Every Blog Has a Beginning...

And this is definitely IT. I've started my blog. I've started my weblife. And now you're reading it. 

Hello.

I'm an artist who is usually in Asheville, North Carolina, but actually I'm writing from a little town called Argenton-Chateau in France. I've been here for almost two weeks now, and will continue to call it home for the next month. It's a beautiful place, very idyllic. Abundant with pastoral scenes. How did I end up here? My boyfriend, Jason, is an amazing artist – check out his website is here, I strongly suggest it– and occasionally studies here during the summer, three months at a time with a school called Studio Escalier. I decided to join him for half of that time. We met up in Paris, staying with some of his friends for a few days. After that we joined the Belgians in Antwerp and had a relaxing time finding as many Rubens paintings as possible. Now we're back in Argenton-Chateau and he's back in class. I decided this would be my own little residency. I'm dedicating about half of my time during this extended vacation to creating new pieces of art. 

 Distant view of Argenton-Chateau, taken with my iPhone from a walk through the neighboring vineyard and apple orchards.

Distant view of Argenton-Chateau, taken with my iPhone from a walk through the neighboring vineyard and apple orchards.

Before I left for Europe, I was given an incredible opportunity to assist an artist I've been inspired by for a few years now at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts for her first workshop. Jo Hamilton, a Portland-based artist, paints with her yarn and crochet hook. During the week workshop, Jo taught a small group of eager crocheters to see beyond the need for a pattern and to start approaching our fiber work in the mindset more like a painter. We all brought with us images of subjects to crochet, from landscapes and portraits to the abstract. For me, the experience was beyond learning only how to crochet new forms. As one example of many, I learned how to think about color choices, especially in blending yarns to get desired effects. 

 My finished project during the week at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts – a crocheted flower in a style similar to Jo Hamilton's.

My finished project during the week at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts – a crocheted flower in a style similar to Jo Hamilton's.

Most importantly, the workshop at Arrowmont taught me how to hold onto the idea of doing what you love because you're simply passionate about it. Over the past six months or so I have been in the "just graduated and don't know which direction to take" kind of slump. I arrived at Arrowmont hoping that the week would help me generate ideas for crocheting fine art. I was quickly ecstatic to be surrounded with inspiring people of all ages being so creative and incredibly supportive! It revived my need to make and (dare I say) my faith in myself as an artist. 

So here I am in Argenton-Chateau. During my first week, I mainly started exploring the town and see the amazing views and was really attentive to the flora of this region. I am especially intrigued by how many ferns and wildflowers seem to grow from within the old concrete and stone walls. It's not something you see all the time in the United States. I spent a couple of days sketching out some ideas and really just trying to sift my way down to the one idea I'm passionate about to start me off. After all, I only have a limited time working on these ideas while I'm still in France.

 The panoramic view from our living room window in Argenton-Chateau. Everyone grows a vegetable garden! You can see the river behind the farther gardens as well.

The panoramic view from our living room window in Argenton-Chateau. Everyone grows a vegetable garden! You can see the river behind the farther gardens as well.

I want to recreate the walls of flowers and ferns. Moss and lichen. Concrete and stone. I want it to feel like home. Like it's been around for decades. I want you to wear it. I've gone through a few ideas about how to make them wearable, and although the plans may change, a loose cowl or shawl around the neck and shoulders is what I'm headed for right now. Flowing sculpturally from this article will be the crocheted flora that I've been inspired to make. Below you can see the bits of fern I've made thus far. Let me know what you think!

 Unfinished fern (similar to maidenhair ferns) that I've started in France.

Unfinished fern (similar to maidenhair ferns) that I've started in France.