Sunday, November 30, 2014

All Fail, All the Time!

Some time ago I rescued from the dumpster a very sturdy little rubber tire from a small bicycle, and thought, aha, this will make a lervly wreath. 

And I have all kinds of everlasting flowers that I'm tired of seeing in a vase and they'd go just fine attached around this wreath. So time passed, as it does, then today I thought now I'm tired of seeing that tire lying around, I'll see about making my wreath, it now being the season and all that.

So I wrapped it first in a nice bright green embroidered sort of satiny remnant, then with a sparkly narrow ribbon. So far so good, bit ropy, but when it was covered, the flaws wouldn't stand out.

Then  I attempted to attach the everlastings.  And they shed mercilessly all over me, the wreath, the table, the cat helpfully hovering about, and it became clear that if I got them attached, there would be a big shower every time the front door on which the wreath was to live, was opened.  And I realized further as the lawyers say, that the chances are great that my season of sneezin' is the result of these critters. 

So now the wouldbe wreath which looks exactly like a bicycle tire wrapped in green satin, is balanced on a high shelf in case I ever think it's worth doing.  The everlastings now live outdoors.  And at least I know I tried.  

But it looked terrible, as a matter of fact.  Not a bit what I'd envisioned. The thing is that I'm so deadly allergic to real greenery, particularly once it starts to dry, that it would do me in having a wreath of it on my front door and having to pass it several times a day. So that's not an option. That's why I came up with the dried flowers instead.

Then I thought, ah dolls, maybe, but they put up such a concerted scream of protest, even the new ones, that I didn't have the heart.
So this is a Big Art Fail!  Full disclosure.  Which does not lead as far as putting up pix of the big mess...

Reminds me of a wonderful interlude years ago at work when a couple of other artists (we were largely artists with day jobs) decided we'd have an In House Bad Art Show.  With really rotten works we'd made, and like all artists we had plenty to choose from.

Mine was a big red paper deal, supposed to be shaped and puffed out to look like a Japanese fighting fish, a solid paper sculpture hanging from the ceiling, but ending up looking rather like a stuffed red suitcase hanging in the lost property area.  

Then, irony abounded, another staffer, not an artist, a sports type, fell in love with my fish and demanded to have it hanging from the ceiling of her office.  I gave it to her on condition she never mention my name in connection with it.

What I learned today (been reading Robert Fulghum, can you tell?)

1.  it's worth trying because even if you fail you learn something. In this case that I should never have started this project.

2.  the best plans in my hands often change dramatically in the execution

3. I did make bad art, but I had a good laugh.

4. The circular form is not my metier.

5. A wreath is not an item you can hang with irony. 
However, my two latest little dolls having heard the Dollivers wittering on, have caught on and want their picture in here, now.

 Bigger doll points out her hand tatted blouse, (Judy, I didn't cut it, just wound and pinned it)  and her gold lame sweater, and smaller doll not to be outdone, sports her white mohair sweater and silver lame skirt.  And she explains she had not been drinking at all, just having a bit of trouble balancing there.  Take that, Ds!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wilderness silver moon and new notebook

I got the silver disk or nue done, and here you see it on the original fabric 

and cut out and sitting in place ready to be appliqued there, with rays of silver probably shining out from it before I'm done.

This was difficult because with the cold weather and despite major hand care, my fingertips and thumbs are rough and dry and they snag the silk thread sumfink awful, which snags my temper, too. But we survived.

Then since I needed to be making something, I created a little notebook from the giveaway postcard I picked up at the Morven sampler show I blogged about a while back.  

Simple saddle stitching, and my corner punch rounds off the corners nicely.  I still like little notebooks, have made and given away a ton of them, despite keeping a lot of notes on my Ipod.

By the way, this is a great way to spiff up a greeting card -- just insert pages you've cut to match, stitch in place, and you have a nice little notebook with a great cover.  

I've done this to send to people who warranted more than just a card but who aren't big on gifts, figuring this was half way between.  

Incidentally, there are several good books on book making, but for me the most appealing and useful is this one:  

Great step by step and photos, and you see the pages containing some of the steps I used in the stitching

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Or nue silver disk in progress

 A lot depends on how the light falls on this kind of silverwork, where the shadows move.  It looks different from different directions.  I'm hoping to get the disk finished at this evening's stitch-in.

I'll decide which way up is best to applique it to the night time wilderness piece once it's ready.   My couching skills are improving, the edges of this disk better than the gold one.  The silver is a bit easier to pinch and redirect from the side, too.

After this is done and appliqued, I'll finish up the glasswing insect whose wings are done, and whose body will be beads stitched directly onto the wilderness piece, probably the night one.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Goldwork or nue in its place

The wilderness pieces continue, with the hope of finishing the three in the next few days, well, we'll see.

Here you see the or nue gold disk in place as a "sun" figure in the daytime wilderness piece.  


Still to come is one more critter to complete the piece. And there's a "moon" in silver and blue upcoming to go into the night time piece.  

At this point it's felt pieces stitched in place, waiting for the or nue, which I supposed, since it's silver, would be argent nue, but I don't think that's what they say.  

And again, that piece needs another critter to complete it.  I think both might benefit from a couple of random butterfly wing shapes, too, but we'll see how they work with the last critters in place.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

EarthStarBox watch this space....

My friend and one of the most creative people I ever knew, Mare Johnston, is cooking up a little something to introduce to us soon.

And just so's you know I am finding myself totally into this surprise thing that you will know more about eftsoons, I just wanted to show you some thinking that's happening in this studio, on the other side of the continent from hers!

Also I did want to state that I have not deserted my studio, stitching adventures notwithstanding.

I should add that she's a Sagittarian, too.  Just sayin'.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Or nue in progress

Or nue, aka shaded goldwork, is rapidly becoming my raison d'etre! here's a small piece, which might either become a piece of jewelry or form a component in one of my wilderness pieces, which are still out there waiting for me!

This piece is 1.5 inches across, and the shapes I cut from felt which I designed and applied before covering them with goldwork, using the tacking down stitches to create the sense of shape and shade.  Great fun, and a lot of learning in this little work.

And since a dear friend spent the afternoon replacing my old broken hall light with a new LED fixture, a learning curve all around, I now have brilliant shadeless light in the hall, which I love, and I tried the photo in this new light, just to see how well it worked. Better than with my older dimmer lights, anyway.

And he gave me some bits of cactus which fell off a plant he was bringing home, to try out, since he has great faith in my ability to take cuttings and make practically anything grow (this is his faith, rather than a statement of fact).

So, a day of experiment all around. And another  friend just showed up with a banquet of food from her pujah, religious afternoon with many friends and food in attendance, because she wanted to include me.   

Wonderful items, none of which I can identify, but she put them in order of what goes with what, as a guide!  So tomorrow is another day of experiments, edible ones.  And there is an art component, too, since she made one of her fruit landscapes for the puja, and will send me pix when she remembers.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pins on Parade

So the pins are done.  The stitched bar pin is not quite ready for primetime, the gorilla having been a bit enthusiastic in the glue department, but it's all good learning.  See how transparent I am in my full disclosure?  Take that, Congress! not to mention State House..

However, all the others are up to par and ready for new homes, and I show them on different fabric backgrounds so you can see how they work -- on dark blue velvet, on cream boiled wool, and on multicolored knitted coat.

If you're interested, the triangular goldwork pin is $15 US plus $5 s. and h. to North America, have to advise on s. and h. further away than that, but I'd be glad to check.  

The round wooden pins actually are nicer in person than seen here, since they're dimensionally painted.  About  1.5 inches in diameter. They're each $12 plus $3 s. and h. same deal as above wrt other countries than North America. And no, sorry, don't do Paypal, my sales being too intermittent to get involved in anything other than a check made out to me!

All these pins, like everything else I do,  are one of a kind.

So there we have this latest adventure.  Oh, the Ganesh pin is still drying, pin newly applied, can't show you that in action just yet.

Follow up on the Upcycling of Goldwork

Here's the project I was eager to get on with while I was doing the hacks and upcycling yesterday.  

It's a shaded piece, which I designed as I went.  Felt stitched down in  a circle, about 1.5 inches in diameter, on fabric.  The idea is that the stitching down will be invisible, so that the gold shading will take over and you'll see an interesting series of contours, with light and shade.  You'll note that the stitching stops short of the outer edge. That's to allow for a circle of gold thread to finish the edge.  Then the completed stitching will be mounted on a wood disk so as to attach a pinback. At least that's the plan right now...

Later I'm off to the studio to take pix of the pins started yesterday, and you'll see how they came out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Goldwork hacks and makeovers

So I worked on the or nue dragonfly for a while, before deciding that a. the design wasn't right for the technique,  b.  wondered if I should just unpick and repair, and then c. after unpicking, which took ages, decided I didn't want to spend precious time disguising a repair, time that could be spent on a new work.  And I had a new idea for stitching that I might as well get onto. More about that later.

Soooooo, I beaded around the edge of the stitched area, inserted a little feature of blue beads, cut out the whole area, as you see above, then backed it with card stock.  Now it's attached to the card with gorilla glue. Seen here drying under a heavy glass sheet.
Once dried, I can trim card and fabric together close to the beading before applying a pin to the back.  And it will be a nice little bar pin.

Then there were several other painted wood pins I did ages ago and had not yet put the pin mechanism on the back.  So I did that, while the gorilla was on the clock.

On a roll now, you know how it goes, I realized that one of the motifs on the trial piece I made when I was teaching myself goldwork would also make a nice pin, triangle about two inches on a side, nice dramatic pin.  So that's now cut out, gorilla'ed to card, and it's drying.  The glue seeping through around the sides will be all cut away in the finishing.

And I remembered the Lord Ganesh little figure off the gift box from Diwali, gorilla'ed him to a metallic blue painted wood disk.  At that point I ran out of wood disks!

So there you have it.  When an embroidery doesn't work, call in the wild animals and the tools and make it into something different!  I'll show you the results once the glue is dry.  If I like the results, every pin is one of a kind, I'll offer them on here at  nice modest prices for holiday planning.  

Ganesh is mine, though. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

An art trip, to Winterthur with stitching friends

To follow our adventure yesterday, go here

and if you'd like to know more about Winterthur, and to see some of its exhibits on line go here 

Enjoy it all!