To Spin with Meaning
[Laura Mayotte’s yarn-as-art creations are featured in the article “Yarn: The Art of Twist” by Tracy Hudson on page 34 of our Spring 2011 issue. Here she tells us a bit more about her creative process and inspirations for spinning poetic and kinetic sculptures made of yarn.]
I am an artist working in fiber and mixed media, currently with a strong focus on functional or sculptural handspun yarns. Each yarn was inspired by a theme or photo in spinning groups on Ravelry.com: Fiber Friday, Picto Create, and Novelty and Art Yarn Spinners. I enjoy exploring my insatiable love of materials, color, emotions, and experimental combinations through handspun yarn. Most themes are chosen because of their immediate emotional or visual impact creating a physical need to express, but some evolve from research in an unfamiliar subject.
One of my recent yarns, Lovebirds, was created for the Handspun Revolution exhibition presented at Galleri Zink, Lillehammer, Norway, last year. You can read about this exciting collaborative project on curator and artist Lexi Boeger's blog: pluckyfluff1.livejournal.com.
Above: Laura Mayotte, Lovebirds (with detail), 2010; vintage plastic owl beads, indigo-dyed wools, silk and cocoons, ostrich feathers, yarn scraps, threads; about 36 yd.
I'd wanted to do something with owl beads for a while, and an idea came together when thinking about what to do for this show. My evolution as an artist first and foremost would not have happened without my husband. We have been lifelong companions since our teens and have experienced everything together: personal growth; travel; moving several times to new digs along the way; making nests; packing them up; taking them along; creating new ones out of old ones; etc.
I also wanted to send a yarn that was a representation of my art life journey, different nests, different materials, personal change and growth represented by the different owl figure combinations in each nest. The owl is my chosen symbol because I am nocturnal, and nighttime is when I make work most often. Because of the love and support of my husband and discovery of things along the way, such as Ravelry and Intertwined, I have been able to follow my inspirations and create in my way. I am so happy to be a part of this amazing world of fiber artists and spinners.
Spontaneous Mauve was spun for the mauve thread in Ravelry's novelty and art yarn spinners group. This one was a spontaneous spin, where I gathered everything in under 15 minutes and prepped as I went.
Above: Laura Mayotte, Spontaneous Mauve (with detail), 2010; various wools, alpaca, silks, glitz; 10 silk cocoon flowers; handspun on a wheel; 180 yd.
I spun Blue-ringed Octopus for Ravelry's Fiber Friday group, ocean theme. Inspired by the blue-ringed octopus in my son's sea creature book, information on Wikipedia, a compilation video on YouTube containing still photos and video clips from various sources, a couple of techniques from the book Intertwined, and my imagination.
Laura Mayotte, Blue-ringed Octopus (with detail), 2009; mixed wools with Cormo and Rambouillet; plied with white silk and linen threads; 3 hours to spin the singles, 6 hours to ply; 65 yd.