Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I often get asked at shows first how my name "bricolage" (bree-kuh-lahzh) is pronounced and then almost immediately I'm asked what it's meaning is. Bricolage has a lot of meanings but for me personally the following definition is in the context of what I do.

bri-co-lage n: a construction achieved by using whatever comes to hand; also: something constructed in this way

  I've had the pleasure of meeting Jillian, the editor of knittyspin at the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo the past two years. This year when she came to my booth, she said she had something really dorky for me and after digging through her bag for a moment, she pulled out a word of the day calendar page. I'm sure you can guess the word of the day. :D  

Being a bit dorky myself I thought it was sweet more than anything that she saved it a few days to give to me. It had some interesting history about the word bricolage that just confirmed that when I chose my business name, I chose something that will be evergreen for me. 

the following is taken directly from Workman Publishing's Page-A-Day Calendar:
According to French social anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, the artist "shapes the beautiful and useful out of the dump heap of human life." Levi-Strauss compared this artistic process to the work of a handyman who solves technical or mechanical problems with whatever materials are available. He referred to that process of making do as bricolage, a term derived from the French verb bricoler (meaning "to putter about") and related to bricoleur, the French name for a jack-of-all-trades. Bricolage made its way from French to English in 1966, when Levi-Strauss's The Savage Mind was translated from his native tongue to ours. 
I like the idea of bricoleur roughly translated meaning a jack-of-all-trades. I certainly don't fit into any one category and am constantly learning different techniques and media from jewelry/metalworking, to spinning, dying, sewing, felting, carding, and some occasional printmaking. I guess you could say I'm a bricoleur in my own studio. 

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