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.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mudcrack Muffler and Cloudburst Gaiter

I posted about these two pieces during my residency but wanted to revisit them because they are two pieces that I completely designed and knit while on my residency. They were quick “sketches” of impressions of the landscape and were a good exercise for me to begin opening up my creativity.

The Black Rock Desert gets an average of 7” of rainfall annually. But sometimes in the spring the monsoon rains bring a deluge, saturating the playa and surrounding mountains. Some of these cloudbursts can be seen from miles away. These spring rains saturate the Black Rock Desert playa with water. When the rains stop the large lakebed begins to dry out creating a mosaic of mud cracks that decorate the flat expanse. Although these mud cracks are formed randomly, they create a beautiful pattern.

Both of these works were a fun knit and add a bit of spontaneity to my body of work inspired by Black Rock Desert.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dust Devil Shrug

I was out in Black Rock Desert for my residency in May. The unusual amount of rain we had this spring made the desert beautiful, green and lush. It was a beautiful time to be out there, but not indicative of normal at all.

At the end of my two-week stay, the rain stopped and the desert began drying up. I finally made it out onto the playa (just 100 feet, but still!), and the dust became dry and fine once again.

I was surprised at all the dust devils that I began seeing on the playa and surrounding areas. The tall pillars of dust at first looked like smoke but then I realized they were dust devils. I assume that the preponderance of dust devils is normal in Black Rock Desert, but to me they were a new phenomenon during my stay.

I wanted to create the swirling dust devil rising into the sky off the playa in a shrug that put you in the middle of the dust devil. I like the effect of the shrug and with two strands of bulky it was a breeze to knit up. When the pattern is released I hope to see a lot of these, or at least I will be making a few more.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Frog Pond Cape

When I was doing my residency in Black Rock Desert, everyone kept asking if I had been to the Frog Pond yet. It took until almost the end of my residency before I made it out there and wish I had done it sooner. Although it is not within the borders of the National Conservation Area, it is a unique place within the desert.

Just east of the Playa is a small hot springs that is a haven for frogs. The Frog Pond creates its own little ecosystem in a very dry area with shady trees, water grasses, and other frog friendly plants. Although the pond is swimming with frogs, trying to catch one was elusive.

I created the Frog Pond cape as an homage to all the frogs I did not catch. Circling the bottom of the cape are lacy frogs that also echo the lacy bracken on the pond. It’s a fun quick knit that embodies the fun child-like atmosphere of the Frog Pond.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fly Canyon Cozy

When I was staying at the little cabin in Soldier Meadows in Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area last May, I took a day trip out to High Rock Canyon. On the way was this little rocky canyon called Fly Canyon.

Fly Canyon was formed about 11,800 years ago when water from High Rock Lake cut the rough canyon walls. Violent whirlpools of water and rock drilled holes in the streambed creating unique potholes on the canyon floor. The violent birth of the canyon is nonetheless beautiful, the sheer canyon walls, dappled with rust from the iron rich rock, are a dramatic foil to the surrounding sagebrush hills.

I wanted to mimic the rough canyon walls in a shoulder cozy. It is a quick knit and can be completed in an afternoon. Similar to the walk through tiny fly canyon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Soldier Meadows Kerchief

I finished this piece a couple months ago while on vacation at my in-laws in the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois. The triangular shawl is inspired by some wonderful days spent in a gorgeous remote wilderness in Black Rock Desert called Soldier Meadows.

Soldier Meadows, north of the playa in Black Rock Desert is a high plateau wilderness that is desolate, unique, and vastly beautiful. A critical habitat for many plants and animals, the varied colored landscape is alive with wildlife. The lone cabin is first-come-first-use and can give you complete solitude in a sea of desert color.

I photographed my mother-in-law wearing it in the lush southern Illinois landscape but you can still see the vast landscape of sagebrush and rabbit brush in the final piece.

It was a really fun one to design and to knit.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sagebrush Wrap

Lucky, lucky, lucky. I am incredibly lucky! Lucky that I survived a car accident yesterday that totaled my car but left me just incredibly sore. Lucky that my kids were not in the car, or it would be a different story. Lucky to have had the amazing experience as Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area Artist-in-Residence. And lucky that I finished my final piece on Sunday night just hours before the accident that left my right arm sore enough that I cannot knit. Lucky to have seen the beautiful expanse of sagebrush that is everywhere in the Black Rock Desert NCA that inspired this Sagebrush Wrap. 

Artemisia tridentata, or sagebrush, is the state flower of Nevada. Native to the North American west, this member of the daisy family flourishes in dry deserts like the Great Basin. In Black Rock Desert, you can stand in a panorama of receding sagebrush and see nothing else but the mountains on the horizon, surrounded by the pungent fragrance of this beautiful flowering shrub. 

As all the other pieces I have shown lately, this piece was created as an Artist-in-Residence at Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area. I have finished several more (15 total!) that I have not shown here but will be showing over the next few weeks or so. I am now in the process of trying to figure out how to make these 15 patterns into a book or ebook. I think I will put them up for sale in the meantime and figure out a book format later this fall. That way anyone who wants to knit one can download the individual pattern. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fly Geyser Lace Ring

One of the most otherworldly features around Black Rock Desert is not even in the National Conservation Area. Fly Geyser is on private land a few miles from the NCA. But I was inspired by this amazing geologic formation to make the Fly Geyser Lace Ring. I couldn’t resist playing around with the colors and forms of the geyser.

Fly Geyser was inadvertently created in 1964 while drilling for sources of geothermal energy. Water is constantly being released, rising up to five feet in the air, and over the decades dissolved minerals have built up the diverse mounds and pools around the spring.

But the most striking aspect of the geyser is its brilliant coloring, not created by minerals, but by thermophilic algae. Evidence of life surviving in the most extreme environment.

The Fly Geyser Lace Ring not only mimics the colors of its namesake, but I also tried to give a nod to the shapes. The border is a rounded lace pattern similar to some of the rounded pools at the base of the geyser. The main lace panel has peaks with cables rising from them similar to the curling steam that is constantly spurting out.

As with the other 14 pieces, this piece was created as an Artist-in-Residence at Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area. And I hope to be getting the patterns done soon to have them all at the same time.