Monday, September 26, 2011

In Progress

My original "Ghost Tree" from my solo show...
This is the beginning of a small grove of "Ghost Trees" that will hang at a gallery in a few short weeks. here they hang in my garage to dry (my husband will be thrilled) They are about 9 feet tall and there are several more, of varied sizes and details to come. I am just waiting some materials that I hope arrive quickly!

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Come on in...

From my sinks... behind the curtain is a storage area with resist materials, finished felt, more wool (of course), etc. Big heavy tables made by my dad (counter height). the two in this configuration gives me 8 ft. and a great little "arm" to keep dry fibre etc. while I work/layout.

from the other corner...difficult to see but the table along the wall is now turquoise :o). I am going to put fabric under to conceal the ugly, but needed bins. Line over my sink to hang wet plastic/bubble wrap. Spinner on floor.

another from the doorway
from the corner closer to the window...

I mentioned on my FB status that I had bought some new vinyl to cover the MDF counter area I have under my window beside my sinks (also my machine table area, which has plastic on top as the vinyl is not water "proof") and some wanted pictures of my space.

I am sometimes asked about how to create a studio space and it really has been a process. As you work, you figure out what you need and as what you do changes, what you need changes too. The biggest things for me are my double sinks. I, believe it or not, have not had them very long. I hauled a bucket of water (no big deal, really), and rinsed in the kids bathtub, and came back to the studio to spin. Being in the basement required a pump and it just seemed a hassle, but now I can stay in my studio to do everything!

This leads me to my must have: my laundry spinner/centrifuge (from Laundry Alternatives in California). To be able to spin it almost dry and iron the work means dry time is shortened greatly. My rolling machine (from Don Evans in Colorado) is a big presence in my studio. It is rolled out, on occasion, is table space is required, but it is used for scarves. It does not speed up the process and I still do most of the work by hand, but it saves a bit of wear and tear on my body. It has been well worth the investment. I just figured I had to sell 35 scarves or so and it had paid for itself. Not a bad way to think about it.

Today I begin work for an important show. I'll keep you posted!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What's up

Purple beret ready for The Guild Shop...on fabulous hat stands made by my dad (thanks, Dad!)

Setting up to "shoot"
Green beret...

Well, I had hoped to head to Toronto this week to deliver work to The Guild Shop and have a good face to face chat with the manager about inventory and what-not, but my week is dissolving before my eyes and I realize it is a difficult time to try to miss a day in the studio. I have been quite impressed with myself as I have been very disciplined of late and on quite a roll. I even cleaned my house the other day. I kid not. Serious stuff going on here.

I have a juried show to enter this week and it has been so long since I have entered a juried show, that I had forgotten what a pain in the arse getting all the paperwork together is and trying to twist my brain to create a statement about a new piece. I have photographed the new piece and need to convert files, put on a disk and get it where it needs to be by Friday. Once the piece gets in...I mean IF the piece gets in I will post images of it then! Off to the studio to play! I need to begin on my piece for Detroit (10 foot tree trunks x 7, yikes), but think I will make one more wrap for Toronto...or maybe I will keep it to wear to a gala coming up :o)!

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's a wrap.

I am making a few really luxurious wraps for Toronto and I am very pleased with both the surface and the shape. Very wearable, reversible and a few position options. hard to wear them the wrong way, really. I hope to deliver these in the next week or so.

Now, in the studio, I have a sculpture to make for a juried show. I am very excited and itching to begin. I also have confirmed the piece(s) I will be making for the Wayne State University gallery show I will be participating in "Oh, Canada". These will take me a couple of weeks full time and time is tight. More bags are also in the cards and a bit of time in between to play, attend events, and presentations. Time for my tea and cookies and them off to the studio I go! Deadline for a submission on Friday!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011


2 pieces to B.C., Canada for my Connections group show, "Pentimento"
2 pieces to Taos, New Mexico for "Seeds 3" continue with my work for The Guild Shop, work for a Detroit show, another show- deadline in 10 days, bags for a December show...Oi!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What's up...

Well...I have been felting everyday for a few weeks and I am sad to say, it has finally reached the point that I must give my hands a couple of days break. I will try plastic bag on hands, but I am such a "hands-on" felter, this will be difficult for me! I have too much to do to not be in the studio.

laying out a new bag (the one that finally did in my hands) in pure Pelsull.
Some fun buttons I bought at the Fibrefest near Ottawa last weekend. Polymer clay...for what, I am not sure!
even threads on my table inspire me.
my last piece for the "Seeds 3" show...okay, these shots will be in weird order (sorry) The above is me fulling. I like to full on a towel. I has "tooth" and I am also so ready, at this point, to get rid of wet plastic.
detail midway though felting
the piece has just been wet out and pressed flat. I then cover it with very thin plastic and then wet that so my hands glide over the plastic and I can get a skin on my piece before I am "hands-on"!!
The completed piece. In "real life" the yellow centre is not as prominent, but blends in nicely. I did something interesting you may find cool too. Note how the bottom has a dark band. My entire back layer was dark brown, but around the bottom was natural brown karakul which migrates like crazy and can eat up a surface design. I used this attribute to my advantage knowing it would give shading and texture across the bottom. Amazing stuff. Knowing your materials means freedom!!
ready to wet out!!
dry layout...
"Phillip" at the fibre fest. What a cutie!
a beautiful day in the mill town of Almonte...perfect place to meander and look at fibre things!!
wetting out.
Goodness these loaded in a strange order. I will have to figure that out, or at least how to move them!!
Next on the agenda is doing some layout for more pieces for the Guild Shop in Toronto. Mailing things out to 2 shows. I am also getting set up to teach by exciting. This will be set up in the next couple of weeks. Oh, and you know I will keep you posted!!

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Following my own advice....

I have been sketching, considering, mulling over, dreaming about, my second piece for the "Seeds 3" exhibition in Taos, New Mexico. The proposed sculptures are done and I am very happy with their colour and fun shapes, but the 2Dpiece has had me struggling to switch gears. I began layout today and had planned to do a variation of my sketches, but have decided to follow my own advice and "keep it simple". I am opting for colour, clean shapes and design on a larger scale and I am feeling really good about it and enjoying taking my time with the design. Oh, of course there will be some 3D elements. It would not be an "Andrea Graham" without that, now would it? You know I will keep you posted.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011


This bag is made with one of my favorite wools for making bags...C-1/Pelsull. The locks on the front are from an enormous Icelandic fleece that I am going to make a big fleece rug from (yes, yes, I really am). I have ordered some leather handles from a vendor on Etsy. I think I cleared her out. It is difficult to find high quality leather handles at an affordable price. This one will have some textured chocolate brown handles and a fabulous leather magnetic flap closure. I'll so want to keep it. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Layout...the locks actually look a lot like my hair.

When I think of "shrinkage" I cannot help thinking of a Seinfeld episode. This, however is of a different variety. Check it. This bag was made with straight C-1 (and some odds and end for embellishment on the surface- wovens, corriedale, flax, yarn. Oh, and fish skin from Iceland stitched on the surface). The straight C-1 gets a bad rap sometimes, as it is slower to wet out and takes a little longer to felt. However, the end result is way worth it: tight, lustrous felt. I just used glycerin soap rather than olive oil, and warmish water. I fulled it tight by rolling and gently dropping (no slamming- maintaining control over my shape!). It's a good thing.
I must give my abraded hands a bit of a rest today. I stitched labels last night and will layout of a couple of cushion covers today as a bit of an experiment, perhaps. I also need to complete another piece for my "Seeds 3" exhibit. Several options. Kids to school, Facebook to peruse, you know I will keep you posted.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

What's up...

Ahh. A clean slate. After the flurry of berets and scarves I am getting ready for Toronto (and bags to come) the studio is all ready to begin again. I am not one to display images of inspiration, or incomplete work. I like to focus on the work at hand without things staring at me.

4 of the 6 berets I have completed...I thought I did not make hats. I have to admit, these were fun. Felted super fast with some fabulous short fibre merino batt from New England Felting Supply.

all 6. I had a plan to make them relatively conservative. so much for that ;o)

Spikes clipped up to dry. Love the colours in this "strata batt" short fibre merino with some silk fabrics and fun stuff. I am looking forward to making some bags next...6, I think and then a couple more scarves or a wrap. I'll keep you posted (FYI, I answered a question from Fiona about my tables that some of you might be interested in the comments of my last post)

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

What I did on Summer Vacation...

I feel a bit like a grade school child about to revisit, in essay form, the events that seem long past now that I am back in the drudgery of day to day (although, little drudgery exists here)
I have been back from the fabulous Felter's Fling for several days now and it seems like long ago already. The above piece will be sent out to BC for a show themed "Pentimento", hence the pieces of recycled bag cuttings on a new base...had fun with the, the saga of the past events in reverse/random/confusing order.

An absolute vision in Amish country as I escaped the thousands of cars moving slowly through the detour off route 90 in NY state. I ventured with trepidation as there were no cars and it seemed a bit surreal. I was certain with every turn in the valley I would reach a washed out road.
This is the stretch of road where I sat for 6, SIX, VI, hours! My entire drive was to be that long and it took me 14 hours. I topped up with gas and water at every opportunity. I made quite a dent in my book and also did some sketching and lots of thinking, which is a good thing after Fling.
I left Fling on Sat. night to stay with a dear, dear friend (she said she opened the "felter shelter") and we kept an eye on the sky. Sunday rained all day. Oh, then we lost power. So, what else were 2 feltmakers to do?

Felt by candlelight, of course. We opened wine early :o). we sipped and rubbed in between bailing out the sump pump.

Not sure why the random placement of this image, but another "Pentimento" piece in detail (? weird)
Ah, yes. Back to the saga. This is the end of my friends driveway. Lots of action followed the loud electrical buzz, zapp, poof.

The organizers and assistants that make Fling possible. I was assistant last year and was happy just to play this year!
some of the work from Anna Gunnarsdottir's class on display in the dining hall. many left early to beat the storm.
My awesome instructor, Anna. What a delight she was/is. Hoping to see her again.

Ah, more random placement. Self explanatory, no?

Now that I am safe home, I am in production for my shop in Toronto. Knocking out some scarves, hats and bags so I can move on to some show work for New Mexico and Detroit!

50% shrinkage, folks.
hand-dyed silk from NEFS.
The mornings at Fling begin with the a.m. stretch. I, however, begin the day by drinking coffee and watching the a.m. stretch.
Well, back to the studio. A blue beret awaits fulling. School begins soon, so my work day will be chopped in smaller increments which will involve some discipline with all the work I have ahead. You know I will keep you posted.

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time to relax

time to relax
Liberatio Captivus