On Top of the Whorl

I’m still grinning from ear to ear over the ridiculous cleverness that is the title of this post, so you’ll have to excuse me.

I’m finally getting some pictures up of the new spindle toppers I made for Ken Ledbetter of KCL Woods back in October.  He’s apparently going to make some of these into spindles for the December 7th show over at Tempe Yarn and Fiber, which is really exciting.  These things are pretty, but they’re really, REALLY pretty set into his gorgeous spindle whorls.

ImageThis topper utilizes my new favorite stamp for the layered base, a hand molded clock and flower, and some little sculpted accents, all in colors from my own palette mixtures.  This and every other topper is accented with two colors of paint, light then dark, to give it some extra depth.

I may have finally discovered a bit of my own style here.  I’ve gone for years without knowing what it is.  Some artists seem to emerge fully formed from the inspirational womb, style fully intact and surging into their art like an ocean tide.  They know who they are and what they like and it comes out so easily in everything they do.

I have struggled for a long time to figure out what I make.  I make so much.  I like so much.  It’s really hard for me to narrow down my tastes and my styles.  I’ve been more easily able to pinpoint what causes my tide than pinpoint just what the heck my tide is going to do at any given moment.  My moon is happiness, making other people happy, love, or a person in general… so much of what I do is directly inspired by someone I love, so I make something I know they’ll like, and it makes me happy.  Maybe it comes from being a people pleaser, which is so not a bad thing, which is another post altogether.  I have so much past trauma in my life that has turned me into the kind of person who wouldn’t even swat a mosquito when it comes to people’s emotions.  (I totally kill literal mosquitoes, though, and I don’t even care about hurting their feelings.)  Recently, I’ve chosen to embrace this side of me.  Not everyone gets lucky enough to find their trauma coping mechanism is ensuring that no one around them has cause to experience trauma, so I’m running with it.

ImageThis topper is on a layered base molded from one of my original sculptures.  This base design was made specifically for The Sedona Knit Wits, at the request of Petra, the owner, for some larger pieces.  It is a beautiful button all by itself, but I’m also enjoying using it as a base for more complex pieces like this topper and my new art buttons.

Lately, though (finally!), I’ve started to see some trends in my work.  It’s becoming a bit recognizable as me.  I think it could just be time.  Years of experimentation and figuring out what I like are finally yielding that delightfully unique cocktail that is only Kathy, and as I forcefully practice kindness to myself, I’m beginning to actually like what I see.

I find myself squashing all of those mean voices (inside of me… no one is mean to my face) that say that using molds isn’t real art.  They say that this stuff isn’t really that good because I didn’t make it all myself.  They say that a real artist knows what her style is and creates from that.  They say that if you do too many things, you’re not really an artist.  If you have too many hobbies or do too many crafts, you’ll never get very good and any of them, so I’m not a real artist.  They say that people aren’t interested in the work of some fat woman, that I should lose weight before I can be successful, and that none of this stuff is worth anything or attractive in any way because nothing good could come from some gross fat girl.  (I wanted to censor this paragraph, to look less dramatic, because if there’s one thing I hate, it’s drama.  But most of us who deal with these issues know for a fact that this paragraph actually IS censored quite heavily already.  Negative self-talk is the worst, the cruelest, and the most untrue.  It’s why self-kindness has to be kind of violent.)

ImageThis topper is nothing but molds, and it’s the design people keep staring at the most.  I love it.

I just keep rebelling against myself, because all of that talk is stupid victim talk, and I am not a victim.  Maybe kindness and love and even self confidence are to all of this what they say courage is to fear: that it’s not the absence of fear, it’s the willingness to stand up in spite of it.  So confidence isn’t the absence of insecurity.  It’s the willingness to stand up in spite of it.

I keep making beauty because on some level, I know I’ve never seen it in myself, and every beautiful thing I make becomes proof that there is beauty inside of me.  That’s what fueled my art for a very long time.  But lately, it’s like the sun has come out.  It’s not quite noon yet… more like the peeking of the sun at dawn.  Small, but still so dramatic for the contrast.  I see beauty and it isn’t painful, like something I wish I had.  Beauty is starting to look like me.

ImageIt gets really hard to hear negativity from on top of the whorl.  ^_~


About Kathy Canuel

I'm a happy artist loving on my husband and boys, making things (everything in every way!), and doing my best to live life to the fullest every day. Love, art, life.


  1. I love the key and keyhole one! If I actually liked spinning on a spindle, I would be all over that one. I would say though that I can definitely recognize your style. When I see your work I think “Kathy.” I can’t describe exactly what “it” is, but when I see it I know it’s you. 😉 I feel the same way, though, when it comes to calling myself an artist, because I like so many different things and craft from patterns to make things I like and that I know others will like. But I think it’s okay to go with the saying “there’s nothing new under the sun,” meaning that everything comes from somewhere, especially art.

    One of my favorite quotes that I found back when I was in college and first starting my blog was something like this: Craft is not merely to make beautiful things, but to become beautiful on the inside while making those things. It really struck me, especially since I can be the same way when it comes to insecurity and self-loathing. Making things is a way to physically see the beauty that I often hide or fail to find within myself.

  2. Pingback: Inspirations 4 | Colour Cottage

  3. Truly beautiful, especially the one with the key and keyhole.

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