Monday, May 21, 2012

Another piece of the rug: herding

Before life was on hold for a week or so after Steve's biking accident, I had another lovely adventure in the name of research.  And another day of sharing the canyon with friends.

Use those canyon walls to make the herding a little easier.

This scarecrow...sometimes sprayed with cheap cologne in hopes of scaring not crows but coyotes, mountain lions, bear away from the corral.

This little guy born yesterday needs to learn how to suckle...Mom needs a lesson too.

He is too young to get up the canyon on his own so he goes in a sling on the herders shoulder.

And they're off!

Some favorite snacks along the way...too much can make a sheep's stomach bubble...not good. 

Almost at the top!

This sheep herder always knew where to catch a little shade.

Nothing can quite describe the beauty of a herd of sheep flowing through the canyon...reminds one of the joy that is to be had in life even after the trauma of a horrific accident.  We are lucky to live in Chinle and to share in the life is healing.

Friday, May 4, 2012

In the Name of Research: Cleaning the Wool

Yes, I could be cleaning up that manuscript or cleaning the house but cleaning the wool we sheared last week only happens once a year so off I go.

An old bed spring makes for a simple tool to shake out the bits of dirt and cactus and sticks.  Pretty fundamental.

This part shouldn't be that difficult and still I am sure I am not getting it right.

 But with 125 pounds of wool, you'd think I might catch on after a while.

Must get it all done and off to Gallup today since the price is up from 15 cents/lb to 50 cents/lb.  Just gas money.
The buyers will wash the wool but some of us can't wait for the next step:  carding.

One generation teaches the next...the way it has always been done since Spider Woman gave the Dine people the gift of rug weaving.

Nali(grandma), fingers itching to get to the final projects, does some hand spinning.
  Meanwhile I am itching to get back to my loom.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Stuff I Collect: Wires

OK, I have already admitted to collecting "stuff.  I confess that I might be headed toward a house full of newspapers and cats along with other treasured items.

For example I have been fascinated with old wire since I lived in Malawi and saw what the children there could make out of scraps of wire and other found objects.  In fact I enjoy all found object art.  I have an affinity for anything that involves recycling, imagination and creativity.

Imagine my delight in finding that there are pieces of old wire everywhere I go out on the mesa behind my house.  I come back home everyday with handfuls.  I am sure that someday I will do something great with these scraps that come in all shapes and sizes and textures.  Or maybe just create a photo album of these unique shapes.

In the meantime they pile up in my garage(my husband got tired of the pile that grew but the day in the laundry room that doubles for craft room, sewing room and storage area for skis, tools ect.

These photos do not do my collection justice.  I am sure I have more or maybe my husband managed to toss some out?  You see I collect wood too but that is another story.  The Corona box?  All Steve's.

New delight when I found these works of found object art at the Dine community college student art show in Tsaille.  All wire!

And then this.  A photo of a Galimoto sent to me from the mom of a friend who taught my book Galimoto back in the 90s and had children make their own found object art.

Lovely when your books just keep coming back to you in so many gratifying ways.

And all those wires I am saving?  I am sure this summer I will make some garden sculptures and wind chimes.  The wire comes in handy for practical purposes too...hanging the humming bird feeder or hanging flower basket or training those vines in my garden.

And hey that little book about wires is still selling like hotcakes!  I lug my wire sculptures to schools around the country.