Inspirations

I love them. They come in so many forms, often at unexpected times. Like this last one from a trip to Powell’s Bookstore.

First a little backstory: I’ve lived in Portland for over 20 years. Powell’s, as utterly amazing as it is, is now super cool to me when I watch new people visit. Big eyes and the whole ‘….oh my…’ never gets old. With some family in town a visit seemed appropriate, but it was a super busy weekend and I immediately lost track of everyone. Content to wander I thought about looking for a cookbook when the craft aisle caught my eye. Down I wandered, mostly looking at shelf titles: ‘Mosaics’, ‘Knitting’, ‘Papermaking’, and so forth, when a very cool cover captivated me.

Author Tracie Lyn Huskcamp’s “Nature Inspired” had me completely hooked after turning only a few pages. It is a mixed-media technical gold mine, with a very heavy emphasis on fiber and nature themes. Right up my alley! Some things I knew, most I did not and it was only a few hours later that I was back in the studio putting some new techniques into practice. Here’s a sample of what I’m doing:Townsends Warbler

It is a Townsend’s Warbler painted onto unbleached muslin. There are several other elements that will go into the piece, vintage applique, some layering effects and a sleek custom built frame. While not a woven piece it does feel like weaving in the sense that each element must interact with the others, strengthen each other, in order to create a complete whole. I will definitely post a picture soon!

 

Posted in Musings

Past Halfway…

…is one of the most exciting moments for me. With a vertically mirrored pattern it is a very literal moment of seeing what the finished project should look like: I hold a mirror to that midway point and voila! There it is. It is a big emotional milestone as well: you know, one way or another, that you will soon be done. That this little germ of an idea will soon be it’s own thing, it’s own entity; that while I may have begun this project what happens beyond the halfway mark is already decided. It is a heady mix of creation and completion-to-be!untiltled halfway

Posted in Weaving

Leaping Off the Cliff…

…and into the hugely mysterious unknown! Yesterday I took that proverbial leap and made this venture into the realm of beauty and creation quite public via the modern advent of social media. Social media is a bit of a stranger to me, having only really used it to keep in touch with family, friends and many work-related contacts. I knew that if I was to be most honest with myself I needed to tell people about this major change to my life. And so I did. I now have a facebook page. You can find me there under Molly Beard Fiber Arts, or from the link under my ‘contacts’ page here.

It was a very humbling day as support just kept rolling in. It is difficult to thank everyone enough and words seems so inadequate to tell everyone how very, very grateful I am. But it is YOU, lovely people of the world that make this whole thing, this scary risk, so worth it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my little heart!

 

Posted in Musings

BIG 400

And what, you might ask, is the BIG 400? It is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Part social experiment, part art lesson, but 100% for a good cause!

The BIG 400 is a massive art show with more than 400 artists participating to raise money for the Oregon Food Bank. Opening day is Saturday December 14th at 2 pm at The Pioneer Place Mall. Each artist is given between five and ten 8″ square plywood pieces, resulting in around 4000 pieces. You may do ANYTHING you like with them as long as you don’t exceed the 8″ square. Literally anything.

I’ve seen beautiful oil paintings, collage, graffiti, wire sculpture, from the classic to the weird to the silly to the beautiful to the downright naughty…its all there. Each piece sells for $40, first come first served kinda thing, as nearly 60% of the pieces usually sell on the first day. A canned food donation is asked for entry and a good chunk of sales goes to the food bank.

….Aaaaaand I will have five pieces in the show! Not a huge deal in terms of presenting my art, but a very wonderful event to be a part of and a good cause we can all get behind. They were a great challenge for me from both a technical and creative standpoint, and an equally wonderful way for me to find another way to express weaving. I hope you get a chance to enjoy the show!Spatial Study 1 Spatial Study 2 Spatial Study 3 Spring Sunrise

Posted in Weaving

It’s Done!

Finishing a rug is a rather difficult thing to describe. By the time you get to the last 3 or so inches quite a bit of time has already been invested into the piece. Warping takes almost  a full day. Weaving (for me) normally goes at a pace of about 3/8 inch per hour. Oh but those last few inches! The pace slows to a near crawl as every row goes in slower and slower: the last few rows typically taking an hour apiece to finish. Patience, patience, patience is my mantra during this time.

Many people not familiar with Navajo looms ask ‘Why is it so hard at the end?’ The reason is one of my main reasons for loving to work with the Navajo loom so much: the warp is continuous. What this means is that once the warp is strung the piece may become no bigger or smaller. It also means that when you are nearing the end of piece there is very little room to work. The last inch is literally sewn into the warp by hand with a blunt tapestry needle.

Happy Accident

Fixed dimensions. Limits. Great difficulty in changing design once begun. I like having to be deliberate about design and then being forced to commit to a design. It is terrifying and exhilarating all at once. It is magic to see that scary moment of commitment turn into something beautiful.

This rug represents over 100 hours of work just for the weaving and I would estimate more than 60 for making the yarn…it is not a massive time investment on a geologic or parental scale, but for me it is still a cathartic moment to take that rug off the loom, hang it on the wall and just look.

Posted in Weaving

Currently…

As in, ‘What am I currently working on?’

After working on my new piece for the last 5 weeks I figured it was time to share some pictures! It is amazing how fast it has come along. Then again, speed is a relative thing (as any five year old can tell you) and really it is more due to me making time to weave than me weaving any faster than before.

The piece is 30″ x 30″, and I am considering calling it ‘The Happy Accident’. You bet there is a story in there. I’ll share it when it is done!detail 4 august 2013 happy accident 4 august 2013

Posted in Weaving

Dear World!

Today is the culmination of some big decisions. I have committed myself to the action of creating beauty. I am eager to challenge myself to reach as far as I can along the path of my Grandparents’ legacy. I am determined to redefine our social concept of ‘artist’. Most importantly, today I chose a path that is an absolute unknown and absolutely exciting in that fact.

I am thrilled and eager to begin this new journey in my life!

Posted in Weaving