Sheep Visit by MLC’s Art Camp

SweeP-girls5019-trns

Last week I took some Dyed ‘N Wool activities to the kids at Miccosukee Land Co-op where we did some weaving and dyeing of yarns. After seeing the demos of the loom and spinning wheel, they did their own on cardboard looms. What a great variety of colors and projects they chose!  I thought they were great. Afterwards, they came to visit the sheep. Love this photo:

To see more photos of the projects and the sheep, check FB.

Posted in General, Sheep Family, Workshops/Adults & Kids | Leave a comment

“Gramma’s Yarns”

#1 in a series of stories about the sheep, & the processing of wool.

all-compos-mirrorIntro:  Gramma’s Yarns

There is a time in stories and dreams when little lambs may ponder wool. They are covered with it, grow with it, and many times dress up with it. And so this story of lambs is also the story of wool.

Weavers and sheep, sheep and lambs, lambs and spinners and dyes, have helped each other for ages on end. And so the tales grow. But what does a young lamb know of these things?  And how would she learn?

Her gramma told her.

In South Pasture, green and breezy with tall, waving grasses, Grandma Filene gathers the youngsters around her.  But SnoBelle hangs back. The eldest of the lambs, she watches from a short distance. Gramma’s stories aren’t real. Aren’t they?  Tall tales, just “yarns”.  Aren’t they? She watches them for a few moments,  silently. Longer moments, thinking hard. Then, I gotta know, and she bounds over to the flock.

“Ohhh, Baaaaa,  and I have many yarns, and tales of yarns, of wools, of sheep and the games they play, and most of all of color.” Gramma Filene begins.

Color? thinks SnoBelle.  What’s color?  She looks around at the soft, woolly bodies here – whites and creams, blacks & greys, tans and browns. Why, Ringo even has all those shades blended together. Natural sheep colors. But what does Gramma Filene mean by “color?”

Anyone who knows SnoBelle soon finds out how curious she is. “Why”, “How”, and “What about?” are usually her first expressions.

Gramma Filene continues.  SnoBelle watches her great, great, grandmother, spellbound by the stories she is telling to the circle of lambs at her feet.

Uncle PopEye will be coming back to visit again,” she tells the lambs.  “He’s always got a green belly.  I wonder why?”  She smiles and rolls her eyes up to the sky.

In unison, the lambs all gasp,  “Green!” in playful surprise.  They gambol and leap, spinning cartwheels in the air. But they really don’t know.  They look at each other. “What’s green?”

“And some of  your mothers just might turn blue. Do you know why?”

“Oh nooooo.  What’s blue?”

“Ah, well, that’s ‘Yarn Number Two’.”

“And then there’s the secret to color.  Some colors work; some don’t. I wonder why?” She rolls her eyes again.

SnoBelle crinkles her forehead, trying to figure out what Gramma is talking about. The other lambs look up and down and all around, but no one knows.

“And you’ll see others, too.  Cousins and friends each with their own kind of wool.  There’s Ms.Angie and Gert, angora’s their coat.  And the Bunni twins hop in, too.  They like to sit right by the wheel when their wool is spun.”

“The wheeeel,” cry the lambs in a teasing squeel. But they stop and look at her. “What wheel?”

“Just wait ‘til fall.” Says Gramma Filene. She starts to hum and grunt, and grunt and  hum as though to some lit’l tune in her head. Then turning around, she walks away towards the lower pasture.

“What was  that about?” thought SnoBelle.  Wools and weaving, colors and spinning ??? I must find out.

Posted in Paper/Books, Sheep Family | Leave a comment

Art Lovers’ Weekend
Saturday,  April 19th
9am  – 4pm , Park Ave. West
~  arts ~ crafts ~ music  ~ vegies  ~

Rainbow dyed warp yarns, ready on the loom. ©2014, acappa

Rainbow dyed warp yarns, ready on the loom. Rainbow Shawl, © 2014

Rainbow dyed yarns make interesting warps.
For a unique blend that even I can’t repeat, sections of the warp yarns are dipped into colors that softly bleed into the adjacent white, unbleached sections. This makes soft patches of color that flow throughout the length of the shawl. To further carry this concept, the cross yarns, or weft, is also dyed in sections and when woven through the weft, produce sections that are either blended colors, or more suffused, deeper shades. This one, of peaches & aqua, also includes a gold sparkle throughout.

See current selections at the ArtLovers’ Market this weekend, or tell me of your ideas for a shawl of your own. BTW, this technique is not only for shawls. Rainbow shirts or wraps will give a most unique weaving.

Posted in ABOUT, Calendar, General | Leave a comment

New for Spring: Buddy Rose & Dyed ‘N Wool Activities

Buddy-2wks-sml    Big surprise one recent morning in March. At breakfast, Mama Swee’Pea wouldn’t come to the trough, but instead hung waaay back in the pasture. Demanding as she can be, she called to me to come to her. Then I saw something small and white and omg, there was this new little guy peeking out from behind her. Too early, I thought – didn’t see that coming. So I took a cup of grain up to her and even got to hold the new baby, before he realized he didn’t want to be held. “Hey, Buddy,” I called him. “What a surprise you are!” Usually, I want to watch the new moms when I can, when lambs are due. But they handle everything themselves, unless there’s a problem. In this case, Buddy Rose, as he later was named, was dry and up and running when I first saw him. Nice to know there’s no special problems to deal with during this lambing. He has since filled out, gotten strong and independent, and runs like the wind. At 10 days -2 wks-old, they are the cutest and lambs start “gamboling” – that funny, pogo-stick kind of hop. He bounces across the pasture like a cartoon.
Buddy Rose was on hand for new visitors when an early group of children came to see the sheep, the weaving/spinning process, and practice at the loom. They also tried their hand at painting the sheep. Painting is an added activity for the Dyed ‘N Wool groups who visit and may want to take home their own version of their experience. paintWsheep602smlAs an addition to the fiber arts, and similar to working with dyes, it allows expression with color. Other activities this year may be using handmade papers, bookmaking, or creating crayon batiks with natural dye. See more on the DNW pages on current offerings. And if you’d like to schedule a group during the summer, check out the activities available and contact me .

Posted in General, Schools, Sheep Family | Leave a comment

Papermaking – textures, colors, embedded surprises

Papermaking is a fun, decorative activity, with lots of uses from journals, mats, or cards, to painting & collage, to molding in 3-D. It’s a project to entice all the senses – visual, tactile, scent. My favorite is tying in this art with my others: fiberarts collages or weaving in grasses or yarns, and writing. Original stories look great printed on original papers.

screening handmade paper
screening handmade paper

Jefferson Arts in Monticello is hosting a paper-making workshop, February  23rd, Sunday, 2-5pm. I’ll be showing various options in making paper, such as:  recycling unusual gift papers, textured wallpapers, sketches & writings, or photos. We’ll use colored pulp, integrated with Nature’s textures: seeds, grasses, feathers, spices. We will build our screens with a wooden frame or plastic embroidery hoop, blend pulp, and create layers of papers to be used as you wish.
handmade paper book divider w/cutout

If interested, call or write me: 997-5505, acappa@alicecappa.com. Fee is $45 and Jefferson Arts is supplying a few group materials. You will need to  bring other materials: a frame, maybe some felt, and found objects around the house & garden.  Deadline: February 19th. A pre-handout describes more and is provided on registration.  See photos from the workshops: http://www.alicecappa.com/Schools/Photos-Paip.html   Let me know if you have a particular project in mind and we can work on it.

Posted in Calendar, General, Paper/Books, Workshops/Adults & Kids | Leave a comment

“Mixed Bag”

   The December show this year at Jefferson Arts in Monticello brings together our member artists in various media, showing their own anthology in the arts as well. “Mixed Bag” shows what a wide variety of experiences we have! Reading their stories posted alongside their works, I see many paths charted, many interests, and many art "Mixed Bag" - Photos/Fiber/Fictionexperiences all leading us to this current collection in time. Many painters and illustrators started with a certain media, shifting to another, possibly experimenting because of a certain class or mentor. Many others started with a specific project, then shifted to another media or expression entirely, such as sculpture to paint, or fiber to drawing.

       My story has always bounced around with many art experiments, but my 3 main interests persisted: photography, clay, and weaving. The loom was the first bit of equipment I acquired after school, so that has been my mainstay. But photography also was strong, and I soon had my darkroom. Though clay was also significant, I never got the wheel or kiln. But a later interest, writing, actually became the thread to connect them all.

      Imagery is the key. And expression.  In the photo of the puppy and the spinning wheel, Maegan gave me “that look” and I had to get out the camera. Aha, I captured it before both she and the light moved.  In the other photo with the older dog, Kid appears to be musing on higher thoughts, but as always, there’s another story behind the scenes. In this one,  puppies were pulling on his feet and he got behind the chair to escape them, showing his long-suffering expression. Aha – just happened to have the camera. My photography is a series of capturing the “aha” moments – when great lighting, expression, and scene come together.

       The lights and darks of film carried over to surface design on fabric. I love texture, positive & negative shapes such as silhouettes, and the images on the film inspired a similar approach on the loom. Leno-lace, a technique for weaving an open, lacey surface, was shaped into images woven right into the fabric.  This is not “pulled threads” starting from a finished cloth, but each weft thread is hand-twisted as it is woven across the loom, leaving open spaces to define the image. Imagery with yarns (with both fiber and voice – as in “telling yarns”) expanded as images in fiberart inspired yet again, imagery within written stories.

      Writing gave voice to characters emerging from  the surface of fiberarts:  weaving, marbling, or handmade-paper collage. I’d pick out ”personalities” from enmeshed fibers, or swirled dyed, and listen as each told their story. “Tales From The Summer Hills” grew into a collection of stories, later interpreted in many forms. Children’s stories, adult folklore,  magical legends, prints on hand-made paper, and one was picked up by WFSU radio for “Stories In The Air”.  Some are adaptable for including the name of one’s child and can be custom printed for a family gift.

      The pieces shown here are on exhibit at Jefferson Arts through December 31st:  “Seashawl – Conch”;  2 photos – “Maegan & Spinning Wheel” and “Musing”; and  “Summer Hills” stories printed on handmade or art papers in long scrolls. They include “Legend Of The Grand Hill Giant”, “The Jujubee Tree”, and “The Coat of Many Faces”.  If you get a chance to stop in, check out our “Mixed Bag”.

Posted in Calendar, Exhibits, General, Paper/Books, What is that about? | Leave a comment

The Lady of Shalott Weaves a Shawl

         Actually,   she weaves a tapestry. But before I knew the story of this painting, I was  told it was called “Bound Woman”.  After staring at and analyzing it many times, I realized, she’s not bound; she’s weaving. There are many paintings of this legend (this one’s by Wm. Holman Hunt, 1905)  showing a magical person hidden in a tower room outside Camelot. Her concern is to weave  the outside world

Lady Of Shalott weaves a shawl.as she sees it, but only through its reflection in a   mirror. As with other cultural legends, “weaving the day” enables life in this world to go on. There’s more, involving Sir Lancelot, a broken mirror,  escaping tapestry and a boat ride.
However, clueless to what was happening, I started to pick apart all its elements. This excerpt shows a round loom with  exotically sculptured posts, warp yarns stretched to its rim with a centrally-woven tapestry reflecting the image through the windows above. What I thought were  windows behind her is really the mirror reflecting a scene that would be behind the viewer. The lighting gives it away, because the actual windows  above her (not shown) show a deep blue sky.  The yarns that seemingly bind her are pulled around and across the loom, as I often do to untangle them. But in keeping with the legend, this most likely is symbolizing her imprisoned state.  Elsewhere,  beyond the loom is a large sculptured urn-like piece like a coffee-maker or a hookah. Symbolic scenes and mythical figures frame the room and her sandals lie kicked aside, usually indicating sacred ground. This represents a time-honored craft that has both furnished material necessities and symbolic connections in weaving the webs of life.
The shawl may be a little anachronistic, but the process fits. It’s made of my favorite cotton yarns – a brand that is especially nubby and soft and will age well. Shawls are a good item for interweaving the various elements of color,
fiber, and function. Let me know if I can do one for you.

Coming up: New Leaf’s Farm Tour, including my “Dyed ‘N Wool” activities & sheep visits. Saturday, October 19th, 9am – 5pm.  And later, “Sheep-To-Shawl” workshop for kids or parent/child team. Check my calendar page for updates.

 

Posted in ABOUT, General, What is that about? | Leave a comment

A few pics from the FLAUNT ’13 exhibit

The theme of FLAUNT’s exhibit this year is, “If time stopped…”. It’s amazing the variety in which artists interpreted this. Some would go back in time to a certain period. Some used it to focus on a personal state of being. I used the wormhole concept, but my take is basically, there is no time. Just now. And in that now, I would create. Especially create books.
So below are a few of those interpretations. Lined up on Broad Street, Thomasville, GA, through the month of September. Many old books were provided us for “altering” or otherwise using in theirScrolledHand-sml window display. I love the 1st one -AltrdBook-sml scrolls of pages formed into a giant hand. Another fav, the next one shows many creative folds and implants to change the form of the book.

 

 

This one is my window at The Book Shelf. I experimented with several altered styles and also included some of my handmade books of accordion pages, or fibrous pages of cotton, wool, or fabric. The loMyWindow-smlng scrolls hanging down center are my  “Tales From The Summer Hills”, an ongoing collection of mystical, fun stories full of colorful imagery.
Note to parents: your child’s name can be inserted into these stories  as one of the characters.
The last photo is of the “street people”, placed around the benches of Broad St, life-size papermache figures that are to encourage reading. They are propped up near “Little Libraries” where people can add, swap, or take-away a book to read.

StreetPeople-smlBesides the window artists, are plein-air watercolorists, who are painting their interpretation of a character from a secret book, which by now has been revealed to the public. These paintings are done on tall columns of old books that act as their canvas, and also will be on display around Broad Street thoughout opening weekend.   The windows and other displays are up through September, go see it. A very unique show!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Calendar, Exhibits, General, Paper/Books | Leave a comment

Thomasville’s FLAUNT ’13

A special exhibit is coming up in September with a collaboration between plein air painters, installation artists, libraries, and special events to mark the occasion. Theme: “It’s About Time” -   or, for us installation artists, “If you could stop time…”   I was attracted to this because of the emphasis on books and/or literacy. Special, Little Libraries will be set up on downtown street corners for borrowing, swapping, reading books.  Midst full size paper-mache figures,  painters will be interpreting their image of the characters in a specially selected book. My part in all this is to design a store window based on the theme of time. What would I do with it? More on this later, but let me include a couple photos of my handmade books:handmade pages, cotton & wool

The first is of handmade pages of cotton and wool. This page shows a bit of the process from fiber to finished fabric or page.

The second shows a couple of my story scrolls. These are folk tales (written on a long ago journey and still in process) printed on art papers, and mounted on handmade Scrolls3-571papers that have nubby fibers and printed designs. I intend for them to sweep you into a magical world, good to commemorate any special event.

Updates on my preparations for this show forthcoming.

 

Posted in Calendar, Exhibits, General, Paper/Books, What is that about? | Leave a comment

FL Folk Festival

Nice surprises at the FL Folk Festival this year. I love to spin /jam along with the musicians, but the old favorites have been gone many years now. The “Orange Blossom Special” with Gambol Rogers. and Don Grooms had always been a  highlight. One of this year’s headliners was Jim Stafford, who was surprisingly funny and has a long list of amusing old favorites. Guess what song he included?  I was ready, sitting among the crowd on the hill with my wheel. This was about 11pm, I had a bundle of Black Shetland wool (did you ever try spinning black wool in the dark?) and the wheel started to fly with the music. He put on a good show.  Pics below & on FB.

At my booth I had several raw fleeces, which always attracts attention. Especially from kids. But it always surprises me how many people have never seen this process either. There were a few of us spinners scattered around the park, spinning all kinds of fibers & colors to go with our weavings.

   Other festival activities, workshops, entertainers, not to mention the bright, crisp weather, were great this year. I even learned a new dance- Cajun Twostep. And I think the food venders outdid themselves. Such variety! Carribean/country/seafood/ vegie concoctions/ desserts & “fruit”ades”/ and Ol’ South favorites. The river was especially haunting early Sunday morning. I saw misty “water devils” form perfect cylindars, 6 ft. off the water. The ghostly folklore continues….

This 3 day annual reunion every Memorial Day weekend highlights  the many cultural arts & historical customs around Florida and everyone here is very passionate about preserving our state’s heritage. Stories, songs, visual images abound on everything from the Gulf &Atlantic waters, Cracker culture, black rivers,  & manatees. What a diverse state we have!  If you haven’t been, you gotta plan for next year.

Below, Jim Stafford (red guitar), and Ben Prestage (one-man blues band).

Posted in Calendar, Exhibits, General | Leave a comment