Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Arrowmont Summer 2013: Day 4

 Again, today has seemed incredibly long! It was kinda dreary here, but weather like that always makes me want to knit, so I guess it is a good thing. I can barely remember half the stuff I did today, but I will give it a shot.
Foggy mountain.....breakdown?
This morning I (again!) skipped breakfast and headed straight to class. I finished my knitted globe structure during class, and the class was able to stiffen the globes with fab-brick stiffener. The way we did this was by saturating our limp knit globes in the stiffener, then we inserted a regular ol' deflated party balloon into the globe. Once the balloon was in, we carefully blew up the balloon and hung the globes on a wire to dry.
Here are our globes stiffening.
The next type of knitting we got to focus on was circular knitting. Instead of beginning with teaching the class how to knit in the round, which most of us already knew, Adrienne introduced us to spool knitting and I cord knitting. We were even then given supplies to make our own spool knitters! This way, we were able to technically see how knitting in a circle works.
Adrienne teaching us how to spool knit on her handmade spool knitter.
Some of Adrienne's spool knitters. I would love to collect these!
While we were knitting away on our newly made spool knitters, Adrienne talked to us about some great publications for knitters to keep on their radar.

The list of publications:

-Fiber Art Now magazine This is the magazine that replaced Fiber Arts magazine once it went out of business.
-Surface Design Association journal An overall great fiber arts magazine, not just about surface design.
-Textile Forum magazine The European fiber arts magazine.
-The Australian Forum for Textile Arts (TAFTA) A magazine that highlights Australian fiber art.
Great fiber arts publications...on my messy table.
Following our discussion on the great recommended magazines we then moved onto knitting with wire. Very intimidating, but really not that bad once you get started. We worked with 20 gauge annealed iron wire to make out sample sculptures. The most surprising thing about knitting with wire is that you really don't use knitting needles, all you do is make loops and create the structure. Wire is so stiff it holds the knit stitches shape, therefore relieving you of having to use needles. Crazy right? This type of wire was very messy to work with so by the end of the day all of our hands were black.
My wire sculpture in progress.
Kieu knitting a wire vessel. Note her very black fingers!
After a bit of wire knitting we all took a field trip to the local Gatlinburg knitting shop, called the Smokey Mountain Spinnery! I of course forgot my camera when I went, but the shop had all the great things any knitter, spinner or weaver could ever want! I will probably go back before the week is up for some much needed yarn therapy, and perhaps I will do a review of the shop for the blog later.

Tonight was the artists in residence studio visit, so after class all the students went to see what the artists in residence were working on. The studios were decently sized, I wouldn't mind trying to apply in the future!
Tomorrow my class will begin plein air knitting, which means we will go out into nature to knit natural textures with all of our newly learned techniques! It should be very challenging, but in a fun way. Hopefully it is a little drier though!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Arrowmont Summer 2013: Day 3

Today seemed very long! I think it's because I was able to learn and knit so much in one day that it doesn't seem possible!

We began class by starting another sampler, but this time we explored short-rowing. For those of you who don't know the technique of short-rowing, it is the process of knitting stitches back and forth across the needles while decreasing or increasing the amount of active stitches on the needles. This technique is often used in forming the heel of hand knit socks. We began with basic short rowing back and forth across the needles, but then explored making peaks, flaps and bulges in the fabric with this technique. 
My short row sampler, in a kind of PB&J color way.
Our wall of samples is getting bigger by the day!

Following this sampler, we went to lunch for taco Tuesday (!!!!!!) and then headed to the auditorium for a slideshow Adrienne put together of some inspiring knit, crochet and all around neat-o fiber artists.

Some artists from the presentation that I was most drawn to were:

-Helen Pynor (Delicate knits using actual human hair as the medium)
-Pharmacopoeia (A group of knitters who machine knit a lifetime supply of perscription drugs into a knitted piece) 
-Susie Freeman (A machine knitter who helped with Pharmacopoeia and focuses on the knitted pocket)
-Debbie New (A more traditional knitter, but who puts a spin on knitting both traditionally and as an art form)
-Itoamika Jung Jung (Crochet artist who uses arugami to realistically portray vegetables)
(more to come)
-Ruth Asawa (Wire knit sculptural artist)
-Ruth Marshall (Mimics the skin of animals with knitting)
-Tania Spencer (Another wire sculpture)
-Yvette Kaiser Smith (Works with crochet and hardened fiberglass) 
-Laura Kamian (created beautiful hand knit samples for "The Sampler Series")
-Jeung-Hwa Park (Utilizes felting and machine knitting together)

Once the slide show was over we began disecting various 2-D shapes like the square and the circle. We then used the idea of short rows to construct our own globes/spheres! Let me just say making a globe from scratch is much harder than it seams (pun intended). 
My notes on knitting squares, circles and spheres.
I was able to move outside to knit for a while and I took advantage of the great weather out here in Gatlinburg, TN. Just look at how nice it is out here!
MOUNTAINS!!! This Missouri girl doesn't get to see them very often...
After class, I got to have dinner. The knitting class has started sitting together for meal time which is a nice way to swap knitting ideas and stories. All I know is that I need to become more familiar with ravelry and pattern design! Then it was on to the Auditorium where we got to hear lectures from Debra Fritts (a ceramists who uses the figure to tell stories by adding various textures) , Holly Roberts (a collage artist, painter and Teal Wilson's mom), and Adrienne Sloane (the awesome sculptural knitting teacher and artist). After the lectures I peaked in on the natural dye workshop and it looks like they are really making some headway!
Natural dye samples just hanging out. Vicki is down at the end indigo dying.
So tomorrow we will get to use our finished spheres with our fabric stiffener, we may do some more plein air knitting (if weather permits), and finally begin to knit with wire. Now I need to finish knitting this ugly beige colored sphere for tomorrow!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Arrowmont Summer 2013: Day 2

Today we started our first official full day of sculptural knitting class with Adrienne Sloane! Breakfast was scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., which I skipped for an extra hour of sleep. I really like my sleep, just so you know. Breakfast, or sleep in my case, was then followed by class at 9 a.m. Below is the main building and the building where my knitting class is in this week.

Main Building at Arrwomont, and the building my knitting class is in.

We began class, by experimenting with abnormal linear elements while knitting a sampler. I decided to begin with knitting fabric strips with large knitting needles, then using two different sized knitting needles to knit with. I then experimented with plastic tape, wire, 8-track tape, jute string, toilet paper and much more to get the final sampler below.

Unusual material sampler 1

Here are all the "wacko" samplers from the entire class. So cool right?!?!?!
wacko samplers

After we did samplers with the unusual materials and ate lunch at noon, we then moved on to doing more traditional samplers using worsted weight yarn. We first looked at the structure of knitting at a larger level, and dissected the stitches. A sample of this exercise is below. 

Knit structure sample

Then, we learned how to make a scalloped edges, protrusions, pockets, (intentional) holes, tassels, and ruffles. My textural and semi-broccoli like sample is below. These experiments gave me so many new and fresh ideas of how to create new innovative products for my brand, Collective Individual.

Protrusion Sampler
After dinner at 6 p.m., we all headed to the Auditorium in the main building to hear lectures from the faculty. Tonight's speakers were Sunshine Cobb, a ceramicist who mostly deals with functional objects while working with new textural and design applications on her pots, and Catherine Ellis, who is an unbelievably knowledgeable woman on all things naturally dyed!  The current artists in residence then gave a quick preview on their path leading to their current body of work. The recent (as of Summer 2013) artists in residence are  HP Bloomer (ceramics), Lynn Batchelder (metal), Rachel Garceau (ceramics/sculpture), Tally Locke (wood), and Rena Wood (fiber).

Once the lectures were done, I stopped by the fiber studio to see what the natural dyers were up to. Catherine had a bunch of natural dye books out on a table, so I got to peak through her stash of great books and her personal dye sample! Here is a list of some of the natural dye books I need to get my hands on once I get back home.

- A Dyer's Garden by Rita Buchanan
- Natural Dyes by Cardon Dominique

A page from Block Printing and Dyeing of Bagru, Rajasthan by Bijoy Chandra Mohanty
Tomorrow I have more knitting in store for me, as well as a presentation about current and past inspirational artist in the knit and crochet community. Super excited as always, but I should probably get some sleep...or drift off into pinterest land... :)