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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Friday Finished Object - Moorish Mosaic

Published by Erica at 12:14 PM

Look, the deal is, I keep thinking it's Friday. Unfortunately, it is not. (Yet.) But since I'm already in that frame of mind, I'm prematurely posting my Friday Finished Object!

As background... I'm sure you have a very good friend, or a best friend, or a BFF (Best Friend Forever)... I have a BFF. Though I am blessed with a good handful of close and wonderful friends, she is The One. The kids on Facebook these days indicate a "married" status when they have a best friend. Had Facebook been around back then, we would surely have tied that social media knot.

Her name is Tomara (or Tomie - "toe-mee", not "tommy") and we have been friends since 1985. FOREVER ago, in other words. Here we are in 9th grade.

(Tomie on the right, me on the left)

Tomie is, and ever has been, the most gifted artist I've known. This woman can paint, draw, sculpt, crochet, quilt, sew, write, rescue video game princesses, dance, cook, and even carry a tune. On top of that, she is in a loving marriage and is the coolest mom on the planet.

Over the years, she has gifted me with some of her many amazing creations. Here is a drawing of my daughter, morphed into fairy mode.

Here is an oil painting called "Luck of the Geisha."
(This was not for me, I just had to show it to you.)

By the way, you can see more of her marvelous drawings and paintings in her Etsy shop.

Here are some roses, sculpted from polymer clay. I love these because I can faintly discern Tomie's fingerprints on the petals.

Here's a jar with a handmade polymer clay lid. I keep my collection of Atlantic Calico Scallops (my favorite seashells) in there.

Close-up on the detail. I would not be surprised to find this jar sitting on a table in Bag End, though I might be surprised to find myself there.

The piece de resistance, however, is this polymer clay sculpture of Harry Potter. I could not believe she was giving this to me. We are both big nerds for Harry Potter (and Lord of the Rings, as discreetly noted above)... and to think that she made ONE of these and entrusted it to my care... is amazing. Every bit of him, including the flowing cape, is made of clay.

Look at this magnificent detail.

And there are many more little treasures around my house; I'm just showcasing the ones I could get my hands on this morning.

I know I'm gushing, but Tomie is something else. We have both grown from imaginative girls to creative women with a wide range of interests and abilities. We seem to bloom in each other's company, inspiring one another. Sadly, we live about 250 miles apart. Not that far, actually, but it's hard to make the time for a visit of significant length.

About ten years ago, when our boys were babies, Tomie arrived for a visit bearing yarn and hook. She had decided that I was going to learn to crochet, and she would be the one to teach me. I was skeptical, certain that I would never get the hang of it, much less accomplish anything from that point on.

We started with a granny square. She was a patient, efficient teacher, and I made my first square. I was addicted, and kept making squares, eventually joining them together into an afghan. As often happens with new crocheters, I loaded up on Red Heart yarn, and before too long, I had about ten grocery bags around the house, each containing projects in various stages. I stuck with afghans for a long time, and made them for my grandparents, my husband, my son...

A couple of years later, my daughter was born, and having two children in the house (one infant, one six year-old boy) made me forget all about crochet for a few years.

Then, in late 2008, a friend was having a baby, and I decided to break out the yarn again. About this time, I discovered Flickr and Ravelry, and before I knew it, I was overloaded with inspiration. So many things to crochet, and not nearly enough time to do it.

Finally, this fall, I got around to crocheting something for Tomie. She's a naturalist at heart, generally in tune with the rhythm of the earth around her... I look at a tree and see a tree; Tomie looks at a tree and says, "Oh, that's a rowan tree. The berries can be steeped into a laxative tea."

Anyway. Though I've sent her little yarny bits and bobs over the years, I decided it was time to give her something really special. I had the pattern in mind, just needed the right colors. I was inspired by a fellow Raveler's blanket, and adopted several of the colors because the woodsy palette was perfect for my best friend.

Here it is below, in the works, in quite a contrast to my own cacophonically colorful blanket off to the side.
Here it is, all boxed up (with multiple layers of wrapping tissue, bubble wrap, kraft paper and more), ready to ship off to her....

And here it is, gloriously arrayed on the autumn leaves in my front yard.

The pattern is from Lisa Naskrent, called "Moorish Mosaic." It's available in the Fall 2009 issue of Interweave Crochet, or can also be downloaded here. I used six colors of Vanna's Choice yarn. I will admit, this thing was a PAIN, but only for sewing it together. I loved making the octagons, and it was fun to work outside my usual color range.

So - that's the story of me and Tomie, so far. I'm thankful I was able to repay her (on a very small scale) for all her special gifts, but most of all, for the gift of teaching me to crochet! That has unexpectedly become my passion in the past couple of years, and I don't think it will be fizzling out any time soon.

Hey, I'd love to hear any best friend stories YOU have - how you met, a funny / sweet memory, anything. Do share in the comments, won't you?

Happy Premature Friday!!


delia hornbook said...

OHHHHH Wow what a lovely post. It was so nice to hear about yur special best friend and wow she is one beautiful talented lady her pictures are truely amazing and so is her modeling work. You are one very special talented lady to and i adore seeing all your finished crochet work i showed my mum when she was down visiting with me to and she loved it also. I love your blanket that you have created for your friend the colours, shape and style are a real delight. Well done you.... Dee ;-)

melbatoast68 said...

I love that pattern. I think it's so neat how it changes so much just based on the color choices. Yours is beautiful! You are very talented and so is your friend. Thanks for sharing.

wildblue said...

ohmygosh i'm old.....i graduated in '85. sigh. Lovely post!

Erica said...

Hey, I graduated in 89! Welcome to Old Club. :-)

Heather said...

Your afghan (and story) are beautiful! Happy "Friday". :-)

Tecrin said...

That geisha-painting is amazing! Really pretty! And the Harry is awesome too! But your blanket is gorgeous too. You and your friend are lucky to both be so crafty and to be able to share your crafty goodness with a friend that really appreciates the work that goes into any piece.

Tomie said...

Love you, Erica. How surprised was I to see those roses and Harry on your blog??? :-D Your blanket has been a god-send, truly. And it is SO beautiful, SO comforting. I'm flabbergasted by your post... what an honor. Kisses to you and to your lovely readers.

manda's challenges :) said...

What a beautiful post Erica true friendship~~ it's lovely that you can appriciate each other's work i'm pleased your friend loves it Hello Tomie (wave) may your friendship continue to blossom & bloom much love Amanda xx

Crochet with Raymond said...

Beautiful! the friendship, the art, the blanket! Everything!
the blanket.... oh wow, it's stunning, incredible, your friend will adore it beyond

Marita said...

Looks so lovely..nice autumncolours!!

Ms. Diva said...

Awesome blanket!!!! Beautiful job!!

Alhana said...

Well, your friend is truly an artist! (another nerd for HP here). Her works are awesome. And oh! that blanket! I love the colours and the design and the way you display it over the autumn leaves. :-)

Terrie said...

What a hugely talented pair you both are! That Harry Potter is amazing and the drawing - oh my gosh! The colours of your blanket are simply gorgeous. I too have been looking at this pattern and it's on my to-do list. I just hope mine turns out half as scrummy as yours!

Clara said...

Tomie sounds like a great friend of yours and really appreciated your gifts and kind words. I've had lots of wonderful friends in my life but one of my true friends was my beautiful Mom. Naturally she was my Mom foremost but became even closer to me later in life and lived with me until she succumbed to Alzheimer's and lived in a nursing home until her passing in 2007. I think of her everyday and even silently speak her name when I need to. She loved me and my crochet.

Lisa said...

What a lovely post about a lovely friend! My best friend moved away the summer before our senior year. This was before cell phones and facebook, so she promised to write. I received her letter and the return address was ripped off after being caught in a machine at the post office. I was devastated. I tried for years to find her and no one knew where she was. About 2 months ago while wandering around Facebook, I can across her uncles profile. On a whim, I looked through his friends and found her! I sent her an email with my apologies for not staying in touch and she sent me her cell number. We have talked everyday since and she and her husband visited a few weeks ago! I gifted her with an afghan I had made. It's wonderful to have my friend back in my life!

MamaLezlie said...

What treasures! Friends are true treasure and gifts to and from them are tangible love. What a wonderful gift of friendship and to your friend!

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