For those who were checking in here, I've just put a few more small stones in my shop.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The rain we've had the past few days has given me a break from working in the garden. While the skies drip I've been stitching and felting in my little workroom. I've finished some work that will be in the next shop update (coming soon) and have started on my next edition for the Art-o-mat. Rumor has it that they're completely out of my work.
I got an email the other day from Colleen letting me know that while she was visiting the Smithsonian, she checked the Art-o-mat there. The machine was being re-stocked at the time and although they did have my stones, they were out. She was sweet enough to snap this pic for me though and send it to me.
I was thinking, since many of us don't live near an Art-o-mat, I would offer up a very limited edition of small pebbles in my shop today. I'll put up a total of 10, five this morning, and five later this evening. They'll be a surprise, just as if you were kerplunking them out of the Art-o-mat, and will be in these little muslin bags. These are smaller versions of my stones, all around an inch or so long.
Anyway, I hope you find it fun. And can I ask if you would only purchase one, so more people get a chance at them? Thank you all. Have a wonderful day.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The weather is supposed to be freakishly warm today, hitting almost 90. Now, 90 is an odd thing where I am, but odder still when you look outside and there are still snowbanks by the garage and ice tsunamis blowing off the lake.
Speaking of freakish things...
I had been soaking a cotton t-shirt in some soy milk to prep it for dyeing and somehow forgot about it. Until it started to smell funky, then I said "oh yeah!" At which I put it outside. And forgot about it. It sat in a crumpled up lump, only partially rinsed of its soy. When I remembered it (again) and picked it up I noticed that it had splotches of a gorgeous royal blue.
I found a thick patch of it and the blue appeared to be a mold or fungus or slime of some kind, but I'm not sure. It left imprints on the fabric where it had been folded up and the layers touched. How cool is that?
I have no idea if this fungus mold thing will degrade the quality of the fibers, or even if I can get the stench out. I do know I plan to fold it back up and see it if will keep producing color.
Just maybe a little further from the house...
Hope your day is interesting too.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Last night as I was making dinner, my husband was outside taking down a dead oak next to our driveway. It had been dead for a few years and was starting to drop limbs, so it was time for it to go. When he dropped it with the chainsaw it shattered in to pieces, it was that dead. When it hit, shredded bark material was littered on the ground. He wasn't immediately sure of what it was but then a little flying squirrel crawled out of the remains of the tree and began to look around.
A nest. A flying squirrel's nest.
My youngest boy came running in the house shouting "Mom! A sugar glider! With BABIES!"
I grabbed my camera and approached my brood, who was standing stock still about 15 feet away from the downed tree. We watched as the momma flying squirrel picked up one of her tiny fuzzy babies in her mouth and walked over to the nearest pine, seemingly unsure of what she was doing.
Suddenly she was off, running up the tree, this giant tree well over 60' tall, with that baby in her mouth. I wondered aloud if she had another nest in that tree but she kept running, fast as can be, to the very top of the tree and without hesitating...leapt.
We watched as she glided through the air some 100 feet across the driveway to the trees on the other side of the barn, with the baby in her mouth. It was awesome. And by that I don't mean in the flip way of speaking like when we talk about shoes or sandwiches, I mean I was quite literally awestruck. And a little teary-eyed.
There was still one little baby on the ground so I pushed some of the bedding material over him to help keep him warm and pushed part of the hollow log over him to block the wind in the hope that his momma would come for him too. And when I checked on him this morning it looked like she had.
A wonderful day to all of you. Glide on.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
The collection of specimens in spice jars is growing.
6 now, all lined up.
I thought I might have a shop update at the end of this week but I think I'm going to push it back a little. I want to have a decent amount of work finished so there's enough to "go around" so to speak. I know some of you have tried but haven't been able to get a piece yet because they sell out pretty quickly, so hopefully if there's more work in there, your chances will be better. As an artist, selling out quickly is a wonderful problem to have, but I can't help but feel bad when I get emails from people who wanted a piece and couldn't get one.
In other news, spring has finally arrived! Our snow banks are almost gone and I'm spending as much time outside as I can, even if it means needling while watching the chickens, guineas, and ducks (and one dog) scratch the earth.
Have a wonderful day, all.
Friday, May 03, 2013
Rumor has it, my Art-o-mat stones have made their way to the Visual Arts Center in Richmond, Virginia. If any of you are in the area and happen to see it, I'd love to hear. And if you're so bold as to snap a pic and share it with me, it would probably make my whole day.
Speaking of stones, I've finished a few and they, along with the tiny terrariums and a few other pieces, will be in my shop sometime next week. I'll be sure to post beforehand, with the exact day and time. It looks like it will be a chilly weekend here (but without all the snow that my neighbors to the south got, thank goodness) so there should be plenty of time for stitching. Who knows what else might work its way out through my hands.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Wee specimens from the woods all bottled up.
(The imaginary woolen woods in my mind, that is.)
Old spice jars have been fitted with new wood corks. Each teeny toadstool has been needled and given a few stitches and sprouts to keep them company.
More to come.
Monday, April 29, 2013
The snow is melting, the ducks are now swimming instead of skating, the cold that plagued me early last week is gone, and I spent a glorious weekend at my friend Kit's talking and walking and... talking. A lot of really great talking. I feel refreshed and ready to tackle this week head-on.
She and I have talked before about a collaboration between us, and we've put that plan into action. She made me two of her famous Jacabobs out of wool I dyed using natural materials and I'm going to stitch them up.
They look so innocent with their sweet naked pastel faces but their brother could probably tell them his war stories after having been on my workbench. But shh...let's not worry them unnecessarily. It will only pinch a little...
Hope your week is off to a great start too. Enjoy your day!
Sunday, April 21, 2013
I was inspired by our lovely spring landscape to make this new brooch, titled "Minnesota in Spring". I've needled some lovely white Ramboillet wool into this scene, reflecting the splendor out my door.
I set it into a base I made of hickory wood.
Here you can see it against the landscape that inspired its design.
Even my children have been finding inspiration, and my youngest boy just completed this painting he's called "Drift". I think he did a great job. He even has the scale down perfectly.
I kid, of course. I do think I'm in the throes of cabin fever.
Hope you're having a lovely weekend, wherever you are.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Mother Nature dumped another little gift on us yesterday. Another foot of snow in spots, on top of the pile o' plenty we had already. School is cancelled so you know it's a big deal. School here doesn't close for anything under 8" of snow. But it's been blowing and the roads are ick, so here we are.
See that pathetic lump in the right side of the picture? That's my oldest son, flopped down, having a little pity party. (you know it's bad when the kids don't even appreciate a snow day) We're all a little sick of it.
Someone forgot to bring the hallway rug in after they swept yesterday. Oops.
So while my creative impulses seem buried under this snow too, my need to organize isn't. I'll be trying to get my workspace a little closer to finished. I've got a pot of chili in the crock pot and plans for snow cream tonight. The kids have their paints out and then there's plans for a movie fest in the basement tonight. Not what I had planned for this weekend (a much-anticipated visit has been cancelled) but really now that I've got it all typed out it doesn't look so bad.
I hope you all enjoy your Friday and have a great weekend too.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I received this lovely stone from Victoria in Hungary. In her note she said that she gathered it from the river Danube where she used to work as a stewardess on a hydrofoil.
I knew immediately that water had to play a part in her stone so I mixed up some fibers in watery colors. I added some stitches that spoke to me like ripples, spreading out, occasionally encountering an interruption.
Victoria mentioned that she has discovered needle-felting and that she finds it an interesting and healing art. I couldn't agree more, Victoria. Thank you for send me your stone and for sharing your note with me. (If you're reading, I didn't get your email address with the stone, if you would contact me at lilfishstudios(at)gmail(dot)com I'll update my records so I can contact you after the stone project is completed.)
I have over 50 stones already but I'd like to add more to the project. If anyone else would like to send a stone to me, I'd love to have them. You can get all the information on this post HERE.
Have a great day, everyone.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
This time of year there isn't an abundance of dyestuffs to be found, but in the semi-thaw we had last week my kids gathered up a bunch of soggy acorn caps from under one of the oaks.
I wasn't sure how much tannin they would still hold after a winter of heavy snow but I stuck them in a quart jar with water anyway and let them sit for a few days.
They made a good dark "tea", telling me there was hope, so I put them in the dye pot and let them simmer with a little more water for about an hour. After straining them out, I added a white cotton t-shirt, a small amount of unmordanted wool, and some white and previously-dyed (with red cabbage) cotton floss.
Each picked up the nice golden tan from the acorn caps, and once dipped in an iron solution (let a steel wool pad sit in a cup or two of vinegar overnight and you have an iron solution) the golden tan deepened and turned towards grey.
The results are nice, with a look like driftwood or my old weathered table. (my photos are not capturing the depth of color, sadly) For those of you that would like to try natural dyeing, this one's an easy one to start with.
Monday, April 15, 2013
I spent the day yesterday tinkering in the kitchen. A couple of new recipes were tried, among them these...pickled duck eggs.
Boiled eggs are left to sit in a mixture of vinegars and spices. I'll get to sample these in a few weeks and I can't wait.
Did you whip up anything new in the kitchen this weekend?
Saturday, April 13, 2013
I went to check on my mushroom installation this morning, riding on a new blanket of snow. Riding? Yes, I was feeling a little lazy this morning and opted to take the snowmobile out to the woods instead of the snowshoes. There will be time for quiet contemplative walks later but I have a lot to do this morning so the snowmobile it was. Ah, the smell of 2-cycle...
Anyway, the mushroom is still hanging in there in the tree. The bit of snow stacked on its cap hides the fact that a good portion of it has been chewed off by some visiting critter.
The green wool has started to fade considerably but it doesn't appear that whatever was trying to burrow beneath it has done any more excavating, at least for the time being.
Many of the gills are missing, as is the veil.
The wool is pulling off in places in long straggly locks.
You can see in this photo the transition from fall through winter. It started off standing proud, then something started to nibble on its veil and cap a little, then it started to lean as something dug in its green moss, and finally to its snow-laden state.
I love watching this progress.
I just had a quick visit then headed back to the house, pausing a moment to watch the smoke rise from our chimney, and note that I needed to sweep off the solar panels, and and and...
And to wish you all a peaceful weekend.
Have a good one, everybody!
You can see the progression of this piece