In anticipation of the fiber invitational in Lowell and the annual Art to Wear show at Cambridge Artists’ Cooperative, the copper wire is resurfacing in new neck pieces. Some of the presently completed work may be seen below. Materials often come with their own stories. I purchased my nearly invisible wires from an elderly gentleman at a RI yard sale years ago for only a few dollars. He in turn had worked using them on TV and radio tubes in the “old days”. The 32 gauge version was obtained with the assistance of a brother-in-law-electrician. A beaded piece is “in the works”, and then there is all that colored telephone wire and a shoebox full of acupuncture needle cases periodically calling out to me… I tend to work freeform, without sketching, piecing elements and working out designs and problems as I go. There are elements of surprise for me as well in each piece I create.
The beginning of a new/different direction
ladder lace and short rowed ruffles, modified commercial toggle closure
The finished collar tuck lace and ruffle collar; 4 strands of nearly invisible wire used throughout
Blocking is one of those topics open to endless debate both as to method and necessity. In most of the items I produce using conventional yarns, I restrict it pretty much to washing/pressing/ironing as needed, thus avoiding all those blocking wires, pins etc. In this instance however, the wire item is in need of some help in changing into and retaining the desired shape: my partial solution is seen in the photo above.
For the curious: Magnet wire or enamelled copper wire is a copper or aluminum wire covered with thin insulation. It is used in the construction of transformers,inductors, motors, headphones, loudspeakers, hard drive head positioners, potentiometers, and electromagnets, among other applications. However, it is not usually magnetic itself. Magnet wire insulating films used (in order of increasing temperature range) include polyurethane, polyamide, polyester, polyeseter-polyimide, polyamide-polyimide (or amide-imide), and polyimide. Kynar wire is an instance of color coated member of these families, and used in my “colored” jewelry items. For knitting on a loom I prefer 32 gauge or thinner (higher numbers), which can be plied successfully for more drape but are nearly invisible singly; 30 gauge or less(lower numbers) moves into the hand crochet/knit coil domain for me.
I enjoy using materials designed for uses other than those for which they were designed, the inherent challenge, surprises, and problem solving.
In anticipation of participating in the Lowell show, and in the upcoming art to wear show at Cambridge Artists Cooperative in the fall, I have returned to fabricating wire collars. In writing updated artist statements I am again considering why fiber, certainly why wire. I continue to enjoy the surprise and problems in each new piece. Curiosity, exploring and experimentation temper the repetition of production.
Monofilament, fishing lines, wire, have a mind and personality of their own at the opposite pole of friendly yarn such as standard gauge wool. Attempting to work with them and their in-betweens makes the playground that much larger.
One present collar using both wire and vinyl:
the “knit”, convex side out
the”purl”, concave reverse side
The oval “beads” consist wire crocheted over glass, the round one is coiled and stitched wire and beads.
One more collar with flower closure using varying shades and weights of copper magnet wire: subsequent ones will take a new direction. It is knit with the exception of the crocheted leaves, small pearls form the flower’s anthers
Inventory in different stages of growth and delopment
The completed hummingbird with embossed metal self frame
It’s amazing how far tiny bits of fiber go, image is nearly 3 inches at the widest point
Completed in stages, this no wilt corsage is composed of layers of knit magnet wire; garnets adorn its center, and it measures 4 inches at its widest point
While procrastinating returning to production knitting for the spring season I found myself inspired by Judy Perez’s Fiesta ornaments and have made my first attempts at metal embossing, adding them as elements in my postcard sized fabric collages, which in turn combine knits, needle felting, needlework techniques, and objects from a stash of accumulated “stuff’. Here are 2 of the results:
These are my first two attempts at needle felting on random swatches remaining from machine knit experiments. Both pieces measure “postcard” 4X6 inches. The scale restriction requires thinking in a new way for me, and provides a different way to play with my yarn stash and found objects. It is not clear if any of these techniques will be incorporated into my clothing and accessories, or simply be an end in themselves. Collage lace with some of the same fibers is also on my list of “must try”.
The price of changing yarn constantly: my hats are made of plied
multi strands of different color yarns as large forms, then felted.
The yellow reflects the “usual” style: purl side out yields the brimmed
version, knit side out converts to bucket style. The blue is a hat that
shrank unpredictably in width (the hats are sideways knit): a new
“style” is born, its embellishment is needle felted yarn.