This week I took a trip into Boston to the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) to view their latest exhibit, Fiber: Sculpture 1960 - Present. Thirty-four artists were represented throughout five galleries. The range of color and material, texture and volume, was vast, and it took several passes through before I had taken enough in to be content with leaving. As a weaver, it was a challenge not to touch some of the pieces and bring my eyes within inches of others. I was so inspired that I purchased the book that was published to accompany the exhibit. Check it out if you can. The exhibit runs through January 4, 2015. You can also view a slideshow and other accompanying media by clicking here.
We are in the process of cleaning our attic up to create a little reading nook. Part of this effort has involved removing tongue and groove beadboard ceiling planks to remove dirt, asphalt and dust that has accumulated over the years, most egregiously during a reroofing process. As you might imagine, this is a rather dirty job. I've been slowly removing one board at a time, vacuuming its surface and moving on to the next. All of the boards are in good enough condition to reuse, so they'll be replaced once everything is cleaned up.
Unlike the modern tendency to fill a house with lots of stuff and not so many people per square foot, our modest saltbox was built back in 1750 when the average household size was greater and they shared less space. It is evident that our attic was used as a room of some sort - likely sleeping quarters for the younger members of the family. There are layers of old wallpaper and pictures of horses and their riders cut and tacked up in one corner. Two beams run the width of the house about four feet down from the peak of the roof, separating the sections of beadboard. Original to the house and therefore rough in appearance, they were wrapped in a fine cloth with a stripe detail that results from several threads perhaps woven in the same heddle as a bundle. The thread is very fine - similar to a fine sewing thread, and at this stage the fabric is quite fragile. Underneath the fabric I found a reference to President Harrison. Not sure which one, but Benjamin Harrison's presidency ended in 1893, so I think it's safe to assume the fabric is at least that old. My plan is to try and recreate this fabric, though it will take a little bit of planning and will likely result in a narrow sample thanks to the number of heddles I have. A to do for next year.
Last year a friend acquired a large box of wool strips meant for rug braiding. I was the fortunate recipent of the majority of this wool, yet after trying my hand at rug braiding and deciding it wasn't for me, the wool spent the better part of a year taking us space in my attic. And I mean for that to sound as though it was an annoyance. When you live in a tiny house, every cubic foot of space counts, and this box was using up valuable real estate and had no foreseeable future. And then I went back to a project I designed for Schacht Spindle Company back in May of 2011 - a rag rug made with tied t-shirt strips. Why not recreate this in wool, but bigger and better because I learned a lesson or two the last time around?
So here I am, about a foot and a half into the rug, and I'm already excited to get it off of the loom. Stay tuned for pictures of the finish project!
Spinzilla is officially Spunzilla. The yardage is being tallied, and while I'm guessing Team Schacht Spindle won't come in first, it was a great week of spinning. I was a guest blogger for Schacht, goofy photo compliments of my four-year-old. I was reasonably productive, spinning 862 yards of two-ply wool. I finished up one fleece and began spinning another from the same flock. Their coloring is just a bit different, and I'm curious to see how they both take dye. Dye you ask? Dye wool that isn't white? Why not. I will keep you posted.