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Carol Ann Rak on Fiber Art

I have always been fascinated with fiber, for as long as I can remember. The different feel and textures; the wide range of colors and subtle shades naturally occurring. Having learned to work with yarn, specifically woolen yarn, at a young age, and being surrounded by s! heep in rural England where I grew up, it was a natural progression for me to discover where the yarn came from and how it was formed. I remember the first time I watched a lady pick up a handful of woolen fibers, tease them with her fingers, then twist them to form yarn and it actually held together to this day I love to see the fascination in children's eyes when they watch me perform the same task!!! So this is at the foundation of the work I do today, and even though I have been doing today - I never cease to marvel!!

Because I hand wash the fibers with hot water with a mild detergent, to remove the lanolin (from the wool), grease (from the mohair) and dirt, there are no harsh chemical residues. The hot water and detergent - orvis paste, a mild soap or dish detergent break down the grease and dirt and the repeated rinses, also in hot water, leave the fibers clean and fresh (fibers are handled with care, submerging them and squeezing them gently, to release the dirt otherwise they would felt and shrink).

I then put them through the spin cycle on my washer to remove most of the water (never the wash cycle, for that would felt them also) and let them air dry outside, or beside the wood stove in the winter months. If I am going to dye them, I often do that before the fiber dries.


The spinning I do, for much of the work displayed in the photos, is core and ply, where the fibers are fluffed onto a fine yarn, then plied with another thin yarn, to anchor them this produces a light weight, textured, bulky yarn very warm and fun to wear. Once the yarn is spun it is ready for the final stage of being knitted into hats or mittens, or woven into scarves, some of these processes are shown in the studio photos on www.WearFiberArt.com.

As well as the color mixes, and items I have available on a continuous basis, I enjoy custom designing for people; combining their color choices and ideas to create an even more unique piece of clothing or rug it becomes an adventure for me and the person I am working with. Sweaters and larger pieces I make only when I am commissioned to do so, as they are a much larger investment.

Essay reprinted from www.Architecturals.net.

Call me and lets make something!- 724-253-2299

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