Sunday, November 15, 2015

Look out, it's a stampede!

Recently, my art progress has been slowed up a bit by the arm trouble. It's doing better, thank you, more range of movement, less pain as I go along, but I still have to proceed with caution. Including bagging an event today that would have involved being in an unheated barn at a farm festival, demonstrating stamp carving.  

Neither my arm nor my supplies would have worked out well in cold temps, which we have today.  Not safe to cut cold-hardened surfaces with sharp blades and cold hands. But it was pretty informal, no registration or anything like that, not letting anyone down, so I'm staying home in the warm, and doing what I would have  anyway!

And stamping precedes stitching in this studio.  I'm planning on the bigger fabric piece on which the butterflies will eventually land, and have come up with a sort of banner idea, with stamped trees and flowers, from blocks I've carved.  Probably using my hand dyed fabric, too, once the idea gets a bit more thought out.  And maybe some minor stitching to create harmony between butterflies and background.

So here's the worktable of the stitcher at the moment:

All the stamps I carved either from soft cut rubber or from big plastic erasers -- these are a great way to get into it and find out if you like it, cheap, easy to find, pretty easy to cut, you see one drawing and awaiting cutting --and from wine corks.  Sorry I couldn't get to the farm festival event, since a wine tasting is part of the doings, and I thought that would be fun, to show how to make stamps from both ends of a plastic wine cork.

I use archival ink pads, to avoid smearing and fading, in sepia and in black.  You can get them in colors, but I like the color to come from the stitching part of the artwork, with the other images supporting them but not competing.  

And you see the tools -- a nice little set of Japanese carvers, plus my trusty xacto blade, which I use more than any of the others, and a lino knife.  I draw directly onto the block freehand, with sharpie or pilot pen, depending on what's to hand, and go from there.

Sometimes I carve in without a drawing, freehand, or freeblade, I guess you could call it, and that is great fun. Several of the blocks you see were done that way.  You just act as if the blade were a pencil.

It just shows how demanding fine stitching is, physically, when you know that I can carve for about twice as long as stitch, without having to stop for arm seizing up!

In other art news, a couple of days ago, I revisited the Book of Kings exhibit at Princeton Art Museum in the company of friends, one my longtime art partner Stefi, and there was a new exhibit downstairs, too, wonderful massive cedar sculptures, so glad I went back for the B of K, which I also spent time with.  

The sculptor's work is seen here: Ursula von Rydingsvard, amazing vision.  Huge contrast with the Book of Kings, too.  There are other exhibits, too, including a Silk Road one, but I have to go back again for that. I can only take in so much on one trip.


Asha Francis said...

Hoping your arm continues to heal. I found the information on dyamping to be very useful and interesting! :)

Magpie's Mumblings said...

You are a brave woman - I know if I played around with such sharp instruments I would do myself bodily harm in short order.

margaret said...

so talented even cutting your own blocks, did try stamping once but not successful though and that was a bought stamp. Hope the shoulder is soon back to normal and you can carry on with your creativity