Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Smoky Mountains Fiber interview with AnneMarie Walter and Giveaway
What follows is an interview with AnneMarie Walter of Smoky Mountain Fibers. We're giving away some of her delicious roving! Details to follow the interview.
Where do you draw inspiration for your work?
I don’t draw inspiration from any one place – rather from the world all around me. Right now, my garden is in bloom and quite happy. I know that the reds and gold and oranges of the daylilies are finding their way into my rovings. The recent ‘Ocean’ Phat Fiber theme gave me a good reason to play with blues and greens. My Andromeda Shades series of rovings came out of a brainstorming session with a fellow artist.
What is your favorite fiber to work with?
I really like wool. It takes color well, so it’s fun to dye. The many breeds of sheep have so much variety, so that I am never bored. Whether it’s the subtleties of Shetland or Jacob, the sweetest Finn lamb, or my own dyed merino, I enjoy the diversity. And wool is easy to spin, so that when I am spinning for calm, a natural color roving is what I choose.
Do you have a least favorite?
No! They are all good, just different!
I have long wanted to visit Asheville, NC. Tell us what it is like working in an environment that supports your craft.
Pretty wonderful! I have been in Western North Carolina for about 10 years. I made a number of life changes at that time and found myself in Asheville, and I’ve never been sorry. There is a vibrant craft community, several local yarn shops, great hiking, as well as a solid music and dance scene. I live in the city (walking distance to the 3 downtown yarn shops), so I can’t keep animals (the angora bunny is no longer with us). But there are people who raise sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas not too far away, so you are never far from raw fleece. I am a board member of the Southeast Animal Fiber Festival (SAFF) , a regional festival that celebrates the fiber arts and the animals that make it possible. That’s work, but the fun kind.
Tell us more about your various teaching efforts.
I teach an occasional fiber workshop: Knitting, felting and dyeing. A few years ago, I taught an ongoing knitting class but I find I much prefer teaching individuals to knit rather than groups. One of the local yarn shops has a Friday evening ‘Sit and Knit’ where I frequently help people who are real beginners, or need very specific help - picking up heel stitches, for example.
In real life, I teach computer technology classes at a small college, so breaking down complex processes into simple steps is common to all teaching. I really like it!
We've all enjoyed the Phat Stripes hat pattern you submitted for the June site. Are you working on writing any more?
Thanks! I have 4 patterns in my Etsy shop and several more in my head. They are all fairly simple and straight forward – these are the hats that I make and sell in the area craft galleries. Since I am now set up as a designer on Ravelry, I plan to write them up and make them available to anyone who would like to knit them. Some are so simple I’m embarrassed to call them patterns, but I haven’t seen them online or in books, so I guess they are my own designs!
If you were to do a self portrait in fiber- what would it look like? What would you use to make it?
Hmmmm….This is tricky! Just as my grandmother liked the faces in her pansies, I like to think of my wheels of roving as the ‘face ‘of Smoky Mountain Fibers. Yesterday I was very hyped and a bit anxious and would have told you to refer to my ‘Fire‘ roving . Today I am feeling mellow and somewhat reflective, so I’d suggest ‘Blue Planet.’ Whoever I am, it’s just a dyepot away!
Just a final note: I want to take a moment to thank you and Marcus for making the Phat Fiber phenomenon happen. More than simply buying and selling fibers, the way that we are contributing to the boxes and sharing what we are making, allows fiber people around the world to connect and build community. I am tickled to be a part of it!
We're giving away a full sized roving (similar to 'Blue Planet') here on the blog! Just visit Smoky Mountain Fibers and find something you like. Post about it in the comments section below! We'll draw for a name on Saturday! Remember, let me know you've twittered/facebooked this and I will count those as extra entries.
AnneMarie, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this interview. We love having you in the group!