Thursday, April 28, 2016

Artist in Residence Week Nine AIR 2016 WIPS

Last week of the current series of Artist in Residence sessions, and it was definitely worth doing.  A lot of good conversation, ideas for people to take away, many interesting questions, and the opportunity for me to show many forms of textile arts, all accessible without much equipment or expenditure.

Today it was Works in Progress, and I brought in several works in progress, three or four of them barely designed, and ready for me to do designs on them, one under way, one almost completed.  In between chatting about art, design, higher education, the political scene, literature and various other topics that came up as the afternoon went on, that is.

As usual, I brought a box of materials, threads of all kinds, plus reference books. Since today's emphasis was on design and working on it, the book of drawings is one of the best places a designer can start, both to study and to draw, to get your eye and hand in.  Then the book of geological photographs, natural shapes and forms, wonderful ideas.  And my own looseleaf notebook of drawings, most of them done not as ideas but as fully developed drawing.

And for color, nothing beats the sheer intelligence of Albers.  He was the twentieth century master, taught at Black Mountain College many other artists, composers and wild talents.  One of his students, Maggi Johnson, was my mentor until her death in her mid nineties last year.  So I have an unbroken succession to one of the greats! well, two of them, in fact.
I found a wonderful motif on Twitter the other day, one of those stylized initial letters in illuminated medieval manuscripts.  So I swiped the shape as a design element, repeated it five times, meeting in the middle, to form a kind of mandala effect, on a piece of dyed linen, and will stitch into that.  Maybe with silver, maybe gold, maybe colors, maybe all of the above.

The series of graduated hoops I'd set up with dyed silk will probably not be drawn on again, though I did break down and draw a rose motif on the smallest one.  The silk and muslin and linen all started life as plain white, and I dyed and printed and generally made changes on them as a support for stitching.

Then I started the printed piece, a formless sort of group of metallic imprints I'd put on muslin, and began to form a mountain landscape, drawing from shape to shape and starting to couch copper metallic thread onto the contours. There will be an indigo metallic in what is to be the horizon line of the mountain range.

These will all be either framed or dowelled wall hanging pieces.

I learned quite a bit in the course of this residence, one being to stay calm in public long enough to stitch peacefully and to concentrate on designing.  Before this I would have had to be at home to design happily. 

But now I feel as if I can do it anywhere! this bodes well for the good weather, if we ever get any.  I can definitely see working out of doors.  The light is very favorable from now on, too. Plein air stitching!

And all this is leading up to the June exhibit, for which I hope to have enough work to make a show.  The title of the exhibit: Leap and the Net Will Appear! and the next few weeks will feature quite a bit of leaping!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Just an amused post about how frugality gets everywhere.  

A simple bag of onions on sale has yielded plenty of onions in the freezer, a bag of skins in the dyebag, a poem, and a line drawing.  You can read the poem here
The line drawing is a pilot pen one on hot press paper, and now I want to do more

 I'd say those onions don't owe me anything. Talk about freighted.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Artist in Residence, AIR 2016, last week, WIPS

This week is the last of the AIR series, and though I initially thought I might just bring out what I planned for last week, I've decided it would be interesting instead to bring out WIPS, works in progress, some planned, some designed, some under way, as an insight into the ongoing work of a person like me.

So here's the picture of what will happen.  I've hooped up a series of silk pieces in graduated sizes, all steam-dyed using leaves and flowers, and a piece of linen, dyed likewise, plus a piece of cotton, printed with metallic acrylic paint. 

None of these is stitched yet, so I will be drawing designs on them, or possibly following the lines created by the dyes.  They tend to look like landscapes, so choosing where to hoop was part of the design process.

And there will be threads, and silk blanks to see the starting point of the dyed pieces. The blanks just arrived today, very timely. I put out gold threads for this photo, but I might work the graduated series using silver.  We'll see.

That will be IT for the series! And I think it's been worth while all around. 

On Saturday, our stitching guild has a joint program with the Historical Society of Princeton in a historic farmhouse, where a few of us will be stitching in public for the afternoon and demonstrating, and I think this series plus silver threads, will be among the items I take with me.  If they let me do pix there, I will share the event with you.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Score: virus 1, Boud 0 more or less, but one thing got finished

This week has been quiet on the art front, and more exciting than I like on the health side.  A gut virus felled me on Sunday, and I am still not acquainted with solid food, but I think it's abating now, leaving total tiredness. Anyway, that's why there's no AIR session this afternoon, sorry, but I will be back next week.  The libe staff is all aware and will explain if anyone is looking and asking.

The only small thing I've been able to accomplish is, once the parts for the floor embroidery frame arrived, to complete the assembly, and install a sample piece of dyed linen on it, just to show how it works.  The clamps which grip the fabric are great, easy to tighten by turning them to the back of the frame.

If you downloaded the pdf you will have seen that it calls for four two inch segments of half inch pvc piping, for a table model.  In order to adapt that to a floor model, I substituted two 25 inch pieces, to raise it up to the level I need.  Incidentally, if you are concerned about the originator of the plans, she does suggest various adaptations, and I doubt she'd object to this one.

The photograph distorts the relative size of the top and the base -- they're much nearer in size than they appear here.  And I'm pleased with the result, pretty sturdy, lightweight, and can be taken apart and put together easily.

I am going to dye some silk pieces, once they arrive, the way I did the last dye lot, and I'll be able to use my new frame to stitch on them.  Very pleased with all this.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Eco dyeing, or what I did while I was waiting for parts to arrive

So yesterday I picked up the pvc pieces for the embroidery frame, but found that two items, the three way connectors and the clamps, were not available locally.  

So I sent away for them, and did all the cutting in the meantime and assembled the parts I can, except that the long piece needs to be cut into two parts, once I determine the exact height needed to raise the frame up to be a floor standing frame.  If you have downloaded the pdf of instructions, you'll see a place where you use two inch pieces to create the table top model. That's where I'm putting in much longer pieces, to raise it up as a floor standing frame. So here's where that project is:

It will be only a couple of minutes' work once the parts arrive, the three way and the clamps, then I'll show it.  Such a cool idea.

Soooo this left me Saturday evening, my Donna Leon current reading done, casting about for what to do...and I noticed a blog about eco dyeing, and thought, oh look, a bird..

This is not the kind I did last year where I extracted the dyes from plants then used them to dye fabric.  This is the other one, where you wrap actual plant material, tie and steam it.  Better if you have tin cans or metal pipes to wrap the fabric around, but I don't use much in the way of canned goods, and my pipe bits are pvc,  so I had to improvise. And rusty items, and I could only find one or two of these, rust not evidently being an issue around here. You need the rusty stuff, since the iron offshoot is a good mordant

So, it being late on Saturday night, and even I draw the line at foraging in the pitch dark, I went with indoor houseplant and veg material

Boston fern, begonia leaves, sanseveria and a handful of onionskins.  I soaked three fabric pieces, one linen, two silk, in a solution of one to four white vinegar to water, wrung it out,  then arranged plant material on the wet fabric, folded it over, 

then rolled and wrapped it tightly, using string. 

Then steamed it for two hours.  Then I left it overnight, and unwrapped it this morning 

and pressed the wet fabric to see what it had wrought.

One of the scarves had some silk dye already, but one was plain white, and the linen piece had pale turmeric dyes on it already.  So this also compared overdyeing with original dyeing.  And found it was all pretty much fun.  Once the frame is done, I can mount the linen square on it for stitching purposes.  Once the parts have will all converge at some point.

Friday, April 15, 2016

AIR 2016 Week Seven Lemons and Lemonade

Here's the setup for AIR Week Seven, including beaded knitting which uses a crochet hook, stitching on net, and designing ideas.

We were up against a beautiful Spring day, which kept people away in droves, so, since few people got the benefit of this setup, I plan to repeat it next week.  That's the lemon part.

However, the lemonade part is that for the first time, I got to work during the session, not needing to stop and explain and show. So here's the lemonade, a finished phone purse, started as a demo. 

In fact it wasn't wasted, since I showed a couple of stitchers the crochet hook beading idea the evening before, at our meeting, and then a couple of neighbors who dropped in at home the evening after.

You will see that I now have three beaded phone purses.  They seem to fall in seasons, the latest one, in string and blue glass beads, being a summer idea, the white with the blue wooden beads and gold strap a winter one, and the dark rust with I think agates, or some such precious stone, and silver strap, a fall one.  This was not planned, but it occurred to me just now that it's what I seem to have done.

Since I plan to learn a bit of Ukrainian embroidery, and have a kit and instructions ready to go, and Ukrainian embroidery features flowers, perhaps I can stitch a Spring phone purse..all a bit quirky, but if some people, who shall remain nameless, create pillow covers for the season, well, I can do phone purses.  Neener!

And tomorrow I plan to shop for the piping and connectors to build myself a standing embroidery frame. The original wonderful plans, found on Magpie's blog, go here , are for a freestanding or tabletop frame. 

This link takes you to a nice post on Magpie's blog, always fun to read, and you will see the joke in the previous para as well as a link to the plans for the frame, created by Kathy Shaw, so you get a twofer.  Or a threefer, really.  I think Kathy deserves some sort of citation for this idea, and you will too, once you take a look at the plans.

I plan to adapt them to make a floor frame, and my stitching buds are eager to see how it comes out, after they saw the pvc niddy noddy in action!  They asked me for the link to the original ideas, which I sent, but I will show them my finished product, with any luck, soon.

And while I was musing about this, and thinking, what a pity, I seem to be weaving rather than stitching more than anything at the moment, that it struck me with a blow like a meteor to the head, that this can also be a weaving loom!  And it would be easy to remove the weaving at the end by sliding the members aside rather than cutting and tying the warp ends. Exactly like removing yarn from the niddy noddy.  And it's at an angle all the better to save my stiff neck.  Now I really can't wait to get on with this.

I can use up the rest of the piping left over from the niddy noddy, plus buy more piping (I guess it will be like the hot dogs and rolls, never coming out exactly even, there will always be leftover pipe), and various connectors.And I'll report back in due course.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Why the Artist in Residence notion is labor intensive!

The AIR 2016 is labor intensive partly because as gallery manager and general art director of the libe Donna rightly said, I decided to do it big, how typical of me, too true, and partly because I only include fiber arts in which I already have experience and have either exhibited or taught.

However, that's a range, and it means every week I usually have to refresh my knowledge and skill!  can't claim to show  something if I can't remember exactly how it goes, after all...

So this week, among other things, for Week Seven of nine, this is all your doing, Quinn, I'm refreshing my old skills with beaded knitting where you use a crochet hook to insert the beads.  It's mesmeric and you just don't want to stop once under way. 

I decided to embark on a new small piece, a phone purse, similar to a couple of others I'm bringing, just to demo the concept and to encourage visitors to try a small item for themselves at home.  I find new knitters tend to think in terms of large things like scarves and sweaters and can get a bit daunted when the finish line recedes like mountains in the distance.

And I'm using fine string and glass beads, a nice and unusual combo of materials. Another reminder that you can use anything you want as a yarn.

Anyway, now I have to hold back from finishing the thing too soon!  I need to have some left to show.  The pic here I took this morning, right after I got under way, but the item's nearly done now, oh dear. Note the extreme fineness of the hook -- the hook end is barely visible.  This is because you need a hook small enough to thread the bead onto it over the hook, and to draw it back out with two thicknesses of your yarn on it.  Which means you have to have beads with a bore (the hole in the middle) large enough to allow this.

In addition to this technique, I'll be showing books and ideas about doing your own designing, too, to encourage that, and will be showing a stitching on net still on the hoop, the design taken from my own drawing. 

The technique of using Vilene and net, which I might have invented, at least I never saw it anywhere,  is part of this, too.  A lot of textile arts are really not difficult, at least to embark on, but they seem mysterious until you see them happening.

Varied and interesting session, at least that's always the hope.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

AIR Week Seven Thoughts, beaded knitting, lace embroidery and design

This week's musing, while I worked on a tapestry, about what to present for the seventh in the series of nine Artist in Residence sessions on the textile arts was given a jolt today by a tweet about crochet-hook beaded knitting.  Thanks so much, Quinn.  I've been thinking idly for a while about this and hadn't incorporated the idea into any plans.

So in addition to the elements of design and transfer, using Vilene and net, and other ideas, I'm putting in beaded knitting, using samples I use all the time.  

This is the technique where you use a tiny crochet hook to slide the bead onto the knitted stitch, as needed, rather than the counting and planning that the other form of beaded knitting requires.  Much more to the taste of a knitter who likes spontaneity.  That would be me.  

The crochet hook I found in a thrift store box of old sewing items, many of which I passed on to sewers, but the extremely small hooks I kept since they're not easy to find.  The hook is almost hard to see with the naked eye, that small.  There are YouTube videos of this technique, so I won't describe it here, but do try it.

So here are a couple of examples, both are phone purses, which I've made a lot of and given away a lot of, and which are great for a beginning knitter, small enough to finish and useful, too.  Adding the beaded element is fun for the next step.  The one on the right is a lovely calming piece to hold in your hand with beads between your fingers.  This was a discovery after I'd made it, and I'm very pleased with it.

The left one has a strap braided from an old piece of broad gold cording, while the strap on the right one is crocheted. Both go right down the sides of the purses, making them secure.

No pix yet of the Vilene ideas, not yet set up. It's all part of the Art is for Everyone approach!  you can, too, design your own, if you want to.  There will be a  net embroidery work in progress, based on my drawing, and I'll be bringing in other drawings which I have also used as design starters.  I didn't draw them for that purpose, but they lent themselves.

Aside from the AIR 2016 planning, I've made a little freeform tapestry, here seen off the loom, but not quite finished -- a couple of things need to happen before I declare it done. These are all threads I spun and dyed

 The trailing warp yarns are pretty long, and are part of the design of the piece.  I got them by warping right over the back of the (cardboard) loom rather than just up and down the front.Their ends need to be finished in some way so as to give them a bit more weight.  Title suggestions will be welcome for this piece.  It helps me see what other people see when they look.

This tapestry happened while I was thinking about another, completely different one. Art goes that way quite often.  But I'm going to take another run at the one I meant to make.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

AIR 2016 Week Six Beadweaving and Beaded Embroidery

This week was all about beadweaving and beaded embroidery.  

Bottom right is entitled Anonymous Was a Woman

A small section of my bead holdings on the right there

Beaded bracelets and a tapestry in woven beads

I got two pieces back from an exhibit last evening, just in time to bring them out today. You see them on the table at the top -- ears of wheat, an old traditional motif, and Anonymous Was a Woman, using the anonymity icon from the internet, and subversive uneven framing in stitching.

And I started a beadweaving on my cardboard loom to demonstrate today, which I did.  Once you start a beadweaving, it's hard to stop. 

Sample beadweaving for demo
 Yesterday I had to review how to weave beads, and was glad I had, since it took me a try or two to get the hang of it back again.

Although the theme today was beadweaving and beaded embroidery, the conversations, with artists and other visitors, ranging from glass art to ceramics, to Turkish textile arts -- very interesting Turkish lady who has just retired and is thinking of taking up beading and other embroidering now  -- and a gift arrived of broken jewelry bits, some of them spectacular, from a visitor who had emailed me earlier and offered me the takings from her newly organized jewelry drawer.  Many orphan earrings!

Time flew as usual, and the works I brought in were handled and admired -- okay to handle beaded bracelets -- and I have a new flyer courtesy of Gallery Manager Donna, to give out about my upcoming exhibit.

All in all, this series is a Good Thing.Now I have some great ideas for using my new trove of jewelry bits in, I'm thinking, tapestry or possible as a form of shisha embroidery which I haven't tried yet. And there are crystal beads which I think I already have a home for.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

AIR 2016 Week Six Beading and Beadweaving

Lovely stuff to show tomorrow -- beaded works, ref books for people who want to try their hand at it, beads, threading filament, and the makings of beadweaving.  Plus finished beadwoven bracelets, the only ones I have left, the others being sold or generally in collections out there. 

The clunky piece of cardboard in the pic is the loom on which those bracelets were made - no need for fancy looms to weave with beads.  They do exist and they're lovely, but I just never bothered. Likewise special beading needles, I just haven't got into them, have enough embroidery needles of all sizes to find ones that will work for the beads.

So I'll demo how to weave with beads, a bit of a mystery until you see how it's done -- and I will start a piece tomorrow so that people can see what I'm up to -- and I'll talk about using beads in embroidery.  The pieces I'm bringing are more embroidery than beads, to show how beads can be the feature but don't have to be the whole show.  And I have a piece in progress which is currently dyed and goldworked, but beads will feature in it, too.

If you're local, do come! this will be fun. And bring questions on all things embroidery and textiles.  And I will attempt to bring supplies of beads without dramatically dropping the lot as I did at home a while back, creating bead soup.

This AIR is really making me revisit a lot of interesting skills, and enjoy them all over again.  I particularly get a kick when people come and decide they'd like to try a skill, maybe even with their kids over the summer.  If visitors do half what they have in mind, their summer will be a madhouse of stitching, dyeing, beading, weaving, crocheting art and knitting it, too.  All good.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Tapestry Ocean, and Goldwork on printed, dyed linen

Today a completed work, a small tapestry, made from yarn I spun and dyed then wove, with a hanging dowel painted to look like metal. I wove this on a cardboard loom.

and a work in progress, goldwork on printed and dyed linen.  I think beading will get in here, too.

Next Thursday's artist in residence session will feature beading and possibly embroidery on lace.  I have to find beaded pieces to show, though the more spectacular ones are now in collections, and not available to me right now. And I have to paw through my books to find something on beading.  Not hard to find raw materials for beading! just a little tricky to transport without creating bead soup.

Hard to believe how fast these nine sessions are rushing by. Week Six now!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

AIR Week Five, Dorset Buttons and Dyeing

Here's the setup for the day

And the weaving I embarked on, and had to stop working on to pack and come into the libe to set up for the afternoon


This is the back, hence the ends sticking out, much calmer on the other side. And here's the green yarn I dyed

stretched on the niddy noddy and waiting to join its friends in the weaving.  Just two colors for the yarn dyeing: Dharma Trading silk dyes, in French blue, undiluted, then heavily diluted daffodil yellow with a touch of the blue for the yellow, to take the edge off the color, then more blue in the yellow diluted dye, for that really nice soft variegated green. Simple chemistry. This is the yarn I was spinning last week.

Today was a busy one, with a continuous stream of visitors, complete with a continuous stream of comments and questions, mostly on topic, but with some meanders along the paths of food, Field and Fen, Chinese art, Japanese art and history, recent bereavement, diverging family opinions, the bubble test, and more.

All very welcome and interesting, and an illustration of how art is intermeshed with daily life, as I listened and  stitched a newly started piece of goldwork, and started a Dorset button (Tayra B and young daughter joined in and did some of that one) and showed the weaving in progress.  I switched back and forth as needed for the demo.

The dyeing with natural materials was interesting -- not demonstrated, but the linens I was working on and displaying with Dorset buttons were dyed with onion and turmeric, as well as being printed.  

I did bring a container of powdered turmeric along, with a bag of onionskins.  And I talked about harvesting local plant material, rose heads, Japanese maple leaves, black walnut hulls, spinach and other kitchen vegetables, and so on, for dyeing at home.  Good timing for the upcoming season, if I do say it myself.

And the Dharma Trading catalogue, I love dealing with them, also the book on natural plant dyeing, both come highly recommended.

I have to acknowledge sister dogonart for first introducing me to Dorset buttons, unleashing a frenzy of making them, and I recounted their history to several groups today, all of whom were quite surprised to hear how it worked.  

I was unable to find a book with Dorset buttons and their history, at least outside of the rare books category, so I recommended people google on it to learn abit more, and explained the history in brief. the slices of Dorset rams' horns that were the earliest base for the buttons, how they were used for practical buttons on garments, and other background.

I shoved in an economic fact or two, along the way, about how England's great wealth was founded on the wool trade, and how to this day the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that's the head of the Treasury,  sits on the Woolsack, a ceremonial seat stuffed with English wool, as a symbol of following the money!  I guess in those days instead of saying every war was about the oil, they said every war was about the wool.

This artist in residence series is proving to be a great way to transmit history, sociology, physics, chemistry, and economics.  And here was I thinking it was going to be only about stitching..much richer than that in the event.  An appreciative audience deserves a lot of the credit.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Framing done, and new weaving warped up

So here's the start of the weaving I've been talking about, here warped up on a faithful old cardboard loom, and ready to go.  

After I'd thought about whether to warp this on a big frame, since it will be a longish piece, I realized that the main body of it will be compact and that there will be long trailers.  So in the interest of portability, I warped up a cardboard loom with that dyed thread, as you see, using the plexi I'd stretched it on to dry as a feeder.  The warping goes right over the back of the loom, so as to give plenty of elbow room for the finishing.  I noted, too, that even though I had used undiluted silk dye, nothing came off on my fingers as I worked, quite a relief there, since I didn't want to carry color over to where it didn't oughta be.  

And I dyed a hank of woven yarn with daffodil yellow with a touch of the same blue in this thread, to give an interesting, nonprimary color, which echoes the blue though the observer won't know why they seem to go together.  It's still drying, so I can't work with it yet.  But I can do the establishing rows of the piece using the same thread as the warp yarn.

Just a reminder that you can make lovely woven pieces without a fancy loom.

I got the rest of the Doorway series framed, what another relief.  Of all the things I don't like doing, framing ranks high. And these pieces, fragile, moving parts, great care needed in handling and securing, and then when they're under glass you can't go in and rearrange anything. These were a bit stressful. But they're done, and I'm pretty pleased with how they look.  No pix of these, you've seen all the pieces before anyway!


Monday, March 28, 2016

Dyeing for Weaving

This is the narrative of what happens when you have a general notion and let it take over.  I have been spinning up a storm, made quite a bit of yarn, getting better as I go, with the idea of weaving a wallhanging from it.  I have the general size and shape of the piece thought out, but have as usual let the rest come as I work.

Then I thought, rather than paint the finished weaving, which was idea one, I would dye the yarn I've spun, some of it, anyway.  And I wanted a central motif in blue, so I took yesterday's hank, and dyed it by pouring French Blue silk dye over it in a bag.  The yarn is Spanish merino wool, and took the dye pretty well.  It was wet from being twist set, so it was ready to take up the color.

When I was figuring out how to hang the hank to dry without dyeing all the area around it, I hung it over the high studio chair, over a white silk scarf, which will be in a future project.  This is how one artwork steps on the heels of the last!  The hank is to be the weft thread of a tapestry piece. Cotton perle. Then the silk scarf in the middle, and the merino wool yarn on the right.

I was then thinking about the warp threads.  I had decided on a nice perle thread, strong, but fine looking, and picked a white ball, decided why not dye this too, right on the ball, just pour color through it and massage it a bit, but not try to make a solid color all through.  I wanted a variegated yarn. This one was dry when I applied the color, and didn't seem to mind it at all.  You see it above, on the chair, still damp.

See the wool yarn drying on the left. When I  rinsed out the silk scarf, seen here rinsed,  I wished I'd had the forethought to preserve the rinse water which was still very blue and useful as dye.

In the course of that thinking, I went back to the stumpwork pieces I'd done recently for part of a collaged textile piece, and realized they'd be better dyed, so I put them in the bag of rinse water from the bag that had held the scarf, and which I wanted to re-use.  They're now drying too, so that's a third piece in process right now.  And I redeemed my frugal instinct to use the rinse water twice.

I had to think of a way to hank the warp threads, too, so I wound them around a piece of plexi, as you see, nice variegated effect. 

Wondering if this week's residence afternoon might include thoughts on dyeing..or on the lack of planning that sometimes works well, sometimes not so well. And how you need to have many strands of thinking going at once in order to make art.

Also thinking about Dorset buttons.  Since the piece I'm thinking of taking in as a demo is also dyed and stamped, this might be a good combo this week.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

AIR 2016 Week Four Yarn Arts

Here's today's setup.  I needed two tables this week, one for finished work, including dogs and Dollivers, and one for reference books and materials.

After a quiet start, when I was just thinking I could catch up with my spindle spinning, suddenly a continual stream of interested visitors, several bringing their children.  I was showing knitting, spinning, and crochet today, both art form and functional.

I demonstrated hand spinning several times, giving some of the technical terms as I drafted and spun, to their amazement, at seeing how that fluff ended up being yarn, and explained that this yarn is to be part of a woven work I plan on next, as another entry in my June show.  
And that this was how everyone's clothes were made long ago before machinery.  We talked a bit about the physics of energy, how the spinning transmits energy to the roving, to create the twist and the strength that gives, so that you can break roving, but not yarn.

And how spinning with a heavier whorl gives more momentum, and therefore longer spinning time before you need to spin the spindle again.  Since most of the visiting kids were girls, it seemed like a good chance to push a little bit of practical physics thinking. Just to open the idea that physics isn't something that happens in a science lab.

I talked about the ancient Norse graves of women where parts of spindles have been found, the belief being way back then that even in the afterlife, women would work at spinning!  seems a bit tough to me, after a life of work, but it was also their prized tool and livelihood, so perhaps burying the women  with their spindles, or often just the whorls, honored that, too.  The whorl is that round part at the end of the stick.  Often it was a stone piece, the stick part having long since disintegrated.

I also did a bit of sociology, with the Bolivian llama yarn, showing them that women there handspun it just as I had just shown them, and that they were paid a fair price for their work, very important to look for fair trade items when you buy handcrafts from other countries.

One young woman was astonished at the crocheted and woven wall hanging, and very excited at this way of using crochet, which she can already do.  She went off full of plans to try it for herself, and I invited her to come back with her finished work, if she completes it before the end of the residence series.  She looked at me in disbelief when I explained I'd dyed the yarn with Kool Aid!  true, though.

The other string hanging was a magnet, too, especially since it had wire knitting involved in it, as well as string knitting.

And several people made note of the Dollivers and plan to follow their exploits over in Field and Fen, while sending pix of the Knit Your Own Dog book to friends who are knitters, to encourage them to try it.  And the Knit Your Own Royal Wedding was a prime source of amusement, especially when I pulled out the little bag of Kate's knitted body parts, yet to be made up into a figure.

A good day's work in every sense. I got out late, an engrossed visitor wanting a longer visit and I had promised not to leave while anyone wanted to talk.

Week Five coming up next week, already.  Amazing how it's flying by, and how there's plenty to show and share.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter eggs WIP and AIR Week Four crate

Today was about remembering finally to get eggs to blow and paint for Easter.  Completely forgot to do it until now, and had to do a quick store run to get enough eggs. Here are the eggs in waiting

And I found that the better the egg, i.e. cage free, well fed, etc., the better the shell, well we knew that, but the better to blow without cracking the shell.  It's less fragile, and more sturdy, and to my surprise either my lungs are much better than last year, which wouldn't be a surprise, in fact, or these eggs were much easier to blow.


and here are the empty shells, rinsed, and drying ready to paint. Along with the little skewer I use to pierce them, and the contents of the eggs, which will probably be a quiche in the near future. 

Every year I paint each egg differently, one for Handsome Son's collection, one for mine, and the others for other people who've been significant in the last year in some way.  Haven't decided on the recipients yet.  And I still have to get out the egg collection and other Easter items, very remiss this year.

I also needed to organize items for tomorrow's Artist in Residence session at the libe.  Here's the haul.  

Tomorrow will be about knitting and crochet and spinning, general yarn art.  I'll be bringing in a knitted hanging in progress with things not yet worked out, and two completed knitted hangings, plus some more toylike ideas which are not for the June exhibit.  Such as knitted breed specific dogs! and the Dollivers! dressed in handknits.

The Ds consider this a major photo shoot All About Them, and were less than delighted to be packed with the dogs into the hatbox ready to travel.  They insisted on bringing backup clothes with them, just in case they decide to change.

Anyway, if I feel adept enough, I'll do a bit of spindle spinning, show some crochet I've done, and talk about the artworks two of which will be in the June exhibit, see if I can get ahead on the knitted hanging.  It's all go!

Oh, and possibly one of the Planet Suite might have found a future home.  Buyer saw it recently and is seriously wanting it, so we'll see if she can budget for it. She has a couple of my artworks, and really enjoys them, so it will be an honor if another one goes home with her.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Incidental art, art when the shadow is better than the substance, and nn in action

Field trip to Princeton Art Museum this morning, mainly to see the current exhibit of landscapes, the Dark Satanic Mills one, very interesting study of the nineteenth century and the industrial revolution in Wales and England, with a few landscape refs to Italy.

Some very nice Turner watercolors, two later ones with much energy, two earlier ones, a bit more careful and timid before he broke out.  A nice Constable.  And a raft of artists I was not familiar with at all. Some Monet, reminding me that he did live in London for a while when there was a war in France.  

Very worth seeing this show, for the social significance, about the environment, as well as the historical background.  And some great art going on, foreshadowing other later painters. Couple of great night scenes of blast furnaces at the steelworks in Cardiff, like ones I saw as a kid in the town I lived in.  Exhibit set up by arrangement with the national Museum of Wales.

The bright sun today was great for shadows out of doors, too, and once again I found that the shadows cast by the Any Body Oddly Propped installation much superior to the substance of the work itself.  Here's sun reflected twice, through the work itself, then onto the wall of the art museum.

And here's the colored shadows as the sun falls through the stained glass sections.

On the way back to the car, since there's a lot of construction and renovation  going on, as always, I noticed this great heap of sand, looking like a landscape, since I was ready to see landscapes everywhere after visiting the exhibit.  

Probably the best item of the day. Only a couple of feet high and maybe six across.

And, since work goes on apace with the spinning -- I've got the idea of what to use the yarn for, a weaving I have  in mind, idea came in the middle of the night, and need to get on with making it -- I thought I'd show you the niddy noddy's maiden voyage with yarn strung on it.

It's ready to tie with string in sections, then soak in hot water then take off the nn, bang the hank on the floor, to set the twist further, and hang to dry.  Very physical work, spinning.