Monday, April 20, 2015

Fibers Galore! By Karen McGovern

Howdy all!  This post is going to be a bit short and sweet.  As some of you know, I am a conservation biologist in "real life", working with the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation. It is our breeding season and my life is full of baby parrots, antelope and primates.  At the moment I am hand feeding an orphaned pygmy marmoset, the world's smallest true monkey.  Hang on to your seats, this guy is STUPIDLY ADORABLE and will have you making baby noises at your computer monitor.  Meet Chispa (Spanish for "Spark").  He was born on Easter.  His mom didn't survive the birth, so we are raising him.  He's about the size of a tiny mouse.  I have to feed him every three to four hours around the clock.  He's killing me!  ANYHOOOO....

Bow down to the adorable-ness that is a baby pygmy marmoset!!!

This month the artists of LMAJ are all playing with fibers and discussing how to use fibers and textiles in jewelry designs. I have fooled around with fibers, I especially love working with silk yarns and multi-strand yarns.  Susan Lenart Kazmer inspired me initially, I love her take on long....REALLY LONG pendant designs that incorporate a mix of metals, textiles and so much more. One of the first truly epic fiber mix pendants I created incorporated a glass tube holding the skull of a tiny songbird.  I used a mix of silk ribbons and yarns knotted below the pendant hanging about 8 inches in total length below  the tube. I like to weave and tie other elements in with the fibers--beads, charms, etc. I've experimented with this look over the years and come back to it again and again.  

Some early fiber designs from around 2008 incorporating bone, silk moth cocoons, silk yarns and fibers.  CRAZY!!!

Most recently I created a couple fiber designs for Nunn Design as part of their Innovation Team. I used a Nunn channel bead wrapped in silk multi-strand yarns tied with a knot to create this crazy pendant.  I added some beads, a coyote tooth and some wire to really make it tribal.  I like these over-the-top pendants strung simply on leather or rubber cord. 

Next I made this woolly bangle using a furry silk yarn and simple macrame techniques.  The bangle is a simple copper wire design.  I wove the silk around the bangle in a basic macrame stitch, tied off the end and added a series of multi-stone dangles for a gypsy feel. This is a super fun bangle to wear, it's so FURRY and comfy on the wrist!

Using fabrics and fibers in jewelry design is fun and you are only limited by your imagination!  The cuff shown here was created by another favorite artist of mine, Richard Salley.  I love the explosion of fabric from the central element in the cuff....what a great POP of color and texture!!!

So, my advice to you--if you are considering working with fabrics and fibers--is to think outside the box. Start wrapping and knotting and see where the fibers lead you!  I've got an idea for a stitched pendant that I am itching to try....If it works I will share next Tuesday for my Tuesday Tutorial post. In the meantime, raid the fabric and yarn store and go make something AMAZING!!


Patti Vanderbloemen said...

While I always enjoy every picture you post on Facebook (you really should be a photographer), the pictures of this little guy instantly brighten my day!!! I wish you all much, much success with his upbringing!

Your previous use of fiber is nothing less than fabulous - my personal favorite is your "furry" bracelet! :)

stregajewellry said...

These are some really fun designs you have shown here. They make me want to PLAY!

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