Saturday, July 23, 2011

Home Depot - Americana

My local Home Depot Store had created this display of petunias for the Fourth of July Weekend.  I liked it.  I observe that even thought there are only 9 stripes instead of 13 and the stars are only suggested, it strongly holds the archetype of the USA flag. 

Tucson felting class with Martien van Zuilen

This summer a group of us gathered in Tucson to work with Martien van Zuilen.  Martien is from Perth, Australia and regularly comes to the US to teach felting classes.  This was her first time to Arizona. 

Two three-day classes were held. One on making felted jewelry and the other on making a felted mandala rug.  It was a very hot time in Tucson but we all persevered and created many beautiful pieces.  But beyond this we learned many techniques, that can be applied to our felting efforts in the future.We learned to appreciate traditional felting practices.  For many of us, it was a new experience to felt something to a very hard stage.  Doing this in the Tucson heat, pushed many of us to the brink.... Here is some of our work.

Felted Hat

This summer, I helped a friend make a felted hat.  She was very creative and unique in her design.  She laid out the wool in a wide rectangle, 4 criss-crossing layers, then we lightly felted this before placing it on a hood form to begin to establish the 3 D form.  Then we placed the felt onto a hat form.  She added pre-felts of leaves and berries, added an interior hat band, an edge trim and more.  The result was beautiful.

Pink Cactus

pink cactus against an adobe wall

Tucson cactus at twilight
There is a variety of the prickly pear cactus, that actually has lavender/pink leaf pads.  It is particularly abundant in Southern Arizona.  I took some pictures on a very warm Tucson eve.  For me, it is a quintessential image of the southwest.  I think of this fruit that some of us harvest, to make juice or jam.  Being very careful to pick it with prongs so as not to get numerous nearly invisible little prickly hairs in your fingers.  The fruit/flower is eaten by a little beetle called cochineal, this creature has been traditionally harvested, ground up and used to make a pink/magenta dye for cloth.  As I look at these pictures, I think also of the native bird life that evening, so different from my mountain home.  Here quail are much more abundant, and there was the call of an evening bird, almost like a night hawk, which we do not have in the high mountains.  Do you like the pictures?