new art in my home

Recently I acquired two new pieces of art. One of them is a work by Ruth Whiting I'd been admiring for a long while and my sweetheart purchased it as a surprise for our anniversary in November. It took a bit of wrangling as I was all set to purchase it myself and was hard to shake off. This a quick snapshot in the process of framing it. The birch frame turned out to be a bit too light in color to satisfy me, so I'm on the hunt for a more suitable one. Ruth will be having a Gainesville show in March which I'm sure I'll mention again closer to the opening.
The other piece was made by my brother, Colin Curry, as a Christmas gift to me. It's indicative of some of the work he's done before but unusal in its limited color palate: white black and the color of the birch panel peaking through the paint.


spindle tool

In tandem with returning to returning to the tangle sculpture, I'm revisiting my spindle drawings. The couple I've finished so far are quite pleasing so far, but the tool I've been using leaves quite a bit to be desired. This is the next gen, an acrylic whorl on a carbon fiber shaft. This piece turned out to be a bit too heavy for the kind of line I'm looking for, so I plan to drill out some of the mass in the center.



A couple of months ago, a beginning weaving workshop was offered through the local weavers' guild. It took place over the weekend and finally convinced me to dig out the little table loom I acquired years ago, but never worked out how to rewarp after the last existent warp disintegrated. My friend, Liz, joined me and over the weekend, we wove plain and twill samples, learned how to decide how much yarn is needed for a specific project and how to dress our looms to make a narrow bit of cloth. Sunday reached its end and I came home, but continued to weave into the night, watching the cloth grow quickly before me, and enjoying the created rhythm in throwing the shuttle, beating the threads and changing the shafts. I went to bed with the clack of wood and jangle of metal heddles in my mind.
I woke in the morning to the loom brilliantly lit by morning light, and continued weaving all morning. Then continued still later, when friends called me over to visit, taking the loom with me and worked there, chatting with them as they carried about on their own making. Soon enough the warp ended and I whipstitched the edge to ward off fraying and cut it loose. The length would wear well as a scarf if the grey wool used for weft didn't itch my neck quite so much. Instead I'll opt to make a messenger bag. Once I'm able, I'll redress the loom for a narrow strap and stitch it all together when I'm done.

Meanwhile, the Florida wool I was given last spring is still being processed one bathtub load at a time. The Hamilton flock from Williston is finished but the UF stock is only a quarter done. One five gallon bucket stuffed to the brim with dirty wool often takes two days to pick through and wash. Other fleece, especially those that have been coated don't take quite as much time, though it costs more and I'm thankful to those who were so generous to me. Fortunately other small tasks can be accomplished while the wool soaks in hot water, but it's a practiced juggle. Once finished with the washing, ideally I'd get my hands on a picker, a vicious looking tool to help fluff and filter out the remaining sand and begin the next stage of preparation. Little of the Florida will be used for spinning as it's not as soft and regular as I'd like (though some of it is quite sweet and I'll sort it out for spinning and perhaps weaving). But ultimately most of it will be used to felt with.


studio update

My current studio project involves taking apart and remaking the large tangle sculpture I completed earlier this year. It's had a few mishaps, one of which was being knocked over in in transit from one side of my studio to the other thereby shifting the sheets of acrylic against one another and incurring a number of scratches throughout the inner faces of all 24 pieces. I'll be polishing them out for an indefinite amount of time. This one scratch is halfway through the process; this project will be a test of endurance.
In case you are wondering how one might polish acrylic sheet perfectly smooth again, Novus plastic polish is helping me along.


silken kite

light, strong, lustrous,
it flies beautifully.

Erin Curry art- silk kiteErin Curry art- silk kiteErin Curry art silk kiteseen from behind

Erin Curry art- silk kite clothThe sailcloth is what became of my table fluff. Once I worked out the clothmaking process and shape, my friend and kitemaker, Tim Elverston guided me how to make it fly.

Being of the silken persuasion, it's incredibly lightweight and deceptively strong, despite the fragile appearance. Although the cloth is somewhat porous, it needs just a little wind for the sweetest flight. It's a bit like having a furry little wind beast at the other end of the line ready to play.
Erin Curry art- silk kite



at last.
Erin Curry spindle drawing framed
After hanging above our bed by binder clips for nearly a year, this work may have feared it was never getting a proper frame. I like bare paper very much for its tactility, and the sculptural objecthood of a sheet of paper seems much more accessible when not under glass. In addition, the I-wanna-touch-everything-in-museums part of me takes a perverse enjoyment in leaving art bare and ready for careful caresses. This week I finally caved, in part to see how it would change under glass and to explore how I might keep the feel of drawing-as-artifact.

Erin Curry spindle drawing framing desk shotOver the last couple of days I worked out how to float it on matboard using tabs and put in custom half-inch spacers between the work and the glass. Overall I'm very happy with the look, though part of me still wants to forgo the glass and the resulting glare. One of the other permutations I'd explore in the future is making a still deeper frame and including the little skein of wool made in the creation of this work on a shelf inside, maybe stitched in place to prevent it traveling around inside the frame.

Despite my initial obstinacy at the use of frames my mind is whirring with ways I could use them in future work, and fully integrate them into the concept from start to finish.


quick peek

at a table of fluff:


ghost tangle

Erin Curry art ghost tangleOne of the unexpected and beautiful moments in making these objects has been the discovery of ghost tangles.


miniature tangle

handspun cotton, graphite and acrylic sheet
3" tall


tangle boneyard

During the hours of sanding and polishing these edges, I mused over the absurdity of the task. My final goal in these pieces is tangle capture and collection, but the edges are where much of my time is invested. The investment is time well spent, details make or break a work and I'm finally happy with the ones on the right.
Erin Curry- Miniature Tangle progress, the edges Erin Curry- Miniature Tangle processThe small scale of this piece satisfies me, tiny spun threads handled with tweezers on the pages of a sketchbook make it feel precious and reminded me of mounting insects for collection for an entomology class in college, every leg in just the right position.

My sketchbook practice used to be quite rigorous and though this series of work doesn't lend itself to quite that type of careful record keeping and structural drawing, I find I am missing it. Assembling this piece on an open sketchbook felt appropriate, it is a drawing after all.

Below is the process boneyard:

Erin Curry- Miniature Tangle process the boneyard


miniature tangle in progress

A miniature tangle sculpture has been in the works. When finished, it will stand just three inches tall. Trimming and sanding the edges. Achieving the perfect polish finish on the edges of such tiny pieces proves to be a challenge.BeforeAfter.
On this scale those bubbles are, to say the least, a bane. I'm working on other solutions. Update forthcoming.

p.s. You would have not believed the state of the scroll saw table before I cleaned it up, Florida humidty is so hard on metal tools. A friend alerted me to a magic liquid, Evapo-Rust, which got rid of the rust crust quite easily.


magic seeds

At the beginning of this year I was gifted a few rare seeds.

They were planted and watered and fussed over.
They grew
and bloomed
and fruited.
I've waited
and waited
and waited.


cotton thread collection method

Erin Curry photograph of cotton threadOnce wound on to paper spools (or quills), the threads live in a jar. There are five occupants currently. How far they might reach if unrolled is unknown.


cotton spinning spider

My father recently noted I've become a spider, he might be right. Across the table from him, I am spinning a fine white line from cotton fluff.

Since spring, cotton has become one of my favorite fibers to spin. While at a handweaver's conference last March, I had the good fortune to meet an incredible spinner who specializes in spinning cotton. At every opportunity I sat at her booth, surrounded by mounds of the softest cotton roving, and watched mesmerized as she spun by turns on her spinning wheel and takli. Fluff turned to thread in long stretches, little slubs deftly smoothed out into fine lines as if by magic. The process from the outside is mysterious and the effect hypnotic. Joan, the spinner, wore an exquisite blouse made from cotton grown in her garden, hand spun and handwoven. She explained that while the spinning wheel was essential for speed, the takli was her preferred tool for spinning warp threads because they could be spun more finely and then plied for strength at the same thickness as a weft thread spun (and used as a single) on a wheel. In just the span of a couple short days, I had become the student of a Spider.
Erin Curry photo of takli, lapbowl and cottonFor months since, I've carried this little spindle, a lap bowl, and cotton fluff everywhere. When the opportunity arises, I sit and draw a fine fine thread from the tips of my fingers on one hand as the other flicks the spindle to spin. It stretches up and out as far as I can reach before I twist it onto the shaft of the spindle. Whenever visiting friends, watching movies, waiting for a table at dinner, or riding in the car it comes out and spins. My teacher, Joan, warned me simply to not to use it at auctions, as she inadvertently agreed to purchase a cow once. The takli sat in silence for a time after I managed to break it, but I've since replaced it and have been spinning again.

Months after that first little flick of the spindle, I've spun just a couple of ounces of tiny thread which I'll ply together for warping my own loom someday.

Erin Curry photo of hand spun cotton thread



Erin Curry art- studio wallThe summer is swiftly passing, tiny breaths of cool air waft through the veil of the seasons as Fall peeks out and prepares for Act III.

There is much to show and say, but from midst of it I am having trouble giving it substance here. Here's a studio snippet taken just before rearranging the wall to make space for the new.

There's a project in the works, you'll soon see.



Hot, muggy mornings are often relieved by the rains which usher in ever muggier afternoons. If we were less substantial beings, we might swim through the air along our streets as we travelled between the bubbled cold of buildings. We'd sink as we entered the threshold and rise again as we left. The crickets accompany us with their lament in the meanwhile; long, slow songs that buzz in our ears as we sit in the heat of the afternoon, our eyes closed in the pretense of sweaty sleep.

There is relief to be found in the bodies of water where we gather. Here we float in the profound blue and enjoy the fruits of summer.

pool, niecessprings

yes that blueCamera lust officially satiated.


silvered mask

Functional, beautiful tools should not be underestimated. Particularly those one might wear for an extended period of time. My respirator mask for example:
Erin Curry's silverleafed respirator maskErin Curry's silverleafed respirator mask-detailPrimed and silver leafed. Hopefully it will tarnish a little with use and age, but if it doesn't, a layer of paint to relax the shininess should do the trick.

Idea shamelessly stolen from my brother, his has gold leaf.

Speaking of beautiful tools, a dust protection accessory of a different sort and origin was made recently by one of my good friends see it here.


mulberry experiment

A recent experiment between a friend and me:

Late June.
She a botanist, me a fiberist,
discovered a plant,
the paper mulberry,
or if you prefer Broussonetia papyrifera,
grows here as an invasive exotic.

So we relieve a local park of an unwanted pest plant
brought it home
stripped the bark and soaked it in water for two weeks to let it ret, a stinky rotting process even after multiple rinses throughout,
[I'm skipping the bubbly mess picture]
mixed it around
removed some of the outer bark pieces,and pulled it through a screen
to make paper.
It's quite lovely.


A wish to hear the thoughts of the person who invented this process while they were developing came to me as we made this.

The harvest portion of the experiment was a little itchy when handling new growth, it didn't last long once we rinsed our arms, but be forewarned.

In the future separate the outer bark and the inner bast fibers sooner, perhaps a week in, so they won't be intertangled.

Some of the dry bark coils were held back to develop material studies later. Plaiting and cording the unretted bark and retting some for a shorter time might result in a longer fiber for spinning string.

Wiki mentions paper mulberry is used to make tapa cloth all over the Pacific Islands. Add an additional process to the experiment list.

also posted:
by Liz the botanist, here (Part 1), here (mid-ret notes) and here (Part 2)

related to:
experiments with nettle posted here by Susan Kruse

top four images taken by Liz Martin


lines collide


Cedar Key again. Fishing line and tackle entangled just above a popular fishing spot.

One of my favorite signs read:
Keep our waterways tangle free,
Recycle your lines responsibly.

Those dangerous tangles captured my mind's eye and the image of them floating down in the depths has stayed with me.



Erin Curry pola of ghost houseCedar Key, FL

This past weekend we visited the coast with some family. While archeological evidence suggests human occupation of Cedar Key as far back as 500 B.C, between hurricanes and isolation, it seems to hover between here and gone. This ghost house sat abandoned to the currents just outside the one we stayed in onshore. We fished facing it, a constant reminder of our tidal presence here.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...