Blog Post #1

This entry is primarily for the friends who knew me from way back and are wondering how I ended up here as a Sprightly Sparks Maker.

 

Some people identify me through my dance/theater life. That makes sense - I spent my childhood in a studio or on a stage. The late 90s and early 00s were a melange of performing, studying, marketing and teaching dance. My introduction to fiber art occurred during my brief professional dance stint with the Monkeyhouse Collective. Karen, Nicole and Amelia shared their love for all things fiber and knitting when I joined the group. We knitted tour blankets on our 2001 Fringe Festival Tour and explored yarn stores at every stop. 

 

As dance faded to the background (and parenthood to the fore), I continued to knit. It provided a great release of tension. When the term “sensory profile” became a part of my parenting vocabulary, I started reflecting on my own response to various stimuli through the course of a day, but that’s as far as I got. Then the upending happened. What had been intermittent ringing/buzzing sounds suddenly turned into non-stop ringing in my ears (i.e. tinnitus) in late 2017. The specialists determined it was due to hearing loss. Nothing could be done. Many months of various therapies later, I finally habituated the sounds with the help of a hearing aid, but my invisible disability continues to impact my life. The act of listening takes a lot of energy - even with assistive technology.

 

During those difficult months, my glowforge laser cutter arrived. I spent a year or so learning how to use it by making gifts for family and friends. I was also busy setting the foundation for a small business. I thought I’d work primarily with wood and acrylic on fun and personalized items. Maybe make jewelry, wedding favors and awards for non-profits. Having that focus was a life saver and the glowforge exponentially upped my creative potential. I started musing, “Yes! and…”

 

Enter Fiber Art. Most of my yarn was just sitting in boxes and bags in my workspace, but I knew there must be some way to incorporate it into my laser cutting. I had seen various animal shapes wrapped in material and fiber at art festivals and the Fuller Craft Museum Gift Shop and found the perfect knubbly yarn in my stash to make some. As I wrapped my first alpaca, I felt that familiar release. The sublime feel of the yarn and the repetitive motion was my art therapy. That experience led to more fiber art experiments, including Fiberclouds.

 

In yarn stores I always wonder what the yarn would look and feel like stretched instead of balled and/or knitted up. Running my fingers through hair has always been soothing for me, but that’s nothing compared to unraveling a tangled variety of fiber strands. I find my sensory profile changing - as my sense of hearing declines, I replace it with other senses - particularly the ways I perceive and manipulate objects using the senses of touch and proprioception.

 

So that's there to here. Working with textures, gauges and colors and finding interesting ways to mesh it with harder materials is what I do. The next step is sharing all of this in a workshop or class setting. Because making (and making fiber art especially) is some healing, fun stuff.

 

Beth McGuire

August, 2019