Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Intersection of Art and Food

This post doesn't know where it belongs, in Field and Fen, since food comes into it, or in Art the Beautiful, because art pushed its way in.  So it's here, with a link over there!

It all started yesterday, out shopping for various vital ingredients for the next food adventure, when I came across a great buy on a bag of red and yellow onions, one bag of each, inside another bag. So I figured since I'm always using the yellows and wishing I'd remembered to buy reds, here's the chance to have a good supply of both in the freezer.

Then one thing led to another, as they do, and in a few minutes' of boredom this morning, not in the mood for anything, this is usually a sign of trouble for me, because it's when wild ideas come, I thought, hm, since I'm dyeing Dorset buttons for use in my Big Doorway piece, instead of silk dyes, why not take a shot at onionskin dyeing? been thinking about it and not doing it for years.

And then, oh, I have two colors of onions, yay, two sorts of dyes.  So out came the trusty knife and a couple of bags, and I cut the onions across the equator to freeze them -- this will give me the option of rings or dice when I later come to use them, always a good choice to have -- and noted the art of nature in the color and shape of the red onions.

And there were little net bags, thrown in, which will definitely find a home in my textile mixed media.  So I have two bags of onionskins and will transfer them to paper once I find paper bags, better than plastic.  And with my usual Ready! Fire! Aim! methodology, then checked out how to use them in dyeing.  Not too difficult, should be fun to do. I don't need big quantities anyway, and I don't have big quantities of skins.

Then once the onions were labeled and stowed in the freezer, very smug feeling there, and the skins temporarily housed in bags, I sat for a minute then remembered Quinn dunking cherry leaves in I think water....

aha, I pruned the cherry bushes a couple of days ago, to let the spice bush have her day in the sun, and I retrieved the prunings, a lot of leaves on them, and shoved them in a container of water.  

This entailed emptying half the storage place to get at the container and extract it, empty it of other containers, pausing only to repair the wheeled plantstand, which had cast a shoe or two, and put back all the pots and tiles and things.  I did find a handy big pot for another planting purpose, so all this heavy labor in the hot sun was not wasted.

And now I have all these preparations made, for the studio and the kitchen.  Where do artists who don't cook get their raw materials, I wonder?

One of my upcoming art capers entails the use of Vilene, a soluble fabric you stitch on, then wash away the fabric, leaving only the lacy stitching.  So now I'm wondering if I can do the Dorset buttons and intermediate joining stitching for the Big Doorway, on the Vilene, then, instead of dyeing separately, do the dyeing and the dunking at the same time...this could be interesting.  

I've done some dyeing where floss took the dye and the gold threads resisted it, very nice results.  Or it could be one of those what was I thinking operations. We'll see.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer's Evening drawing, the last of the iris

Between sudden hot weather and sudden massive wind and rainstorms, the iris have had their season a bit shortened, so I thought I'd better get in a drawing or two while the going was good.

Here's the model, camera having difficulty with the extreme contrasts so a lot of the white areas are washed out

And here are two small drawings, about 8 x 6 inches,black fine point Pilot pen on white watercolor cold pressed paper. Click to see better.

Modified contour drawing, which is the name of this style of drawing, is one of my favorite approaches and is a great summer evening slow and peaceful work.  Then a nice glass of wine, can't drink and draw, have to have the wine afterwards, with a homebaked hot biscuit and some lovely blue cheese. Doesn't get much better.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The chrysanthemum is progressing nicely

Here's the current State of the Mum.  

Since the petals are very filled in and flat (there will be stumpwork petals in the midst of these, though, which you see still on the little hoop to the left) I'm thinking of lightening up on the leaves, and just indicating shapes and shading, not filling them in completely, which will look really opaque and defeat the purpose of this translucent silk.

I've had to devise methods of getting the thread to travel without showing, though, with the split stitch outline: I whipped the thread down the back to a good place to emerge on the front again, so it's invisible from the front, but the thread is where it needs to be for the next part.  This was easy to do, since split stitch leaves a line of stitches on the back that you can easily whip around.

I have two shades of green to work on after the outline is done, and I have to think about the best way to do that.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Boud takes an art expedition

The expedition was partly to get the thyme and oregano I forgot when I was last at the nursery, partly to find a place for a bit of plein air drawing, or at least looking. I took pix. Click to see them better.

It was too hot to sit, and not conducive since they were busy doing business.  But it was so full of life and color you just wanted to gaze and gaze.

I admired the artwork on this lady, who moved so elegantly -- see the graceful way she's holding that plant to study it -- that she really could wear tats, and I then went off to the nearby county park in search of a bench and a bit of shade, maybe by the water.  And found half a dozen big events going, crowds, not right for my purposes.

So I ended up back home on the patio, using that as a plein air venue!  drawing and looking. This was one of those art dates that Julia Cameron talks about in her book , The Artist's Way. I've been doing this all my life, quietly, not mentioning it, and was amused to see that she has a name for it, and suggestions for how to go about it.   Nice to share the idea.  Not much drawing today, just a simple contour study of the basil plant.  

It's the looking that matters. Once you draw an object as intensely as this, watching the thing more than your pen, you remember it forever.  It's the experience of really seeing just for a little while.  It takes massive energy to do this, which is why you can't do it for long, and one drawing was about as much as I could handle at this sitting.

It's also a great pleasure of the summer, to be out in the late afternoon early evening when the shadows are interesting, to draw whatever's there. I recommend it!

I was using a fine point Pilot pen, black, on a moderately heavyweight journal paper.  I also took out a few little sheets of watercolor paper, which I tore to give them deckled edges, and will probably use one of these days.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dorset button the First

I made my first Dorset button, a little wobbly, but done. I still haven't got a big enough ring to work on -- this was one inch across, a bit small to learn on -- but anyway, it sort of worked.

I used a nice white linen yarn, from that thriftie haul a few days back, and a tapestry needle, and more or less following youtube studies, most of which were only marginally helpful, the bits where I wanted them to show me much better being rushed past, oh well, did manage to make one.

Anyway, here she is. Dorset Button Mark One.   A lot of fun doing it, but I'd like to do more weaving on a bigger one.  Or with finer thread on this size button.  Linen is good to work with because it stays where you put it, doesn't slip around, and since there are a couple of points where you need three hands, this is a plus for a beginner.

I fancy using gold thread for a few of these, to add to the Big Doorway piece, what a surprise, me using gold, I mean..and I'm sure there are other things that can happen with them.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Plastic Canvas Adventure chapter is now closed...

Until I get another urge, that is.  Here's the second box, in Bucilla cream tapestry yarn, which is probably going to be a present. I like very much how it looks a bit transparent.  The thing I don't like about needlepoint is how totally opaque it often looks, not my taste at all.  But stitching on transparent canvas in cream colored yarn, I liked that. This was stitching to watch DVDs by.

However, my rings for the Dorset buttons are on the way -- the first lot arrived, will work, but are small, and I have larger ones on the way.  Now I have great ideas about inserting a small ring inside a larger ring, but meanwhile I would like to get my other stitchings done.  

I already have ideas about how to create the Dorset buttons using my own pattern, or rather my own freeform path! I'm thinking planets and moons revolving or something.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Stitching at both ends of the spectrum, in various ways

Three projects at work simultaneously, each worked on daily where I can.  The Big Doorway is shaping up, very free form, designing as I go

The yellow stitch painting of the flower, very exact and fine and satisfying work, I love to angle the stitches to try to show the movement of the petals and their irregularities

And totally following orders, here's another tissue box, using the tapestry yarn I scored at the thriftie this week.  Probably to be a gift for someone.  

This is the sort of stitching you can do while you watch Pie in the Sky which I'm rewatching this week. 

No design work, just happily follow the patterns.  I like very much the way this Bucilla tapestry yarn gives a good stitch definition, and the light and shade that play on it give you a lot more color than just the basic cream.

Up next, when my package arrives, Dorset buttons. I gave up on trying to find curtain rings or any rings that were within a reasonable price, some of them really silly, half a dozen little rings for half the cost of my groceries for a week, I ask you...anyway, while a fellow stitcher is searching her house for her mother's stash of curtain rings, which she will find at some time, I ordered up O rings from a science sort of category.  

Right size, not sure of the texture, but we'll see how they work when they get here, which will be today. And at a couple of dollars for a package of 100, plenty of room for experiment without tears.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Secret's in the Mail

I brought these items in to show my embroidery buds in the course of the workshop yesterday, and got their approval to ship! 

It's a set of four coasters, on no. 7 plastic canvas, which I backed with cork, and worked in doubled full strands of floss, the gold one strictly following the pattern, and the others branching out to the point of no return...not being sure of her color scheme, I figured at least one of these will work!  and I hope they're frivolous enough to enjoy putting them out and entertaining friends as well as all the other things this lady has in her schedule.  These are from that book of  stitch patterns I showed you earlier. I am definitely getting my money's worth out of that book.  And Ash, the variegated thread is part of what you sent me a while back.

So here are Heather's Coasters:

Set out on two different backgrounds, because I don't know what background they'll land on in their new home.  I hope she really enjoys them. I certainly got a lot of pleasure out of working them for her.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Paper Jewelry Rules!

The embroiderers' guild had a good afternoon of beadmaking and paper jewelry assembly today, led by your blogwriter, and we all lived to see another was a lot of fun.  To see more, go here