Please feel free to link to this blog or use the handy e-mail tool at the end of each post. However, all contents of this page are copyrighted by Cindi Huss. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission from the author (Cindi) is prohibited. This includes all images unless otherwise noted.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Belle (or Dingbat) of the Ball

I am going to the SAQA/SDA conference in Philadelphia next week and am staying to take a workshop with Jan Myers Newbury (yippee!).

I wanted something cool to wear to the Fri. night reception but have pared down my plans from dyeing a weekend's worth of clothes (as if!) to wearing a simple shift dress and inventing a shawl/jacket garment (barely) constructed of 3 yards of hand-dyed silk and wool roving to go with it.

I did one nuno cuff yesterday (around the oldest's clarinet lesson, dinner, the library, and rescuing Bob and the youngest who were stranded with a dead battery--good thing felt waits!)--and it worked! (Thanks for the advice, Chris!)

Nuno cuff, felt side--I'll have to work on getting my coverage a little more uniform.
Hard to do when I use so little roving!

Nuno cuff, silk side--LOVE that texture!

It's my first nuno, so I went through all the stages: Is this really enough wool to do anything? How do I know when it's time to start fulling? Is this going to be a giant hole? Will it ever begin to crinkle? Is it done? I almost stopped too early, but remembered Chris White's advice that it's not completely fulled if it's still easy to stretch it, so kept going and all of a sudden--MAGIC. What began as a ~44" width of fabric is now about 17" wide.

I'm lucky enough to be able to get personal advice from Chris, but her recent book, Uniquely Felt, is a fabulous reference that I will treasure when I move and is helpful even with Chris so nearby.

One more cuff and a few stitches and I'm all set. Either that or my garment will be really avant guard and assymetrical and I'll be the belle of the ball (or maybe the dingbat--we'll have to see how it turns out). I'll post a picture if I can stand it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Work in Progress

Haven't had much time for my variety of creative work lately but we have been working long and hard on the house--cleaning out the old, packing up the things we don't absolutely need for the next three months, etc. So here's the before and after--our living room a month ago, the main staging area for the great clean-out, and the same room (really?!) yesterday afternoon.

Impressive, no?!

A little disconcerted that the up-and-coming stagers (I'm letting them take pictures of whatever they do to build their portfolio, they give me deadlines and advice) decided that my thread racks should be the over-the-couch art, but different strokes, I guess. Anyhow, Alicia the wonder cleaner was amazing, Bob has done a HUGE amount of work, and the kids, though grumbly, have really stepped up as well.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Next Step From Felt Workshop

Sharon Parker was a generous instructor and a delight to spend the weekend with. She hails from North Carolina so gave me some pointers to fun fiber and art destinations in the TN/NC area, too.

Anyhow, my piece felt a little (a lot) frenetic--think it has something to do with my current state of mind. Instead of throwing my hands up in despair, thought, I added more. It's still a work in progress, but I'm glad I ventured beyond my comfort zone. As my mother always says, it'll build my character.
My lovely variegated roving (mixed from three different colors).
LOVE Sharon's drum carder, and since felt seems to be a new, intrinsic part of my art I think I'll have to invest in one. Hers was an old Cleres & Cleres, which are no longer being produced, but I think I'll look for a used one, so that's all right.

The felt I made from my lovely variegated roving.

The flames I made from the felt I made from my beautiful variegated roving.

Have become resigned to the fact that until I'm at the SAQA/SDA conference in Philly (early April) I'll have very little time for anything creative. But at least I'll have the conference to give me a hit. Packing and cleaning (and, apparently, Lyme Disease) have taken over my life!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Felting is Fun!

Today was day one of a great two-day workshop called "Modular Felted Art" by Sharon Parker held at New England Felting Supply. It was very freeing, from making geodes and jelly rolls (cutting them up is like opening a present) to creating the background for our work. Sharon reminded us that masterpieces aren't created in a day, so we all relaxed and enjoyed the process rather than obsessing (much) about the product.

Anyhow, enough words--here are some pictures.

Sliced geode

Composition layout

After felting

Playing with applied elements after felting

And that was just day one. Tomorrow its a whole new piece plus finishing techniques. Fun, fun, fun!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Oh, the joy!

So here's the dancing part of "Dancing Threads"

Last night we went to Balkan Music Night in Concord, MA, and it was amazing! We crept through driving rain for two hours to get there and it was well worth it. First was the concert.

Divi Zheni (Wild Women), an American-based Bulgarian chorus/band conducted by Tatiana Sarbinska. Very theatrical in their presentation.

Hye Fusion, a brilliant American-born trio comprising Malcolm Barsamian (clarinet), Brad Perch (oud), and Charles Dermenjian (darbuka) who played amazing Turkish classical and folk music. All three were consummate musicians.

Baščaršija, a fun Boston-based group that sang Bosnian torch songs with great attitude and style.

Turli Tava, creating down-home Macedonian dance music of the best sort, musical soul food like the stew from which they take their name. Walt "Vlado" Mahovlich, Sašo Dukovski, and Seido Salifoski were great, and the accordian player/vocalist had a beautiful voice.

Then came the dance party to end all dance parties (except for the Zlatne Uste party in NYC, I suppose). One fabulous band after another in both the main dance hall and the kefana.

Speaking of ZU, here they are in the middle of it all, Balkan brass blasting away.

It was a total crush of concentric (sometimes eccentric) circles, loud, excellent music in the semidark (hence the questionable quality of the photos), and a wonderful variety of great food (that almost kept up with demand).

My youngest was pooped when we got there (only half an hour before bedtime) but couldn't help but dance whenever we were in the dance hall. We left long before the 2:30 a.m. closing because we had tired kids and a long drive home, but I am so glad we made a point of taking this last opportunity to go--feeds the soul!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Conteplating the Yurt, Part 2

So . . . now both my husband and my friend Michelle have laughed at the possibility of a yurt in my future.

I have been maligned, my disorganization and procrastination outed (were they ever inned?).

You know that just makes the perverse part of me long for it even more! And my dear friend Pascale seemed inspired by the idea--maybe I'll just invite her t0 come help put it up--Ireland's not that far away! :-)

Contemplating the Yurt

Well, no photos, but I thought I'd share my mental activities for the past few days. Physically it's been all clean up and clean out, plus never-ending phone calls to make various arrangements. Except when I've been contemplating the yurt.

In case you don't know, the yurt (or ger) is the traditional Mongolian nomad dwelling. It's round, made of thick felt over a latice wall and beam ceiling with a beautiful wooden door, and it's pretty cool.

There are several companies that make them (not of felt, though) right here in North America:

Colorado Yurt Co.
Yurts by Rainier
Blue Ridge Yurt Co.
Pacific Yurts

Your basic yurt has wood lattice walls, 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 rafter beams, and a compression ring at the center that acts like a keystone but in the round--a keyring, if you will. They're generally covered with vinyl or acrylic-coated heavy-duty fabric, but a couple of companies have kicked it up a notch and use beautiful wood siding:

The Yurt People
Oregon Yurtworks

I ran across the American version of a yurt in Mother Earth News Homes, which I picked up because of the articles on affordable storage and solar power and hot water. It was in an article about building your own home.

So, a yurt. Hmmmmm. You can insulate a yurt very easily. And it's very open. And airy--a 30-foot yurt (diameter) is about 7 feet tall at the perimeter and soars to 12-13 feet high in the center. And you can add windows, either fabric screen windows or actual double-hung windows. A yurt.

You know, a yurt could make a fabulous studio. How easy to hang up a design wall?! and samples. It can be plumbed and electrified. If you build it on SIP even the floor is insulated, and it's endlessly configurable. And out of the house. And even Bob and I could put it together!

So if we can't find the home of our dreams that has a studio integral to it, perhaps we can find the home of our dreams with a largish lot and build a yurt. Of course, convincing Bob that it would be a good idea won't be easy due to his assumptions and preconceived notions, but maybe if I bribe him with peanut butter and chocolate he'd at least listen long enough to get the facts.

Anyhow, just knowing it's a possibility is great. Knowing that wherever we go my studio could come along would be a wonderful feeling. If I ever want to do retreats a yurt would be a great dormitory. And how cool for family and friends who are visiting?

And so I contemplate the yurt.