Last week I visited my local crafts store to buy materials for the scarves I plan to sell this fall market season. To anyone who has worked with fibers, fabrics, papers, beads, buttons and other oddments, from the casual crafter to the expert textile artist, stores like this are the equivalent of letting a mouse run free in a cheese shop! Windsor Buttons in Boston has every yarn in every imaginable color, texture and animal of origin, including my favorite, alpaca. These creatures, whom I had the opportunity to care for and train as a volunteer on a working farm five years ago, have personalities as deep and rich as the fiber they produce! Windsor Buttons not only has a huge selection of alpaca yarns, but also all the trimmings and equipment to make something marvelous out of them. There is no such thing as leaving there without a large sack full of the makings of things I didn’t even know I was going to be making! I try to be disciplined, but…
Before I left to indulge my addiction, Brian asked me “is it like buying paint?” and I said “yes! exactly!” though up until that moment I hadn’t made the connection, not only that painters must experience this same kid-in-the-candystore feeling of endless possibility and ravenous hunger in an art supply shop, but also, that when it comes to selecting and using yarn, I’m like a painter choosing colors. It is always a combination of what I have in mind, plus what’s available, plus my surroundings feeding ideas subliminally into my thoughts, plus how the colors themselves eventually sit next to each other and tell me what goes with what.
Not surprisingly, I’m greatly influenced by painters when I conceive patterns for my scarves. I have always been intrigued and inspired by masters like Mark Rothko above and Clyfford Still below who possessed such an amazing grasp of how colors behave alongside each other, how every pairing will be different, that just as it is with different people bringing out different qualities in each other, red with black is not the same as that same red next to white or maroon or yellow.
I didn’t realize until I’d finished this most recent scarf that it was a direct borrowing of Still’s primary palette of colors and vertical thrust. I now want to do a piece that will even more directly follow his jagged lines and shapes, or a Rothko tribute that blends the color transitions with more painterly smoothness. This won’t be easy using a traditional crochet stitch, but where’s the fun in doing something familiar, expected or easy?
Half the yarns I bought last week were suggested by some gorgeous blue and purple beads I bought 5 years ago that were getting tired of waiting to be useful, so I selected colors that would help fulfill their long-delayed purpose. Perhaps they will be the materials for the more subtle Rothko style I’m envisioning. The other half was thanks to a last minute suggestion made by some brickwork I passed on my way to the train -- the salmon pink, light terracotta, brown and beige mortar looked stunning in the full noontime sun! And while I don’t usually work in such pale or earthy colors and had no plans for a piece that would employ this palette or design…how could I resist the command of such a lovely brick wall? So, here are the beginnings of possibly the first brick facade built entirely out of crocheted alpaca fiber!
And speaking of things that aren’t easy, in only four days, Brian and I will be participating in the SoWa Market in Boston for our first of 5 Sundays scheduled through the end of October. My next post will be a review of how it all went! And more documentation of my progress as a fiber mason! Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend, all, and as ever, thanks for stopping by!