Friday, June 29, 2012

WIP Report - Surf & Turf Diamond Shawl

Even though I was not blogging last year, I was working on lots of new designs; spinning, weaving, crocheting and knitting with abandon. Throwing myself into fiber has always been my way of coping with life's conundrums. During my life sans blog, I also spent an enormous amount of time living out of a suitcase. Therefore, my creative regimen adapted to a life of anonymity on the road. Honestly, the last year of making while traveling was very freeing. I made what I wanted when I wanted and I didn't care if anyone saw (or commented) about anything I was working on. In addition, I also taught myself to scale down my work into manageable components that could travel easily. As a result, I began to work much more with motifs, piecework if you will, components of larger pieces than I ever had before. After all, small stuff is easy to throw into a carry on and work on while sitting in a seat in coach or the passenger seat of our xTerra.

As an example of this new way of working, I sought to scale down a work that has become commonplace in my pantheon of projects: the diamond shawl. Already technically weaving on a small scale via my lap looms, I intended to further reduce the scale of my woven modules for I loved the idea of throwing the pieces into a quart size plastic bag and working on them without covering my entire lap. As such, I ratcheted my working loom size downward from the 14", 12" and 7" diamond looms I usually worked with to a 3.5" loom. In addition to a smaller sizing, I sought direct inspiration from my ubiquitous travels. You see, I used to work conceptually rather than gathering direct inspiration. My older work was really derivative of words and complicated formulations of ideas. The last year or so, I've attempted to simply my creative process by working directly from a landscape, an image, a color, a feeling. In short, I am trying not to overthink the process. I just want to jump in and do.

So, I figured I share a WIP with you that is a direct result of these creative transformations: The Surf & Turf Diamond Shawl.

The diamonds are small and the colorway is a reflection of landscapes I've been basking in for the last year. For example, the blues, blue-greens of the ocean and sky set against the greens and browns of the earth on Santa Cruz Island (Channel Islands National Park).

The blue of the sky and the sand of Kelso Dunes at Mojave National Preserve.

And finally, a landscape framed by metal aged in the salt air on Alcatraz Island.

Can't wait to show you all this FO upon completion (hopefully this weekend)!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Travel Wrap

Since launching this blog a few days ago, I've received a few inquiries about my banner above. So, I figured it's time to show you more than just the detail. This Travel Wrap is my latest crocheted FO.

Oh, but it isn't merely crocheted. This cottony piece of goodness is really my first successful foray into Tunisian crochet! Most you know that I adore charts and Tunisian crochet seemed the apt method to tackle the color work.

I crocheted each square individually and then attached them together using plain old single crochet. Then I used sc again to create the red and blue "hopscotch" border around the edge. This is a wonderful project to tackle while traveling due to the fact that it's lots and lots of little squares (each one is 5" x 5"). It's even more wonderful to wear about my shoulders in flight with the AC blasting from the vents above my head!

Now, I believe I'll need a matching bag...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Natural Inspiration

Currently, I travel a lot. When I say a lot, I mean that I sleep in a bed other than my own at least 2-3 weeks out of every month. In fact, my dear daughter suggested that I have a GPS implanted underneath my epidermis so that she can track me down at all times. It's not that she truly cares where I am sleeping at any given time, as she is 19 and considers herself an accomplished adult. No, she just wants to be able to reach me easily in order to ask me to transfer more money into her bank account or purchase something for her online. Accomplished, yes. Adult? Not quite yet. Ahhh, I digress.

Anyway as you might expect, this type of on-the-go existence can be pretty exhausting. Conversely, it is also pretty amazing. I have the privilege of experiencing much of the world's wonders while I'm still relatively young and healthy. I'm lucky. However, as a result of this polemic state, my mind constantly sways from one end of the spectrum to another with regard to the subject of home, family, friends, as well as my creative mindset and workspace. I love being on the road. I love experiencing places foreign to me, locales that have become fairly familiar to me as a result of my travels and spending time with the friends acquired afar. I also love being at home, spending time with loved ones while easily slipping back into my LaLaLand lifestyle. I am a born and bred Angeleno after all. At any rate, when I'm on the road, eventually I really miss home. When I'm at home, eventually I begin to get the travel itch. Josh Homme calls this state "the bittersweet curse" and I couldn't agree with him more. I definitely suffer from it.

So, sitting here in my hometown, thinking about dinners with friends, plans for the weekend and a host of creative endeavors I am currently involved in, I still cannot help but think about my next trip. I'm trying to lessen the work-related travel for the summer as the mid-west and the east coast are generally steeped in a level of summer humidity I'd rather not subject myself to. However, this doesn't preclude me from hitting the road with my guy, doing a bit of camping and exploring closer to home. The love of my life, Steve, also suffers from a bit of wanderlust, so rarely do we end up at home weekends in a row. Nope, we're out and about searching for amazing locations from which to draw artistic inspiration.

Steve is an amazing photographer. Me? Well, many of you are all too familiar with my creations. Together we make a pretty good pair, hell-bent on exploration and discovery. Needless to say, our vehicle tends to be loaded down with his and hers camera equipment. Unlike Steve, who makes art with his camera, I use mine to record a visual record which informs my fiber-based creative exploits. Nature has become massively interesting to me over the years and I take lots and lots of pics lest I forget anything extraordinary I've seen on the road...

All of these lovelies where taken with the camera on my trusty iPhone (my favorite camera, read Regina is lazy). Beginning at the top row - all four of pics were taken at Yellowstone National Park, WY (my most recent for-fun-only jaunt), second row from the top (left to right) - moon over Big Sur, CA, Death Valley National Park, CA, last two pics were taken in Mojave National Preserve, CA, second row from the bottom (left to right) - Mojave National Preserve, CA, Natural Bridges National Monument, UT, Monument Valley, UT, Death Valley National Park, CA, bottom row (left to right) - Yosemite National Park, CA, Crater Lake National Park, OR, Joshua Tree National Park, CA and Pinnacles National Monument, CA.

Okay yes, my schedule is a bit schizophrenic, I have a tendency to walk around in a zombie-like state when ferrying myself from meeting to meeting about the cube farm and I generally have no idea what freakin' time zone I happen to be in, but despite this the discoveries Steve and I have made together have been so worth these drawbacks. I never arrive home from a trip without a billion ideas dancing about my gray matter, directly inspired by the landscapes, textures, colors, flora and fauna that I've experienced while traveling. I almost always run my spinning wheel into the ground after one of these journeys, trying to recreate some texture or suite of colors that I've observed along the way. It's just awesome.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pleased to Meet You

Monster Crochet has become a fond memory, a record of her past. Here now, a fresh start filled with creative endeavors, stories of a daughter stumbling about her newfound adulthood, a partner to cherish, a career that may force her into an early grave and travel hither, thither and beyond in a profusion of planes, trains and automobiles...

LadyLinoleum, meet Regina Rioux. She's you, only older and definitely wiser.