Monday, October 26, 2015

Butterfly, and fame at last!

Today's blogpost on Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread, includes this blog you're reading in her Big List of Needlework Blogs.  So cool!  and thank you, Mary, much appreciated. 

Meanwhile, back in the studio, the first butterfly has emerged.  She's stitched with goldwork and blue metallic thread, beaded, and lined with a silk butterfly, same image, but reversed so as to fit on the back.  The apparent spaces on her wings are where the walnut stained linen shows through, as part of her coloring.

The lining is needed so that the underwings are finished, and to cover the stitching from the topside.  I wired the beaded front with 28 gauge copper wire, so that the butterfly can be posed with her wings up or at any angle to whatever surface she lands on, when I decide what that is to be.  It's great fun playing with her, and in fact she looks pretty lifelike perched on my hand.  Strange blue effect took place, but my hand is the usual color in real life.

I have several other butterflies, from the same stamp I carved, ready to do likewise.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Beading and goldwork goes on, and butterflies are in movement

The linen portiere already looks as if it's been in place for years!  since it's unchanged, it might even make it onto the Thanksgiving table.

Meanwhile, the stamped butterfly is going on nicely.  This is really fun to stitch and design as I go.  Thinking of several of them, all different in design, but the same general shape.  This is about four inches wingspread.  Anyway, this is where we are.  

Lately I've developed a few little problems, mainly in my left arm, hurt last winter in that dramatic fall, and injured many years ago by an enthusiastic black lab pulling on me.  My body seems to remember, and it's playing up a bit.  Painting the kitchen and installing two backsplashes and an insulation project may possibly be part of it, too.

So I have to remember to let my left arm rest a bit, and that means stitching sessions are a bit shortened.  But, aside from that organ recital, me, I am not complaining, as Andy's Ecuadorian aide used to say.  I am getting the butterfly done bit by bit instead of in one great big swoop.

On future plans for stitching:  when I mentioned I'd never done shisha embroidery -- that's the kind using small mirrors -- my good friend Girija promised instantly to find me some mirrors or metal substitutes when she goes to India in December for a wedding.  So there may be butterflies with it!

She also explained why some shisha uses mirrors and some metal circles instead.  And told me the Hindi name for the items, which I have now forgotten, dang. The mirrors are Gujarati, and clothes with shisha embroidery are washed with reverence for the mirror glass (that's what shisha means, by the way).  But elsewhere laundry is done by beating which is bad for the glass, so metal circles, prestamped with holes around for stitching, are substituted. The stuff I learn from her!  Mirrors would be fine for my butterflies, since they won't be a laundry item.

So look out for that!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Linen cloth, ready for her closeup, and current print

I'm posting a couple more pix of the linen and embroidered tablecloth, in the hope that you can help me identify the type of embroidery.  It's too much to ask if you can see if it's hand done or machine, but experts might know some of the signs they see.

Here are two views.  This is a heavy piece, weighs several pounds because of the weight of the stitching.  This is why I didn't take it in to stitch in last evening, to get expert eyes on it, because I was already carrying a lot and couldn't add this in.

The pinkish tinge is not visible to the eye, but shows up to the camera lens. It's the effect of the wall behind the cloth.

And here's the current print and embroidery combo.  I carved this stamp yesterday morning, you see it in the foreground, using that soft carving material whose name escapes me, but it's much easier on the hands than lino for cutting.  All my stamps are carved on this material, and it lends itself to fine detail if needed.  

Then I stamped it, using an archival sepia inkpad, onto pieces of linen and silk, all dyed by me, to make a flock of butterflies. I plan to wire their wings, giant stumpwork style, so that I can pose them as if flying or landing.  

At least that's the plan, as always, the plan could see the first butterfly on a 6 inch, I think, hoop, stamped on linen dyed with black walnut, and ready for whatever transpires as I work.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Stitching gets derailed by printmaking

So musing on that big yellow piece and the possible Dorset buttons and other things, I ended up finding my hand carved stamps and making a meadow on it instead, in archival sepia ink.

This is partly because I invited a friend to do the dollar tour of the place, including my studio, a very rare event for me, don't ask to come, the planets have to be in the right configuration for me to invite. But anyway, her take on a lot of items was very valuable, and I suddenly as a result of our chat had much better thoughts on how to make that yellow dyed linen piece.  The ingredients will find another home in another artwork once I get to sorting it. Thank you Margaret!  

Stitching may ensue on the yellow piece, but may not.  I have been drawn back into printmaking from the #printoctober activity on Twitter.  And I have plans to carve more prints with subjects I need next.

So here's that yellow piece, 20 x 16, but all different now

And a piece you haven't seen, an 8 x 10 monotype in blue dye on coarse linen overstamped with handcarved images.  There are butterfly like shapes and other natural objects in the blue dyed areas.

Quinn, you have no idea what an impact you had on me back in August when you wrote that blogpost about #drawingaugust!  from drawing more, though I always did, to #paintingseptember, painting again after a hiatus, and now to printmaking again, my lifelong love.  And learning to watermark my work.  

Well, when the student is ready the teacher appears.  Which is just another way of saying that chance favors the prepared mind, come to think of it.

On a less elevated plane, that curving shape that looks a bit like a dancer in the blue and white linen piece is in fact a carving I made based on the architecture inside a deer's nose!  just sayin'. You just never know where great design is to be found.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Healing Power of Walking and Art

After a series of contretemps too boring to go into, what with HOAs and encroaching neighbors and Amazon billing foulups, I was very happy to seize the day and go out this afternoon to Princeton University Art Museum to see the new installation, and the big exhibit of the Book of Kings, the Persian manuscript.

Here are the flyers about them

And a few views of the installation, the piece being designed and created specifically for this location, and to my mind somewhat poorly installed. The reason I'm complaining is that a sculptural installation is usually meant to be seen from all sides, being designed as a 360 experience.  This one can only be seen from three sides, impossible to walk around it and experience it.  However, since the artists, the brothers Starn, no doubt took this into consideration, I suppose they didn't attach as much importance to it as I do.

So I muttered and took a few pix. 

 The bicycles are not part of the installation, but I left them in so as to give you a measure of the size of this piece.  And the landscaper blowing leaves and grass away from the base similarly.  Also I liked the concept of life going on around the artwork anyway. The parts which look like trees propping up the structure are in fact cast metal, brilliantly created to resemble wood, until you realize they have seams where the casting was joined.

I found the whole thing awkward, because too close to the building, difficult to see, because so big, at close quarters, almost impossible to get back far enough to see better because of construction going on a few yards away and fences blocked with temporary coverings.  Let's hope this situation improves before much longer.  I did like the light shining through the glass, though, and the incidental art that happened when the sun made a shadow on the museum wall.

If you want to see a bit more info about the artists and this installation, go here

Then the other item I wanted to see, can't see too much in one visit, need to digest, was the really spectacular Book of Kings exhibit, with original four centuries old manuscripts to peer at, over several galleries,  individual pages, newly restored, framed and being exhibited before they are put back into appropriate bindings by the restorers.  There are many copies of this classic Persian work, but this is the best conserved and restored one in the US.

This was a great idea, a chance to see many pages close up, using magnifying glasses provided, because of the fineness and detail in the manuscript pages, before it vanishes into its permanent rebinding and is accessible mainly to scholars.  

The light was kept a bit dimmed, because the pages are fragile, and no photography was permitted, as usual with collections on loan. But the experience of being up close to see this amazing work, with the beautiful old script, and even additional ancient notes in the margins, was very healing after a few bumps in my own little life!

If you want to know more (and this exhibit is there till January, should you be local enough to visit), go here

And, since it was a weekday, parking at a premium, I had to park way far away, which built in a walk, always a Good Thing!  So I got home in a much better mood, especially since I'd had sunshine all afternoon,  and, shortly after I arrived home, the skies went black and dumped a lot of rain.  I was home by then, and dry.  And smug!

Friday, October 2, 2015

October brings printmaking...

So, among all the stitching -- work on two pieces today, desultory, but oh well, teaching some goldwork for the stitching guild on Sunday, so that counts..

Anyway, October is PrintOctober on Twitter, so I thought I'd start by sending in a favorite, not new, but I really love it.  It's stamped, using my own carved stamps, on mulberry paper, and it depicts a little pod of small whales I saw from my hotel balcony some years ago -- those are the hotels along the ocean -- but seen from the whales' viewpoint.

And here 'tis