Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bella and 'Surrender' it's not a finished picture, but it's progress.  I think this one might end up being something that I work on digitally, using the tablet and Corel Painter. 

The idea of this is from the ruminations about the word 'surrender'...the idea of surrendering to the blank page, to the process of the work, not to work only with the finished product in mind.  Though I love having finished products (and producing them), having had the shop (Threads in Motion) for all those years helped to dissociate the joy of making things with the need to possess them.  To truly surrender to process, one must not need to possess the outcome. 

Culturally, here in North America, that's a pretty rebellious idea. 

It always amazes me that all the minuscule, incremental decisions and accidents that happen along the way are what ultimately add up to the final product, whatever it may be.  I had a drawing instructor 'way back in College (a College that's now a University...that's how long ago it was that I attended) who encouraged us to make every single line on our page one of intent.  He would not accept 'scribbles', and certainly not as an excuse for shading.  He was, however, the teacher who introduced me to the idea of the 'character of line': that the intentional mark on the page could have uncontrolled elements to it - thick and thin areas, slight meandering within the path, and lighter and darker points along the line.  This 'found' or 'accidental' element within the intent and decision making of drawing is really all about our surrender to the process of drawing...the cumulation of all those tiny decisions.  And ultimately, it's what gives a drawing it's dynamism, flow and personality.

 Speaking of surrender and of process...

(a little heavy-handed for a segue, but it will have to do! :) )

The fleece from last post's sheep is working up into wool of lovely character. 

The singles are about 12 WPI (wraps per inch).  I'm hoping to ply them together into an aran weight yarn.  The first project from this particular wool will be a beret for my neighbour's daughter, in black, as requested.  The ewe that this comes from is named 'Bella', making for a 'Bella Beret'! 

I've spun up 9 oz of the fleece so far, into about 208 M of yarn.  The soft undercoat of the fleece is a charcoal grey, the outer coat is a dense black.  They are coming together into a heathery black colour that is quite lovely.  I keep thinking that the icelandic wool would be beautiful knit up into this - especially in this gorgeous grey-black.

I've completely surrendered to the rhythm of spinning, the process of making yarn.  Each moment gives little chances at decision making for the final product, and opportunities for the yarn to dictate the way that things are going to go. 

As I spin, I can't help but think of the multitude of generations that had to rely on this fibre process, this hand-intensive process, for clothing and furnishings.  To completely outfit a family and home would be a huge undertaking, especially in a climate like this one.  That the health and welfare of the family would rely on the health of their animals is a foreign concept today.  The idea of the wealth of the family being expressed in the quality and quantity of their garments, and in the skill and speed of the family's clothiers...well, it is just not something that we think of in a first-world country where we are so dissociated from the origins of our possessions, the things that give us comfort and protect us from the elements.

Food for thought.


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