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Homespun Inspiration

Posted on: Monday, April 17, 2006
























Returning home during the first signs of spring takes on special meaning with my family. My mother is generally waiting for the arrival of new lambs and my father's list of post-winter repair tasks is long. Despite the toll that winter storms take in upstate New York, there is always a renewed optimism about personal projects and the land. My mother, Abigail, is a handspinner and fiber artist who spent most of her summers as a young girl tending to sheep on a small island off the coast of central Maine. She was the daughter of an eccentric zoologist and a bookish botanist, yet her involvement with nature and the seasons was always intuitive and 'homespun practical' on some level. Her patience for putting together the ideal flock was further developed during her time as a dedicated dairy farmer and entrepreneurial sheepherder with my father, James. Today she has a hand-picked flock of fourteen Leicester Cross sheep and a miniature donkey who proudly serves as the resident shepherd and off-tune watch dog.





















There is something uniquely special about sneaking into your artist mother's studio –especially when she is nowhere in sight. It is not only being privy to someone else's creative process but perhaps also an insight into the source of your own aesthetic leanings and tendencies. This is not to say that a direct stylistic correlation exists. However, one cannot deny that 'the warp and weft' of one's personal philosophy begins with this material. The miniature still lives that abound are evidence perhaps that there is still life in what you remember to be lasting and real in a world that often seems to be fleeting and unraveling at the core.

Abigail McEnroe's luxuriously handspun wool products and Nuno felted fibers can be found at MeriMac Farm in Garrattsville, NY, not far from the Cooperstown Leatherstocking region. Abigail's studio e-mail is aghaglady@twcny.rr.com.

Worshipping Totemic Buds

Posted on: Thursday, April 13, 2006

There is a totemic, confrontational quality about Blossfeldt's magnified Horse chestnut buds (Aesculus parviflora). A plant animal fusion of wrought iron pillars in the cult of 'nature as blueprint for exemplary design and engineering'.

Karl Bossfeldt (1865-1932) a skilled sculptor and plant modeler - became best known as a leader in Germany's New Objectivity photography movement. His prolific teaching and the publication of 'Urformen der Kunst' (Art Forms in Nature, 1929) galvinized him as a forerunner of green architecture and nature preservation.

The Horse chestnut buds depicted here have been magnified twelve times.

'Like Lilliputians we observers wander among these gigantic plants.' (Walter Benjamin, 1929)

Ornamental Ova

Posted on: Saturday, April 08, 2006



Traditional Ukrainian pysanky Easter eggs are meticulously decorated or drawn with dyes, beeswax, and a stylus or 'kystka'.
The term pysanky originates from the verb 'pysaty', meaning, "to write". The intricately patterned eggs are often styled after traditional Ukrainian embroidery. Fertile designs for the ushering in of spring.

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