Spin Art is here for the holidays

Jacey (second from the left) with her family.

Stacks from Spin Art: Mastering the Craft of Spinning Textured Yarns.

Tex Ritter from Spin Art: Mastering the Craft of Spinning Textured Yarns.

The evolution of traditions 

A frequent contributor to Spin-Off and SOAR mentor, Jacey Boggs has made a name for herself with her analytical, thoughtful approach to making textured yarns that are both fun and functional. Her first book, Spin Art: Mastering the Craft of Spinning Textured Yarns, has just been released, so we invited her to share her thoughts about the book and the holiday season.

Jacey Boggs: As this holiday season is upon us, it's gotten me thinking about traditions. I'm thirty-six years old this year and have three amazingly creative children. We are a family that loves this time of year. We have our own traditions that begin on Thanksgiving when we get out the tree and load it with mostly handmade ornaments. Then we start making our handmade gifts for all our friends—we've done tiny woven paper baskets, rustic baked bread, even tiny finger puppets made from clay. We plan and create a family painting that we hang in the entry way so that everyone that visits can feel the joy of this chilly season. It's a rich house full of cozy traditions. However, the traditions that we warm ourselves by are not the same as the ones that kept me toasty as a kid. They're new, but not really. Just like you've probably done, my partner and I took little bits of what we loved about our childhood holidays and created our own holiday rituals. My kids will do the same, I'm sure.

This holiday these thoughts about traditions hold a special significance for me because my first book, Spin Art: Mastering the Craft of Spinning Textured Yarns, has just been released. It's brimming with gorgeous photos of colorful, textured yarn and filled with explicit how-tos of techniques never before in print, and it's shiny and lovely and new. But really, it's not so new. Spinning, like wintertime holidays, is a long and rich tradition, and like anything that's been so longstanding and widespread, there's not a lot that hasn't been done somewhere, sometime. I don't mean that anchored coils from staple-length-based-thick-and-thin or multilayered Tex Ritter has been done exactly, but that everything we've learned about spinning so far has brought us here. Nothing is brand-spanking new.

There is nothing in my book that didn't begin its germination somewhere else. It's all an evolution, this craft that we love. Elizabeth Zimmermann called this process unventing. We'd be nowhere without the people that came before us. Thirty-five years ago, Diane Varney taught us to ply using uneven tension, then push up our wrapping yarn. Almost as long ago Mable Ross talked about how to use math to do whatever you wanted with yarn, making judicious use of S- and Z-twist to balance the final yarn. Judith MacKenzie currently writes about wolf yarn, a kind of coreless corespinning. Lexi Boeger leads the way in seeing yarn as something different, art even.

My book is just an evolution of traditions that came before me. I've mixed and mingled what I've learned from others and adapted, evolved, and refined it. So like building our own family traditions, I've created my own spinning traditions, but I've stood on the shoulders of giants to do so. Happy holidays, and may your own traditions keep your heart and toes toasty warm this season.


Post a Comment