1013_Unraveling_Chaos_w.jpg

1013:  Unraveling Chaos 

In Unraveling Chaos, life itself appears to be “coming undone.”  And yet in the midst of these messy tangled spools of thread, sits a woman comfortably perched on the back of a turtle, feet dangling in the water, peacefully knitting.  This woman, along with the presence of two hands capable of eventually transforming this disorder, remind me that when life starts to feel too stressful, losses feel unbearable, or hardships seem insurmountable, the very act of picking up two knitting needles, casting on stitches that will slowly evolve into some new creation, and then allowing my fingers to lead me into a familiar and comforting rhythm, is often what is most needed to give my heart and/or brain the temporary respite it so desperately needs.
 

1014_Restoring_Order_w.jpg

  

1014:  Restoring Order  (SOLD)

The disorderly, cluttered disarray of fibers present in the last artwork became overwhelming for me to view.  The need to reestablish some semblance of manageability and normalcy in life, led me to organize many of my cherished art materials, books and objects in a neat and orderly fashion. The desire to transform the chaotic environment in 1013 into a more tranquil one, had a direct correlation to the stages of grief I was going through after losing three important people in my life during the course of six months.  The woman sitting at ease under a full moon serves as a model and reminder to make time to do what nourishes my spirit, especially during a time of deep loss.  Also, particularly significant, is the first appearance of several boxes of oil pastels that now share “primary real estate space” on the shelves with all the skeins of yarn.  It was a way for me to honor and make room for my new passion for creating artworks using this new medium, while still maintaining my long history of working with fibers.

 1015_Country_Bunny_Revisited_w.jpg
 

1015:  Country Bunny Revisited

The 1939 edition of The Country Bunny and The Two Golden Shoes, one of my all-time favorite childhood books, served as the inspiration for this artwork.  In Country Bunny, Mother Rabbit is chosen by Grandfather Rabbit to be worthy of serving as the Easter Bunny when a replacement becomes necessary.  In her absence, all twenty-one of her rabbit children are assigned tasks to keep the household running smoothly.  In Country Bunny Revisited, I give five rabbits the task of carrying on the lifelong work of winding, gathering, and aesthetically arranging a large number of colorfully dyed balls of yarn into hand woven baskets.  From the youngest bunny winding a ball of yarn, to the eldest rabbit painting on canvass the scene before her, all seem to wear the look of satisfaction that comes from handling these fibers.  This scene mirrors my own deep joy that I experience from not just the creative act of knitting or weaving, but also from simply soaking in the stunning beauty of a large spectrum of colored skeins located in one place.  (The creation of this artwork also served as a vehicle for me to deal with my own grief over the loss of a communally cherished Minnesota farmer/healer/mentor.)

 1016_Knitting_Retreat_w.jpg

1016:  The Knitting Retreat (SOLD)

This is a multilayered artwork with two separate, but related compositions.  On the top half is a playfully framed kitchen scene, in which a woman has finished winding a large number of balls of yarn before placing them in a big bread bowl, where they wait their turn to be baked in the nearby oven. The spice rack above the stove houses numerous skeins of colored yarn, as does the wood box situated underneath the kitchen window. In the lower half of the artwork, we observe seven women gathered around a table with eight balls of yarn equally placed over the length of a table.  Making its way around this circle of yarn sisters is a red thread from the end of a ball of yarn that belongs to no one seated at the table.  This thread represents the energy of one who remains closely connected to this group of women, but is no longer physically present.  They keep alive memories of this cherished sister every time they gather to knit together new stories.

 1018_Seven_Chakras_w.jpg   

1018:  Seven Chakras

This Yarn Spirit playfully houses seven skeins of yarn, color-coded to match each of the colors usually associated with the seven energy fields or chakras located within the human body.  The Yarn Spirit extends an invitation to all to release anything that might be blocking one’s energy from flowing naturally, generously, freely though one’s body. 
 1027_Yarn_Sisters_w.jpg

1027:  Yarn Sisters  (SOLD)

In this artwork I attempt to convey how women all around the world share a love of searching for the right ball(s) of yarn, whether or not they immediately know with certainty for what purpose it will be used.  I wanted to give each woman attributes from the four directions of the earth.  The woman closest to the top represents the North/Earth, the figure on the right East/Air, the woman on the bottom South/Fire, and the figure on the left West/Water.  As I began carrying out this idea, however, the figure on the bottom took on the symbolic role as Yarn Spirit-With-the-Right-Magnetic- Energy-Field-For-Holding-Together-The- Pyramid-of-Fibers.  While the three yarn sisters at the top of the artwork are more intimately connected to each other at the moment, my guess is that they might rotate the role presently being carried out by the South/Fire Yarn Spirit!

 1028_Creating_Connections_w.jpg

1028:  Creating Connections  (SOLD)

Sharing the same space on rotating Mother Earth are three women from different cultural backgrounds.  Although working independently from three separate balls of white yarn, they share the same primal contentment their ancestors experienced when working with fibers, and because of this common bond, they work together in close proximity, weaving unspoken connections among each other, as well as creating a path to a source of light located somewhere beyond the space they occupy.
 1031_Twin_Sister_One_w.jpg

1031 and 1032:  Twin Sister #1 and Twin Sister #2

The two images, when viewed side by side, can be examined for both their differences and similarities. It is obvious that each woman comes from a different culture and that each environment is situated in a different season of the year.  But the same shaped sun or moon appears, as does a hand extending the invitation to accept the thrill of receiving a new ball of yarn! Both images convey that inexplicable attraction to collect skeins of yarn, even when there is not a clear idea on how they might be used!  

 1032_Twin_Sister_Two_w.jpg  

1032 Twin Sister #2  -- see above

 1045_Taking_Time_for-_Laughter_w.jpg  

1045:  Taking Time for Laughter

This rather spontaneous and playfully constructed artwork was created on a hot humid summer day when about all I could think of was how wonderful it would be to live near a cold body of water that I could immerse my body.  For some reason, I placed this Yarn Spirit figure onto the rim of a public fountain or communal chalice-looking vessel.  Maybe it was a hidden desire to do something rebellious, out of the ordinary, or even shocking at the time.  At any rate, the dancing stick figures etched around the outside perimeter of the vessel seem to be enjoying themselves!

 1046_Remembering_the_Elders_w.jpg  

1046:  Remembering the Elders

I cannot remember the title of the picture book, nor its author or illustrator, but an image of three women circling around a sun (or moon!) has stayed alive in my psyche during the past decade.  So, after I etched a woman making her way along a gravel road, I stopped her on the journey, despite the fact that her recently wound ball of yarn began unraveling— so that she might pause, remember and give thanks for all the elders who took the time and had the patience to pass onto her the skills needed to continue the tradition of adorning and warming the bodies of both family and strangers with beautifully knitted and woven fibers.  Her ancestors circling around the moon have not been forgotten!  I am forever grateful to my own two grandmothers, my  mother, an eighth grade friend, and a college instructor who either knitted, crocheted, quilted, and/or wove—and passed on their love of working/playing with fibers to me.

 1047_Yarn_Merchant_w.jpg

1047:  Yarn Merchant

One day I came upon an ink pen drawing of a bird that I had sketched many, many years ago.  This bird creature clearly was in need of some new adventure and was more than willing to fulfill any role I might assign it.  So, I put her into this artwork as a yarn merchant, with the job of delivering beautiful skeins of yarn to old and young alike.  Upon making her delivery, it is apparent to me that the three children are delighting in some form of make-believe, the small older seated woman is content to be meditating, and the small red fiery figure holding two balls of yarn at the top left of the artwork is eager to carry her passion for playing with yarn to the rest of the world!

 1049_Drawing_From_the__Reservoir_w.jpg

1049:  Drawing from the Reservoir

This rather spontaneously created image is one that I have yet to discern the full meaning of….  I think it has something to do with discovering and befriending one’s shadow as well as reaching out to connect with what work, activities, people hold the keys to helping us discover our most authentic selves, but I am not able to articulate more than this right now.

 1056_Taking_a_Yarn_Break_w.jpg

1056:  Taking a Yarn Break

Beavers are a hardworking, industrious group of individuals that strive to work cooperatively to build complex and safe homes for their families!   Here they are depicted as “taking time out,” while swarms of others delight in their recently completed creation.  I believe the prominent role given to the Mother Beaver in the center of the artwork speaks to the need for all mothers (and all women) to grant themselves permission to take “yarn breaks,” whether that be to knit, engage in some other meaningful activity, or to just “do nothing” at all! 
 1057_Rereading_the_Chapters_of_Ones_Life_w.jpg

1057:  Rereading the Chapters of One’s Life  (SOLD)

After reading the beautifully illustrated 2009 Caldecott award winning picture book, The House in the Night,  I couldn’t help but wonder what the young child in the story line might be reading fifty, sixty, or seventy years from now.  Some time earlier I had written a poem, “Closed Chapter.” I had great fun attempting to simultaneously integrate the feeling behind this poem into the same artwork in which I wanted to visually replace the young preschooler from the picture book with an older version of him/her self. 

Closed Book

The drama, now past tense/ The book and its author, shelved/ Collecting dust, never to be reopened

Except perhaps in old age/ When one seems to feel the need/ To reread the chapters of one’s life

With a corrective lens/ And overhead lamp/ For reading life/ In a different light.
 1063_Shedding_Light_w.jpg

1063:  Shedding New Light

The load of tightly stacked skeins of yarn and a backpack full of knitting needles seems to stand in contradiction to the rather light-hearted, carefree, and joyful expression exuding from the face of this Yarn Spirit.  This is another one of those images, created rather spontaneously, that I’m still trying to decipher.  Perhaps she serves as a reminder that despite challenges or heavy loads that might weigh us down, it is still possible to radiate joy and by doing so, shed new light on our circumstances.

 1066_Cultivating_the_Fire_w.jpg

1066: Cultivating the Fire

 During this past year, I had the privilege to read and then process and ritualize with five other women some of the insights and challenges found in Angeles Arrien’s book, The Second Half of Life:  Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom.  At the start of each new chapter is a black and white photograph, mostly of hands engaged in a creative gesture.  Viewing these images inspired me to sketch Cultivating the Fire, which in part is about me saying “yes” to a creative calling to allow images from my inner and outer landscapes to flow into my hands during this second half of my life.  The fiery reds in this artwork coincide with the passion I often experience during the creative process.  The figure receives her images from a place deep within, from a source larger than herself, and from those residing in a nest once full, but now empty.
 1080_Retrieving_Memories_w.jpg

1080:  A Hearth Full of Yarn  (SOLD)

Like most knitters and weavers, the thrill of walking into a yarn shop is akin to the thrill experienced by a booklover walking into a bookstore.  I am both a booklover and a yarn lover, so many of the “bookshelves” in my artworks shelve both rows of yarn and rows of books!  In this rather idyllic family scene, the mother attempts to satisfy the desires of her twin children, both the booklover and the fiber artist, by reading a picture book rich in yarn imagery.  It is her heartfelt desire to pass on this love of both fibers and books to her children!

1079_Unfolding_Narrative_w.jpg

1079:  Unfolding Narrative.  (SOLD)  This is a "twin companion" to a Hearth Full of Yarn (see image above).  But, in this artwork, while the mother in the painting is in charge of reading the book during the read aloud, it is the twins in their mother's arms that hold onto the symbols of creativity and nourishment--one twin with a book, the other twin with a paintbrush in hand.  In fact, one of the twins is even reaching to add her touch of color into the painting! I like how the twins appear to be actively connected to these symbols of creativity at a young age!

After completing this image, I felt that the skein of yarn unravelling out of the painting, onto the floor, and eventually making its way out the window could be symbolically interpreted in a number of ways.  One interpretation that continues to stay with me is the idea that our creative urges have the power to impact not only those in our immediate surroundings, but can take on a life of their own, as they take leave and travel to places and people yet unknown