Monday, October 29, 2007

Crochet a Controversy

I'm back from New York. Too bad I was there on business. I didn't even get to go to Purl!


I don't talk much about my daylight hours, but I am one of two administrators managing a global investment banking practice. After I quit teaching art I fell into the Cube Farm and clawed my way up the proverbial corporate ladder. Currently I am the lone MFA in a sea of MBA's firm wide. It's actually kinda of funny...

Anyway, while toiling away in my NY office, unbeknownst to me, I (or rather this lovely example of crochetdom) became the center of heated controversy. Many of you sent me emails alerting me to my new found outlaw status.

My first reaction was, "Wow."

My almost instantaneous second reaction was, "I wonder why they didn't take notice of me sooner?"

You know folks, in a world where "different" or outside what is generally viewed as "the norm" is often despised or even feared, the reaction my little creation provoked from the author(s) of that blog is not surprising. In fact, there are many blogs out there who mirror What Not To Crochet's approach to blogging (I won't list them, but you know the blogs that I speak of).

Hey, who doesn't love a little vitriol and public humiliation as part of their daily media deluge?

Making fun of others makes us feel better about ourselves, right?

Uh, sure, I guess.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I've been an artist who has been showing her work to the public for many, many years. I am no stranger to criticism via print or otherwise. Nature of the beast, so to speak. I am also the first to admit that my work ain't for everybody. Nonetheless, I believe that there is plenty of room on the planet for a plethora of viewpoints and creative expressions. And anyway, negativity is such a drag people!

So Padawans, if I've got any advice for you as a result of my being WNTC-ed, it is as follows...

Make what you want.

Embrace what you love.

Ignore the rest!

Be fearless my friends for, truly, one person's trash really is another's treasure.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

LinoleumLand Updates

Lots of updates from LinoleumLand...

First, awards!

I received these very special honorable mentions eons ago and just forgot to post about them. Sorry girlies! I'm a sloth.

Rockin' Girl Blogger came from Samantha and...

Nice Matters Award came from Christina!

Thanks so much you two! Again, my profuse apologies for my brain blitz! Too much going on around here...

Second, Kool-Aid Q&A!

I received a plethora of questions about my L'Aid Dye-Fest. Here come the answers...

Angharad asks, "Which one was the blue??"

Berry Blue.

Deneen comments, "Isn't it so darn addictive?"

More so than I ever thought it would be. Really, I placed a HUGE order with KnitPicks for some nudie yarn (read - ready for dye) yesterday. Yeah, like I need more yarn.

Andy inquires, "Does it make a difference between unsweetened and sweetened?"

I've no idea. I used the unsweetened because that's what KnitPicks says to use in their tutorial.

Jean questions, "What yarn did you use?"

Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool in Natural and Cascade 220 in Ecru.

Miranda asks, "What happens when you wash the yarn?"

Water runs clear. Kool-Aid is kolorfast. How scary is that???

Miranda further inquires, "Would I be able to felt the stuff I make? or would the hot wash fade it?"

Now, I'm certainly far from expert here, but since the process is one of hot to boiling water to transfer the color into/onto the yarn, I doubt very much if it would fade while felting. I'd try it!

Thirdly, travel!

Just an FYI here. I will be in NYC from Sunday to Tuesday for work. Yuck. Anyway, I plan to do a little shoppin' and maybe even a bit of gallery hoppin' should time allow for a bit of goofin' off.

Happy Thursday kids!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kaleidoscope o' Kool-Aid

Okay, so I jumped on the bandwagon rather late, but who knew that dying yarn with Kool-Aid could be oh so satisfying?

Ahem, I know the answer to that question. Pretty much everyone but me.

I have an excuse for my Kool-Aid sloth, should you care to indulge me. What the hell, I share it with you anyway.

A long time ago, at a university not so far from here, there was a young lady who majored in cloth. And this young lady, not of the cloth, but rather in the cloth, was quite interested in learning all that she could about the drapery in which she was swathed. So, the lady took many a lesson until all the mysteries of the woolly and woven world were revealed. And the lady revelled in her new found knowledge, weaving and carding and painting warps, knitting, crocheting and printing with screens, sewing and spinning and dying strings!

So yeah, I learned my way around the dye pot, and though I loved playing and painting with dyes, I remember the prep involved. The toxicity of those powders. The mess. The space needed (of which I am sorely lacking that at the moment). At any rate, because of my dye-hard experiences from a LadyLinoleum past, I'm a bit of a purist, literally believing the Kool-Aid dye frenzy of the last few years blasphemous...

A girl can change her mind you know!

It just takes a persuasive friend...

Many, many packets of unsweetened L-aid...

And a sense of adventure!

Oh, and a hot soak in a tub...

Or two...

It was about this time that I began to kick the whole Kool-Aid thang up a notch.

What if I mixed a few packets of differing colors?

How about Lemon-Lime and Mango?

Or Grape and Black Cherry?

Or how about an over-dye of that weird blue flavor?

Top it off with a few double dips...

And I finished the day with a drying rack of full of fruity scented goodness!

Dare I say it?


Linoleum finally got L-Aid.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Saw That Dripped Blood...SCARF!

Ahhh, nothing like a bit of crocheted blood to get me in the holiday spirit! Direct from the Runway of the Wrongway, we have a very fashionable as well as functional example of Slasher Film Chic...

Oh yeah! The Saw That Dripped Blood...SCARF!

This was a quick crochet (at least until I got to the bloody portion of the program), made entirely from Cascade 220. The blood? Yeah, that took some time to accomplish as it is one continuous line of surface crochet. I rather like the results though.


And quite fetching on my crafty cohort, Jenna!

Best part? Yep, pattern is available on my sidebar if you'd like to give it slice! I know, bad joke. Whatever. Anyway, if you do decide to make one, I suggest a few severed fingers as an accompaniment.

Happy, Happy Halloween!

Copyright 2007 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Day at the Patch

Last Sunday I piloted the hubby's truck with friend Jenna and daughter Lena in tow in order to acquire a few Octoberish needful things...Pumpkins! Yes, we three lovers of the cucurbit traversed many a mile to partake in some orangy goodness at a location which I believe to be the pinnacle of pumpkindom. A few snapshots of our squashy surroundings...

I have been making this pumpkin pilgrimage since I was a wee Linoleum flanked by my parental units. Truth be told, I don't believe I've missed a year of this Autumnal ritual since. The offspring and I look forward to our annual trip to the patch with much anticipation. Yep, the teen who complains about literally everything, doesn't seem to mind indulging in such an activity with her "weird mom". That is, until she tires of the pumpkin retrieval process...

A break from the work flow is always a good idea. How about a stroll around Scarecrow Alley??? We may even spot Elvis...

Yeah, that always does the trick. Back to her ubercool teen self...

Really though, we had a great time and overcoming the teen exhaustion factor quite nicely. So needless to say, my home is now densely populated with pumpkin-age. It's just spooktacular!

Definitely my favorite time of the year...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Inner Crow

One of the tools from my creative arsenal that I rely heavily upon is symbolism. Symbolism is as varied a tool as it is versatile. Literally, anything can be symbolic of something. A color, a texture, a number, an inanimate object, a weather pattern, the list goes on and on! I used to own several dictionaries, if you will, of symbolic content. Unfortunately, since the cessation of my teaching career those particular tomes have gotten lost in the happenstance of life. Although nothing comes quite close to feel and weight of a book in one's hands, I've learned to adapt to the loss of my favorite references by exploring world wide web for symbology galore!

I don't know what provoked my latest journey into the world of symbols this Friday last, but I suddenly had the urge to explore the world of fauna and the wealth of collateral symbolism that world happens to embody. In particular I was drawn to the notion of animal as totem, which is a more personalized approach to animal symbolism. Here is a very nice definition for this phenomena.

After reading various explanations about the nature of animal totems, I began exploring the individual symbolism for each of the animals and was intrigued. So intrigued, in fact, that I spent the entire afternoon reading about each and every animal, mostly on this website. Yeah, yeah, slow day at the office. Whatever. Anyway, should you have any interest at all in this subject and you don't want to sift through virtual page after page of animalia, check out the abridged version here.

Anyhow, as I was exploring the array of feathered, fuzzed and scaly beings, certain creatures and their collateral symbolism began to resonate for me, nine of them to be exact. And all nine of them I have had a life long fascination with, I might add, and are presented below in no particular order.

First and foremost, the crow. Birdies, as some of you may know, are my most favoritest of pets for I am owned by nine such feathered friends. My buzzards are intelligent, loyal chatterboxes and I just love them!

At any rate, back to the crow. Keeper of knowledge, keenly observant, maker of mischief, sophisticated communicator, ebony thaumaturge. I believe crow walks with me at all times, my feminine side.

Second, buffalo. My entire life I've been drawn to all creatures bovine. I believe these animals are majestic and beautiful, intelligent and protective, at times unpredictable and dangerous. Buffalo is about balance, respect, acceptance, service and sacrifice. Last winter I had the privilege to walk amongst a small herd of buffalo at a relative's ranch in Northern California. It took my breath way to touch the coats of these beautiful creatures, watching them, watching me. Literally, I was awestruck by the experience and I shall never forget the eyes of those amazing beings, dark and full of depth. Reverence is the word that comes to mind when I think back on my encounter with the herd. I believe buffalo to be my other constant companion, my male side, for I have much to learn.

Third, the batty bat.

Bat wings are a recurring theme in my work.

Yet another animal with which I've had a life long fascination. Bat speaks to balance, identity, truth, wisdom and the ability to face fears and accept change. Bat is my Western totem.

Fourth, the chicken. Don't ask me why, but I just love these birds! Chickens are another set of creatures that inhabit a very special place in my pantheon of motifs.

Chickens are inquisitive by nature, place huge importance upon their personal space, have an uncanny ability to remove obstacles from their path, exhibit patience, are determined and require a certain amount of personal time or solace away from the hen house, so to speak. Chickens are also sensitive, empathic, yet high strung. A person with poultry as totem quite literally feels his or her way through life. My chicken resides above.

Fifth, the moth. Another thing with wings that has often flitted about the recesses of my gray matter.

A pair of knitted insect-like wings.

And their crocheted counterparts.

Moths symbolize the process of change, a magical transformative process that characterizes this creature's journey from chrysalis to flight. This being is also a symbol for great sensitivity and nurturing, optimism, opportunism and clairvoyance. Moth urges the release of negative influences and teaches the carrier of this totem how to discover the joy within. Moth flanks my Eastern side.

Sixth, the camel. For as long as I can remember I've held deep interest for anything concerning the Middle East and Egypt in particular. As one who has been a serious student of art history, I cannot ignore the role this region has played in the art historical lineage of the western world. In addition, I was fortunate enough to have inhabited this portion of globe for a year of my life. It was a profound experience that has had lasting effects on my consciousness. No animal, for me, symbolizes that landscape more than the camel.

Camel is resourceful and a master of survival, able to protect itself in the harshest of climes. Camel retains its clarity of senses despite distractions from outside influences and as such teaches the totem carrier to remain centered no matter the circumstances of a given situation. Although gentle when handled with care, Camel is prone to fits of rage when mistreated. Respect is a right and demanded when not given. As such, camel embodies a sense of honor, fair treatment and justice above all. Camel is powerful, strong, focused and determined, shoving its totem carrier into the darkness, demanding the use of inner resources to ensure survival, transform oneself and awaken to the transformation. Camel walks below my feet.

Seventh is parrot. Yes, I would be perfectly content to sport wings and feathers! However, lacking such plumage and appendages I instead surround myself with creatures who have been given these divine gifts.

My husband's "girlfriend", Drumstick.

Parrots are powerful magicians, invoking the properties of color and light. They are healers that symbolize positivity and are instrumental in healing the ravages of depression. Parrots also have the ability to teach totem carriers when to be silent and when to opine. These creatures ask us to notice the joy that surrounds us, live life to it's fullest and enjoy! Parrot occupies my north totem.

Eight is for octopus. No pun intended. This is an animal I have long revered. Agile, flexible, regenerative, the octopus possesses keen sight and is believed to be the most intelligent of all invertebrates. This eight tentacled wonder asks the totem holder to let go of his or her inefficiencies, stop trying so hard and focus upon fine tuning the skills that come naturally. Octopuses are masters of camouflage and can adapt to myriad environs because of this ability. This animal is a powerful totem to possess. I believe octopus embodies my southern totem.

Ninth is jellyfish and my jelly resides within.

Jelly is my power animal. This umbrella-like creature is the consummate survivor that has the ability to live in harmony with life's currents, teaching totem holders about nature's forces and flow. Some believe that jellies embody true spiritual knowledge within their transparent forms; balance is key.

Wow! It's crowded in here...

Just kidding!

Sort of.

So as you may have gleaned from my not so little post, I rather enjoyed this bit of research into my symbolic animal self. I relied heavily upon this site for much of my research. Although, if you find yourself similarly intrigued I encourage you to Google away! Needless to say, I've now a plethora of imagery that will accompany me as I devise new works to unleash upon my creative landscape and that, my friends, is a gift.

Kaw, kaw!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

WIP Around

Before I get into my WIP run, I wanted to let you know that I am going over apprentice apps now. So, if you sent me an email and you haven't heard from me yet, you will. Sit tight.

Okay, let's check out them thar WIPs!

So, I started weaving on my tri-loom this weekend and as is my way I began weaving with THE most difficult yarn I could have chosen to use. Yep, it's fuzzy and because of the fuzz factor, pulling the weft yarn across from one side to the other tends to be a tangly nightmare. As a result I ended up cutting my first weaving off of the loom, sighed heavily and went out to dinner with my husband and mother. Returning home, belly full and two glasses of wine happier, I was determined to try again WITH the same yarn. Hey, I'm persistent if nothing else!

This process was definitely better the second time around. I figured out that if I comb through the warp before weaving the weft, the tangle factor ceases to exist.

I'm little more than half way done at this point.

Next up, I'm trying my hand at embroidery!

Crewel embroidery to be exact.

Last Wednesday evening I took a crewel embroidery class at the Urban Craft Center and have been gittin' my thread on ever since! Really though, the class was illuminating. I learned a few tricks that have allowed me to work smarter and cleaner. Even stitches make me very happy!

There is also much knitting and crocheting going on, but I'll wait a bit to show you what's occupying my sticks and hooks.

Now on the publication front, I received my contributors copy the Crochet Today holiday issue. I've got two patterns in there: the Retro Reindeer Tree Skirt and the Stained Glass Afghan. The tree skirt and 'ghan look wonderful, which is good because making those two things simultaneously just about killed me. Aside from my pattern contributions, the magazine also a featured me in an article! And I don't come across as a complete dumb ass! I'm so excited!!


Anyway, also on the pubs front, Bag Style is now available! Yes, now you too can crochet market totes to your heart's content. Cool huh?

Lastly, but definitely not leastly, one of my peeps, who happens to be a weaver, sent me a pic of a weaving he created using my Jolly Roger Chart.

Round of applause for Steve's amazing handiwork! Love it when people share their versions of my patterns. Makes me very happy!

Happy Tuesday everyone!