Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Silly Knitting!

To see the latest Silly Knitting, this time a whippet, added to the Dollivers' menagerie, go here

Earlier blogposts in Field and Fen give you more info about the origin of the dog, crediting the book it came from.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

More fiber adventures: knitting in crochet thread and wire, with handmade paper

Two new works finally have seen completion. Both involve knitting, one with cream colored crochet thread, in a series of stitches including my favorite feather and fan, with a handmade paper face, to form a classical column, where yarnovers simulate architectural detail

The paper face is very fine abaca, thin to the point of dissolution, works with the ancient motif of the knitted pillar. Size about 30" long by 8" wide.

The other work is knitted in colored wire, a fish, inset into a net of wires and threads in a wrapped form. Here seen close up,

and here seen further away

so you can detect the threads trailing down from the fish.

Anyone wanting to know how to do the molding of the face forms, let me know and I'll be glad to explain. Likewise if you'd like tips on knitting with wire, say so, and I'll put in a few pointers on that, too. Each for each is what we teach!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Knitted Wallhanging

Almost complete, needs a dowel at the top to replace the knitting needle I worked it on, and heavy handmade bead here and there on the braided parts. This was knitted in heavy twine, the braided parts knotted over then carded at the ends to fray them out. The face is artist made paper, molded.The context for this piece is a series of knitted, crocheted and woven wallhangings to be part of a summer exhibit.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tumbling block, a new look

This is a piece of fabric I created years ago, in fact it was exhibited more than once in a different incarnation,and now I've overstitched in gold thread -- sorry, difficult to see here, but a selection of the tumbling block outlines are picked out in a single long stitch -- and it's stretched and mounted 20 inches high, 16 inches wide, one my favorite dimensions in many media.

This fabric was undyed natural colored muslin, which I left out in the rain wrapped around a piece of cast iron, to acquire interesting rust and mold markings, then dyed with silk dye, washed out to get a very subtle tone, and stamped with tumbling block designs, using an archival stamp pad ink, the designs carved in rubber stamp making material. the stamp is carved to resemble wood grain, but that's not a big part of the effect, just gives it a textured sort of feeling. So its latest adventure is as an embroidered piece, where the stitches just partner with the general feeling of the tumbling block design, to give a illusion of many levels. At least that's the idea!

This low contrast work harks back to my early art, where I worked white on white in paper, or black on black, and it was very difficult to get a studio able to make good slides of my work, a terrible challenge to a photographer. So glad the bad old days of slides are no more, and that my digi enables me to do it myself, at least well enough to be visible, anyway!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Finished, stretched, color experiment piece

I finished the stitching, then went in and painted, and finally stretched the batik piece and here it is, done. This is a closeup of it, better to see the stitches with.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Taking a needle for a walk in a batik jungle

You know how one of those art professor assignments is to take a color you're not fond of and work with it in a way that you can come to like? I took this piece of batik to work freeform over it, using purple and a goldy-orange, which are good on the color wheel, but neither of them is a fave of mine, purple bringing up a bitter taste in my mouth.

I decided to try the assignment and found interestingly that the purple suggested interesting swoops and moves. So you never know. I'll see if I end up thinking this piece is okay as I go along. It's going to be stretched 20x16 approximately, in size.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Knitting in cotton and wire

Alongside all these embroidery capers, I've been working steadily along on other fiber arts works. Here's Fishnet, knitted in various stitches, with applied fish knitted and wrapped in wire, stretched on a frame. Size is about 30 x 16, forgot to measure exactly and now I'm on a different floor. Anyway, this is an entry in my summer exhibit, seems seasonable, come to think of it!

Whole work

and a detail

so you can see the fish better and the knitted stitches, too

There are passages of Feather and Fan, various forms of yarnover wraps and drops, lace using k2togs, and various other little adventures in here. The thread is heavy cotton, terrible on your hands, because it doesn't "give" as you work, but okay to make this piece. The fish are various gauges of wire ranging from 28 up to fatter.

All this is done, as usual, alla prima: no planning and and rough sketches ahead of time, just go with what the yarn wants to do. The fish were already a wall item,but I realized they really belonged as part of this work, so I swam them over into it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

TAST Week Seven Running Chain aka Detached Chain, aka Lazy Daisy!

I had already used this stitch in several ways on my dyed silk piece, which you see here with all three panels now attached, because the shape of running chain lends itself to activating space, to "seeding" areas with interest without attracting too much attention to itself, and to combining with other stitches, such as feather and herringbone and running, to make interesting new shapes and forms.

So here's the completed piece, height 49 inches, width 23,

and here are a couple of details showing the combination idea

and the activating space idea, where it interacts with fly stitch

As always I lean toward the spare rather than the busy, in embroidery, just my own taste. I like the fabric to speak for itself, too, and not be drowned out in a pandemonium of stitches! but I do enjoy the work of people who love to fully populate their fabric with stitches.
I remember learning this stitch, as Sharon B. points out, as a little kid, often the first stitch you learn in crewel work, at maybe six or so. We did learn all kinds of skills like this very young in Europe. I love the hand movements that go with this one.

And, to go back to the origin of this challenge, go here

Thursday, February 9, 2012

TAST Week Six, Chevron Stitch

I was in the midst of creating a Rule of Three artwork when this challenge came in, and it fitted in just fine! you'll see chevron in the top panel of composition, Anxiety

then Collapse in the middle one

then Resolution in the third, woven one

The top two panels are stitched in embroidery floss, unplied, and the bottom one, the weaving, has a warp of embroidery floss and weft in various colors of fine wire. The base is handmade abaca paper I made in my studio some time ago, and which comes in very handy in this kind of mixed media work. Very difficult to stitch through, though, think about shoving a needle through lino or something! But permanently stable, since it's made from original abaca fiber, Ph pure. The three will be hung separately, vertically, each backed with foamcore to stabilize them on the wall, but it won't show, because I want to preserve the ragged edges.

If you're not familiar with the art concept of Rule of Three, it's just that three is a balanced and interesting grouping -- as in the triangle, which is both visually and physically stable, and which you will see all the time in classical painting, the way the composition is created, I mean. Odd numbers in general work better in art than even numbers, and in real life, it's always nicer to receive an odd number of flowers, because they're easier to arrange in a vase. Not that the purveyors of a dozen red roses will take any notice of that, of course..

Anyway, this work, if you're interested in deconstruction, is about, reading top to bottom, insecurity, middle panel dissolution, bottom panel resolution. Each panel is approximately 8 x 11 inches. And you can interpret further at will, your fun!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nice honor, thank you Sharon B!

Sharon, the leader of the TAST challenge and blogger at PinTangle, selects a few entries each week to highlight, from the many offerings in the challenge. And this week I was one of the lucky guys she highlighted! very thrilling, thank you.

If you want to check in, go here and scroll down a bit. Yay!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monotype madness

For a peek in at tonight's monotype making workshop I conducted for the local artists' association, go here

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Collaborative Fiber Art

In a box of fabric scraps I was given recently, was this piece of, I think, Japanese, hand printed fabric,which was just what I was looking for as a basis for some freeform stitching. If I knew the artist who designed the piece, I'd credit her, but all I can do here is to acknowledge her, which I do very warmly. This piece will be stretched like a painting and hung that way, as a fiber art wall piece.

It's a soft grey with a cool black overprint, probably rayon, hand stitched in five shades of blue, which are not easy to see here, sorry. I've given two overviews,

and two details

The whole piece will hang as a 28 (height) by 22 (width) wallhanging.