Musings

New Year, New-ish Me

New Year, New-ish Me

It’s a whole new baby year and I’m just beginning to emerge from my post holiday season recovery period.  After the last show was broken down and packed away into the barn, I nestled in to a short but much needed period of reflection.  My tendonitis needed me to pursue activities outside my normal routine, too.  As a result, the web site got an extreme makeover and I couldn’t be happier with it.  I’ve added a new domain, as well—  JessWrobel.com .  I know this probably seems like no big deal to you and that it probably even makes more sense, but for me this is huge.  This is me shedding off some of my anonymity and stepping out from something I’d been hiding behind.  My business name has long been Jwrobel.  The reason?  Back when I got my very first apartment and my very own phone (this would be a land line) it was considered safer to use a gender neutral initial for your first name rather than advertise that you might be a single woman living alone in the phonebook–remember those??  Have the times changed?  Gender equality and sexual harassment are certainly being talked about more than I recall in my lifetime, but it is too soon to say if this national conversation will be enduring or where it will take us.  I’m encouraged and for now I’ll welcome my own little bit of personal growth.  I’m Jess Wrobel, and I make things.

Good Luck Elephant

Good Luck Elephant

 

A simple sketch on a scrap of paper became the basic outline for numerous of my elephant pieces. From wall placards, to freestanding oversized pieces, to soft figurines, I’ve tackled the form in many different materials. This time, I took my hook to the image to create a colorful piece in cashmere, wool, and silk.  The base is a wonderful bit of weathered barn board with a salvaged piece of rusty junk to balance everything out.

This piece is available at The Barn at Todd Farm.

1876 Hand Hooked Primitive Cashmere Rug

1876 Hand Hooked Primitive Cashmere Rug

One of this hooker’s best friends, my little man, Stogie posed for the inspiration photo for this primitive style rug.  I hooked this entirely with cashmere salvaged from recycled sweaters.

new seven
It took me a couple tries to get the numbers just right.

 

1876 in progress
I always love looking back at progress shots and seeing how it all came together.

 

My 1876 Primitive Dog Hooked Pillow is available at The Barn at Todd Farm or can be shipped to you anywhere.  Just ask.

I Will Hold You Up

I Will Hold You Up

Rescue Rug 2
“I Will” are two words that I find greatly significant, an emotional promise.
Rescue Rug 4
I don’t know what it says about me, but I love the backs of hooked rugs, too.
Rescue Rug 1
I approached this rug as a hit or miss design trying to use up some of my numerous worms…
Rescue Rug 3
I had no plan for the watery background, and my work evolved around the materials I had at hand. I love the whimsical track it took.
Prim Whale on the Move at Sea

Prim Whale on the Move at Sea

There is nothing about this Prim Whale Pull Toy that I don’t love.  All the little bits and pieces that have become its creation DNA have their own story.  I discovered the wool at a local fiber studio located in a one room school house that made me green with envy.  The button that became the most perfect all seeing eye has been in my stash for years.  I was always certain that one fine day this one lonely button would find its purpose, and it certainly finally did.  The wheels are made from antique spools.  I especially always love a project that Dave and I work on together and we had great fun putting our heads together to figure mechanics, design, and materials.  We rummaged through our growing debris pile as we made repairs to our old farmhouse to salvage the perfect rustic wood to give form and function.

whale 2
What I may love most about this fella is his sly smile.
whale 4
Wood salvaged from doing repairs to our old farmhouse provided structure.
whale 3
We usually keep a healthy stash of small bits of old leather around. You never know when it will come in handy to gussy up a pull toy.

The Prim Whale Pull Toy is available in my shop.

Must Love Kale

Must Love Kale

I kid you not.  We are something of kale junkies around here.  Veggie junkies, really, but we have our soft spots.  I haven’t had a garden for a few years now, but we are starting to feel settled in our new digs and decided to literally put down roots.  I have never attempted kale before, but took the plunge this year.  After a tiring but hugely successful weekend as vendors at The Vintage Bazaar of New England this past weekend, I’m now ensconced in Home.  A glass of wine, dogs at my feet, hubby contentedly sipping his cocktail while the thunder softly rumbles and the rain comes down.  Earlier today I tended to the garden that was abandoned over the weekend.  When you are doing an outdoor show, you pray for sunny and dry.  My garden was definitely dry.  But it made weeding easier and the generous soaking we are getting now is refreshing everything.  Two armfuls of kale were harvested.  I’m investigating kale recipes with a focus on slaws.  It is all remarkably wonderful.

Under the Apple Trees

Under the Apple Trees

Never has a photo session been so inspired. I threw open the doors and hauled a favorite chair out under the apple trees. My dogs padded behind me befuddled, but delighted with the diversion. And never was I happier to be taking care of the business end of business.

A Mermaid’s Tale

A Mermaid’s Tale

Sometimes I’m just baffled why it takes me so long to get some things done.  I’m going to chock it up to too many ideas, too little time.  This hooked mermaid pillow literally began to take shape three years ago.  I kid you not.  An impromptu iPad doodle was destined to be a hooked work of art one day.  I just hadn’t expected it to take so long.  Life happens and other projects rise to the surface, orders with deadlines clog the creative highway from time to time.  But after a visit to Susie Stephenson’s studio and admiring her hand knit mermaid dolls, I was inspired to dig out the long buried image of the serene bathing beauty from under the sea.

As long as the gal has been percolating in the back of my brain, parts of my stash that went into her may have been percolating longer.  The kinky golden wool yarn I used for her hair has been sitting waiting for its purpose for some eight years since I picked it up at a fiber festival in Western MA.  Being a hooker, I frequently buy old suit garments to harvest the wool, but I’ve never been able to discard the linings.  They’ve just been accumulating quietly in the closet for years.  Here, they finally shine.  The little hints of iridescence they add to the aquatic background are perfect.  Several years ago, friends and I made the journey up to Deanne Fitzpatrick’s studio.  One friend purchased a skein of silk sari “yarn” and then later gifted it to me.  A mermaid’s body was perfectly filled out with terra cotta warmth against the cool blue sea.

Mermaid Pillow 3

If you are interested in purchasing the Mermaid Pillow, it is available here.  If you’d like to hook it yourself, fear not!  The instant download pattern is in the works.  If you are in a hurry, just email me.