09 October 2007

Fiber Arts ADD

Not too long ago I purged my studio (but you wouldn’t know it to look at it now) of all the things that had been accumulating over the years. My primary goal was to clean out the stuff that I no longer do to make room for the stuff I do do.

I got the brilliant (note the sarcasm on that word) idea to just pull everything out of every box and every drawer and start to clean. The idea was to really make myself get rid of stuff so I could buy new organizers (translation: IKEA had just opened near my house and I was looking for any excuse to got shopping there) and really get my act together. Its been a while since I did the Big Clean and now still periodically go through mini cleaning rampages but even with the smaller scale cleans, I’m starting to see that its quite possible I have Fiber Arts ADD.

Now don’t be alarmed, its not a deadly condition. (Although the house and family do suffer a bit for the sake of my art but the family has to – they love me – and the house has no say in it so I’m not that concerned.) I seem to travel along from one type of fiber/needle art to another. I do stick around for a reasonable amount of time on each one (usually the minimum has been a year) but then I realize that when it comes to fiber/needle arts, there is just NO way you can limit yourself to one type of creation. It simply comes in too many forms.

So I sat down and wrote a list of all the types of fiber/needle arts that I’ve made my way through over the years. (And all it did was reinforce the ADD theory…) Here they are:

This one began my fiber art career. It should have been an early warning sign. You pretty much have to have a somewhat frantic attention span to do crazy quilting. The amount of things you have to learn for the embellishment side of it would keep anyone enthralled.

All types from three dimensional brazillian to just plain old flat chevron stitch with DMC perle cotton. This one is especially good for the attention deficient. There are endless types of threads to embroider with from cotton to silk to wool to rayon to blends. And let’s not get started on the silk ribbon embroidery – its an addiction that can’t be explained.

I truly believe that this is one of the most masochistic forms of needle arts on the planet. That’s not to say I don’t love it (which may say something about me), in fact I taught if for several years while I had my store and am still quite attracted to it. I'm a shuttle tatter, which is more traditionalist then needle tatting. You work for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours (you get the idea) and you end up with something 50mm big by the time you are done. The only other type of needle/fiber art that I think beats it is bobbin lace. Good Lord, those people possess a patience that rivals saints.

Well, to be honest, this was more of an attempt. This is the only one on the list that lasted – at the most – maybe a month or two. I got so frustrated by all the rules and the long drawn out patterns that I vividly remember standing over the trash can with some pitiful pieced blocks laughing hysterically as I snipped them into tiny bits. Needless to say, I was reluctant to repeat the experience for fear some kind of “happy” pill might be forced upon me.

This one had a somewhat similar outcome as the traditional quilting. But it wasn’t quite as maniacal. I struggled to paint realistic faces on the cloth dolls and in the end just produced freakish looking semi-human objects. Although Dooley dog was happy with all his new toys.

I’m still hooked on this one. No patterns. No rules. The possibilities are endless because now you are getting into hand dyeing fabric and using non-cotton materials on quilts. Add to that the fact that I don’t feel any art quilt I make should ever be 2-dimensional, and you gain the added fun of hunting down find objects to attach to your work.

When I discovered these, the heavens opened and the angels sang. (And no, I still don’t need medication.) There is a whole group of people out there like me that can’t do cloth dolls. Or should I say, have opted not to do cloth dolls. We still make freakish looking semi-human objects but the difference is that we mean to do this. And we are happy because at least it looks like what we want it to.

I like this one, still do a bit of it. I’ve got an absolutely gigantic granny square afghan working right now in autumn colors. And yes, I’m aware its autumn now. But I never specified autumn of which year. So I’m still good…

This one is kind of recent. I’ve dabbled in knitting (meaning I’ve made one scarf) and found it pleasant but lately I’ve been bitten by the Knitting Bug. Actually, it would probably be more accurate to say the Bug is gnawing off my head. I blame the Yarn Harlot. I’m obsessed by learning all I can and this thrills me to no end because it means that I can go visit all the yarn stores and instead of just petting the yarn, I can buy it and know what to do with it. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

That’s the end of the list. Probably not that long compared to other people but I’ve only been at this for about seven years so I think I’ve become pretty skilled at bopping all over the place. I’ve got my eye on weaving and felting (shush up Leann, I know I’ve still not done anything with the little table top loom nor the roving) so its obvious the trend will continue.

I think its one of the joys and pitfalls of being a fiber/needle artist. There is so much to try out and not nearly enough time in the universe to do it.

If I could just stay home and continue to receive a paycheck, I’d get a lot more artwork done. I’ll let you all know if I ever figure out how to do that one….


Julaine Lofquist-Birch said...

Lynn, so when's the yahoo group going to be set up for us afflicted with "FAADD" - oh my God, it's just what you were talking about, maybe our own little fads...just kidding.

How true about the work thing! Some day, yes!!!

Nikki said...

I think it is a serious affliction many of us have. I could add rug hooking to the list. Only lasted a couple square feet though. My discovery of art quilting saved me for the time being.