Sunday, August 31, 2014

Support for the wilderness piece

This is the background, the support, for the wilderness piece.  On top of  here, a hand dyed silk piece mounted over cheesecloth on a frame, will go the freeform crochet which is a sage green, then the animals and insects in their habitat.

I have learned dearly to make sure the hangers are in place on the back before working the front, however eager I am to get on with the artwork.  When the front's fragile and dimensional, it's not the time, after it's finished, to start attempting to screw in hangers.  Sad but educational experience has shown me this. 

So I'm showing you the back, silk and cheesecloth trimmed back, stapled tight in place, drumtight to be exact, and covered with masking tape to protect the raw edges but with the eyehooks already in place.

And as soon as I saw this I realized it would be a Good Thing to maybe put another single layer of cheesecloth over the front, since I liked the back a lot as a base.  That way it will be subtler, and won't fight with the stitched small features. Hm.  Probably my next step on the canvas part of the work anyway.

It occurs to me that, different as it is from the big tapestry, I'm still using similar approaches to it: creating modular parts and a habitat for them to move into.  On the tapestry, all the four figures' heads were woven separately on small looms at home, then woven into the main piece on the earthloom.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Butterflies and bees emerge from the ether

More stumpwork and here you see one butterfly wing bits all done, on the lines of a luna moth in shape, not in color, and the start of a different sort of butterfly, long and short stitch, blending one ply of floss then one ply of metallic blue.  This is another authentic butterfly shape but I was dying to use this color combo.  

You know how, when you're in the middle of creating something, poem, artwork, cooking something, anything like that, you suddenly realize, oh, this is what I've been meaning to  do for years. It must have been flitting about all that time and now it's landed on my work? that's how I suddenly felt with the luna moth, and now with the blending of colors on the iridescent blue one.  Just, everything feels right, right now.

And the third item is a piece of mulberry paper, one I'd molded over a bee form, and here you see it stitched onto muslin, carefully preserving the molded very fragile shape, not easy, that, and then trapunto work on the body.  I used wisps of cotton roving, beautiful silky stuff I've had for a while.  This one is an experiment, I'll see how it works once I do a few similar ones.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Four Sisters Tapestry officially hung

The Artist in Residence tapestry, Four Sisters, is now officially hung at the library.  

If you visit Plainsboro Public library any time soon -- it will be in place for a long while, I hope -- go up one floor to the reference desk, and look at that wall.  

It's red and goes amazingly well with the work, to our surprise, to tell you the truth. I think it's because the colors in the tapestry are largely natural, and the fiber is, too, so it cooperates nicely.

Also cooperating, reference professionals Christina and Ann,  halting their  work for a bit, obligingly letting me make a picture of my  work in its human context.  This is so nice of them, both lovely looking but modest, and not wild about getting their picture out there, but agreeing in the cause of art.

So the First Artist in Residence project is now officially complete. Good, because I'm already deep into the next thing.  But I did stop for a moment to look back over a very nice season's work and all the people who came, watched, made helpful observations, took part in all kinds of ways. Very fitting that it's in the library, because that's what they do.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Luna moth wing parts for wilderness piece

This is the current state of play of the piece I'm working on.  To wit, the wing parts of the luna moth which I'm not doing in natural colors, but I am hewing to the natural forms.  

These are wired, stitched down around the drawn design, then buttonhole stitched, some sparkly ribbon cut to fit and stitched in as I go.  You'll see the last segment, drawn but no wire yet, and that will approximate the other tail section when all's said and done.  You can't quite tell here how sparkly the base ribbon is, catches the light at every move.

The muslin it's stitched on, natural unbleached, is only the support for these pieces. When they're stitched, I'll cut around the wires -- this is stumpwork -- and remove them to attach them to their permanent support, using the wires at the back to help secure them.  Then I'll stitch a body for the moth.

There's an element of faith that enters in at this point, where this is one fragment of many fragments of a piece full of ideas that I hope will come together as hoped and even work.  So this is where we are.  Just as an index of size, the hoop is about 4" diameter.

Wired with fine wire taken out of the ribbon, didn't have the necessary beading wire, wire stitched down with silk and gold threads, the inner parts couched with silk, then floss split stitched on the tail section.  All the raw materials, muslin, silk thread, couching thread, floss, hoop, even needles,  are donated by kind people wanting to see work like this happen.

Fortunate, really since I'm constitutionally incapable of deliberately buying items for any artform.  It's all recycling to me.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Stitched Wilderness continues

Two parts going on at once: in the kitchen, mulberry paper over tiles, molded with water, drying and ready to be installed somewhere on the crocheted foliage.

And in the living room, while I listen to an audiobook, the beginnings of a luna moth, with help from Jane Nicholas' wonderful new embroidery book about stumpwork butterflies and moths.

It arrived yesterday and I whipped through it in search of a luna moth.

 What you see here are the forewings, wired and to be stitched much more, around the edges, and the "eyes" to be stitched.  This is a wired ribbon, wire removed, which I used to cut out the forewings, and will use for the hind wings, too, needed to do the forewings in order to see if it worked.  

I secured them in place on the muslin with gold silk thread, then applied the wire, taken from the edge of the ribbon, just right for the purpose, stitched down again.  This is the engineering part of it.  

The decorative stitching will hide all these underpinnings.  Then once the hind wings are done, too, all will be cut out and transferred to a different backing, to be part of the artwork.  Along with other butterflies and moths, I think.   I plan on a lot of goldwork for these insects, rather than the natural colors.

And, for a little example of how life imitates art, go here

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Danger, Women at Work

So this is what's afoot.  

The freeform crochet, color is a pale sage green, on natural colored muslin pinned on a big hoop, probably a quilting hoop,  just to see it, will probably come off and a painted, frizzled, technical term, Tyvek will be on the bottom layer, the crochet replaced, and meandering about over the top of the Tyvek, and various insects and wee beasties in the foliage.  At least that's the plan.

Here's how the Tyvek painting looked with the  acrylic paint, metallic gold, applied with sponge brush, my fave tool.  


I had a fun time frizzling the Tyvek, and even more fun getting the acrylic back off the footplate, having forgotten the correct temp at which to frizzle.  Note to self: cooler than you thought.  But the acrylic came off obligingly onto the paper I was ironing through, so that was fine.

 Here it is all frizzled nicely, and after I trimmed down the frizzled painting, here it is in relation to the crocheted work stretched on the hoop
Then this habitat will need inhabitants, drawings of which you see here, along with the threads I have in mind to create them separately, using  the tiny hoop. 

I'll create the little bees and lizards and their friends, seen here in drawings, in goldwork with beading, for later affixing in their crocheted and Tyvek habitat.  Handmade paper will also feature in this work.  I already have some I embossed with a little honeycomb design.  And I molded little animals in handmade paper, which you saw earlier.  

It's shaping up to be a kind of fourth dimensional piece, where time is the fourth dimension, ghostly bees and lizards molded in pure white paper, along with lively ones in goldwork and beading.

A sort of update of Peaceable Kingdom, if Douanier Rousseau had known how to crochet, or to bead and stitch, or to do goldwork, or if Tyvek had been invented, or if he knew about even the third dimension, let alone the fourth, he being a flat, decorative sort of painter..cue Matisse..  Well, come to think of it, nothing like Peaceable Kingdom, more like Stitched Wilderness...

But exactly how this will all come about, don't ask me, I only work here!  this is one of those works I'm not in charge of.  It just has been coming over me in bits for several months.

And today, after reading a great history of Eliz. First, by Alison Weir, a great read,  my right brain, evidently tired of being quiet while I studied peace treaties and dates and political strategies,  suddenly presented me with this possibility.  Who am I to argue? 

Anyway, that's where we are.  Speaking of helpful, I hope, dear blogistas, you realize how helpful it is to the process to have this blog where I can think aloud and bang on about what I'm doing, knowing I'm being read with interest and curiosity.

I did one other small Tyvek work, you saw it in my exhibit earlier this year, and I think I need to do more, once I get this piece properly under way. The nice part is that it uses the studio, haven't been doing that much lately, and it also gives me portable bits to carry in to my embroiderers' guild meetings, always a nice thing.  So often my work isn't portable and I sort of chat and drink tea!

If anyone wants to know more about the Tyvek thing, just ask in the comments, and I'll be sure and say more next time. I hesitate to bore you with endless technical stuff, but I'm glad to talk about it if useful to you. Also to point out the precautions you need to take if you do it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Silly Season!

Time for some unserious, thisisnotart, stitching, for the silly season.  And a painted and stitched apron pretty much fits that
description for this cook! 


Stenciled from a stencil I designed and cut, using liquid acrylic metallics, then random painted dots, then split-stitched with mixed colors of floss, six plies.  

This apron was a gift to the embroiderers' group from a stitcher member, who brought in a bunch of them, thank you, Margaret.  She's working hers in drawn and pulled threadwork, which gave me a great idea for how to continue this design.  

Meanwhile, this is where we are!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Purses rule!

So I was at the library this morning, not the one where I exhibit, another, I use several libes, and the circ. desk lady admired my purse and asked if I'd made it.  They've seen a lot of my stuff, and received presents, too, so they're alert.  I explained that I had, and that it was made from string from the hardware store.  My favorite art supply store. 

She called over another libe lady and they were exclaiming about it, oh, just string, well, look at that.  I showed them the lining, a piece of linen, whereupon Libe Lady One, not missing a beat, said, oh that makes it high-end! whereupon we all fell about laughing.

It's simple double crochet, no pattern, I just crocheted till it was wide enough and long enough to double and crochet two sides, created a strap, crocheted it in place.  I've been using it for years, and it wears just fine.

And the little phone beaded purse, this one's for you, J, because I think that cord I used to crochet the strap is also from one of your care packages, along with the beads.  It looks exactly like a gold chain, just single crochet. I showed a pic of this before I'd added the strap, in case it looks strangely familiar.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bringing in the Sheaves

So the latest gold and other work is done.  

I learned a few interesting things doing it, one being that I need to get on to something different now.  But I did find out that shiny thread mimics goldwork, and that three threads are enough to give variety to a small piece like this, uncomplicated design.  And only a couple of touches of very small seed pearls. These are from the box I scored at the thriftie recently, so they're in honor of a stitcher, to thank her.

Now I need to get on with planning the paper-and-stitching piece and choosing what to use for an or nue experiment, and how to proceed with the honeycomb and on and on.  And how to do the bee's wings using a standaway method.  And how the purl, cut tiny into beadlike bits, will work for the bee.  Or bees.

Some people have trouble finishing pieces, get lured away by new exciting projects. I have the opposite problem: absolutely must finish current work before I embark on another. 

While I finish up, I'm thinking about the next, trying a few little ideas, as with the molded paper, but to actually do it is an exclusive on my time!  But it does mean I get stuff done.

Anyway, this is where I am.

Wonderful blog, you must check this out

I just followed a link on Stitchinfingers, and came to this great blog: 

The title alone does it for me!  but there's some seriously exciting and interesting textile adventures going on over there.  Take a look!