entering a fairy world

three years ago i started to experiment sculpting with wool and it was truly a magnetic attraction, a flow moment in which the wool and i were one…  and what did i make?  a cone.  but damn, i was proud of that thing, not because of what it was, but because of the possibilities it woolcontained… as soon as i understood the method i felt like i could conquer the world, just me & my fibres.  i had definitely found my medium.

the process of sculpting with wool is so deeply satisfying.  it requires no tools (only a few common household items – soap, hot water, towels), and it is a fully manual process, making felting so accessible, uncomplicated, while providing such rich results.  all you have to do to turn those wonderful wool fibres into a strong, resilient & sculptable fabric is pull small thin tuffs from the roving (clean wool fibres prepared into long strips), layer them in desired form, apply hot water to open the teeny barbs in the fibre, add dish soap to make them slippery, and agitate.  and agitate.  and agitate.  while agitating, the thin fibres curl around their neighbours and the barbs hold them in place – the more you agitate (how many time can i say agitate?!), the more they tighten, and the fabric as a whole shrinks & strengthens.  what an awesome method, eh?  so tactile.  no machines required.

back to that cone!  it was wholly unimpressive, and somewhat offensive (in that cone shaped hats are only acceptable at birthday parties, no where else), but i was determined to give it a purpose.  so  i manipulated that thing: rubbed & shrunk it, pinched the point, added a curl, embellished with some leaves… and *inspirational music* there it was.  my first elf hood.  honestly, i love discoveries like that!  the process, the wool, the desire to create all led me there – i was one of the contributing factors, but it was a group effort.

isla wearing the completed hood on a cold winter day
isla wearing the completed hood on a cold winter day

at first i thought that my hats might appeal to cute-crazed mommies with little living dolls to dress (ahem, like me), but to my great delight & surprise, i got orders for adult sizes!  and that’s when the fairy world was revealed to me.  an international world where lovely people gather, dress up in creative, beautiful, whimsical clothing, and enjoy the magic and wonder revealed in our world.

since then i have uncovered something about myself, something that has been living in the depths of my character, lurking but never exposed, contained for fear that my softer side might be revealed… my girlie side.  it’s true, i tried my best to deny it in my youth – i wanted to be tough and atypical, but there it is… i love making beautiful, whimsical garments… and more so,  i want to wear them : ) now i get to go to fairy conventions and elf gatherings where i can fly free with this creative process and, bonus, zach (my hubby) can finally be accepted for the elf ranger he is!

fairy hat-1

ashley hat-1
visit my etsy store to see more!

wedding hood-1

these days i am overflowing with ideas of things i want to make and i am truly in my happy place.  who knew life would lead me in this direction?!  i am very thankful : )


ramblings of one tired mama

as a chronic maker, i can’t help but have my head and hands focussed on the next project.  i am just beginning to understand that it is at the essence of my being… it is something that builds and replenishes me, a core desire.  cool!  problem.  the wisdom of motherhood has only allowed me to understand this about myself because i have so much less time (and as if to prove this point, as i italicized ‘time’ my daughter just popped out of bed!) to create.  i’m really feeling the effects of running ragged after the chaotic whims of a 1.5 & 3 year old, working a day job, husband working nights, night after night of broken sleeps and not having time to focus on getting my creative energies out.  i’m really not whining (really?!) – i just wonder if it is possible to find a heathy balance in family, work & recreation with young ones?

it is important to think about this holistically.  it isn’t selfish to consider the needs of the mother (&/or father!) when raising crazy little people, no matter how much the martyr syndrom nags you otherwise.  if the mother isn’t healthy & happy, how can she fully attend to the needs of her children, let alone create an environment where the family can flourish?  so! it is critical that the mother set aside time to replenish and address her core needs, which will be different for everyone (and i now know mine to be creating).

point understood!  but, but, but… how?  i’m chronically sleep-deprived and my time is booked solid.  argh!  my naturopath told me of a study undertaken in a few communities on the other side of the globe where people experience far less stress-related diseases.  conclusion: they live in extended family units, eat from the land, and spend their evenings sitting around the table eating wonderful meals, drinking wine and yacking until the sun sets (my words, but same content!).  and i imagine that the task of raising kids is undertaken by all involved, too.  sigh… the way we do things over here is so wrong!  i don’t know about you, but i feel the pressure to be strong, independent, need-no-help-from-nobody, raise kids, work job, stay in perfect health, and not screw my kids along the way?!  it’s ridiculous… and frankly i’m falling apart trying to manage it all.

solutions?  i definitely want to change the way i live – i want to be in community, i want to eat food i grow, enjoy life at a slower pace, live with less, take deep breaths & be “in the moment”.  but while i work towards those ideals, i have to look for outlets in the hurricane of present day.  these are a few things i’m going to implement:

1. teach my kids how to play by themselves for an hour each day.

it’s true!  isla is 3 and she has trouble occupying herself without my intervention… i’m sure i just didn’t give her the opportunity to learn, maybe because she was the first.  juniper, who is 1.5, is already much more adept at playing solo for the odd moment & i’m hoping that by the time she’s a little older i will be able to say “play time!” and both the girls can occupy themselves without my direct involvement… maybe i could just knit while supervising!

2. get my girls to participate in my projects.

isla helping me felt

this is more of an investment plan… i know they already love to “help”, but i end up turning into a dragon protecting my gold, puffing smoke outta my nostrils.  this is because my intentions are wrong, my intention is to actually get something done!  what i plan on doing is changing my perspective to focus on them and not the project, so that they adopt the love of craft time and then, eventually, we can create together or work on our own projects together (for more then 5 seconds i mean).

3. take the work out of creating.

juniper just having fun – there is a lot for me to learn from her

for me this means when i fit in creative making time, i won’t spend that time doing it as work.  i currently run an etsy store with some of my creations and i love doing it; however, when i create for business rather than for pleasure i find myself stressing about how much time it’s taking, if it’s exactly what the customer wants, how much it will cost, etc.  i need the freedom to fill that small window of time with the fun of making for the sake of exploration.  to apply this in a different way, if your passion is, say, running don’t run to lose weight, run for the exhilaration!  restore the passion of whatever you do to fill your tank by rediscovering it like a 5 year old – with wonder & without expectation.

what is your core passion?  what do you do to feed it during busy times when it can get neglected?