Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Friesian

After my adventures with the Wait A While vine colliding with my crochet and creating the Staghorn piece, and it making its debut at Nimbin's Mardi Grass on the luscious body of Nerelle, it was a bit of an anti-climax to have it sitting folded up and looking rather folorn on Currawongs drum in our home.  Inspired by the upcoming Fibre Festival at Blue Knob Farmers Market (and realising that in the rush of Mardi Grass, I'd not gotten my staghorn piece into the Fibre Festival exhibition at Blue Knob Gallery in time), I decided to make my own stand for it, to show it off, and take it along to the festival instead, and use it to lush out the stage I'd been asked to dress for the Fibre Festival.

I also decided to polish up and improve on the hat design that came from a collaboration between me, my Fibre Fairy Godmothers fleece turned into hand dyed and spun yarn, the Wait A While vine, my particular and quirky method of crocheting or hooking using hook sizes to shape rather than increasing or decreasing, and whichever divine genius or genie that was visiting at the time.  For a really incredibly engaging and quite magical explanation of this form of genius, please watch this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert....

Now from the moment we turned up ridiculously early to the Festival, I was playing stage dresser, and setting up my display, and chatting to loved friends, and goggling at others creations, and then being the first cab off the rank with the talks, and spontaneously talking and telling stories through both my time period and the missing next persons, and having a delightful and meaningful experience with a couple who ended up taking my crocheted pregnant woman for a world trip holiday, and catching the inspiring and impressive talk and presentation by Jen Harkness and Jeni Allenby on the political and social implications of Craftivism, with an impromptu update by the Knitting Nannas at the end.......and I didn't take any photos!  I wore the hat I've called the Friesian the whole time, and got more comments and attention from it in such a short time, than just about anything else I've made.  But fortunately, my beautiful friend Megan Jack who was our travelling mentor many years ago, when we first met in Alice Springs at the Beanie Festival, took a photo of me giving my talk.  And you can just see the bottom of my Staghorn piece on it's stand in the background.  

As the next day happened to be a Nimbin Market day, and all my stuff was packed anyway, I took it all along to dress the stage at market too.  Don't know if my big spiderweb had anything to do with the spectacular performance by our resident stage facilitator Sarah Stando and her love, the talented guitarist who treated us to a sparkling rendition of a variety of Oz pop and rock songs, or indeed anything to do with dragging into our web the two French couples, who turned up independently of each other, to serenade and entrance us all with French songs and melodies, but I like to think it had something to do with it at least.  And same as the Fibre Festival, I didn't take any photos of that day either, but it was a month when we had two markets in a row, so I took it all along the next sunday as well, this time managing to take some photos afterall.  The next sunday we had the soulful Jolanda Moyle singing on stage in front of my web, amongst other musical artists.

And the 'Friesian' continued to attract intense attention all day both sundays, not least by my skater artist mate Franco ( who also loved my crochet cow skull, that he reckons would look rad on his skateboard), and some soul family had already started begging me to make them one.  It was too warm to wear it on the sunday I managed to take photos, but it hung out in my stall nonetheless.  Which was happening to look pretty gorgeous if I may say so myself.

And I was too 

In the background of this one you can clearly see the first incarnationof the Friesian, before I made my red and purple version

Now Currawong's been asking me for YEARS to have some stock standard pieces, that I can replicate to make money from, AS WELL as continuing to be an artist and making one off creations, but I've always staunchly refused, told him I'm not a factory, and said if he liked that idea so much he should go and learn to crochet.  But the Friesian is so gorgeous, and apparently universally appealing, that I'm considering pimping myself, in order to birth this head gear into the world.  

There's something ancestrally evocative about this intuited design.  Harking back to our differing cultural heritages, and a more peaceful, gentle and connected time.  A pagan headpiece or a 1920's art deco diva's headwear.  A medieval Florentinians head adornment, or a gracious musical movie headdress.

And there's almost a geometric mandala like essence to especially the top of it, where my method of crafting with hook sizes rather than increasing stitches gives a lovely openness in the crown of the piece.

It's a dress for your head, or a head-dress.  And can be worn in many ways.  If I list one on Etsy I'll pay especial attention to showing all the ways it can transform.

And now here comes the trippy part.  In preparation for this post, I was coming up with all this arty farty rave about my Friesian heritage, and clutching at straws a bit about the little I knew at the time about the golden skull caps that my women ancestors wore, and then the coverings they made to cover them.  And inspired by various things, I've decided to do 7 artworks in honour of the Seven Sisters, or Pleiades, and was researching into alternative names and meanings of the constellation, cause I'll be damned if I'm going to honour the greek or roman versions, which are fairly tawdry and uninspiring.  So I've been looking into my Viking heritage, and incidentally, the Pleiades were often called Freya's hens, and compared to a hen with chicks.  But I got totally distracted when I found a few blogs with my ancestors traditional costumes and daily wear.  This blogpost was amazing, and taught me that the golden skull cap was actually called an oorijzer, which is Friesian for 'ear iron'.

Which was placed on a head, to show status, and to also hold cloth on the head in the strong Friesian wind, and had beautifully crafted lace caps and frills attached to the clips on the side.

And to be honest they're kinda kooky.  I LOVE IT!!!

Then I found a Pinterest page full of Friesian or Fryslan costumes, and it touched something deep in me.  To see all these images of richly coloured people, knowing that my ancestors would have looked like some of them.  I've loved looking at traditional costumes for years, having no idea that my own ancestry held such gorgeous ones.  So traditionally, women wore the oorijzer, had beautiful lace over the gold skull cap, held on by clasps on the sides of their heads, and then went into the spectacular for hats and head-dresses to wear over it all.   And I'll be buggered if I didn't soon come across something that looked a bit like my Friesian!!!

I loved this photo too.  I so believe that I can see echoes of my kinda pirate/gypsy/earth mamma/crochet creatrix fashion sense in her outfit!

Another beautiful woman in her outfit, and I suspect that at some point in the not too distant future, there will be some kind of creation coming out of me like this head-dress....

Then I found another blogpost about the folk costumes of Friesland, and I got another surprise.  Ever since the Wait A While vine came into my life, I've been talking about making a big top hat with it.  I was telling folk it was gonna be all 4 Non Blondes like, (remember that big leather top hat with the goggles?), and you coulda blown me away with a feather when I saw this one......

Don't worry, I'm in the process of having a crack at one as we speak. I'm so impressed I've got top hat in my heritage :)  I actually found the visual of this picture above after I'd had Currawongs and my appetites totally whet by a description of them in a book written by Sacheverell Sitwell - The Netherlands; A Study of Some Aspects of Art, Costume and Social Life - written in 1948.  If you're curious about the delicious way the outfits were explained, read on a page and a half in till you see the reference to the 'labyrinth' of Friesland, Molkwerum,  here.

I doubt any of you reading will remember, but long ago on this blog, I was talking about making myself a journeywoman belt, and taking my hooks and tool belt on the road, to find my fortunes, and I was tremendously impressed when I found some actual photos of the Friesian tradition of wearing one's tools, purse, scissors, needles, hooks etc, on one's apron.  Like thus...

Yes.  I know.  So much for the short blog post.  But anyone who knows me should have realised when I set the goal, that I was dreaming the impossible dream.  I find it impossible to be short winded.  I complimented a supermarket woman on the coles internet site, and the compliment turned into a short story :)  So to finish up properly, I really need to mention a massive inspiration to this whole Wait A While vine intervention.  And from the moment I've seen how it worked and moved and sat, I've been holding her art in my head like a flame.  With the joyous fusion between me, the vine, my crochet, and whichever genie visits, I like to think I can take a step closer to the magnificent creative and inspirational force that is the unique style of my Fibre Heroine Goddess Mandy Greer, and her wildly magical and sumptuous artworks in all their manifestations.  One of my very first favourite pieces of hers, is a headress with circles of crochet, and though the Friesian is nowhere near as spectacular, I'd like to think it's a spiritual relative of it at least.  

If you really want to treat your eyes to a delicious visual feast, just go to her Flickr page and see what fibre genius really looks like.  

So stay tuned fellow groovers, cause I seem to be on a roll......