Saturday, November 28, 2015

Identitatum Arborum

I am very excited for my next project! I was selected as one of the textile artists to make an installation in an exhibition this spring called Natural Threads. It will be at the Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich Massachusetts. My project is called Identitatum Arborum (The Identity of Trees) and involves wrapping six to ten trees with a knitted “bark” skin to change their identity. The knitted skins will be approximately 15 inches tall and wrap corset-like around the tree trunk.

Each knitted skin will mimic a type of bark from a tree that is distinctly different than the tree it is on, thereby changing the tree’s identity. For example a pine tree might have an oak bark skin or a cottonwood could have an aspen bark skin. Each skin will have a stamped aluminum tree marker with the new identity of the tree. I hope visitors will ponder a few questions when looking at the installation: What is identity? Have you ever wanted to change your identity or persona? Does your core change when you adopt a new identity? Why would you want or need to change? What elements of your new identity are you hoping to project or adopt?

In addition to the installation in the garden, I will take the designed bark skins and translate them into wearable art. I hope to publish the patterns for people to knit and wear so that they can change their identity or take on an element of the tree.

I am excited to start the project but also a little apprehensive that I bit off more than I can chew. Although, if I could design and knit 15 pieces for my Black Rock Desert residency in four months, I bet I can do this. I hope to blog a bit more as I explore my process and try to figure out how to knit bark. So to all three of you who look at my blog, stay tuned for (hopefully) more blogging and more insight into my process of creating.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Utah Statewide Annual Exhibition

Two of my pieces were selected to be shown in the Utah Arts and Museums Statewide Annual Exhibition opening on Friday. If you are near Salt Lake and want to see some great craft and photography, the exhibit will open in the Rio Grande Gallery on Friday night.

The two pieces are my Great Basin Cyanometer (which you can read about here) and the Lakeview Scarf (Chromometer) (which you can read about here). Yay for knitted artwork!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Wildrye Poncho

I am on a knitting bender. I mistakenly thought that I would need to take a break after this summer of marathon knitting for my artist-in-residency. But instead, I am knitting more than I ever have (not counting this summer)! Maybe that is the true purpose of an artist-in-residency for the artist, to light a creative fire under them.

I saw a chunky poncho recently and loved it but wanted to make my own design. I have been thinking about a humble plant that I used to overlook every day, Great Basin wildrye. This unassuming plant is actually the workhorse of the basin and I wanted to incorporate it into one of my pieces.

Great Basin wildrye is a common native grass of western North America and grows abundantly around Great Salt Lake. Because it grows up to 8 feet tall, it rises above the deep snow providing food for foraging animals in the winter. Seeds of Basin wildrye were commonly eaten by many American Indians in the Great Basin, the stems were used in basketry, and the roots were made into brushes. It’s beautiful blue-green color changes to a vibrant gold in the autumn making Basin wildrye one of the most beautiful and hardest-working plants of the Great Basin.

I took a simple graphic representation of wildrye and translated that into a lace pattern for this very quick-to-knit poncho. The bulky yarn is held double on size 11 needles so it can be knit in one weekend, easy. The color is reminiscent of the ripe rye but a nice blue-green would look great too. If you are interested in knitting one the pattern is on my Ravelry page.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Virginia Creeper

I love Virginia creeper. I know that many people see it as a scourge because it grows so fast and covers everything. But I love how it does cover and drape. I love the color in the spring when it is bright green. I love the deep reds and oranges it turns in the fall contrasting the purple berries. I even love the skeleton of sticks that it leaves behind in the winter adding texture to the monochromatic landscape.

Right now my Virginia creeper is turning red, a sure sign of fall. I have been wanting to create something for years inspired by it and this year I finally put pencil to paper and created a stole that echoes the five pointed leaves.

It was a very quick design and knit mainly because I did most of it during the Utah Museums Association conference sessions and my trip to Reno for my artist’s reception.

I finished it last week and finally have time to post the pattern. I love how it drapes and can be a stole or a scarf. I also like the graduated pentagons that mimic the varying sizes of leaves on the plant. I plan on making a slightly different version in spring green, maybe a shrug. You can see the pattern on its Ravelry page. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Black Rock Desert Artist-in-Residency Exhibition

The closing reception for the Black Rock Desert Artist-in-Residency exhibition was last week in Reno at the Sierra Arts Foundation Gallery. The exhibit was beautiful and the turnout was great! I took a bunch of pictures before people showed up and then was too busy to take any with people in it. So all you get is pictures of the installation.

The gallery said that a lot of people who have never been to the space before had come to see the exhibit, which is great. A lot of knitting groups that know what’s what so it made me a bit nervous that they probably saw all my mistakes. It is a little bittersweet to see this project come to an end. I had such an amazing time in Black Rock Desert and creating art inspired by it this summer. I am definitely applying for other artist-in-residence programs around the west because I want to do it again!

We took a side trip to Lake Tahoe while we were there and it was a beaut! The day was gorgeous, the lake was gorgeous, a wonderful trip all around.

And I finished a new pattern on the trip that I will publish soon. This one inspired by Virginia Creeper. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Desert Wraps E-book Now on Sale!

I finally have all the patterns done and in an e-book for sale on Ravelry here. You can buy each pattern individually or all 15 in an e-book for half off.

This has been such an amazing experience! My creativity and skill level has increased dramatically since May. I did more in four months than I ever thought I could. If you knit, I hope you like these patterns and I hope it spurs you to visit Black Rock Desert. It is a one-of-a-kind landscape that will always be a special place for me.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Desert Wraps

So if you have been reading my blog this summer you have now seen all 15 of the designs I have created for my artist in residency for Black Rock Desert.

When I was out in Nevada at the NCA, I reveled in the vastness of the desert; it was overwhelming and beautiful. It was laid out around me and enveloped me at the same time. During my tenure in the spring I felt that I was wrapped in the desert. This became my theme for the artwork I created; wearable art that allows you to wrap yourself in Black Rock Desert.

The act of creating something so entwined with the land itself sparks a stewardship and urge to conserve that land. I hope that others will be inspired to enjoy, conserve, and steward the Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area through my art. To help accomplish this, part of my practice entailed creating patterns so other people can make their own piece of wearable art. All patterns created through my artist-in-residency will be available to be purchased here or on Ravelry soon. I hope to compile them in an ebook titled Desert Wraps.

In the meantime, you can view all of my finished pieces on flickr or on my projectpage on Ravelry.