Sometimes inspiration comes from an incredibly beautiful product. Eisaku Noro is a Japanese yarn maker of a line of natural fibers called "World of Nature." If you're lucky enough to find this yarn as I did at Boulder's Art Parts Creative Reuse Center or your local yarn shop - you will want to dive into this yarn either of 100% wool or mixed with kid mohair, alpaca, or silk. The wool is carded and spun by hand and machine with bits of fibers added in to create some unevenness, as you would see in nature. I'm more likely to crochet than knit, so I was attracted to the beauty of this yarn first, and then asked myself what I would create with it. Some vintage buttons also found at Art Parts sparked a new project of pin/brooches.
I love the these company mottos from the Noro website:
“BE FREE FROM EXISTING CONCEPTS AND LIMITATIONS”
“PURSUE THE IMAGE IN OUR MINDS”
You can learn more from an interview with Eisaku Noro.
Happy crocheting and knitting!
Throughout the year, I'm always thinking about new ideas for creating new designs in fiber for the small format of the blank art card. It's been a crazy weather year in Colorado with drought, four April blizzards, rain and floods. Well, this is par for the course when living on the edge of the prairie and steep incline of the Rocky Mountain front range. Because of the drought, our CSA farm decided not to continue supplying the membership with fresh eggs, because chickens don't like to lay when the weather is crazy. So, I've been craving that dark yellow yoke only an organically raised and fed hen can provide, and wishing for chickens!
Many things in nature excite and inspire me. Here you can see some pictures of the development of a small art quilt from sea urchins. These urchins I collected in a Norweigan fjord near Trondheim when I was 20 years old and backpacking and Eurailing across Europe for three months. I went out in a boat on the fjord with a long pole with a plastic milk jug that had the bottom cut off. I scooped up the sea urchins and then they were eaten and cleaned in the home of the family with whom I was staying. Norway was my last stop in the 3 months of travel, otherwise, I don't know how they would have survived my backpack and the youth hostels! I've always cherished these urchin exo-skeletons and here they've become a small quilt with a radiant pattern.
Everything begins with a cast-off 100% wool knitted sweater that is washed for 2 hours on the hottest cycle possible, tossing and turning in the washing machine with wool soap. It is the process of hot water and agitation (facilitated by the soap) that felts wool and causes the natural fibers to reconnect and interlace in a new, more compact way that we recognize as felt. Every bit of wool is from a different sheep, that wool is spun differently, the sweater is knit in a different way - so every sweater felts differently, providing varied thicknesses and textures - but it is all felt. Now, this renewed material is what I go to work on - cutting, sewing, appliquéing, embroidering and fashioning into something totally new and upcycled! Pins, wallets, purses, pillows, mini-quilts - recycled felt in all colors is a dream.