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Featured Artist: Wanda Platte of Fiber Curio and Sundries plus Fiber Giveaway!

by The SpinArtiste on June 2, 2013

Publisher’s Notes:  Phew!  Seems like I haven’t been here in ages!!  Thanks so much to Xiane Knight of Three Ravens for covering things here for me while I was away.  I loved the video, and yes, Xiane, I was a little embarrassed over the part at the end.  

WP - FO - Woven scarf in yellow and greyNow, onto talking about our Featured Artist this week:  Wanda Platte from Fiber Curio and Sundries.  Wanda has an interesting story that I believe you will enjoy.  Like me, she has a “regular” job but finds time to indulge her fiber passion in partnership with Ellen Sakornbut.  Let’s get right into it and find out about Wanda!

Spin Artiste (SA):  Wanda, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us.  Tell us how “it” started for you.

Wanda Platte (WP):  My fiber tale began like a lot of other peoples, not all. It took me a while to find what makes me whole. I ran through the gamut of different hobbies until I took a drop spindle class at our guild. I liked drop spindling, but it didn’t really do it for me. A year later I took a spinning class and rented one of the guild’s wheels, I was hooked. I think the day after the last class I started searching the internet looking at wheel reviews.

SA:  I know by day you are a state patrol dispatcher which I’m sure is not an easy job.  How do you manage such a demanding job and still have the emotional energy to create art?

WP - HSY - Orange RedsWP:  I look to other fiber artists: their books, their DVD’s, youtube videos and see what everyone is doing, and how their inspiration is translating into the fiber process. I make an honest assessment of my skills and for the really wild art yarn, I haven’t the skills yet, but I’m slowly getting there. I think what the strong point is for Ellen and I is coming up with the fiber and yarn blends. That is where our talent really shines. Just feeling the fiber flowing through my hands is enough to help me relax, take a deep breath and think, “Thank God I’m at home finally.”

SA:   You work with Ellen Sakornbut, another talented fiber artist.  How did you partnership begin and what has it been like collaborating with another artist?

W:  Ellen and I met at our local guild, the Northeast Iowa Weavers and Spinners, in Waterloo, Iowa. It was like we clicked and we’ve been going ever since. It was different at first collaborating, but I am going to chalk that up to being cynical and suspicious of new people. We have adjusted to each other very well. Ellen has more sewing capabilities than I do and she offers Nuno felted garments when she has time to make them. Along with very original crocheted and felted purses and what she calls card woven cowl, but it’s not card woven.

SA:  Would you consider yourself a classical or progressive fiber artist?

WP - HSY - natural brown with coinWP:  I guess I spin more of the traditional yarn, and am slowly going through books and searching youtube to learn more and more about art yarns. And I’ve taken the baby steps in those. I’ll continue trying new spinning techniques for when I’m totally relaxed. When I’m feeling stressed, I just make yarn and let the fiber flow through my hands and fingers and let everything slide away from my mind except for the feel.

SA:  That ties in with something you once stated: “We are always looking for ways to expand our own personal knowledge and versatility with fiber.” How have you seen this played out in your own life over the past few years?

WP - HSY - naturalWP:  I would say that since I started spinning, I’ve become a controlled hoarder, but that’s not really true either, I still buy when I don’t need to. Deb Robson and Carol Ekarius’ book “Fleece and Fiber Source book is really a bible and I have read and reread this book. All the information inspired me to try different fibers rather than those in my safety zone. I have several fleeces that I am slowly washing to weave with that are not “fine” by most definitions. Churro, Border Leicester, adult Mohair, Cheviot, Suffok/Hamp cross all appeal to me. Most of them spin quite easily and not everything has to be “next to the skin” soft. You do want durable without pilling, too.

SA:  I adore the colors and designs of your new scarf collection. What can you tell us about your spring scarf line?

WP - FO - Silk ScarfWP:  (Ellen jumped in here) Our accessories represent a wide variety of techniques. For warm weather we have silk, cotton, and bamboo scarves using fiber reactive and acid-fast dyes as well as fabric paints.  I guess I think of these as play opportunities for me and recognize how much I identify with color movement. Most are abstract, but I keep working on painting techniques and am inspired by natural subjects.

SA:  Purchasing your wool as local as possible is a priority of yours. What have you found to be the benefits of buying your wool locally?

WP - HSY - Light blue close upWP  The benefits are numerous, not only do we get to know the local shepherds better, but sometimes I even get to help shear! The benefits are obvious: most of the money we use to purchase stays local. The shepherds have to pay for the vet, hay and feed, machinery, the farm supply store, the grocery and clothing stores. We, by choosing to buy local, keep stimulating our economy and helping to foster jobs although not on a grand scale. If everyone were to be conscious of where the products they are consuming were manufactured and by local instead, imagine what a great difference this would make to our economy. By us buying local it has made me more personally aware that individuals can make a difference.

SA:  What can you tell us about your wheel?

WP - HSY - Autumn colors 2WP  I have a Majacraft Rose. I love my wheel. It’s portable. It’s easy to adjust to get what I want, but I’ve also had it for eight years. We’re good friends now and most of the time we’re nice to each other. I have an old wheel from the mid 1800s that came from Wales, it works and I had extra bobbins made for it. I kept the black leather belt on it. That belonged to someone Grandpa. I like that. I just purchased the Ashford Country Spinner 2. We’re in the getting to know you stage. At the moment we’re more often disagreeing with each other as we become friends and discuss with each other why she should do this when I tell her to do that and she laughs at me. I have not named any of my wheels.

SA:  Tell us about your studio; what is one thing you dream of adding to your studio space?

WP - WIP - Triangle LoomWP  My studio? Well, it’s in the kitchen most of the time. I have two spare rooms that I have stash in. This last winter my husband, Jim, asked me if I needed my own building with running water and the whole shebang. I thought he was joking and told him no. Windows, lots and lots of windows would be what I want the most.

SA:   When creating roving or yarn, where would you say you pull from for most of your inspiration?

WP - FO - Nuno felted scarf in red and blackWP:  Sensations. Creating a yarn or roving is very personal to me, whether it is from fine, medium or course wool. The colors come from nature, there are so many color combinations out there and, of course, not all work. Sometimes I will wet down some roving and just splash color on before nuking in the microwave, that is so much fun doing that. Just grab dyes and see what happens, I am smart enough now to write down what’s thrown on, just in case it works.

SA:  You have said you are not an expert in knitting; is knitting something you are interested in conquering, one of these days? And what would you say you are an expert at, when it comes to fiber?

WP  I love knitting socks, cowls, hats and so on. I have done three lace shawls and each and every one of those shawls were beautiful when finished, but agony to knit. Knit five rows rip back three, put in life lines, it makes me want to pull my hair out. There was a sweater workshop at one of our LYS that I would have loved to taken, but due to my work hours I was unable to attend. It was making a sweater without a pattern how to personalize and make that sweater yours. Maybe some day I’ll make the plunge, but I think I want to spin up all my own yarn too, because it’s going to be fun and bright. I’m not sure that I’m an expert at anything, maybe a jack of all trades and master of none. As every day there is something new out there to learn!

SA:  Oh, that lace knitting.  I have a love/hate relationship there.  And, I have learned such patience from lace knitting…Which of your pieces would you say you’re most proud of?

WP - FO - Triangle shawl in pale colorsWP: I have made two shawls on a tri-loom from Hillcreek Fiber Studio. The first one is probably my favorite. It’s all a blend of white alpaca, merino and silk. Some of it was naturally dyed at Carol Leigh’s studio: a beautiful Saxon blue that was then over dyed in cochineal for a lovely pinkish lavender and then another section of Saxon blue. I blended the white with white firestar and I’m thinking some angora rabbit, then I spun everything myself. When I wove this on the loom I had some La Boheme “glacial mist”, that I carried along with the colored sections to add some glitter and the fringe is 12 inches long. It’s beautiful and really when you put it on and spin around in it, it wraps around you and no matter who you are you can feel light hearted and sexy. If I were to be honest, I would like to meet my husband at the door sometime, with just the shawl on and nothing else and then fold us both into it.

SA:  Lastly, tell us something a little more personal:  What is your favorite Broadway musical?

“Cats”:  beautiful, funny, sad, uplifting

WP - HSY - grey with fiberSA:  Great choice!  And, I’ve rarely known a fiber person that didn’t also like cats…Thank you so much Wanda!! And, dear readers, Wanda has a fantastic giveaway for one of you…I mean, this is a great one…A ONE POUND BOX OF FIBER SAMPLES.  Yeah, that’s right, a whole pound!!  To enter for this giveaway, you must leave a comment below on this post by next Sunday, June 9th at 5:00 PM.  Please let us know what your fibery goodness plans for the summer are (if you need any ideas, see below).  Additional entries for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Just leave a comment letting us know that you did.  Best of luck to everyone in advance!

Kunstnart sweaterBefore I cut you loose, I have a little catch up to do with y’all.  For starters, I owe giveaway winners for the awesome giveaways from Vithard Villmusen.  The first place winner for the 30 minute knitting therapy lesson with Vithard is Robyn, the second and third place winners for the Kunstnart Knitting Pattern is Helen H. and Lisa Renee — congratulations to all!  I will be in touch to get you your items.  Thanks to everyone for their participation and support.

detail.A Skein of Geese. wooldancerSecondly, I want to draw your attention to some really exciting news.  If you haven’t already heard, Wooldancer aka Michelle Snowdon is coming to the US this summer and there are three wonderful venues to take classes from her:  Yarnival (Placeville, CA); Madison Wool (Madison, CT); and with the SWAY Guild (Sarasota, FL).  In the next couple of weeks, we are going to be hearing more about Michelle’s US tour, but for now, if you have a shot at catching her at any of these venues, registrations are being accepted.  I know it will be hot, but I’m heading down to catch the class in Sarasota in August.  Hope to see you there!

spinquest2012-237x300Also, I wanted to put it out there that Melissa Yoder Ricks of Wild Hare Fiber Studio, Christiane Knight of Three Ravens and myself will be at it again this year at Spin Quest in Front Royal, VA on August 24th.  We have a special beginner’s program so if you are nervous about coming to an all day spinning event and worried that you might not be able to keep up, we’ve got a great program for you.  Go here to get to the registration page.  So, if your summer calendar permits a relaxing day of learning and creative spinning exercises in the lovely (air conditioned) Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Council with cool vendors, come check us out!

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