I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Consuelo in person yet. In my mind she lives as a larger than life, passionate woman full of enthusiasm, color and fun…she loves to knit and teach and it shows everywhere you see her. Consuelo will be teaching a full day class on Thursday: Friendship Slippers…an opportunity to knit/felt and make great Christmas presents for everyone!
In her interview she wrote:
1. The unauthorized biography of your life is titled: The Americanization of a Crazy Cuban! A 49 year journey and more to come!
2. If forced to choose, would you be an eraser or a permanent magic marker? I’d like to think that I am a permanent marker. A person that makes a permanent difference on at least some of the people I meet. On the other hand, I, on occasion, have been known to have a gift for erasing people’s misery or miserable outlook on life. Life is what we make it… we might as well make it up GOOD.
3. Do you live with any animals? Right now I am animal-less. My beloved dog, Thumper, died last April… she was a wonderful friend for 14 years. I am currently looking for a puppy and a kitten to raise together
4. What are you currently reading? Sally Melville’s The Color Book. Much to my husband’s dismay, I am drawn to non-fiction, especially how-to books, almost exclusively.
5. What is the most surprising response to your art you have ever received? When showing people a just knitted slipper and a finished, felted one they can’t believe the knitted one will be transformed to match the felted one. For some reason this seems particularly surprising to men. :-D
6. How do you know when your work is done? My Capricorn sensibilities always lead me to cleverly designed, functional projects… whatever I make has to be useful and clever usefulness makes my heart sing! I am done when that smile of satisfaction creeps spontaneously onto my face. . The Friendship Slippers I’ll be teaching at Fiber College this year fit this to a T: they are beautiful, made of wonderful yarn they are absolutely functional and they will put a smile on any knitter’s face. A match made in heaven.
7. What do you listen to while you create? Quiet… lots of quiet. While I sometimes work with while watching TV, I do my best work when it is absolutely quiet. I’ve always been that way, when I was in college I needed quiet to study, no radio or stereo for me! When I first got interested in felted slippers I wanted to understand the pattern at a more intuitive level so I would go to a quiet place and make up miniature slippers just to learn. Quiet was the key!
8. Why do you (knit, quilt, spin, carve, design…)? What is your purpose? I am retired from a corporate career. The big question when I first retired was “who am I if I’m not a suit and a briefcase?” Answering that question transformed my type A work persona into the gentler way of being afforded by knitting and sewing. My purpose is to add meaning to my new life and to share the crafts I learned as a child with others. My purpose is also to deepen my knowledge and experience in knitting and pass these skills on to others including my grandchildren. I am proud to say that my oldest grandson is budding knitter at age 9!
9. What do you know that you don’t know? I know that I don’t know half – no – one quarter of what Elizabeth Zimmerman knew. I know that I don’t know how to be thin. I know that I don’t always know how to be a good wife, parent, grandparent, sister, neighbor, friend. I know that I don’t know how to knit continental.
10. How does, or should, the word “passion” relate to an artist? For me, passion is that drive that makes the work effortless. Even when I stumble on something difficult or annoying, there is still an ease and a satisfaction in getting through it. Passion is also that irresistible urge that revs up your mojo, gets you in your groove and forgets time and space around you. Sometimes even forgetting to eat being filled simply by the work you are doing… sigh!
11. Looking back, knowing what you know now, is there anything that you would do differently? I would knit and sew more during my working life for the pleasure and the peace it brings!
12. A lot of artists want to be famous, and some just want to make a living doing what they love. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? A little fame would be alright, just for kicks. In five years I would like to have a broader repertoire of venues where I can teach. I love teaching and I like to make it fun for everyone – and, of course, USEFUL.
13. If you could give advice to anyone aspiring to work with fibers, what would it be? Go for it. If fiber speaks to you, do it. Don’t let anyone stop you. Lead a responsible life: take care of your children, your finances and yourself. But find a way to bring your art into those responsibilities. For me, nothing makes better life than to do what makes your heart sing and sharing that with others.
14. When it’s time to “tap” your creativity…where do you go to get the juices flowing? I fondle yarn. I go in my special room where all the stuff is and start feeling luscious yarns and thumbing through books for inspiration. After a while I’m excited, inspired, motivated. At that point I add a dose of reality: what do I NEED to get done… you know, the matching sweaters I promised my son and grandson, the slippers I’d like to make for my not-so-well 93 year-old neighbor. Then I pick a project and I’m like a racing horse out of the gate: inspired, motivated and knitting for all I’m worth. Pure joy!
15. How many projects do you generally have going at one time? Three or four. Usually a big project is lurking around: a blanket or sweater; then something quick: slippers, a hat; then there is almost always simple shawls for charity in the works. I make the shawls and collected them to bring to a hospice in Brunswick, GA, near where we spend our winters. If left to my own devices, I would have 20 projects going but I’ve learned to keep it down to a handful… things are more likely to get finished and that’s more satisfying.
You can find Consuelo on Raverlry as Consuelo. She summers in Friendship Maine and winters where ever her heart takes her.