I’m guessing I’ll invite close friends to come and chill in the back yard or something. . . it depends on the weather. He really needs a party though because he missed out on it when he turned 1. Sorry lil’ guy!

Yes, I am an Art major.

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Today was the first day of classes at good ol’ Texas State, and I attended my first (ever) art classes.  Today was 2-D and 3-D design, and I gotta say… I’m thrilled as pie!
2-D design is mostly about learning to “mark” our artwork in the appropriate places, and in 3-D design we will work with more tangible projects such as metals, ceramics, wood, textures, etc.

We won’t start our first projects until next week, so today was just the introduction day.  My “basic drawing” class is on Friday, so we’ll see how that goes.  I’m excited, but I don’t think I’m very good at drawing.  But I’ve got my hopes up.  I walked by the Fibers studio room today, and I CANNOT WAIT until next semester to play with the loom and dyes, and all that good stuff.

So, here’s to stickin’ to my gut feelings and majoring in ART.