Sunday, June 30, 2013

No, that way madness lies, and other adventures with beads and net

With apologies to King Lear, but listen, he only had three contentious daughters  to contend with, never heard of his trying to wrangle net and tiny beads and couching with metallic threads.

So this is the latest in the current Tyvek adventure.  What I'm making is a group of motifs, couched and beaded on nylon net (pale blue, will blend with the original Tyvek painting).  I'll cut around them and applique them individually to the parts of the design they echo -- they do echo passages in the artwork,not random drawings.  So this involved creating the design on tracing paper,  then stretching this, with net over it, and attaching to stretchers.

I worked through the net and the paper, and as you see, tear out the paper backing after the outline is complete, to simplify the beading part.  

This is fiendishly hard to see, nylon net being what it is, but I think it will work fine once done.  And it has the added advantage of being portable, unlike a lot of my work, so I can take it in to my stitchers' meeting this week and continue work.

Also  I can take it into the auto dealership tomorrow morning while I await the medical verdict on my  14 year old Honda which suddenly started making some terrible shouting noises yesterday. Hoping for muffler, but prepared for fatal diagnosis, sigh.

And on the culinary arts side, I made a batch of basil pesto, and a batch of rosemary pesto for the freezer.  Ran out of walnuts, so used a mix of walnuts and sunflower seeds.  I'll give you a verdict when I eventually use the pesto.  And, as usual, I poured a cup and a bit of water into the blender and blended it up to catch all the good stuff left in the bottom of the blades, and froze that, too, to use in soup.  Waste not want not.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Adventures in Tyvek

Here's the first experiment with Tyvek and metallic acrylics.  Since I got the metallic threads I needed for the last work, the red, to be exact, and noticed some other marvellous colors in the set, copper and cobalt blue metallics, I thought I'd better find a way to use them, too.

So here's the first Tyvek adventure:  a Tyvek envelope (cheapest way to buy small quantities), opened, painted randomly with gold, blues and green/turquoise metallic acrylics.  Then ironed between parchment paper sheets (thank you Shirley, for bringing parchment paper into my life, been meaning to get it for years and finally did so) to crinkle and shape it, and create little jags of holes here and there.  Next step is to back it with fabric -- here I'm using freecycled black satin -- and stitch into the design using the metallic threads I've been jonesing to use.

Approximate size of the whole piece 25 x 16 inches.

This is the result of late night and early morning work in the studio, yesterday being a difficult day, and needing some art to concentrate on, and now this feels very good.  We'll see how it goes. The bobbin of black sewing thread is for the next stage -- attaching to the satin background.

And, given my firm policy of crediting people with what they taught me, the Tyvek instructions came from  "Surfaces for stitch" by Gwen Hedley.  But I won't blame her if  it doesn't turn out!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jungle Flowers are all in bloom

Jungle Flowers is done, complete with cascade of pearl raindrops, and other features that I really liked experimenting with.

I framed it in a sectional silver metal frame, without glass, and sponged the frame with dark gold acrylic.

Now I'm off to play with Tyvek experiments.  Watch this space!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Jungle orchids surge on

This is the embroidery that is the companion piece to the watercolor painting I showed you a while back.  The beading and the pearling and the couching have just about taken me over, and the finish
is in sight. 

Having a wonderful time, wish you were here!  but meanwhile, here's where we are with it.  It's stretched on a 20 x 16 inch frame.

Materials: Irish linen from thrift store jacket, pearls and glass beads from thrift store shirts, metallic threads in gold from guild stash, membership privilege, colored metallics on special, online.

Part of my challenge in art is to create lovely expressions out of humble or cheap, or free, materials, which don't have to reveal their origins unless I list them as I did above!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Transcendence of Harps! or whatever the collective noun is

This afternoon brought a great novelty into my life -- an afternoon's recital of harp music, at the local library, played by youngsters under the tuition of  Oksana Kessous, a professional harpist newly in this area, but usually found performing in New York.  To find out more about her and see why I was impressed, go here.

Great fun to see the lineup of five  huge harps,
couldn't get them all into one shot, and hear the young players, the youngest a fifth grader who sounds, to this ear anyway, like a serious future harpist.

And I happened to be seated next to a visual artist I've been seeing at art events for years and never had the chance to talk with one on one.  Like me, she just went to the concert because of its novelty value, and stayed to enjoy it, and the reception afterwards

at which we chatted with the music director and congratulated the performers, before settling down to some serious cake and fruit consumption, and she gave  me her number in case either of us finds any other quirky fun outings to go to.

Meanwhile, back at the music:  very ambitious, ranging from Bach to Mozart, to Gluck, to Tchaikovsky, with other forays in between. The finale was a four part consort

of ballet music of Tchaikovsky, where the young players showed their teacher's chops as well as their own, by knowing how to look for and use each others' cues as they played, something a lot of amateur adult players often forget about.
  This event was a first of its kind, but I'm hoping it might become an annual event to look forward to -- I'd like

to see young performers advance and be joined by others.  Here teacher and students take their bow.

the lighting for these pics was very low ambient indoor, so bear with me, but you get the gist at least!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Embroiderers' FO (finished object) exploits and a WIP (work in progress)

Last evening's embroiderers' stitch-in was graced by Jane Sweeney, local celebrated teacher and designer, who had taken on an EGA challenge involving a very unpromising-looking bag o' bits and created this neat bunny wallhanging (which can also be stuffed as a pillow,but the general consensus is that it's a good wallhanging).  She documented her approach, to show she'd used what was required, hadn't added in anything that wasn't, and all in all, did a great job of it on behalf of our chapter, which now stands to win a bit of $$ if her work beats out the competition.  Which we confidently expect it to.

Then there's my own WIP, the embroidery based on the painting. I love doing couching, and most of this will be couched in metallic threads. The design challenge here is to maintain the wild free flow of the original painting while still being a stitched piece, so the contoured effects of the couching are part of that thinking, along with the downward sweep of the whole weight of each section.

We'll see how this comes out as it goes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It's all good. New life for old stuff.

It's all art, too!   some windmill toys destined for the dumpster possibly, and many old ordinary buttons, and a spray of honesty, dried flowers from my garden before the chipmunks got them all.  Containers found in the dumpster.

Now all in an honored place!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Happy Bloomsday to all lovers of Joyce!  and lit'ry folks everywhere.

This evening was a great mix of pink clouds and waxing moon, good photo op.

And to all, a good night!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Another pair heaves into view..

I'm moving on to the next in the group of media approaches, this time a watercolor painting of mine, (next in plan for next year's exhibit) which I've adapted into an embroidery design, drawing the main ideas onto stretched linen.  

This is tacked all around onto artist stretchers, and is exactly the right size for dear little kitties to jump onto and settle down for a nap, sending tacks off in all directions and punching little holes in the fabric with their razor sharp little claws...

Cats flying across the room, the tacks replaced, the holes healed by gently scratching across with my fingernail, linen being very forgiving, here's the resulting design.

I'm going to use a lot of metallic threads in this one, I think, because of the relation with all the reds in the painting, shot from the side, sorry about distortion, since it's framed and I was avoiding glare. 

And I I'm thinking about some cutwork, but not positive.  And there will be some silk dye spritzed on before I stitch, I think.  All this is whirling in the blender that is my brain at work.  If stitching blogistas would like to make suggestions, here's your chance!

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Two Finished Objects, and now I've had it -- I have to search for the next stitchery to be done.  Probably goldwork, since there's a whole world of things to learn there.

The two pieces here are part of an exhibit to happen in April 2014, and they're each part of a series.  The white cityscape is part of a series of three pieces, one a weaving, one an Ipod generated image, and this, of a cityscape in different moods.  There's a fourth one that might go with this, too, yet to decide that. It's a transfer image from a painting I did on a bag.

The white piece has gold in it, and iridescence, and blues, and the open areas with no stitching but shape are the work of Helen H., another embroiderer who gave away stash items recently in the course of moving house.  I didn't want to erase her work, so I removed the stitching only and left the shapes in place there in the middle of the work.  So it's a collaborative piece.
The background you see right behind the canvas is a piece of sequined fabric, which glints like city lights, I like this quite a bit.
The other is the Cello Player, embroidered, with metallic threads, floss, perle, and beads. An exciting adventure in color for me, Mrs Monochrome!!   and it goes with the ink and wash drawing of the same subject.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Class of 2013

This is my entry for a July group show of our local artists' group.  Called Class of 2013, it follows the guidelines of theme: animals, materials: to include items that would have been recycled if not used in this artwork.  These items are Easter candy wrappers.

Great fun to make, and I hope it will appeal! it's a summertime folly kind of piece.  Yes, it makes a statement, several, in fact, but they're not too serious.