Sunday, October 16, 2016

Meeting Artist-in-Residence Virginia Catherall

 Textile artist Virginia Catherall was selected as the artist-in-residence at Great Basin National Park in 2016. She specializes in knitting wearable artwork that is inspired by the terrain around her. It sounded like such a neat concept, and I wanted to learn more. Fortunately, we were able to attend one of her workshops, where she gave a program about her art and taught newbies how to knit. The kids and I all gave the knitting a try, but none of us made it too far. Virginia made it look so easy, but it's definitely something that takes a little practice.

Desert Girl went on to make some string art. She had first learned this when Virginia went to the schools and did special programs for them.

 As part of the program, Virginia showed some of the artwork she had made during her three-week residency in the park. She had been in the park for a bit over two weeks, but had already made so much! She had visited the Strawberry Fire, and the blackened tree trunks made an impression on her. She made a cowl to represent them.

She had an interaction with red-winged blackbirds that inspired this shawl.

The blooming rabbitbrush inspired these rabbitbrush mitts.

She also showed quite a bit more. You can see some of Virginia's creations on Ravelry, where you can purchase her patterns. Virginia also has a blog, where she explains some of her inspiration and creations, and an e-book of a compilation of her patterns from when she was artist-in-residence on the Black Rock Desert in 2015.

Meanwhile, Desert Boy picked out a different color yarn and knitting needles and started again. And he kept going and going. And he was smiling. He had learned how to knit!

It was so nice to see the tears turn to a smile and some perseverance where I had given up. Maybe I'll give knitting another try too--or at least encourage Desert Boy to continue!

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