Fiber Art Inspiration

Inspiration from Fiber Artists

I’ve been felting for some years now but in many ways still consider myself a beginner.  There are so many techniques and interesting ways to work with wool that I spend a lot of my time exploring new avenues for creativity.  Translate that to mean that I have a lot of projects that are “in progress.”  What can I say?  I love the process of creative exploration and feel it’s all part of my journey!  I’m happy to introduce you to three fiber artists that I have been studying lately for sheer inspiration.  Each of these artists work wool in a different way – and the result of their explorations are beautiful, amazing and unique!  Enjoy this tour and I hope to see you soon at one of my felting classes at Nic & Fig’s in Lake Oswego.    
 
Stephanie Metz is a fiber artist in California who makes truly stunning sculpture using just a simple needle felting tool.  She carves extraordinary shapes with wool – most notably seen in her series of teddy bear skeletons.  These pieces are eerie and startling, and perfect specimens representing the natural world made from the most unlikely of material.  

Stephanie Merz

Stephanie Metz 

 
Shelia Hicks  is a legend in the fiber arts world.  A native of Nebraska who divides her time between studios in New York and Paris,  Shelia has been working for decades making large scale fiber installations and exhibits her works in major art institutions and galleries around the world.  Truly a pioneer for her extraordinary techniques and reimagining of the medium, Shelia Hicks brings color,  shape, and a playful sensibility to this art form in a completely original way… unlike no other!  

Shelia Hicks

Shelia Hicks

 
Biek Verstappen is a fiber artist working in the Netherlands.  Her gorgeous, one-of-a-kind body blankets are the epitome of wearable art.  These are hand-made by the designer from a variety of natural fibers such as raw silk, bamboo, goat, camel, yak and wool from several breeds of sheep.  Every piece has a unique sculptural texture that is amplified in the dying process as each fiber variety reacts differently to the dyes she uses.  

Biek

Biek Verstappen 

I will (try to) not make any boring art

Here is a short video (six minutes) that I stumbled on and another reason why I love John Baldessari

Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman

Narrated by Tom Waits

Go here to view  A Brief History of John Baldessari

I Will Not Make Any Boring Art

Memorial Day

A bike trip through the Blue Mountain Cemetery on Memorial Day lead me to discover  some very beautiful grave markers.  Our cemetery reads like the town phonebook.  All the well-known names are engraved here, some in large mausoleum style structures, on statuary, urns, pillars, and headstones of all kinds of shapes. There is a disconnect between the design of contemporary markers and what went into creating the grave markers in past decades.  Consideration for material, typeface, ornamentation, and variation of size and shape seems to have diminished.    I took a few pics of the old ones that caught my eye.   R.I.P 

Don’t Trash This Blog Post – Recycle it!

I stumbled on a really good book on a topic I am passionate about – reuse and recycling.   It’s titled Garbology, Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash  by Edward Humes.   I didn’t know this book was going to be as utterly absorbing and informative as it has turned out to be, so that’s a fantastic surprise and a welcome stumble.    Let me put it in this context:  I’m mad as hell about all the f*ing, mindless, stupid waste our consumer society creates.  I’m embarrassed  by my own 102-ton legacy (a data point Humes serves up; every American will accumulate 102-tons of  waste in landfills in their lifetime), and I’m reeling from knowing that a huge marketing machine chock full of very smart people continue to add to the problem!   This book helped me sort out my frustrations and has given me hard facts about the waste stream, good historical background, helpful resources and pointers for getting on a better path.

The whole book reads like a long New Yorker article which I quite enjoy!

Getting back to the DESIGN part of this Design Stumble: It’s good to have well resources for good design!    One of the persons profiled in the book is a guy named Andy Keller who started Chico Bag in 2004.   His company is pretty awesome!   He came up with a simple bag design to use in place of the plastic ones handed out at every market everywhere.   Now Chico Bag makes lots of great designs in zillions of patterns and sizes and they’re very affordable.    Andy Keller is not just a smart business guy, he really cares about this issue and has on taken the plastic bag manufacturers lobbyists in every way possible.     You can read his personal blog here.

I think there’s a possibility to design ourselves out of this mess.  Yes, it involves a massive change in behavior and consumers have to start saying NO to stupid, wasteful packaging design.  But marketers and product designers can  give consumers better choices.   There’s a whole lot of people doing this already, (one of the most influential and inspiring being William McDonough and Associates  who have written the book on this topic called Cradle to Cradle) so I’m excited for that but anxious to see it trickle down to the really small stuff at a faster pace.    I personally don’t think that laws and mandates are going to change this trend fast enough.  I think we need true disruption, something utterly different that shakes things up.  Consumers have the ability to make some pretty big shifts in behavior very quickly.   Enter design!

Jenga Anyone?

I stumbled on this wall treatment when reading a review about a new restaurant in New York called Brushstroke.  No,  I am not planning a trip to NYC and  searching for the latest fab dinning experience – but I do like to keep up on new restaurants especially in metro hot spots.  Not so much for the food – but for the interior tricks.  It’s always interesting to see what space designers think is important in a restaurant.   David Bouley’s restaurant  designers put 12,000 old (recycled) paperbacks to good use as the walls in the bar/lounge.   I thought this was pretty clever however I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to yank a book out and start reading – but that would be comic!  Jenga anyone!

Icelandia!

This a design stumble about Iceland, a place I have been (three times!) and the revisiting of  it through a video documentary about the project I participated in called  “Joe Boxer Goes to Iceland.”  The video was shared with me recently and it’s a true stumble because I had quite forgotten about the magnificence of Iceland and the magnitude of the project. We took over a small country for krissakes!    I guess I never really  forgot how amazing Iceland is but this did all take place about 15 years ago and let’s face it, much has happened since, not the least of which is the massive economic upheaval the country has undergone.  Perhaps the foolishness was in full swing when were there but who could have predicted?   What we experienced was a country that was completely open to our wacky spectacle, people who were funny, gorgeous, uber-intelligent, willing to do anything, and a landscape that was jaw-dropingly awe-inspiring. Yes, cash flowed.  Lots of it.  Both ways, because the whole three-day event we staged  was extravagant, but it seemed like there was no holding anyone back.  Design, art, ideas, fashion, food, history, culture – everything just flowed.  Like lava.

Here’s the link to the video  “Joe Boxer Goes to Iceland” on YouTube or use this url:    (Note: the video is lengthy – about 20 minutes but worth it! )  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRUJfnVIE7w&feature=email

ALSO….The photo below is a stumble from an interesting post by Rei that was on the Daily Kos today.   FYI – Krap means slushy in Icelandic!   This is great reading about the hot water system of Reykjavík – which is a true design feat and the impetus for my Design Stumble post.   Click on the photo or use the following url:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/29/1087373/-Finding-My-Way-Home-Or-The-Beating-Heart-of-Reykjav-k

Yarn Bombing

I stumbled on the whole concept of yarn bombing as a movement about six months ago when I found a book about it at the Library.   http://yarnbombing.com/yarn-bombing-the-book.    Actually, last summer the boys and I stumbled on a square  in seattle, down near the ball field that was yarn bombed.  All the trees were knitted up!   I did not know at the time that yarn bombing was happening all over the world!  Since then I keep stumbling on new yarn bombs.   Like the tank that was yarn bombed in this image…it flashed by me today on the inter-web-google-box.  We have even staged a yarn bomb in Walla Walla.

Photo Info:  
ABOVE:   Marianne Jorgensen and the Cast-Off Knitters, 2006. Photo: Barbara Katzin
MIDDLE:  Me and the boys Summer 2011
BELOW:  A Yarn Bomb I made at the Power House Theatre in Walla Walla, April 1, 2012

I Pity The Fool

Stumbled on this Mr. T tag near Pioneer Middle School in Walla Walla 4/23/12

Wedding Gown by a Master

Stumbled  on this magnificent wedding gown designed by the great JEAN PAUL GAULTIER who is having a retrospective of his work at the

de Young Museum in San Francisco.  There were many astounding creations, but this one gave pause.  The entire installation is a joy.  Check it if you are in town…

Stonehenge Mash up on the Columbia River

Here is where I Stumbled on two things:  this amazing replica of Stonehenge at Merry Hill Winery on the Columbia River and a new way to use my Pano app on my iphone. This occurred in February 2012 on our way to Portland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryhill_Stonehenge