Thursday, October 29, 2009

We Have a Winner and a New Spinner!


We have a winner in the Churro Coyote Warp Contest! Thank you so much to Adriene of Adriene's Couch for the lovely article you wrote about Wind Rose Fiber Studio. I really appreciate the time you spent and all of the nice things you said!

What is even more exciting to this fiber arts lover is that Adriene decided to buy a drop spindle kit and learn how to spin! Isn't that awesome?! From one spinner to another, welcome to the community! Who knows, it might not be too long before Adriene is blogging about her first handspun skeins.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Churro Coyote Warp ~ Now Available!


I now have Churro Coyote Warp listed in both my shops at Wind Rose. I have made 50, 100 and 200 yard skeins, so whether you just want to check it out or jump right into a large project, you're all set!

Churro is an ancient breed of sheep first brought to this country by the Spanish in the 16th century. It is known for its strength and durability and is widely used for rug making, tapestries and outer garments.

The rustic nature and strength of this fiber also would make it a great choice for book binding, enhancing primitives and other crafts.

Churro Coyote Warp is 1/16 inch wide and has 8 WPI. It feels coarse next to the skin, but softens and increases loft with washing. It is slightly fuzzy creating a softening visual effect to finished projects.

If you are someone who enjoys working with rare breeds and uncommon fibers, here's a wonderful one to add to your stash!

Click on the picture to be taken to the Art Yarn section of my ArtFire shop. There you will find all three listings for Churro Coyote Warp. It is also where larger quantites are located. Click on the yardages to head directly to the Etsy listings for this one of a kind fiber.

I'd like to give a special shout out to Wool and Wings Fiber Arts for the link love! Right back at ya! I'm following her blog. Are you?

I'm still looking to give away 25 yards of Churro Coyote Warp to the first person who writes a blog feature on Wind Rose Fiber Studio. Feel free to use photos from the shop and link away. It doesn't have to be a long feature, but try to squeeze in a little juice. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Churro Coyote Warp


I've been so busy showing off my treasures from Santa Fe, I haven't blogged about fiber for a while. That just won't do!

Pictured here is a special warp fiber made from Churro wool. When I was up in Taos, New Mexico, I stopped by Weaving Southwest in search of some fiber that was new to me and indicative of the area.

An excerpt by Connie Taylor from the Navajo~Churro Sheep Association informs us that,

"America’s first domestic sheep arrived over 400 years ago by the Spanish explorers and settlers. The history of the churra importation and distribution is fascinating and complex. Archives indicate that Merinos were too valuable to export from Spain, so the common sheep such as: Churra, Manchega, Castellana and Lacha were sent to the New World. The term "Churro" is translated to mean "common" and now refers loosely to all the breeds mentioned. Navajo-Churro, derived from the original Spanish stock, are now widely distributed in the U.S. with numbers approximately 6,000."

At Weaving Southwest, they have their local mill, Mora Mill, process Churro into a two ply grey and natural warp fiber. This distinctive blend is called Coyote Warp and you won't find it just anywhere. Coyote Warp is incredibly strong and the distinctive look makes it useful as a marking warp. When weaving rugs or blankets with intricate patterns, Coyote warp makes it easier to keep track of pattern placement. For example, if Coyote Warp is used instead of the regular warp every 10th fiber, the weaver can easily count out where to change colors.

I brought a couple pounds of Coyote Warp back with me. I wanted to try it out for myself and also have enough to share a few skeins with Wind Rose Customers. I don't have any listed just yet, but if you would like to give this fiber a try, I have a special offer for you.

Win 25 yards of Churro Coyote Warp for Free!
Be the first person to feature my Etsy shop, Wind Rose Fiber Studio, on your blog and then come back here and leave a comment so I can check out your post. I'll give you my email where you can send me your address and I will send you 25 yards of Churro Coyote Warp for free! I'll also blog about the winner with links back to your blog or your shop. May the first blogger win!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weavolution!

I just received an email today from a member of my guild that there is a new website for weavers. It's called Weavolution and I'd like to spread the word so that all the handweavers can learn more about this new meeting place created just for them. It's full of forums and resources, projects and groups. In short, it's a place to share and commune with fellow artisans.

Weavolution

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Flying Fish Beaded Pendant Necklace


This whimsical Flying Fish Beaded Pendant Necklace is my latest offering at Wind Rose Fiber Studio.

You know, I almost don't know what to say. I get an idea in my head and it just doesn't matter if it's kind of silly or if I can even imagine anyone ever buying the finished product. I just tend to go with my impulses. Very often this leads to work that perhaps only its mother can love. I just don't know.

I spent several hours stitching each bead into place and backing the pendant for a nice finished look. Since the pendant has a playful nature, I felt like the chain should have one too. I took green waxed cotton and wove it through the silver plated chain adding additional green glass accent beads as I went along. When I got the idea to suspend the flying fish on a small length of waxed cotton, I just had to do it. It added that extra touch of whimsy which I felt brought the whole thing together.

You know, ever since I was a kid doodling on notebook paper, even my greatest efforts always had a comic quality. This used to make me crazy, but I think as I've gotten older, I've given in to it more. I let my work be just what it wants to be. When you're young, you think of yourself in more isolated terms, but later, you come to know that you are never alone. As artists and crafts people, I think we count on this. I know I'm counting on the notion that someone out there will see my flying fish and giggle and say, "That's fun!"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oaxacan Wood Carvings by Ivan Fuentes

I purchased two wood carvings while in Sante Fe, NM. I have to admit that I really knew nothing of the history behind this folk art until researching the artist after I was home in front of my computer. All I knew at the time, was that the hand painted figures were enchanting. They have a quality and spirit that bring ancient tales to mind. I can just imagine this coyote sweet talking another creature into some tricky mischief.

This beautifully painted coyote and the fantastic lizard further down in this post, were both carved by Ivan Fuentes of San Martin Tilcajete a city 23 Kilometers south of Oaxaca (pronounced wah - HAW - kah). Ivan and his family have become widely known for their artistry with it's rich history. Ivan Fuentes was taught the art by his father Epifanio Fuentes who is the most famous carver in San Martin Tilcajete. Two other brothers, Zeny and Efrain are also fine carvers. The women in the family tend to do most of the painting, although Zeny prefers to paint his own work. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Zeny even has an Etsy store!


"In the 1930's families carved toys for their children and masks for religious festivals and carnivals. Copal wood is primarily used for these carvings. This tree is indigenous only to Oaxaca. Cedar and zompantle are also used for carvings. Acrylic paints are used to finish the incredible pieces. It wasn't until the 1980's that the demand for Oaxacan carvings became popular. In 1992 the Smithsonian featured well known Oaxacan carvers. American Folk Art dealers flocked to Oaxaca to begin their collections of these unique works of art. Painted woodcarving is a major art form and source of income in three pueblos near Oaxaca City. The Fuentes family resides in the carving pueblo of San Martin Tilcajete."(1)

"In the early morning hours the copal usually arrives by way of a heavily burdened burro. The woodcarvers prize this particular type of wood for it's pliability and gnarled form. Similar to jade tree in appearance, copal wood sands to a smooth porcelain finish. Fresh pieces have an aromatic smell...

Different parts of the branches make for different animals in the eyes of the artist. A fat knob may be used to make a turtle while a wispy branch transforms into a lizard. The endless tangled maze of branches are a constant form of invention and inspiration, nothing is ever wasted.


The artist spends a great deal of their time chiseling the form when the wood is wet. Working from large machetes on down to small kitchen knives the animalito methodically takes it's delicate shape. Equally important is the sanding. It is here the master artist can bring out the personality and the character of their creation.

As the wood continues to dry, cracks are sanded out and sealed. Arms and appendages are carefully nailed on unless it is a single piece carving. Single piece carvings are usually smaller and more "organic" in appearance. Some of the choicest master works actually fit in the palm of your hand and are carved from a single piece of wood."
(2)

This is one of those cases where I really had no idea what treasures I had found. I do tend to buy art simply based on what speaks to me. These pieces have become even more precious now that I have educated myself as to their history. One of the things I love about collecting art is how much I learn in the process. I have always believed in the healing power of art. I have sticker on my Portable Wind Rose that says Art Heals. I should have another one that says Art Teaches!

Sources:
(1) http://zenyfuentesoaxacanwoodcarving.com/index.html
(2) http://www.oaxacanwoodcarving.com/copal.html

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One Sheep Two Sheep


How's that for a smiling face to greet you to this post? LOL! This little guy and his fabulous smile come to you by way of Sun Country Traders in Santa FE, NM.

I was actually looking at something else in the store when my husband came to get me. "Hey Honey, you've got to see these sheep!" I wandered over to find a collection of Navajo folk art animals grinning up at me. You just can't help but smile back! Can you? :D

I'm not a collector the way some people are. I don't have a curio cabinet filled with anything, but it is hard for me to resist a great looking sheep. I knew right away that this one was coming home with me!

Once the ladies helping me discovered my love of the little animals, I was taken to another section of the store. Behind the counter on a shelf stood the sweetest hand beaded sheep I've ever seen. As a new beader, I have much respect for the time and care that must go into making a beaded figure. The resulting little sheep were so sweet. There were different colors to choose from, but there was something kind of demure about this sheep done in shades of ecru.



No two sheep could be more different, yet I love them both. Right now I have the folk art sheep displayed in a ceramic pumpkin patch on a table. Not far away is a large Mexican Folk Art Coyote. The poor sheep is too silly to know he's in any kind of danger. You know what he reminds me of? I think he looks a little like Donkey from the Shrek movies.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hand Beaded Navajo Hair Clips


I had to take a picture of these sweet little hair clips before sending them to my niece for her birthday. They are another treasure from my time in Santa Fe. I wanted to get my niece something Navajo made, and I thought these were adorable.

Part of what makes them so captivating is the size. It's hard to tell in the photograph, but they are just over an inch long. The purple beads in the background lend a younger look. It may be a little while before she will be able to wear these clips. She is just about to have her first birthday and her hair is still very fine, but someday.

I found my Navajo Clips in Sun Country Traders. I have two other pieces from this store, one folk art and one beaded. I'll take pictures and come back for show and tell.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brand New Drop Spindle Kit!


I love it when I sell a Drop Spindle Kit at Wind Rose. It makes me smile to think that there is another spinner being born and it means I get to design the roving for my next kit!

All of my Drop Spindle Kits come with a spindle (of course), leader cord, ecru fiber and most importantly directions. To make them extra special, I include two ounces of fiber that I make myself. I head on into my studio and select a pretty combination. Then I drum card them together always adding plenty of Firestar for sparkle. Then I even hand pull the carded batt into ready to spin roving. I want things to be nice and easy for my beginning spinner.

This latest kit is a combination of two Merino rovings, one turquoise and the other a soft purple. The sparkling Firestar is a night blue that seems to bring them all together. I believe that the first spinning experience can only be made better with really lovely fiber. I'm so happy with the way this roving turned out and I hope the next person who decides to join the world of spinning will feel the same!

Little Feather ~ Hand Beaded Pendant Necklace


Little Feather is a hand beaded pendant done in a free form style with a beautiful carved turquoise leaf as a focal point. It also features a Hill Tribes Fine Silver button used as a cabochon along with silver accent beads. Metal findings and glass beads add even more interest to this abstract mix.

The pendant measures 1" x 1.5". The necklace is 22" long and closes with a large, easy to handle lobster clasp. The double cord is a waxed cotton. No leather products were used making this southwest inspired piece animal friendly.

To see more pictures, visit Little Feather at Wind Rose Fiber Studio's ArtFire location.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

More Art and Artists ~ From The Taos Pueblo




Here are three more pieces from the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. The first is a glazed horse hair bear which also has a turtle carved onto its back. This was actually my first purchase at the pueblo. I had been wanting a bear and I also like the symbol of the turtle. The bear and the turtle are often simplified as meaning strength and long life. If you do a little more reading, the bear is seen as a protector and leader. The bear can also be found as a helper in emergence stories. The turtle not only stands for long life, but strength and perseverance. As an added fun note, the power of the turtle is often an annoyance for poor coyote.

The simple round clay bowl is made from mica clay. This is clay that naturally has a lot of the mineral mica in it. The mica sparkles in the sun making even less ornate pottery look showy. I spent a lot of hot summer days collecting mica as a little girl in Virginia. Back then our roads were paved with a layer of gravel and then a layer of tar. These roads didn't hold up very well through the winter and had to be regularly redone. Whenever a fresh load of rocks were laid out, it was time to hunt for mica. I don't know where our rocks came from, but nothing made me happier than combing the side of the street watching for the sun to play off the sparkling rocks. Sometimes you found just pieces of mica. Other times you could actually peel a layer of mica off of a rock. Those were the best!

The last is a necklace purchased from a silversmith named Arthur Lujan. I kind of liked it because it was less elaborate than the jewelry with large pieces of turquoise and other stones. I'm not very flashy. Once again it had my happy symbols of the bear and the turtle. There are many different bird symbols but the eagle is widely used for it meaning of courage and wisdom. The rabbit often means luck, but more specifically it can denote cunning and awareness. This was our last purchase from the Taos Pueblo. Arthur was very nice to talk to as we surveyed his work. He sat at a well worn work bench and chatted with us. His Indian name is Little Aspen and we thought of him as we drove back to Santa Fe passing beautiful Aspen trees turning yellow in the autumn air.

My First Beaded Cabochon Necklace


I have more artwork to show you from Santa Fe, but today I thought I'd show you my first attempt at a beaded cabochon pendant. I made some rookie mistakes, but I guess that's how we learn.

For this first practice piece, I didn't have the best materials. Those are on order. Being in the mood to practice, I just went with what I had around the studio.

The stone is a rock from my beach coming in Otter Rock, Oregon. I didn't have any of the Stiff Stuff that every book and website highly recommends. I was looking for fabric that the glue would stick to and that wouldn't fray and I found a little piece of vinyl. I used plain black cotton fabric for the backing.

Working with these soft fabrics made my first project a little more challenging, but it still gave me the change to practice technique. My first mistake was to try to bead too close to the cabochon. I quickly learned to give everything a little more space. The edging is a little untidy as well. This is largely due to the fact that I worked way past the point of eye fatigue and I halfway couldn't focus anymore. I never know when to quit.

In spite of these flaws, I still love my first project. I like the way I finished it undoubtedly inspired by my travels around the southwest. I also think I found the perfect beads to make the green stone really pop. Sometimes there is just no beating complementary colors.

I'm working on my second piece now. This one is a little more free form and utilizes more than one focal bead. So far, the beading is much more precise so I hope this means I'm getting better.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Art and Artists ~ From The Taos Pueblo


When you are in a place like Taos or Santa Fe, it's not hard to find shops which specialize in local artwork. Though I love to look in these places, I always prefer to buy from street vendors or in other words, the actual artist. Just as many artistic people feel that the process or creative journey is more important than the finished work, when buying art, I feel the same way. I want to make some sort of connection.

Maybe what I'll come home with is ordinary in comparison to the extraordinary available in a gallery. It doesn't matter to me in the slightest. I don't want a keepsake so I can show it off as the finest of art to all who cross its path. I want to admire my pieces and remember the experience of finding them.

I love looking over table tops or in this case, in and out of Pueblo shops, until something catches my eye. Then I can talk to the seller who very often is the artist, but if not, tends to be related. It seemed especially so in the Pueblo shops. Family and friends come together to form small business groups taking turns with all of the tasks.



These pictures of first a bear and then my little quail friend, are examples of horse hair pottery. Horse hair is applied to the clay before firing. The hair burns off in the kiln leaving behind pretty designs. No two ever look exactly alike which makes it very hard to pick your favorites. Somehow I managed. (Vacation can be hard work!)

As I made my selections, a young woman sat next to her warm kiva painting a small clay bowl. I asked her if she made these pieces, but her answer was no. They were made by another member of the family. I asked if she had a card or any information she could give me. She had only one card which she told me was her aunt. So the closest I can get you to the origin of these pieces is the name Dolly Luhan (the aunt) of Sunflower Pueblo Creations. Perhaps if you are ever visiting the Taos Pueblo, you can find their little shop in the Northern Pueblo.

Back From Santa Fe


I'm back from my trip to Santa Fe. Here's one last picture from my adventure. This is the Taos Pueblo, well part of the Taos Pueblo. I did pay a camera fee for the privilege to take this shot and I was careful to leave the inhabitants out of my photography.

Many of the front rooms were open to visitors. They had shops set up to sell pottery, rugs, jewelry, bread and more. My kids loved it when we entered a room and there was a fire going in the kiva. The smell of the wood burning was so inviting. I just liked taking a moment to let it really sink in that I was standing in a centuries old space.

My husband and I had just agreed that perhaps we wouldn't go into every open store. We were hoping to take in a gallery or two back in Santa Fe before our drive home. Moments after this decision was made, I passed by some steps leading up to an open door. A little woman with a smiling face leaned her head out and said "hello" in a cheerful and energetic voice. It made me giggle a little because everyone else I had encountered was kind of quiet, but with one word, I could tell this lady was different. I smiled and said hello back. My husband was trailing me by a few yards and he too received the greeting as he passed. Then the woman also added a "Come in!" in the same bounding, cheery voice, yet I had a sense that when this woman spoke, you should listen. I turned around and said to my husband, "Well you better go in." "I'd better", he said with a chuckle and our little family all made its way up into the room where the woman sat as guardian.

Once inside, she immediately told us that all the jewelry was created by her son. We made a point of examining each piece. I asked about the bread she had laid out on a table. I wondered if she had baked it herself. Her response was to light up and tell me about her other son and his shop. This son made fresh fry bread and other foods and we should go visit his shop. What a proud mom I thought. Here she sits making sure everyone knows about her two sons and their work. Being there with two sons of my own, I could relate to her pride and her enthusiastic devotion. I couldn't leave without making a purchase, so I bought a hunk of bread. Her effort with us was complete and I knew it would not be long before she called in the next visitors. She remains my favorite acquaintance from our holiday.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Here's what's coming!

I just thought I'd write a quick note tonight to let you know what's coming. Whenever I travel, I'm always on the lookout for interesting fiber and fiber arts, but other artwork as well. I'm coming home with some great pieces to show you.

I was fortunate to visit the ancient pueblo at Taos. There I met some lovely artisans, some of them working on pieces as we chatted. I have samples of pottery, carving and silversmithing to share.

In addition, the square in downtown Santa Fe was alive with street vendors on the Sunday I visited. I purchased some fantastic folk art from a vendor who is part of a cooperative of seven artists in Mexico. Just wait until you see my coyote! There was also a Navajo group show and I purchased a couple smaller pieces of pottery. Finally, I met a woman who made stunning wire wrapped and beaded necklaces. They are very unique and so artfully designed. I admit it. I bought two! One for me and one for my mom. I'll have pictures and all of the artist information coming.

I did go off street and into a few shops. One Navajo gallery was full of treasures. I bought a couple pairs of beaded hair clips. One pair is so sweet and so tiny, for my little niece. Also at this gallery, there was some terrific folk art. I picked up a wooden sheep with the best wild eyes and crazy grin. I'll have a picture to show you of him. Then I turned from the fanciful sheep to some lovely beaded little sheep figures. Wait until you see this beadwork. Every detail is perfect.

So what about fiber? I did find some! Up in Taos I visited Weaving Southwest. Always in search of the unique, I was directed to some Churro Coyote Warp that they have specially made at a local mill. "You won't see this anywhere else", I was told. It's a distinctive ply that is used to mark their warp threads when working on intricate designs. I'll have more information and pictures.

So I guess as posts go, this wasn't very short after all. I'm really looking forward to sharing the pieces I found with you. Whenever possible, I made sure to get the artist information and where their work can be found. Just give me a little time to drive back to Arizona and then I'll get busy!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bandelier National Monument ~ Hiking to the Rio Grande




Hi! More pictures from our Santa Fe vacation. Yesterday we drove up to the Bandelier National Monument. We loved the cliff dwellings and getting to actually climb up and look into the ancient homes. The scenery all around the park is unbelievably breathtaking.

Feeling adventurous, we made the five mile round trip journey down the canyon to the Rio Grande. It wasn't until we were well into our hike that I began to notice that there really weren't any other children on the trail. In addition, the other people we encountered seemed to have that experienced hiker way about them. You know, the wide brim hat, good boots and even nice store bought hiking sticks. We had none of these practical things.

The upper left hand picture shows the view from the start of our journey. The elevation is over 6,000 feet and we looked down at the yellowing leaves of the treetops. The next shot to the right is Frijoles Creek. We followed this down the canyon with the happy sounds of the water keeping us company. As we followed the trail, we actually crossed the creek 4 or 5 times. The kids enjoyed finding the perfect place to cross and the rocks that would get us to the other side.

The lower left photo shows a significant rock slide. I don't know when this happened, but our trail made a sharp turn and took us back over the Frijoles Creek to the other side of the canyon to get around this natural obstruction. This was also the hardest part of the hike. It was steep getting down to the creek and then after crossing, the path was not as clear. We even came upon a fence that made us wonder if we had taken a wrong turn. There was an opening that we could pass through so we decided it was probably to discourage animals. Still, we felt much more confident when we found a stack of meditation rocks left behind by another hiker.

Finally, I don't have to tell you that the last picture is of the Rio Grande River. We couldn't take too much time to enjoy it. The sun was already getting lower in the sky and we knew we had a long, tough hike back. I'm so proud of my kids for making the journey. They are 12 and 9 years old and this was a long day for them. We are all suffering from a little sunburn and weary feet and legs today. In return, pretty good bragging rights and a day filled with gorgeous views!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The International Balloon Festival


I took almost 200 pictures today at The International Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, NM. Maybe this one is a silly choice for this post, but it's just so happy! I'll let all the other attendees post their spectacular shots of balloon filled sky.

I've seen other people's pictures from this event and have looked at them in wonder. Even so, I think this is one of those events where you just have to be there to get the full effect. I and my family stood in the middle of a field while balloons of all shapes and descriptions inflated around us. There were times when we actually had to skitter out of the way of a launching balloon along with our fellow audience members. We all let out a cheer and clapped as each new balloon inflated and made its way into the sky.

Later in the morning we spent some time in Old Town Albuquerque. I searched in vain for some interesting examples of fiber work. I'm sad to say, that most of what I encountered were imports that have come to look generic to me. I hope that's not being grossly unfair. I kept heading into stores with words like Peruvian and Weave in their shop names, only to be disappointed. I'm sure there is wonderful work out there, but today I looked in the wrong place. I'm hoping I'll encounter something to share as I spend the next few days in and around Santa Fe.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Portrait of a Packing Crafts Person

This blog post is pure procrastination. I have more than enough to keep me busy on this day before my family and I head off to Santa Fe, NM.

Well, I guess much has already been done in way of preparation. I can't stand to come home to a messy house, so the house has been tidied. Also, as we live in one of the warmest climates here in the US, my oldest son had to be taken shopping for clothes and shoes so that he will not freeze in New Mexico. My younger son can more than make due on the bounty of worn once hand-me-downs leftover from other such excursions. Finally, every last stitch of laundry has been processed to ensure no shortage of necessities.

It really won't take me any time at all to throw clothes into bags. Oh no, that's not the hard part. The pain of packing will come when it's time to figure out what to take to keep my kids and worst of all ME happy in a car for 8 hours. That's 8 hours both ways. Then there are evenings in the hotel and mornings spent waiting for everyone to shower and get dressed. All of those hours and minutes an ME away from my studio! Ack!

I have a small panic attack every time I consider that I might be in the mood to do something and my materials will not be at my finger tips. How about the horror of bringing a craft along and forgetting something critical like scissors or a needle? I can't stand it! Yes, the bulk of my day will be spent making sure I have every thing I need to be a happy little crafts person while I'm away. Oh sure, I'll be packing stuff for the kids too, but in this area, I am the needy one.

The very worst part is yet to be confessed! After I spend a ridiculous amount of time carefully packing more than I need to create more than any one person could ever create in a week... (I'm so embarrassed) I'll barely touch it. I already know this about myself, but I'll go through the same rituals anyway. It's madness! It's sick! It's TRUE!

However, until they find a cure, I'm doomed to repeat this pattern. I reach out to you today as a first step. First you have to admit you have a problem, right?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Freeform Peyote Stitch Bracelet


This past weekend I spent time with my side passion. I don't know. It feels strange calling it that. Somehow, bead weaving really feels part and parcel to fiber arts. I feel drawn to beading in the same way as I feel drawn to spinning and weaving. For a long time now I have incorporated the two.

I have decided to devote myself to perfecting my technique. I can't begin to tell you how challenging it is for me to follow or be a student. I am the woman and shuns pattern and direction and goes her own way. Still, discipline is important when studying art, so I am trying to temper myself enough to learn.

This is not the first woven bracelet I've ever made, but it's the first one I plan to sell. The structure is very sound the the quality of work is up to my standards. It is the basic Peyote stitch done in a slightly freeform style. I thought it only fitting that I position it on a length of Merino roving; my two passions in harmony.

These bracelets look so pretty on the wrist. The play of texture, color and the sparkle along with the matte finish have a way of luring your eyes in. They can't decide where to focus first. The more you look, the more you notice detail. I like that. Also, the use of multiple colors makes it go with so many outfits. I made one for myself in purples, pinks, blues and silver. Every day I get dressed and I hold the bracelet up surprised by how well it goes with so much of my wardrobe.

The last thing I'm going to highlight is that the toggle is also a hand woven bead and securely strung into the main piece. The opposite end has a loop offset by two silver flowers. Now this is just a personal taste thing, but I'm always a little sad when I see a pretty beaded bracelet with a generic button sewn on as a closure. Why take all the time to weave the bracelet and then finish it so plainly? By creating a matching beaded toggle, the fastening becomes part of the overall bracelet. It's another element of interest. You know what I mean?


OK, so that sounded a little snooty for a beginner. Trust me, I am hopelessly humbled when I look at serious works of freeform bead weaving. I know I have a long way to go! I am enjoying what I see at only the launch of my voyage.

So this is the result of my weekend. I just thought I'd share it with you. I think what I find almost the most challenging is photographing jewelry. They just seem to lose so much through a camera lens. You can't appreciate the movement or the drape or the way the light interacts. I guess that is where imagination must fill in the missing spaces.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vacation Notice ~ I'm Going to Santa Fe!


I'm getting ready to head out to Santa Fe for a few days. I just wanted to let everyone know that I'll be away from October 8-13. I keep Wind Rose Fiber Studio on Etsy open when I'm away for anyone who likes to stake their claim to their favorite fibers. I have more info in my announcements there. I'll be closing my ArtFire Shop for the week. I also try to check in at least once a day to answer convos and emails.

This is my first time in Santa Fe and I still have a few days left to plan my trip. If you have any suggestions about what this art lover might like to see and do. I'm all eyes! Thanks and have a great week!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Chartreuse & Light Blue BFL


It's after 5:00 on a Friday and I'm running out of steam. I don't know about you, but I'm always wiped out by Friday. This is a happy Friday though because it marks the beginning of a Fall Break for me. Yea!

So before I pour myself a glass of mead, let me share my last two new offerings of the week. Here we have, swirled together, Light Blue and Chartreuse Blue Faced Leicester. It's been a while since I've dyed a lighter shade like this blue here. It makes me think I should have more in the way of softer hues in my shops. What do you think? Are you looking for more light colors?

Well, have a super weekend everybody! I'm going to try to get some work on my Spindeln├Ąt Scarf so I can give you an update. I also just got a very cool bead weaving book in the mail so I have much to distract myself. Hope you have happy distractions waiting for you too!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Desert Gold ~ A new shade of wool roving!




The flowers you see here are the Mexican Bird of Paradise. It's nearing the end of their flowering season, but they are still radiant! When I moved to Arizona from Virginia, I didn't expect the desert to be without color, but I was truly amazed by just how much color there is. Perhaps the oranges, yellows, purples and pinks stand out even more brilliant against the earthy landscape.

The desert is, in fact, rich with color and the inspiration for the name of this new shade of roving, Desert Gold. This ounce got away from me and is posing as a Bird of Paradise. Did she fool you?

I know. I'm being silly, but perhaps one of the most dominant colors you find here is orange; every possible hue of orange. It's extraordinary. They can range from the deepest orange red to the palest orange yellow. When the cactus flower, they create a breathtaking display.

So from my inspiration to yours, you can now find Desert Orange at Wind Rose on Etsy and also in my ArtFire shop.

Silver Firestar ~ A Must Have If You LOVE Sparkle!


This post is my Ode to Firestar. Maybe I'm not the only spinner who can remember when they first discovered this miraculous sparkling fiber. For me, It was half a dozen years ago and back when I lived in Virginia. Every year, when the first weekend of May came around, I'd make my way up to Maryland for their annual Sheep and Wool Festival.

The travesty here is that I can't remember the name of the vendor, so if anyone reading this can enlighten us, please do. In the center of one of the long covered buildings, there was a seller, who among many other pretty wares, always had a couple large bags of mixed roving. It wasn't carded. It was wild, crazy colorful blends of mixed fibers, probably part of her destash, but the best part about these offerings, was the sparkle. What was that awesome, lustrous fiber creating endless twinkling as I turned the wool over in my hands? I knew it wasn't Angelina. It was even better. It didn't stick out like icicles on a Christmas tree, but blended and became one with the wool. I loved it!

It took me over a year to discover it's name and origin. The ladies running what became my favorite booth were always so busy that I felt awkward about distracting them with my questions. Finally I was able to learn that my favorite sparkling fiber was called Firestar. When I opened up Wind Rose on Etsy, I knew I wanted to offer this fiber. I figured that even if people were unfamiliar with it, one try and they would fall in love as I had.

Now I dye Firestar in every color of the rainbow and people do seem to be discovering it and loving it as I had hoped. Of all the colors I dye, Silver has emerged as the most popular. It is very beautiful and it's so striking when combined with other fibers. So the moral of this post, is if you love sparkle, you owe it to yourself to try Firestar. You don't need much. A little goes a long way, but oh, what results!


Click on the photograph to head over to my Firestar Section on Etsy. There you can see more pictures and read about Firestar in more detail!