Sunday, January 29, 2017

Weaving to Beautify a Community Garden!

Yesterday was a really fun day! In an effort to get people interested in working with their hands, Tammy Asad of TS Daily Treasures, my husband Emad of eWood_q8,  Maryam Al Nusif of Mimikuwait, and I organized an afternooon of weaving with recycled materials, yarn crafts, and woodworking! Maryam who is known as Mimi, started a local community garden in the Salmiya area of Kuwait that hosts free weekly gardening sessions, workshops, and an artisanal food and craft market. We decided to make one of the trees into a double sided loom to weave into. We even left a little stash of yarn in the tree, so anyone visiting the garden can weave while they are there.

 We had the idea to have an afternoon of weaving to teach people about the craft, and to beautify the garden at the same time! Tammy collected wooden pallets and for the month leading up to the event, we all collected plastic strapping that is used to secure boxes and bricks for transport, and is often found on trash heaps in Kuwait. We thought this would be the perfect material to use, because it is practically indestructible. It will stand up to Kuwait's high summer temperatures, and it is easy to clean. I was just hoping that it would look great woven into the pallets. Thanks to the wonderful work of the upcycled!

Tammy prepared little weaving kits that were warped and ready to weave, so people could weave while they were there or take them home. People were even walking around and weaving! My daughter Sara and I prepared popsicle sticks and yarn to make godseyes to hang in the trees. All the visitors were fast learners and all of our yarn was transformed in to little works of yarn art! It was a great way to show people that you can make something wonderful with very basic supplies!

The garden had some tires that had been painted and donated, so we decided to try our hand at making some seats for the garden. Simple, effective, and festive!

Emad set up a little workshop at the garden and began building an entrance arbor for the garden. We will go back this week to finish it! It will be fun to see if our tree weaving has been added to by any anonymous guest weavers!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gearing Up for a Freeform Crochet Workshop!

I am very excited to be preparing for an upcoming workshop that I will be teaching the members of the Kuwait Textile Arts Association!

It will span over 2 sessions of 2 hours each. I have a lot of activities planned, so I hope we can fit it all in!

Freeform Crochet is what first got me interested in learning how to crochet, and the International Freeform Guild got me started!

The idea of crocheting without a pattern is so thrilling to me. I love just seeing where the yarn takes me, creating interesting textures, and adding embroidery embellishment. The above photo is a close up of a handbag I made for the Crochet Guild of America's annual design competition. It is such fun to incorporate many different types of fibers, beads and found objects into crochet work!

I will report back after the first workshop on February 1st with some photos from the workshop. I hope many of the crocheters will fall in love with freeform as I have!

Some stitches to be learned in the workshop!

Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year's Resolution #1, Check!

The first thing on my list of things to do in 2017 is to join the Surface Design Association! I recently discovered its existence and the discovery was well timed as I found out that their bi-annual conference will be in Portland, Oregon this summer. I am thrilled that I can attend since I will be vacationing there!

They have many interesting opportunities to exhibit your work and they provide a platform for the exchange of ideas, methods, and materials pertaining to the fiber arts. Since I like to mix techniques and I have recently been getting more into embroidery and weaving, I thought thad the SDA would be very inspirational! I am looking forward to seeing where this new membership will take me!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Reflecting on 2016 and Hinting on my Stitching Future for 2017!

2016 was a year full of new challenges and experiences, with many highlights! I wore many different work hats last year: designer, project manager, textile collaborator, instructor, liason, and coordinator. All of these jobs have enhanced my creativity and how I work. 

Let me tell you about some of this year's highlights:

I was so excited for my work to be featured on the cover of Interweave Crochet, last fall. My work has appeared in 15 issues of Interweave Crochet over the years, and this was my first cover with them! Magazine work is really such fun. The thrill of seeing your work among the vibrant, glossy pages never gets old!

I got to teach my first workshop for eWoodStory at the Sadu House. We crocheted motifs, then painted them and stitched them into "Olive" shape pendants. I love how each one was so very different and beautiful!

Next month I will be teaching a session Freeform Crochet Workshop for the Kuwait Textile Arts Association at the Sadu House as well.

In addition to working in crochet this year, I also learned more about modern weaving, learned how to weave on a rigid heddle loom, and between me and my daughter, we now have 7 looms in the house!

I also started experimenting with weaving that incorporates my crochet work. This is a piece I have in progress with some of my hand painted crochet:

I can't wait to learn more about weaving and how I can put my own spin on it! I dream of making garments incorporating pieces of my weaving.

While working on the Weaving Stories project, I had the opportunity to be on the radio and television twice! Most recently with my daughter, Sara. We got to talk about our weaving, and I hope we got some of the viewers interested in the fiber arts as well!

I also got to meet so many amazing people through Weaving Stories. Some of the best moments were people discovering the joy of weaving and working with their hands on our specially designed interactive loom that was made by my husband who co-designed it with Professor of Textiles, Lesli Robertson. People who have never tried to weave before, sat down with the intention of weaving for a minute or two, and ended up weaving for an hour! We had tags made so people could attach their name or their thoughts about weaving to the sections that they created. We had to warp the loom three times during the exhibition. The more that was woven on the loom, the more people wanted to weave on it. The colorful yarns and fibers were attracting people like a magnet!

We created 7 new pendant shapes to add to our eWoodStory Modern Stitchable Pendant line, making it a total of 13 shapes in addition to our Mini Masterpiece Frames, for people to stitch their own creations into:

We also added several pendants to our Featured Artists Series, where we ask artists that we love on Instagram, to create special Mini Masterpiece Pendants. It is a way for us to showcase our pendants, and to connect artists to people interested in their work. We have met so many amazing people through this series!
Mini Masterpieces that have been created by the Artists

I have a great feeling about 2017 and have started lining up some fun projects involving the community, as well as some special commissions. I also hope to work on some new techniques that I haven't tried yet like tapestry crochet and macrame. I just want another few hours added to every day to have more time to create! I hope that this next year is happy, healthy, and wonderful for all of you!