Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In A Woman's Handbag

Since we have been having more unusually warm weather I have been working more on my project of emptying boxes that were stored in the garage. Some of the boxes contain things other than just books and papers. In one of the boxes I opened this weekend was a woman's handbag. The box was one of the moving boxes that was packed back in the late 50's when my great uncle moved from Flushing, NY up to Grand Isle, VT. The box was then brought down here to CT in the late 90's. It had never been unpacked. So this handbag would have belonged to my great aunt Lou, whom I never met.
Here you can see some of the contents of the box. That thing with an old fashioned telephone dial is a neat phone number file. You dial the first letter of the name of the person you want to call and the thing opens to that page.
And here is a closer look at the hand bag. Could my great aunt have been the woman with the alligator purse that we used to sing about?
On the inside of the bag is this interesting second purse frame attached to the big one. It pivots and has two extra pockets but it is not attached at the bottom so the main compartment is not split in two.

I found it interesting how many different thoughts and feelings looking through the items in this purse generated. First, as with any of the small boxes or fat envelopes I find, there is the feeling of excitement wondering what treasures I will find within. But then came a kind of feeling like I was violating some unwritten rule. A woman's hand bag is so personal. I almost felt like a kind of voyeur, especially since this woman was a stranger, a relative that I had never met and hardly ever heard much about. And what I had heard was not very flattering. My impression of her was that she was someone who really cared a lot about material things.
One of the things that struck me was how little things have changed over time in terms of what women carry with them. I laughed out loud when I found something that most women have in their purses...
yes, it is the crumpled, possibly used, tissue! How many of us have been so thankful for that tissue on various trips to a public restroom.
One of the tissues had been used by the woman to blot her lipstick. There were several different tubes hiding in the bottom of the purse. I really like the slim oval one.
And of course to go with the lipstick there are compacts
Many times the bottom of a woman's purse also holds some sort of jewelry...often a broken piece such at this elephant which I believe came off of an earring.
Of course there was some change, though not many of us still carry mercury head dimes. There were things to fix her hair, like combs, hairpins, ribbons, and hairnets. Buttons, safety pins, mirrors, key chains, pens, a ruler to measure things, and many pieces of paper.
There were a couple of things that I don't think you will find in many hand bags now, I don't even know what two of them are.
I recognize the garter and the button hook, and I know that is a bolt but even Dad didn't know what it was for. And that brass thing winds so that the shaft with the point is hidden in the tube. I almost cut myself when I twisted the darn thing. Dad didn't know what that was for either, so I decided it was for self-defense since that thing is so sharp!
There was also this cool souvenir from Rigi Kulm. It is a note pad made of celluloid with a tiny pencil on a string. There are still notes on some of the celluloid pages.
But I have to admit that my impression of my great aunt was not much changed when I really looked at some of the scraps of paper. Most of them were ads from newspapers of things she wanted to buy.
I wonder what kind of impression the belongings in my own purse would make on a stranger 60 years from now.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Back to my own felting.

My last two posts make it seem like I have not done any felting lately. I have done a bit. I did a landscape for the Granby Land Trust art show. Here are some photos of its progression.

 And here it is mounted. I didn't get in the show this year but I don't mind. Since I got an award in the show last year I already feel that my work has been acknowledged, and I know that what matters most is what I feel about the piece. And I am happy with it.


 Last weekend I was lucky to have two of my friends come to stay with me. It was the weekend of both a guild meeting and the Fiber Festival of New England. Both events were going to be held in my area so Cher Benda and Joei both came to stay at D&D's B&B. It was so much fun! We worked on the guild flower vine on Friday night while we gabbed. Then on Sat. Joei and I skipped the meeting to go to the fiber festival since we both wanted to buy fleeces and we wanted first pickings. Cher went to the guild events. I wish I could have done both but Cher filled us in on what Joei and I missed. On Sunday we went to the business meeting for the guild since I feel that that is really the most important part of our participation. Many members just seem to want the benefits of being guild members without wanting to contribute to the less fun parts of the organization. We have 110 members but only average about 30 people at a business meeting. I don't feel like I do as much as I could for the organization but I do try to contribute and not just use the benefits. Ok...off that soapbox!
Joei and I bought lots of goodies at the fiber show. We came home with lots of glorious, sheepy, smelly, greasy wool that we washed and then sampled. We ooh-ed and ah-ed over the staples in this Romney hogget. Though we did not know what a hogget was at the time (as a former drudge for Merriam-Webster I will leave you to look it up!).

Here is my personal haul. BAA-BAA Black Sheep, Have you any wool?
I am thinking of curtains for my room, hats, rugs...so many ideas, so much fleece...so little time. I did get them all washed and sampled and I am quite happy with my purchases.
I one of the things I love about dealing with raw fleece is feeling connected to the animal that grew these wonderful fibers and supporting local farmers....though I know at the prices we paid the farmers are not really seeing any monetary gain.
This week I spent some time laying out the background for a new piece for the guild's Creation Myth exhibit. Our first show is scheduled to open in January at the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council. I am depicting a primordial soup for which I had previously made some of the creatures.

And last but not least please check out this years Felt United exhibit that is now online. There is some really stunning felt and photography there and it is a great way to get a sense of feltmaking in the rest of the world. The founders of Felt United; Cynthia Renolds and Elis Vermeulen, are amazing to me and I hope someday to be able to meet them both.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another Great Landscape Class and October Snow???

Editor's Note:  I had started writing this post last week when our power came back on. Unfortunately it went off again and I am just now able to finish and post. It was wild to come back from a trip to Maine where I was able to walk in shirt sleeves (with no snow in sight) to see this...
and then come home to Connecticut to see this...
I had missed the crazy October Nor'easter which devastated our state.

Another Great Landscape Class

This past weekend I was up in Bath, Maine teaching another felt landscape class. The class was held at Halcyon Yarn, a huge yarn store which has a great classroom and a wonderful staff. It was such a pleasure teaching there and I had a fantastic time staying with my friends Marianne and Gar DuBois. Diane S.; another guild member and one of the students in the class also stayed with us as well. We all had such a good time talking about common interests that we were almost late to the class one morning! Felters make the best friends!
They also make great students. Here are photos of the pieces as they progressed during the two days. 
Here is Diana's...
She was loving making those circles.
 Wet felted and...
after needle felting.
Here is Kendra's piece.






Diane had used her photo as an inspiration for two other images, one done with quilting and one done with paper collage. Here is a photo of all four images.
 Several of the students were not done with the needle felting but I think they look pretty pleased with their results so far.