Monday, July 25, 2011
MEET AUDRIE where color and light combine!
Audrie wears the Raj Vest
I first met Audrie in Santa Fe where she had come to a knitting retreat organized by friends of mine. There, for the first time, I came to see her tenacious creativity at work. Then, she came to last year's Knitting Under a Mango Moon retreat in Petosky, Michighan (you can join us this year, too!) and created the lovely vest from my design above. Learn all about Audrie in her own words here:
Hi, my name is Audrie, and I'm a Knitaholic. It wasn't always this way; I started out innocently enough, having learned to knit and crochet at the age of 6 or 7. I went the usual route, picking a pattern, choosing the yarn, and proceeding according to the pattern. Eventually, I started tweaking the patterns and often used yarns not necessarily recommended. I usually had only 1 or, at most, 2 projects going at once.
Then, in the early 90s, I took a class in glass beadmaking. I instantly fell in love with working at the torch. I find the flame very hypnotic and mesmerizing. Since I was at a stage in my life where I needed instant gratification, the glass took over and the fiber work came to a standstill. I became a Glass Beadmaker, selling my beads at bead shows around the country.
Fast forward 10 years. My husband and I started spending our winters in Tucson, and I was unable to continue my glass work. So, looking for another outlet for my creativity, I returned to Knitting and Crochet, having become hooked (pun intended) on all the beautiful new yarns available. Then I discovered Jane and FreeRange, Evocative knitting, and I was off and running. Jane's ideas and designs gave me the tools to take my fiber work from a craft to an art.
I find my inspiration everywhere, but mostly in Nature, which surprises me, because earlier in my life I didn't pay that much attention to the colors around me. Perhaps that's due to the fact that I always lived in or near a big city, and was only exposed to color part of the year. Now in Tucson, the sun shines almost every day, and there's color everywhere. Contrary to popular belief, the desert is not all brown and barren.
Everything I do is fueled by color. My sense of color is usually the first thing people comment on, whether fiber or glass. This, of course, can get me into trouble; when I go into a yarn shop or glass supplier, I'm seduced by the riot of colors, and always go out having bought much more than I planned on, even though I may have no idea what they will be used for. The advantage of having a big stash is that I can usually pull together all or most of the yarns needed for a new project.
I now usually have anywhere from 2 to 5 projects going at once, and countless groupings of yarns in baskets waiting for them to tell me what they want to be. If I become stymied by something I'm working on, I just put it down for a while, and go on to something else.
2 1/2 years ago, we moved to Tucson permanently, and after a year or so, my husband built a glass studio for me, so I'm back to working glass. But now I'm dividing my time between fiber and glass. I will never give up the fiber again.
Right now, I'm recovering from a nasty bout of pneumonia, so glass work is out of the question. But since I can't do much else, I can knit all day if I want. What more could a Knitaholic ask for?
Audrie's FROND from the Leaf Lights guide
JANE: Audrie, I’ve always seen you as being a perfectionist, despite an explorative and free-range spirit, who often has a clear idea of how you would like your finished piece to look and won’t stop until it pleases you. Would you say this is true and, if so, did this easier or more difficult to grasp the spirit of free-range knitting?
AUDRIE: I would have to say that it's probably true. I'm also a Libra, which gets in the way, too. When I do anything with Feather& Fan, I have to line them up. But I've been able to overcome some of my Libra traits; I don't have to have everything symmetrical. As a matter of fact, I've come to prefer asymmetry and I love things to look organic, but there has to be a balance. And I do usually have a definite look in mind when I start a project, but if the yarns take me in a different direction, I'll go along and see where it goes. I can always go back and redo parts that don't please me, but I try not to do that too much. As for whether the spirit of free-range is easier or more difficult due to my perfectionism, probably neither.
JANE: Audrie, you are a glass artist as well as a knitting wonder and sometimes I can see an almost glass-like luminescence from your pieces. Do you think that one art can influence the other?
AUDRIE: Definitely. At least, the knitting often influences the glass. When I finish a knit piece, it often inspires me to do a glass bead (or set o beads) in the same colors, which can result in a whole new style or series of beads. And when a piece needs a shawl pin, that starts me thinking about beads that would fit. But I don't think that the glass work influences my fiber work in any obvious way.
JANE: Was your early knitting very different from what you currently create or were you always creative with knitting?
AUDRIE: My early knitting was totally different from what I'm doing now; just following a pattern. The only creative part was choosing the colors. It wasn't until I was a stay-at-home Mom that I started experimenting with my own designs, and that was mostly in crochet. I used to make Smiley Face Vests for the kids, and did a number of pillows, and an afghan or 2. But nothing I did then, or even when I first came back to fiber work, approaches the level of what I'm doing now. I would never have dreamed of just casting on and seeing where the yarns take me. Or even would have thought of yarn as an art medium, but that's definitely what it is. And for that, I thank you, Jane. If I hadn't come across your group on Ravelry, and discovered FreeRange knitting, I would probably still be only knitting from patterns.
JANE: Audrie, you know I’m going to ask you this: do you wear your wonders??
AUDRIE: If I still lived in the Chicago area, even part time, I would be wearing them all the time. But living in Tucson is a different story. It's not only the weather (it's been in the triple digits most of June and July), it's the lifestyle. I wear my wraps when I go to many of the Dance and Music performances put on by UAPresents, and have worn my vests here and there, but otherwise, not. When the person you're with, and everyone else around you is wearing cutoff jeans or shorts, tees, and sandals, it doesn't seem to make much sense. Even at the fanciest restaurants, everyone is dressed "TucsonCasual". I would probably wear my shawls anyway, in air-conditioned places, but these days the AC is never that cold.
JANE: Tell us a little about your background
AUDRIE: I've been involved in Arts and Crafts all my life; took art and dance classes from age 7 on. After graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I worked as a designer in the Chicago Fashion Industry until I stayed home to raise my daughter and son. While they were young, I taught Macrame, Knitting, and Crochet at a local community center, as well as selling my creations at Craft Fairs. I also taught exercise and dance classes at the community center, and later demonstrated housewares products at stores like Crate & Barrel and at the annual Housewares Shows.
My husband and I have been married for over 50 years, and, whether it's glass or fiber work, he's my biggest supporter. He's built display units for shows, and storage units for my yarn as well as my glass. And he's always showing off my work to visitors.
Learn more about Audrie here: http://audriew.blogspot.com/