Sunday, September 23, 2012

More adventures in media

I already showed you the line drawing and the line stitching in black on white that relate to one another. I'm pursuing this concept of rendering the same composition in different media.  Right now I have a small watercolor painting of  cliffs on the coast of North Yorkshire, that I showed you some time ago, and I'm rendering it in tapestry. 

This is another of my homemade looms.  The frame you see at the front I salvaged ages ago from some building trash, not sure what it originally was.  I think maybe the underpinnings of a kitchen counter, because it's perfectly squared, absolute right angles at the corners, heavy wood, well finished so it doesn't snag the yarn.  And I figured out how to make it stand upright by attaching one of my stretcher looms to the back with strapping tape, which "gives" as you open it.  Then a simple flat stick to keep it from closing again while I work, and there you are, very functional loom, steady, no need to hold onto any part of it, a big advance on the hand held looms I made before.  In fact, I could warp another tapestry on the back of this one, on loom currently acting as a support.  No need to warp right over the top, just sling a dowel and warp over that.  But I get ahead of myself...

The yarns are either gifts (Ash, you'll see yours at the bottom right, Stefi, one of yours is in the sea, Miranda, yours, too, that brownish purplish one , roving donated by Carol, my own spun yarn or my own roving from fleece I processed.   Click to see better. I just started this, warped it day before yesterday with variegated acrylic yarn, strong stuff, and interesting peeks of blues and whites, and I started the weaving yesterday.  So this is very new. This artwork is totally recycled if you like to think of it that way.  The shuttles are craft sticks, another freecycle.  In fact the top the whole thing is standing on is a heavy glass tabletop rescued from the trash years ago and often used as a base for printmaking when I make monotypes.  Nothing goes to waste around here.

The concepts and labor, however, are strictly firsthand, and time consuming.  But transformation does take time.  My hands have recovered from the damage done during the care of HP, so that's not an issue in making tapestry any more, though it kept me away for a while.  But the stamina you need to work your upper body for a long time, now that I have to build up!  an hour is as much as I can handle without having to do different things to let my ribcage rest!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blackwork revealed!

About to get to the mail with this one, a little gift. 

This is the blackwork you saw earlier at different stages. It's a book cover (the book stays here, she has her own copy), and it's backed with fusible web, then finished with buttonhole stitch all round, to secure the edges when it's handled.  Click to see better.

I learned a lot from working this, the challenges of blackwork itself, and how to adapt the stitches to my own design needs, and fnishing, and so on.  I think it's pretty nice, and I hope the recipient agrees!  there's a major subtext to the choice of blackwork, relating to the period when it flourished in England, and that I'll narrate to the recipient in a note I'll include.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Great stuff waiting to happen! watch this space...

Anyone within traveling distance of the public library of  Plainsboro NJ needs to put a checkmark on your listing of plans for September 22, 1-5 p.m, for the Festival of the Arts.  Many art activities, all participatory, music, food, embroidery, painting, weaving, dancing, poetry, found object sculpture.  They'll all happen.  Just show up and you'll be part of the group.

And because the Earthloom is a centerpiece this year, I dashed up to the studio to find interesting fabrics, cut them into weavable strips, and will add them in to the loom stash as of next week.  Take a look and tell me you don't want to weave this delicious stuff into narratives and dreams on the loom...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weaving at the Library, a community celebration!

Today was the unveiling of an Eagle Scout project, an Earthloom, and the completion of its first wallhanging, under the guidance of the Eagle Scout himself, with the assistance of various other scouting participants, library staff, volunteers, and general public, including the Dollivers, two of whom signed themselves up for the party.

Our Scout gave permission for the pix with the Ds, and the series shows the piece from semi complete, to complete, many hands taking turns to work on it, then cut off the loom and ready to hang as the first piece off the giant loom, designed and built in cooperation with the troop and parents, and ready to live in the library as a community weaving loom. It's an amazing, well-thought-out and executed project, seriously worked and I'd say very successful.

Of course I offered my services to play,I mean work, on this wonderful item.  This is a great community centered piece, good for all ages and stages to enjoy the art and fun of weaving.

Julie D., children's librarian posed with the Ds,
and promised them new earrings.  After they'd supervised the weaving and got all the attention a D could desire, they took a rest against a seasonal announcement. 
I dread being asked to make football uniforms next, but I think it's unlikely, since it would ruin their hair.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Plainsboro Artists 2012 Invitational

This annual event, held in conjunction with the fall Festival of the Arts, this year on September22, is an invitational exhibit for our regional artists' group, and drew a great response this year.  On the day of the Festival, instead of a juried decision on Best in Show and runners-up, there will be a People's Choice vote, the winners to receive cash prizes, courtesy of local companies. Anyone who comes to the Festival, can cast a vote for their favorite artwork.

The opening was a great party, which, alas, because of the brilliant evening sun and the high contrast, yielded pix most of which were not very flattering! I used the few that worked, and I went to the gallery next day to shoot a few shots of the work itself, with no people around. There was more than this, but this is just a summary of the works, very strong show this year.   the white paper piece is mine,and I spent a lot of time at the opening explaining how it was done.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Embroiderers Guild of America take a bow!

Once in a while, I blog about other interesting subjects than the Great Me, and today, I wanted to bask in the lovely afternoon I just spent with my local (Princeton NJ) chapter of EGA, among friends, great time had by all, and best of all, a new project (yes, just what I needed, a new project!).  

But this one was designed and planned and kitted and led by Jane Sweeney, a local embroiderer with national certification from EGA to do this stuff and longtime Guild member.  This certification is similar to City and Guilds, for them as is of brit origin, iow a stellar credential.  Jane is also a lot of fun and a fine teacher, to boot.

So this is our monthly meeting, at least part of it
Suzanne D. is the lady in black watching intently as Jane demonstrates some tricky points in the current pillow project, a lovely geometric with some stitches I never did before
  Notice Jane's white coat: her name tag, which every member has to make to her own design, reads Jane Sweeney, Stitch Doctor!

This is the most fun and supportive group you can imagine.  At their urging, today I took in a bunch of my miniatures from ages ago (decades, but who's counting) and watched in surprise as they enjoyed them hugely.  Turns out everyone loves a miniature. Especially needleworked minis. This is so typical, that they generously look at each others' work and appreciate what's going on.  Plenty of opinions and all constructive. In self defense I also took in two very current needleworks (the black on white lawn you saw in here earlier) just because I didn't stop work in the 80s.  It was nice to revisit the world of miniatures, though.

Pix of the minis may appear in the article Helen H, longtime guild member, is writing about my stuff for the national Needlearts magazine of the EGA, mainly because Suzanne D. took pix with a much better camera than mine! 

I don't know how I would have got through this summer, a rugged one, without the the friendship I found in EGA when I joined just a few months ago.,  Anyway, if you love to embroider and are looking for likeminded nice people (not all members are women, men can join too, but are rarer) just look for your nearest chapter and go to a meeting.  Just try it.   I expect other countries have similar guilds (I love to say I'm in a guild, sounds so medieval!) and I'll bet you can find your own group.

I have to finish on a note of self congratulation: when I joined in March of this year I found I had six months to create my own nametag to wear at monthly meetings. And today was her maiden voyage, wheee.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Blackwork almost there...

Just one more square to fill, I think, and then I can start making this piece up into its final product, which I will reveal in due course.

Here you'll see two traditional designs, very strictly blackwork, plus one very symmetrical invention of my own, and two rather wilder designs I made, departing abruptly from the trad. designs. I wanted this to be a crossover piece, respecting the origins of blackwork, in that it's counted thread and it's black on a white background,but I also wanted to diverge and create some new ideas, too. 

So this is where it is right now.  I think that last open square will be a fairly intense traditional pattern. The white squares are to give your eyes a place to rest, rather than have all these loud designs jostling each other.  To me visual intensity is very similar to noise.
Whole thing with one open square to work. Again, the angle has distorted the rectangle a bit, trying to keep my shadow off the work in the sun, but it is in fact very true.

Closer up showing stitch patterns a bit sharper The wild threads you see here and there are just markers showing my boundaries and reminding me not to stitch into the white squares which are supposed to be empty.