Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How I Became a "Fiber Artist"

I was bitten by the fiber bug fairly early in life.  My grandmothers were both adept at needlework:  one did lovely embroidery and crocheted elegant, lacy delicacies; the other was proficient at sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, tatting, and even weaving.  While I was (as a teenager) inspired by the beautiful work of my father's mother, I was taught the basics by my mother's mother ("Sit down.  I'm going to teach you to tat today.").  I am forever indebted to both of these ladies who inspired and encouraged me.  I was not always the most eager student at first--I'm sure there were many other things I would rather have been doing--but the skills that I was taught stuck with me.

After I was married, I had time (as a full-time homemaker with as yet no children) to pursue knitting and crocheting, along with the occasional sewing project.  I found that the basics that I had been taught enabled me to pick up books on textile techniques and learn on my own.  I began to make little changes to the patterns I would follow, and even designed a few of my own.

Soon, my maternal grandmother offered me one of her floor looms.  These were large pieces of "furniture" that my grandfather had built for her back in the '50's.  I accepted because it was an interesting conversation piece, and part of my family's history (No one else I knew had a grandmother that knew how to weave!).  I never planned to actually use the thing--though my husband had big plans for me to weave lots of fabric and sew all our own clothes!! 

I'll tell more of the loom saga another time.  Suffice it to say that I eventually learned to weave, and even to spin my own yarn.

Over the years, I have discovered that I really enjoy learning new techniques.  Even more fun is to play around with yarn and fiber and come up with my own techniques!  The items that I create reflect the diversity of the techniques that I enjoy.  If you browse my Etsy shop, you will find quite a variety of items.  When a person first enters my booth at a festival, often their eyes start to glaze over as they look around them.  It is hard to "process" so many different types of products.  I guess I have a short attention span--before I finish one project, I am looking around for something different to do next!

I guess the reason I describe myself (with some trepidation) as a "Fiber Artist" (in spite of the fact that I have always considered myself to be highly un-artistic) is because I create the designs that I make.  Though I have read a bit about Color Theory and Design, I basically make what I think will be beautiful (unfortunately, my artist's concept does not always come together in the finished product the way that I envisioned!), and I don't worry about what others will think.

So here I am--running a small business making and selling knitted, crocheted, handwoven, felted, beaded and braided products, and enjoying the excitement and fulfilment that creativity brings to my life!


Sharon said...

I am so excited that you have started blogging! Your skill set is so vast!

It will be very interesting to read about your process, and learn more about your journey as a fiber artist!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for commenting, Sharon! I hope to get some more interesting posts up after I get some introductory stuff out of the way!