tangled year

When this blog was begun over a year ago, I was moving into a new studio(house), trying to reorient myself in my art practice, and wanting to record and share my makings and thoughts with others. What was found through musing and making was a thread, or more precisely thread. From a tiny scribble on a bed drawn three years ago, blossomed a tiny mattress sprouting thread, a thread drawn round a bracelet, a thread unleashed from a bird's cry, Toru Okada's plaintive desire to unravel a tangled thread mirrors my own (see my sidebar), embedded thread, the crisscross caresses of powerline threads, and just now I am exploring the origins of thread by making some of my own. Spinning and untangling, I gather, will keep me busy for a while still.

In honor of the year of making and writing here and the community I've had the pleasure to meet, I'm giving away one little drop spindle's worth of hand spun wool thread. This is spun on the spindle I made with the wool of a sheep that lives locally. I find it a simple beautiful object, and as I consistently find myself wishing that others could touch the things I make, now seems the perfect opportunity to share. I'll choose at random one person who leaves a comment here between now and Friday July 4th. If you've never commented here before, please do, I'd love to hear what you think of my threads or the other work I've been making this year. Be sure to leave an email address if you don't link to a blog so I can reach you.


cicada emergence

They dug themselves out of the mountain ground by the hundreds, climbed high and split wide. Red-eyed crawled out of their own backs, soft, vulnerable and white, wings crumpled, to sit and darken and harden their final form black. Flew away to hum in a chorus of a hundred million tiny wooden bells chatter clacking love. Ground riddled with perfect holes, cast off skins and black bodies. Dogs and birds grew fat, as will the trees this and every seventeenth ring.



A week home from an amazing two week experience at Penland, my car is finally unpacked, my studio is almost in order again and I don't want to move a muscle. It's not the a contented happy exhaustion of three days ago, but a hot summer ick lethargy. I am school sick. I miss everyone's energy and creative thinking. I miss the community of people standing in line at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all of them with really amazing life stories and beliefs. A whole school of people living creative lives, people coming from the circus, heading to live in France, grew up in Africa, who make clothes on a whim, grow their own food, dance, make up sweet little songs for the children they care for PLUS they are all inspiring, supportive artists. I miss that and them. Soon I'll share what actually went on there, but today I am going to shuffle around a bit more.

zombie party costume 2008
so now you have seen me with a beard and as a zombie.
Anyone else see this outfit's strong resemblance to a spindle?

*About an hour after posting this pout I finally got to work and am moving happily again. I did have a special post in mind for today, but I'd suggest you check back here on Monday.



My thoughts on my work have become increasingly focused on the simplicity of materials. I have been dragging around that brown fleece for four years, I finally washed it and am spinning it. November found me plucking cotton. January I collected moss and bare polaroids of lines against the sky. April found me planting cotton and flax. May found me collecting more raw fleeces and a tiny bit of flax to spin. June found me collecting rocks in a North Carolina river and arranging them. Yesterday bits of wool were being needle felted while the cotton and flax bloomed. Is this slow art? Is this minimalism?


Erin Curry- cottonDriving up through the state of Georgia last November was to experience a different kind of economy. In western Georgia industrial agriculture holds royal court and Cotton is king. November is the end of cotton season, and between towns and patches of forest the fields are white. Tractors tear through them at high speed, leaving a wake of naked stalks. Mysteriously this process ends with cotton bales the size of freight cars patiently awaiting pick up. They prissily wear plastic cover proclaiming farmers names, while leaking their essence at the corners. White fluff litters both sides the highway all through the state. A small sliver of unharvested stalks beckon at the edge of the road, and I jump out to pluck bolls from them and fill my shirt. They have the smell of green pecan hulls, acrid and slightly sweet.

My dad used to pronouce "Oh lordy pick a bale of cotton" after a hard day landscaping another client's yard, and it's not till I get home with my meager cotton pickings that I look up the song sung by slaves and then by Leadbelly in 1945. ( I watched that video at least four times, with my mouth hanging open, it's beautiful: the video's color, his singing, playing a twelve string guitar, his educational spoken bit right at the beginning, there's joy and desperation and sadness and family running all through it.)Erin Curry- cotton boll pileThe bolls sat for weeks in a corner of my studio, the husks turning brown and exploding in white puffs on the floor. Pick them up and mining for seeds is the game. Each boll has three or four sections similar to an orange made up of tightly packed fibers huddled around as many as eight or more seeds. There are three parts used from the cotton plant: the inch long fibers that pull away from the seed fairly easily are used for spinning into cloth, the short fibers still attached to the seed are called linters, which are used for making paper and the seed itself is pressed for oil. Many cotton handspinners insist you must pick out the seeds and vegetable matter and card them on very fine carders (cat combs work well) lay little sections side by side and roll them around a pencil to make cotton punis. A few drop spindle users spin off the seed itself. The former method seems a little tedious and so I have been following the latter using a supported spindle I made from a wooden toy wheel and a dowel. Though this method is hard to get a perfectly even or thicker thread, the feel of the cotton pulling in tiny pop pop from the seed under my fingers is satisfying. Five of the seeds I have spun in this way are the ones growing in my garden now, the first bloomed yesterday a small cream hibiscus flower that today closed and blushed a shade of purple while tiny skeins of cotton thread await the next transformation.Erin Curry cotton skein


shining wilderness

May's four day wilderness hike in Pisgah National Forest led us nearly to Cold Mountain on a winding search for water. The litany of names becomes the rosary of forest trails.
Drive up up up to still cool air. Walk Ivestor Gap and Art Loeb entering Wilderness, a wrong turn on Shining Rock Gap leads a pristine campsite viewing Cold Mountain. A search for water, up Crawford Creek Gap, up Shining Rock Ledge, across the Narrows to Deep Gap and down to pump from a stream dropping tablets yellow then white, gulping after water turns from clear to yellow to clear again and walk walk rest walk miles back to camp. Gulp a spicy dinner of matar paneer and quinoa beneath a tarp under frigid pepples of hail. Back to Sam Knob trailed by icing blue flowers down to Flat Laurel Creek and a fire overseen by a charcoal dragon. Up Sam Knob to meet a brave little grey bird. Down Down Down Down again to a sea level home. Miss the hills and winding roads.

More images here.

managed to squeeze a few polas at Sam Knob too.


Growing Fiber Update

Transplanted these recently to better soil and they seem to be happier.

sown April 7th



Reminding myself to breathe.
Two polas were taken earlier this spring, one airy and one in the air.

Heading Friday to Penland for a two week textile class "Body Extensions" taught by Loren Schwerd, and then a month after that to Haystack for the basketmaking class with Hisako Sekijima who I learned about through Tim Johnson. Thank goodness for workstudy scholarships.
The Body Extension class may relate somewhat to my dresses, though I have beards, spindles, and Virginia Woolf running through my mind as well, so I think it may be time to explore the new.
Haystack will be something very new to me, as I look for a way to expand some of my recent and apparently secret experiments with fibers and make larger work again without a wood or metal shop at my disposal.

Looking to find a moment to write and draw a bit more to find focus, develop these snatches of ideas, and breathe before I go.

Another bit of news

My banner was printed in this summer's Artful Blogging. Pretty neat to see something I designed in a magazine sold in stores.


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