Friday, March 13, 2009

thank you, linda sue & toby ~

Ms. Linda Sue is providing the entertainment this evening ~ in the form of all the following photos of my head. Thank you so much for sending them to me and for taking them in the first place!

At Wednesday night's Whatcom Weaver Guild meeting, dear Toby Smith bestowed a wonderful gift upon me (literally).

The Partner Project Hat!

Toby and I teamed up in our guild's "Partner Project" last year. I was thrilled to get to work with Toby who is a wonderfully talented woman both artistically and intellectually. Toby is a retired professor from Western Washington University. She is hardly retired since she continues to investigate everything, studying fiber art traditions throughout the world and by volunteering with Maiwa.

When I say throughout the world, I really mean it. When Toby and I were slated to start the Partner Project, it was delayed due to her trip to India. She honored me upon her return with an inscribed "Gandhi pen":

Politics without Principles
Wealth without Work
Pleasure without Conscience
Knowledge without Character
Commerce without Morality
Science without Humanity
Worship without Sacrefice [sic]

"My life is my message
Truth is God
Self Rule = Rule Over Self
Satyagrah is Soul-Force"

So at the end of winter 2008, we had a chance to e-mail ideas back and forth. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that we had one other hurdle ~ she lives in Canada! She's probably less then 40 miles away from me, but people and places always seem farther away when there's a border crossing in the way.

After percolating thoughts, we developed an outline for the project:
  • The completed item should be at least 80% recycled.
  • We create/choose the form of the item. The item is started by ourselves (so we can choose the form the item takes, e.g. purse, vest, pillow cover) using something recycled/previously used.
  • The final project comes back to the person who started it.
  • The item must be small enough so it is portable so we can take it places to work on it (keeping in mind that you travel and we have other fiber meetings to attend where we can work on projects).
  • After the “form” is created and even some embellishing could be started, we trade pieces for the other to work on.
  • We give the other person some (not all) yarns and/or other materials to use.
  • We give the other person 3 words to somehow interpret into the project. An example would be “green, ripple, hand” – that would give some real opportunity to stretch creatively.

At one of the guild meetings we swapped stuff. I had woven a shawl on my triangle loom with some old musty smelling, secondhand yarn and then tossed it in a dye pot. Once it dried, I did some needle felting on it (the shawl will probably be revealed to you in a future post). The fiber used for the needle felting was carding waste from Kathy Green's Ferndale Fibers (a fabulous fiber processor less then three miles from my house). Toby was to embellish the shawl to her heart's content.

Toby took her thrums and wove colorful fabric as her project. She then provided me with all sorts of beads and buttons for inspiration (plus we could use items from our own stash) to decorate her fabric. After a few false starts, I needle felted designs between some basted stitches Toby had marked out as guides ~ she had planned to create a hat from the embellished pieces.

When it came time for us to swap projects again, Toby was off to visit a part of the world that was in sharp contrast to her earlier trip to India. Toby went to Telemark, Norway to study Vadmal ~ read more about her trip in the Whatcom Weavers Guild's Sept 2008 newsletter.

With summer break and vacations, we didn't see each other until fall. At a spectacular unveiling, not only did Toby show off the hat she created, but she was virtually finished with a fabulously designed coat she created from the wool fabric (Vadmal) she wove in Norway. God, if I only had photos to show you ~ here it is six months later and I still have the visual of that coat burned into my brain....gorgeous!

"How could I be so fortunate?" I keep asking myself. On Wednesday, Toby actually gave me the finished hat. I can't believe I get to be in possession of another Toby Smith creation!

Oh, thank you Toby!

As a bonus to you reader(s) [I shouldn't assume there's more than one!] ~ here's a lovely little piece of Toby's I bought at the last guild sale.

I'm accumulating a charished Toby collection ~ I even have a ruana she made a couple of years ago. Below are some photos of the ruanas she made for the 2008 guild sale. They all sold in a blink of an eye.

All of you should be so lucky to have one! Maybe she'll make more for the 2009 sale and you could actually buy one too! I highly advise it...

Toby's pieces are at right and center ~ the one left is by another guild artisan.

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