Sarafina Fiber Art

Sarafina Fiber Art

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

We Need a Tree Skirt

Setting up shop for a show or event is one of my favorite things to do, especially around Christmas.   Bringing out trees, lights, shiny anything, and ornaments erases away the cold and dark and rushes in the warm and cozy.

This year as we prepared for our open house, I realized that we had no tree skirt so I added it to my shopping list.  The base of the tree needs to be cozy too.  Suddenly I realized that I could make one before I would have time to go shopping; handmade is better anyway, and I am impatient, so to work I went!

I started with one full sheet of Dark Prefelt, since I was working with a dark top layer.  I folded it onto 1/4s and cut the edge rounded so that when opened it became a circle (more or less with me since I am an impatient non-perfectionist.)

I used our big carder to create a few large batts in the midnighty color I was going for.  At first it was too purple/witchy so I re-carded.carded with more gray and aqua.   I used almost two 4oz batts but in hindsight, it was a bit too much wool.  (4-6 oz total would probably be plenty to create two thin layers.   Fiber Art Batts, Landscape Batts, Pelts, and any Top Coat or Merino will work well.).  I was going for two layers of wool on top of the Prefelt.  I find batts easier on these large pieces because you can stretch out and arrange larger amounts at a time than pulling from thinner roving.

This is the Witchy Before.  I tried to arrange the batts somewhat crisscrossed and fanned around the edges.

I treated the edges with some locks that we had that were somewhat felted together.  I laid them over the prefelt a bit and under the edge of the top batts a bit so that they would wet felt into place.  Some other edge options would be carefully arranged long locks, cut into the desired shape after felting and trim with stitching or trim, natural felted edge, needle felted fluffed lock "furry" edge, etc.

The hardest part of this project was finding a big enough wet felting set up.  I used two pieces of our blue Pool Cover from our Wet Felting Kit with a supporting piece of Gortex underneath.  Anything that can get wet and help support the Pool Cover when you roll it up will work.  I had some large pieces of netting that my friend saved from a house she was cleaning out to use for the top (Yay to pack rats!).  I also used one full length pool noodle; you could find a broom handle, pvc pipe, or any long skinny household item. 

First I wet the whole thing down outside and gently made soapy circles with my hands to begin setting the wool.  You can feel it become less squishy under your hands after 5 minutes or so.

Then I rolled up the layers around the pool noodle and tied it off.  I then decided to work on a table.  I rolled 100 times from all four directions for a total of 400.

Next I rinsed hot and cold.  Back and forth several times, smooshing and banging it along the way, until all of the soap was out.

After the piece dried I began needle felting.  First I used a layer of White Top Coat to establish the basic shapes of my design.  Then I used Snow White Batt to cover the white and create the snowflakes (which by the way were a test of my commitment to the whole thing.)  I used about 2 oz of white and less than 1 oz of Snow White for this design.  I had to needle felt the lock edges in a few places.

Laying in the white shapes

At any point after felting and drying you can cut the slit and tree hole.  Fold into 1/4s again and cut of the center tip.  Start small, you can always cut more if it's not large enough.  Then decide where you want to slit to be - perhaps find a less perfect part of the skirt so it will be towards the back.

When all of the needle felting was done,  I ironed the entire skirt on high heat with steam to flatten and soften it.  Our tree was cozy and pretty outfitted with this Winter Night Tree Skirt.

Anything goes!  Any color, texture, design, even shape!  Needle felt, quilt, embroider, bead, trim, embellish your project anyway that you can.

I have ideas for a second and also stockings!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why Buy Handmade: Because We Were Meant To

Purchasing a handmade item or piece of art is an intimate experience connecting people to people and people to Earth.  Long ago, the needs of people were met by what the Earth provided.  I need a bed – gather leaves.  I need food - gather nuts and berries.  I need medicine – gather herbs.   Then people traded and sold items that they made and perhaps in which they had a specialization. I need my wheat ground – go and trade with the Millers. I need my horse shod  – go and see the Smiths.  Spanning time and cultures, humans also saw beauty in the world and replicated it in adornment and creations that existed for the sole purpose of being admired, not to be used at all - art. Whether born out of necessity or just for the beauty, handmade is our history.  

In the modern world we have become distanced from our purchases.  Materials are far removed from their source, in distance and in processing, and the buyer is far removed from the creator.  Technology and engineering have streamlined creation to make millions of the same thing.  Don't get me wrong, I prefer a mattress to leaves and I would be up shit creek without Imodium, but I want explain why I seek out a world created by hands.

I am not interested in drawing a line between craft and art so I will just be referring to the entire spectrum as “handmade” or “creation.”   A handmade item has been inspired.  Inspiration can come from need, color, a feeling, a moment, a technique, nature, a memory, a medium, a discovery, and the list goes on and on for eternity. 

The creator uses his/her skill and chosen medium to take the inspiration and create an object. He or she is thinking about why that particular color, texture, or material will work just right, and making thousands of tiny decisions that shape the creation into something that only that one person could make and could probably only make one time – never again the same.

The buyer/admirer is attracted to the handmade item.  The buyer sees in the item something that speaks to him/her.  It says, “I am your favorite color (texture, shape, subject, etc)  and you are intrigued by the decisions that were made to create me. You see in me a reflection of yourself!” 

Therefore, the buyer is connecting not only to the item but also to the creator.  They have now shared the experience of the creation.  The buyer can further connect by giving the creation as a gift.  Now the recipient of the handmade item can admire the creation, love the giver, and connect with the creator.  I mean really, how much more connecting can you get?  Well, there is more….

... all involved, creator, buyer/admirer, and recipient are experiencing a connection to the Earth’s beauty, inspiration, and materials.   We have no handmade without materials.  We have no inspiration without experiencing our world.  We have no beauty without the sight of our Earth.

My shop is currently full of creations born from the Earth's gifts; wood, fiber, clay, leather, stones, metal, gourds, and more.  Shaped by creators and ready to be admired, possibly purchased, possibly given, but definitely appreciated.

It's hard to pick a favorite  (No it's not, I have started a small pile.), but one is a live edge dark walnut serving board harvested locally and made with care by a long-time friend. It is so simple, a single piece of wood.  But it celebrates the beauty that occurs without fuss.  A reflection of me?  Not me exactly, but what I love most in this world. 

Shop handmade this year.  Shop local.  Shop small business.  Create your world.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fiber Art Bundles: What CAN'T you do with a F.A.B.?

I spent three years as a line cook in a restaurant kitchen.  Cooking with the big equipment and kitchen power tools, a walk-in filled with fresh meat and produce, and shelves lined with every spice and seasoning you can imagine, all right at your finger tips, lead to some innovative, elaborate, and inspired dishes. (Cooking at my house is not nearly that kind of adventure. Who has saffron or a robocoup?) 

The Art House provides a similar environment with a focus on  fiber.  No idea goes unexplored and we have, or can get, the fiber to see it through.  It's a professional fiber kitchen!  And from such a place comes mouth watering delights.  One of those is Fiber Art Bundles:  dyed lots of a mix of top shelf fibers like Mulberry Silk, Mohair, Wensleydale, lamb curls, and other soft locks.

What can you do with such a bundle?  

You can do anything fiber related, wet felt, nuno felt, 2D, needle felt, sculpt, and spin.  

This particular bundle started out as a mix of Mohair roving, Mulberry Silk, BFL/BL cross, Wendsleydale lamb, and BL curls.  I dyed it a muted mix of coppery browns to aqua and teal to gold.  The color palette said "winter woods" to me.  
Soaking before the dye bath
16 oz Dyed and ready for action - Winter Woods

First I carded the Mohair and Silk together into a crazy soft and lofty batt.  I wanted the batt for ease of laying out layers in 2D feltng,  for further mixing for 3D felting, and for creating fluff for spinning.  All to be used along with the dyed locks.

2D Snowshoe Hare: 

Let's start with the 2D.  After I carded the Mohair and Silk together, I further carded several other colors together with the snowshoe hare in mind.  Several shades of "grey" to white were made with the aqua and browns from the FAB and various amounts of white.  I used a 1/4 piece of Prefelt as my backing.

I laid in some lights and darks in top coat roving and merino


Then I began to lay in curls, the carded colors, and even some yarn to represent twigs and branches.  


After all was in place, I wet felted the whole piece.

After it dried I needle felted the hare using all the mixed colors that I made.  

Spun yarn:

I am not an experienced spinner.  At this point I enjoy it therapeutically and use it in my own creations or give it away.  So please try to imagine what someone, with abilities that I do not have, could do with these fibers.  

For this yarn I fluffed together all of the fiber; all of the locks and the batt of Mohair and Silk got pulled and teased into a big box of fiber fluff.   I spun from the fluff into a thickish single, overspun slightly so I could spin it back with a thin commercial gold yarn that I had on hand.  

12 Ounces


Needle Felted Old Man Winter: 

For my 3D project I used the remaining blends of various colors from the 2D Hare project.  I started with a Forest Folk style armature a la Lee Charlton.  He has a robe and cloak with opposite ombre coloring all trimmed with the locks from the FAB.  His cloak was wet felted as we did in the Cloak Tutorial.  He also has a wet felted Icelandic rug, a New Year Baby, and sleepy arctic fox inspired by Cheryl Tomline's sleepy felted animals.   

Old Man Winter

I love this color palette.
I Hope you will try one of our FABs and cook something special up in your fiber kitchen.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lonely no Longer

       A series of recent events have flooded me the realization that I am surrounded by great people in a creative community that did not even exist for me just 3 years ago. 

Four Day Workshop group with their owls
For a long time I worked odd jobs to support my art habit.  From retail, to waiting tables, to mucking stalls and galloping race horses, I did what came my way to keep my head above water (and sometimes I needed a little help when I slipped below the surface). Other than painting/creating, a career path did not call out to me.  So I painted when ever I could.  My marriage to Dave gave me a huge advantage with the security that came with it.  Before Max and Evan were born, I spent a year just painting! It was a wonderful year.

It was also the year of 2001.  On 9/11/2001 my career path was shaken by the absolute grounding emotions of humanity with the attack on our country.  Stripping life down to death, loss, and vulnerability made painting feel like an indulgent and selfish pursuit.  What was I really contributing?  Pretty paintings to relatively wealthy people who could afford them?  Of course it has its place, but at that moment in time it felt empty.

Life of course went on and the arrival of two babies definitely becomes all encompassing.  (The experience of a young family is its own blog!)  I did keep painting.  I would have gone nuts if I did not make time for it. 

But still, I wanted to be a part of something that extended beyond my own two hands.  I dabbled in the idea of a Cafe.  I had Dave on edge with the thought of the time, money, and risk involved in such a venture.  It fizzled when the same realization sunk into my brain, but still, I know it was a great idea and would have been a huge success.  ; )  I volunteered, briefly.  I considered teaching art somewhere.  But nothing stuck.

When needle felting came along, I had no idea where it would lead.  I just loved it.  At first I would paint in the mornings (my real job) and felt in the afternoon if I had time.  Then it morphed to felting in the mornings and painting if the afternoon if I had time.  Then felting became the only focus.  I was thrilled with the prospect for growth.  (Turns out, all of those odd jobs, gave me skills that I would need, and still use, to move forward as an entrepreneur. )

Pat and Bernie with Nunno Felted Scarves taught at The Art House by ReCreatively
The growing interest in the art and the demand for supplies drove me towards creating Sarafina.  Talbot actually worked for me first, when I was still in my home!   Moving out of my house was the first big step.  Then, while Talbot was off working some where else, Kyla joined me and soon after Jennifer. 

The Mill, about 500 square feet of rustic space only 1/10 mile from my home.

I will not lie, having two other personalities (in many ways opposite to my own to boot) in the space was an adjustment.  But adjust I did and the three of us began to make great things happen. 

A powerful trio

We moved again to our current location, another big step.  All the while we were growing our online community with Facebook, YouTube, and Etsy.  Now we have a legitimate local presence.  A place to invite people to share creativity with us. 

Grand Opening

Wet Felted Landscape Workshop - one of my favorites!
Friday was one of those perfect days in the shop.  Everyone was there; Kyla, Jennifer, Talbot, Marsha, Mary, and I.  Everyone was doing something remarkable that takes advantage of their skill set.  It was as if we were in a movie scene, the transformational montage with the cool music and no dialogue, all day.  I have my "beyond my own two hands."

The Sarafina Crew less Mary.  I will write a blog about each person, including Mary.

Thanks to social media I have also made new friends.  Dear friends as well as an extended creative community. 

A horrible picture depicting a wonderful time

A few of my faraway Besties thanks to Facebook.

Creativity does have its place in this world.  Even on the smallest level it gives us hope.  It gives us something where we once had nothing.  It is God's way of acknowledging our recognition of the beauty of  his/her creation.

Thank you for being a part of something greater than any one of us.  Make something today. : )

Add caption

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What Didn’t Happen and What Isn’t There

Over a year ago a seed was planted; the idea to hold a workshop across the Atlantic in England.  It started with a few requests and then an invitation from a remarkable woman who wanted to see the seed grow as much as I did.  Over the year we planned and more and more people become involved and made significant obligations in time, money, and energy.  Teachers, hosts, staff, participants, and all of the families around them watered the seed until we all had a week full of fun in front of us with months of anticipation.  I fluttered with excitement fueled by what lay ahead.

But with one fatal murmur at the passport check at The UK  Border, the carefully cultivated, now mature plan was ripped out and in front of me left a huge ugly crater big enough to hold 100 rusted buses.  Where there once was the plan to share, felt, laugh, and bond with new friends, there was now only the gaping negative space.  How on earth could I cross this hole in front of me? 

At first the loss overwhelmed me.  Complete emptiness.   No ideas.  Just The Crater.   “Gutted” was the word of the moment.   But only hours later, there were new revelations emerging.  The Crater made space.  And the space allowed different experiences and opportunities.  Lee and I shared something dramatic and like the good friends that we are, it bound us tighter together.  Love poured in through the few texts we were allowed to receive and the dirty ancient phone attached to the wall in the holding room during our 9 hour detainment.  I felt the love even through the greasy receiver.  After our release, we had 6 hours of time to kill from 12 am to 6 am before our flight back home.  Our UK friends, Cheryl and Malachai, whom we had never met in person, drove over 2 hours each way in the dark and rain wee hours of the morning to spend some time with us in the cold, badly lit airport.  I can not express in writing how they warmed that time and space.   I will cherish that short time spent with them.  Kyla, Lee, and I began to plan how on earth we could make up the cancellation to the workshop participants.  I shuttered to think of it, but as it turns out, it is another opportunity.  Not only for my business to do what’s right, but also an unexpected gift back to us to feel the concern and support from the very people jilted. 

About 36 hours in for me 48 for Lee and 2 am.  Not a bad looking lot considering!

And now Lee and I are on the plane back home.  Lee will have a few open days to spend with me; again, we have been given an opportunity.  We have already plotted all of the things we can do.  The negative space is holding all of the new positive experiences and will continue to do so in ways I can’t even imagine yet.  Because of what did not happen, my life is richer in an alternate way.

And here lies a needle felting analogy!  The negative space, what is NOT there, enriches our sculptures.  Cherish the interest of negative space.   Allow it to be, creating dimension, shadows, peaks, and valleys.  Do not fill it.  See it nature and mimic in your work by leaving it empty.  It holds goodness.  I will elaborate more on that when I can hold my eyes open. 

We will land soon.  One more new experience in line for me thanks to The Crater:  the shower and nap of a lifetime. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nothing is Black and White: Creating Color Life in Shadows and Highlights

My painting palette has no black.  While black is obviously very dark, I find it flat and lifeless.  The darkness we see is simply absence of light; so it still has some color in the depth of the objects.  Aside from being dark, it should be sheer, receding, and transparent.  Similarly, a white object is not shaded with grey.  The shadows are multicolored created by all of the surrounding colors and the type of light in the environment.  Also, highlights to black are not grey; they are teal, purple, rust, aqua, blue... anything but grey.

Avoid using black in your darkest darks, as well as to create gray shadows for white.  Whether you are painting with oils or wool, your work will more have life, dimension, and interest without it.

I like to create black in oils by mixing or layering transparent dark colors - Veridian Green, Alizarin Crimson,  and Ultramarine Blue.  You can slant your black in any of those color directions by adding more of one color, or by making it the top layer.  You can also lean toward brown by adding a touch of yellow.

A white shaggy dog on black (not really) back ground - All of his shading is variations of purple, green, and cream.

This turkey canvas already had an old painting under it so lots of interest and texture.  I primarily used a palette knife.  The black is slanted green and brown and highlighted with teal and blue, a reflection of the blue head and also a nice compliment to the red waddle.

A black and white cow... or is it?

Unfortunately this painting created a lot of reflection in my photograph of it but it is full of fun colors.

Wool is a little different because we can not blend colors with a palette knife.  To some degree we can blend and layer but it requires a slightly different aproach.  With wool, I do use black as an under-layer for dark areas of my felted painting as well as very black subject matter.  The underlayer helps to establish that the area will be dark.  As a top layer, black makes my darkest darks and I can hightlight with teal or purple from there. 

I do not have very many wool paintings with which to illustrate these ideas, but I sure look forward to making them!


The white underbelly of this hummingbird is in shadow and created with soft lilac and tans.

Let your colors be less literal.  Let the paint or wool speak its language.

Of course there are always exceptions to the rules!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wet Felting Experiments - What Fibers Work

Sarafina Fiber Art will be offering wet felting kits, fiber, and instruction in the near future. We are continuing to learn about wet felting as we do more and more, but I felt like a good test was in order to better understand which fibers that we carry will produce which results.

In an effort to have a controlled wet felting test, we have wet felted 20 swatches of different fibers at the same time for the same length of time. We used A bubble wrap base, most patches had 4 layers, a tulle top, a pool noodle roller, and 100 arm rolls in all 4 directions for a total of 400.

No surprise that the Merino, Faulkland (Corriedale), and Black Smooth Top, felted very well.  These fibers make up the base of a wet project.

Sky Blue Merino, Smooth Black Top, and Faulkland

I experimented with using a wool batting (made for quilting by the same mill that makes our chunky core.) and the merino and Corriedale together.  The batting can save time and $ by providing an inexpensive and pre batted base layer.  It worked very well.  The batting side is not quite as firmly felted as the roving side, but the two different fibers felted together well and the batting is definitely felted sufficiently.  I plan to begin carrying the batting in our shop.

This is the batting and Corriedale

This is the batting and Merino

Other fibers that felted well are our Top Coat and Targhee Roving (which we currently do not have for sale in our shop).  Our Top Coat line is full of great colors.  Blended with Merino they will be a great addition to a wet felted palette.

Raspberry Top Coat and Targhee

Our Pelt and new Wet Felting Batt also felted very well.  These are batts that we card in house to create useful and unique colors. Our House Carded Batts an be laid out and felted in one piece, as is, or you can pull smaller batches of color from them.

Red Fox Pelt and part of a Sand Dune Wet Felting Batt

I was surprised how well our locks batches felted.  We did one of Border Leicester, which is the majority of our House Dyed Curls, and one of Blue Faced Leicester.  They both felted firmly and show how you can achieve really interesting texture using locks.

BL Dyed Curls and Natural Grey BFL locks felted remarkable well

I am happy to announce that the mohair and the Irish Fur batt did not felt well.  I was counting on my Fur batts to not felt because I created them to resist felting from handling for use in needle felting projects.  The white Mohair swatch was made with Mohair roving, not locks.  It is so lustrous and slightly wavy.  Very pretty but not well felted.  I think some mohair could be used to create shine and texture, like silk, but needs some wool to help it stay.

White Mohair Roving and the Irish Fur did not felt well... which is a good thing.

A few other patches were our Core and Chunky Core.  They felted but would take a lot more work.  They also are so fluffy/bulk that they are difficult to work with. 

The Suri Alpaca Patch did not felt well at all.

We did a patch of Gotland Roving and it felted extremely well. But, interestingly, it grabbed, inhaled, and embedded into the tulle.  Absolutely, completely, they became one. 

Angora (rabbit) felted but remained fuzzy with a halo which is pretty cool.

We look forward to exploring more!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

When to Push and When to Bend

Spring can make me a little manic.  I wake up along with the grass, flowers, trees, critters, and, unfortunatley, weeds, and feel the need tackle.... everything.  The garden, the yard, the winter house hold, the seasonal clothing, exercise,  and always new projects are clamoring for my energy and attention.  I want so much to accomplish all at once.  So this time of year has left me reflecting on what has and has not come to be.  When do you move mountains and when do you find the pass?

I tend to think that I can do anything I set my mind to.  It's not a bad way to be but it can leave me not recognizing when to change course or let it go all together.  Patience is not my virtue; If I can not push to make it happen then I get frustrated.  Likewise, when something does not go according to plan (mine) I have a tough time adjusting.  It's like have to go through all the emotional upheaval of the grieving process over a change of plans.  Ridiculous.  I need to be more flexible.

At the same time, some of the greatest things in life are not easy and require a lot of effort.  Doing something/anything well, raising children, building a business, staying fit, maintaining relationships all require effort... a lot of effort.

Starting a family was the most difficult thing I have done in life but also the most valued.

The other side of the coin would be to avoid stress altogether; always bending out of its way.   Also, not necessarily a bad way to be but one's life might not have the layers of richness without a little effort or some risk and challenge.  You would be always at the mercy of the current and missing the beautiful spots along the river that might require some paddling to get to.

Some paths need to be let go.  I have pushed for things before, harder than I should have, because I wanted it to be.  When do you stop?  Is it healthy for you and the people you love?  Have you given it your best?  Letting go can be necessary because the goal no longer fits into your overall life plan.  Or maybe it was taken from you through no act of your own.  I guess the lesson is in recognizing what you can and can not make happen.  If you stay positive and open to possibilities, almost always a new door opens to things you might not have even thought would happen for you.

Some paths need to be fought for.  Large or small, there are many additions to my life that I am so grateful I recognized and pushed to come to be.  A tiny recent example; The Goats. I have been wanting goats for 2 years.  Last Spring we opened and moved into the Art House.  A major push at my home to get ready for the goats was not going to happen simultaneously.  This year, I was determined to make it happen.  We had a huge batch of bamboo dug out with a back hoe.  I lined up my fence guy; there was much to be built.  I found a nearby angora goat breeder.  I visited her and her goats.  I picked out two.  I called my fence guy.  I called my fence guy.  I called my fence guy.  He finally came here and there over 60 days.  I got all the goat supplies.  Fence guy built the hay feeder wrong.  I made him make it right.  I put up wire and gates.  I moved old manure.  I called my hay guy.  I found a straw guy.  I drove out to get the goats.  Goats now live here and I sit with them every day admiring their beautiful beings. 
Glad I moved mountains for these guys.

I don't have any answers here.   Just like the yin and yang in most things in life, hard and soft must exist together and work together.  I will work on recognizing which to apply.  I am sure there is a great Kung Fu quote out there somewhere.

I told Dave I was struggling to write this post and he said, "You should let it go."

Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.
~ Joe Lewis

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Journey of a First Book

I have written and/or illustrated a handful of stories and books.  Each is a spectacular visual and emmotional delight, written with a brilliant edge and with illustrations so full of life you will be transported to another world just by gazing upon the page.  But you can only find them on a dusty shelf in my abandoned third floor studio.  And that's after you dig through piles.

I am feeling very optimistic about finally finishing a book - seeing it the whole way through - a process made easier with the abundant choices for self publishing and the help and support of the Sarafina Staff.

First I had to make the wolf and other characters.  Nothing quite like the feeling of extreme inspiration and the creative process.  When I get supercharged I can remain quite focused no matter how difficult, large, and cumbersome the task.

And the Girl:

Both Wolf and Little Red were a joy to create.  They would have been fun even as the end result, but knowing that I would also be using the characters for a photo story book gave me even more tidbits on which to chew; tiny details, movement, accessories, opening and closing eyes, clothing and such.  There are other characters as well.  Two North Country critters, the grouse and snow hare, a butterfly, and Big Wolf as a pup.

The entire cast was ready to go.  Go where?  At first I was going to use our local state park as the setting dragging my family out for outings to scout pretty places.  But then I pictured the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks, where my Mom and Step Dad spend their summers, and suddenly that was the only option.  My family gave me full support to leave for a 4 day weekend (2 driving, 2 working), and I set out with the gang on the 8 hour trip to my Mom's home int he ADKs.

Big Wolf startled me when I came around the side of the car to gas up...

 It was a long drive but a smooth one.  My Mom offered great support, feeding me and showing me some of her favorite picturesque places around her home.  Fortunately, her home is at the top of a mountain with an amazing view so I did not have to hike up 3 miles to get to this outcropping, just step out the door...

My bubble was burst when I unpacked my car realized that I had forgotten my tiny tripod and had a moment of self pity and doubt.  But, like most set backs, it was not insurmountable. I took my crew, camera, and accessories out into the woods. 

Mostly I worked in the woods, spending a lot of time on the forest floor.  Cursing the characters for not remaining in the precarious positions in which I had placed them.  Every shot was a management of light, scale, scenery, and balance.

I think this set up fell over about 12 times before I got the shot.  Every time I had to get back up off the ground, pick off all of the forest floor ruble from the wool, set it back up, and crawl back to the camera.  There are worse ways to spend a day, but it was frustrating.

Then I would take a moment to stop and smell the roses.  I looked around and saw the most amazing vignettes of forest floor

Another slightly daunting task, was the fire shot.  I watch a lot of survival shows, and so I know I am practically an expert.  You would not believe how difficult it is to build, light, and maintain a tiny fire!  Finally my Mom suggested I use a candle, which worked brilliantly.  I am a survivalist failure but I got a decent shot.  I ate the chicken/grouse too.

There are 34 full color pages in this book.  Talbot is helping me make every photo the best it can be and fix what I was not able to control, with his mad photoshop skills.  We are hopefully only a week or two away from sending them to be printed.  Please keep an eye out through for the end result of this year long project.