Abi Hutchinson of High Prairie Fibers presented our March program, “Chasing Wild Hares–An Adventure in Fiber Art.”
Abi has been a student of the fiber arts for over thirty years and shared some of her observations and current interests with us. Here are some of the highlights:
In her pursuit of spinning the perfect lace weight yarn, Abi has concluded having the right tools is essential. Her preferred fiber preparation method for spinning lace weight yarn is combing.
Abi believes in following the fiber. She studies the characteristics of not only the type of fiber, but also the individual fleeces. Then she does what the fiber tells her to do by using the method that will best enhance the fiber.
Rather than accepting wholesale the prevailing wisdom of the fiber arts community, Abi has done a great deal of experimenting to determine what works for her. For example, Abi shared her examples of woolen and worsted preparation and let us draw our own conclusions whether or not these methods actually made a difference in the resulting yarn.
What do crochet and geometry have in common? Cornell mathematician Daina Taimina uses crocheted models of hyperbolic planes to help students understand the complexities of hyperbolic geometry. Other have taken her idea a step further combining math, marine biology, and crochet in the arts community. The Crochet the Coral Reef Project uses hyperbolic crochet to raise awareness of how global warming and plastic trash in the oceans are affecting the coral reefs.
Abi is currently studying how artists are influenced by their environment. Fiber artists in particular are closely connected to the land for their raw materials. How has the loss of prairies, for example, influenced artists who draw their inspiration and materials from the landscape?
I believe we can agree. Abi inspired us with her approach to fiber arts while giving us much to think about.