These days when I encounter a friend/acquaintance/family member I haven’t seen in, say, 4 months, it starts this way:
How are you?
Responses may include:
a. I’m managing.
b. Well, everybody has a story.
c. all of the above with awkward pauses thrown in.
All are code for:
Since I have long neglected this website and my etsy shop, I decided it’s
Beth’s Quarantine Story Time
(Sprightly Sparks Edition)
When the world crashed around us in March, I had signed up for a booth rental at a few festivals. The one I was most looking forward to was Woolapalooza at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Their annual fiber festival includes old school sheep shearing, fiber dyeing and lots of interesting spinning/knitting/crocheting activities.
Once it was evident all of them would be cancelled and the rush to produce a full spring/summer inventory was off, I shifted gears and focused on making some PPE. There were a ton of cool open-source designs online. I decided on ear savers for the amazing ER nurses in my family and their co-workers. I also delivered some to our pediatrician and dentist offices. My dentist asked for more recently, and I was happy to oblige.
At that point, my laser cutter went on the FRITZ - still working, but unpredictably. I was simultaneously grateful and frustrated. Grateful I wasn’t trying to make a ton of inventory but frustrated my binder full of ideas sat idle. There wasn’t much time to ruminate due to my new focus - remote learning coordination and home office planning. May and June were also fast approaching. Those months are big birthday/event months for our family and since I wasn’t going to be traveling home to Kansas City, I felt compelled to make some cool gifts when the laser cutter was cooperating.
Celtic Welcome Wreath
An Irish themed roving wreath was on my to-make list for months. My sister’s birthday was coming up, so I had a great excuse. It was challenging figuring out the best way to attach the two layers so the roving layer looked clean enough to engrave the blessing in Gaelic on the back. She loved it!
When a dear friend’s father suddenly passed away this spring, it was tough not being able to support her and her family in person.
I had made a fiber art piece for another friend who lost her dad the year before, but I knew this one had to honor his Irish heritage. My friend chose to display the piece differently than I had pictured, but I like it both ways.
Baby Milestone Hearts
This gift was pretty quick and easy. My cousin was expecting a daughter in June, so I found a cute cut file on Etsy. I look forward checking my Instagram feed each month to see how baby O has grown.
Damariscotta Bathymetric Map
After completing a 1 layer map of my 4 year old nephew’s Kansas City neighborhood in late May (contact me for pics), I decided to delve into depth maps.
My father-in-law is very active in his Mid-Coast Maine town’s conservation organizations, so I decided to make him a piece that focused on the waterways he loves to kayak for his birthday. I was stuck on the frame question, but my husband found a shadow box and it worked perfectly. I was really pleased with the results, but more importantly, so was my father-in-law.
I finally got around to addressing the laser cutter’s crankiness in July. After doing a bit of research, I contacted customer service, ordered a part and repaired my machine. Once it was fully functional, a friend commissioned me to make pendants for her travel group. It was a great opportunity to work with stainless steel for the first time. This is my friend’s original design front and back. Another happy customer.
Other friends and family have commissioned a few gifts, so it looks like I'll have projects to keep me occupied this fall. I have a more involved fiber art piece I would love to complete by the end of the year and I'm also working on a 2020 holiday ornament. I'll still miss all of the festivals and fairs, though.
All of these projects were skill and confidence building experiences. I’m fortunate to have the space to complete them during quarantine. I know if my kids were much younger, I would not have had the time or the energy.
Let me know if I can help you with a personalized piece.
May peace and health be with you, whatever may come!