It is that Stash, yarn, fabric, beads and maybe a few other things as well have much deeper meaning than simply having materials around for a project. It is like a bountiful garden that nourishes and surrounds you, holds you in its presence and contributes to your well being. Why else would these items keep finding their way to us and asking to stay? Why else would would we protect and defend the "Stash" even when we can't explain it.
I would love to hear from you regarding why you have collected yarn, fabric or beads and kept them around you. How do you interact with them and conversely, how do they interact with you? Does your "Stash" give you directions, call out to you, inspire creation, or surround you in its beauty? Does it touch you with its colors, texture, size, possibilities? Do you use it to create, not just the creation of a project, but as part of your decorating theme?
When I sit in the forest and paint, the trees will speak to me, tell me about life, love, family, growth, and well being. Similarly, my yarn, fabric and beads speak of their colors and what those colors bring to me or will bring to others in terms of joy and healing. I have always had a creative impulse and it has taken many forms, but it comes down to the eye appeal, the color, what it can be and who it will be for. Over time, my yarn does not forget. My son suggested that after a recent illness that I could share or sell or let go of some of my yarn. My face said it all, and he followed that with, "Well, I guess that won't be happening." I decided to at least give the thought some consideration. I went to the studio and opened up some packages of yarn, every skein told me for whom it was intended and what it was meant to be. Each one spoke loudly and clearly of the thought that accompanied its acquisition - for none had been purchased just to have.
So please, share with me your thoughts, ideas, dreams, plans and considerations of why you have a "Stash."
With backgrounds in Sociology and Anthropology, I consider that culture, community, aesthetics, health, wealth, emotional connectedness, well being, and many more aspects come into play as we collect "Stash" around us.
Each of the hats created by Jo Eaton are inspired by the fibers that shape them. Some fibers request a particular form; for example: lupines, roses, or tulips. Other fibers ask to stand alone in simple caps.
It is the beautiful fibers, handspun or collected by Jo, that result in the wide variety of hats
that make up the No Repeats Fiberwork’s selections.
The hats are crocheted in the tradition of her family, learned from her mother and aunt, Barbara Richards and Jeanette Speed.
Jo delights in creating with the fibers that beautifully lend themselves to being worked with a crochet hook, one stand at a time, drawn through the air to create hats of beauty and warmth.
Jo Eaton, Artist Statement:
Crocheting allows a freedom of design that I find nowhere else. I start with a single thread and create a human version of a spider’s web. Just like the spider, I take the hook and a single strand of fiber and make hats (sometimes scarves, pins, or socks) that are a delight to both sight and touch. The structure of crochet allows me to do free form design within the structure of the hat and also in flowing patterns embellished in the same or contrasting colors on the hat.
Beautiful yarns allow me to celebrate the colors of my life in Maine in hats that delight, entertain and warm the people that wear them. Our winters are long and gray; my intent is to bring smiles to peoples faces and gardens to the streets. It is really fun to be in one of the communities where people have really embraced my hats and you see the bright colored flowers walking down the street in a snowstorm (this happened a couple of days ago as I was telling my hairdresser about the hats and a grey chenille with yellow tulips and green leaves walked past her window).
I love the yarns as much as making the hats and consider finding what I need to work with a discovery process. I go to mills, yarn shops, shop online, and go to the Common Ground Fair in Maine each year that is hosted by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Assoc. They have a whole forty by one-hundred foot tent dedicated to just raw fleece. My favorite fleeces come from Joe and Judy Miller who imported Australian sheep of a variety of lustrous colors. I love their subtle grays, creams, and light browns. Another fleece that I favored came from a sheep that used to be at Woodstock Farm in Hampden, Maine, his name was Robert. He had a very long silky fleece that spun easily and created a pure white yarn with a luscious soft sheen that also took dyes beautifully.
Fiber History: I sold crocheted floppy hippy hats and matching shoulder bags in Rockland, Maine in the early 1970’s and have sold hats at small craft shows and a limited number of shops since then.
I come from a long line of what we now call fiber artists or traditional crafters. I have slept under family quilts most of my life. Throughout time, my family has sewn, crocheted, knit, and quilted their clothing and bedding. My paternal grandmother was exceptionally quick and would sit at the table reading and knit socks for the family with her hands under the table out of her sight. It was this story that my father would repeat that inspired me to learn to crochet in the dark. I lived thirty-seven miles from the nearest city and found that travel time to be a waste when I had so many ideas in my head. My husband would drive and I would work on my projects, day or night. I learned to crochet by feel and am able to do it with only occasional visual checks of my work – this of course applies to my simpler designs, while more detailed designs require close attention. When I am at shows I am always crocheting, after talking with me for few minutes people realize I am working as I speak with them. They are always surprised. This matter-of-fact employment of my skill is similar to what you find with many knitters from Ireland who would knit as they went to the fields to collect the cattle or on their walks to the village for supplies or church services.
My maternal grandmother sewed during the depression recycling continuously and creating her own patterns. My mother, on the other hand, is an exacting seamstress, quilter, knitter following complicated patterns. I have seen her rip out the nearly completed back of a fisherman sweater for an nearly invisible mistake near the hem— that no one else would ever notice-- she wants it perfect and if it isn’t, well—start over. I on the other hand often find that a bump in my work is something to be repeated or explored in order to add new definition to my crocheting.
Sometimes I see the finished hat ahead of time, or have the desire to create a hat with a specific flower type. Other times I create the base hat getting the feel for the yarn and decide the final direction as I am working. I often start out with one idea but allow the yarn to take me where it wishes to go. I have found that if I try to impose myself on the direction of the yarn, I often end up ripping back several times and never getting a suitable product. Since my hats are called No Repeats, because that’s what they are, and I want to showcase the yarns in the best possible manner, I allow the yarn to lead the design process. I may start to make a cap and find that the material is better suited to a beret or a brim hat. Once I have a feel for how a particular yarn works, I do a whole series using that particular yarn. When I do a series run it can be a particular color flow, last November I did a major series in all red tones producing about fifty hats in that group. Other times I will do a flower series producing roses, iris, tulips, and gardens in a variety of fibers.
I love nature, flowers, gardens, lakes, rivers, and colors of Maine. This is reflected in my hats that range from simple caps to the flower hats to detailed mountain or island landscapes. I only made hats from commercial yarns until the early nineties when a group of women formed a spinning group in north/central Maine in Piscataquis County. I purchased their yarns and immediately upgraded the design and pricing of my hats. Within a year, I began dying and spinning some of my own yarn. I also work with multiple strands of fiber to get specific effects.