Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Raw materials, jewelry, Vilene and net stitching

Today was about playing about with a lot of jewelry parts and bits, donated to the studio by Julie D., thank you, and here's the general effect:

Then I did some selecting and wielding of tinsnips, to get a selection that I can work on for my next planet wire weaving

Still a lot of raw jewelry material to use in other artworks.

But I have to have portable work, too, since tonight is stitch-in time, and soon, Saturday, Feb 6, to be exact, will be the national EGA Stitch in Public Day. I need something to work on then as a demo for anyone who comes by to see and maybe decide to get into this artform, or back into it. 

Local folk: watch this space for more info next week on this. It will be a joint Stitch in Public and chapter reception in celebration of the Fortieth Anniversary of our founding, with three founders to be present.  All free and open to the public.

So here's the setup for that piece:   Vilene stamped with an image I carved into a stamp, and repeated here, with a net overlay to be stitched over. The threads you see in the bag I dyed from white cotton thread.  They're in the colorway the other appliques are made of.

This motif will be added to the big dyed piece, you saw earlier,  which needs another element added in to the three stitched appliques currently in place to consider itself done.  I like to show that embroidery can cover a wide range of approaches, and all are good.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Field of Dorset buttons comes to be

So another work has come together.  This is an exciting stage, where a lot of moving parts find their home and I can show you what I had in mind all along, more or less.

Here's that linen, which I dyed with turmeric and onionskins, shibori style, then stamped with my handcarved stamps, and now have attached those Dorset buttons you saw happening way back. This piece will wait a few days before I declare it done.

And I have another big dyed work in mind to add a bit to, while I'm at it. That's the one with the embroidery on net based on line drawings I did this year.

My copper supplies also arrived, so I can get back to weaving planets in copper and other fibers. Moving right along.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Butterfly Habitat

I think this is now done.  The butterflies are pinned in place until I decide that's their final arrangement.  I stamped more images of the small butterflies on the fabric, too, and I think this will work pretty well.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Onward to the Butterfly Habitat

I have finally managed to get the habitat organized ready to receive the butterflies I've been working on, well, I'm still working on, a couple more small ones to go.

You remember the idea of the knitted and crocheted area for them?  I tried it out and found that the butterflies didn't go very happily with the colors of the yarn, which will end up as something else.  

So I thought again, and remembered another piece, which is a white openwork knitted and stretched piece on which I'd put knitted wire fish, and exhibited it.  Sooooo. Here's a better idea for it. The fish are now swimming on the walls of the downstairs bathroom to amuse visitors who didn't expect to walk into a menagerie, and the stretched piece is now in use again.

I had found a big dyed and embroidered piece which I had exhibited years ago and quite liked then, but which I now could see how to use much better.  So I took it off the original backing I'd set it up on, and stretched and stapled it, since it's transparent fabric, on top of the knitted piece.  And that's the new butterfly habitat, incorporating several ideas at once.  Liking this.  You can see the shape of the white openwork underneath, and the colors floating above it.

It's long and narrow, one of my favorite shapes, about 30 x 15 inches, and I couldn't get a good pic of it all at once, so you see here two images, which would overlap in real life, but which show you the whole thing. 

They are different in widths owing to the ineptitude of the photographer, and the limitations of the light, but it's one big piece.  To see how it works, notice that big jagged shape in the top left of the bottom pic?  see where it comes in the top pic.

So this is the Empty Habitat! awaiting its occupants. Who will no doubt demand better photography, which I will try to supply. Right now the priority is making the thing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Holding up the Sky is Off the Loom

So here it is, free off the loom, almost finished (some work at the back to stabilize how it hangs from the dowel, some decision on the final name), and I'm ready for the next adventure, probably divided between the Planet Suite and the Butterfly Habitat.

I spoke today with the Michael, the designer and  creator of the Loom Holder Upper, who suggested we come up with a better name, such as Loom Stand, and was very happy that it worked so well for me.  Also amazed at the way the sawblade has come into use.  He may be digging up more of them..

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tapestry Holding up the sky under a tropic sun

The title of this tapestry needs some editing, once I decide on how to really name it.

Meanwhile, this is where it is.  Probably close to cutting the warp and removing it from the loom, I think.  Maybe a touch more copper.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Kaffe Fassett, Antique Quilts and other marvels at the Michener

Today's field trip, with three stitcher friends, to the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, was a full day.  

The featured exhibit, Blanket Statements, was a group of antique quilts, largely from the UK, with statements and responses in quilt form, as mirror images, designed by Kaffe Fassett and executed by various quilters and finishers.

But on the way there, there were other galleries, read on

an exciting gallery of groundbreaking tent quilts, great fun, total energy by Virgil Marti

And there was a  gallery of wood pieces, largely reclaimed wood, some of it from debris of Hurricane Sandy, from which we are still far from recovered, some of them in quilt form by this artist. 

There was an enormous and wonderful installation created from painted trellis parts.  

I had to tear myself away to go see the exhibit we'd come for! these are only a few of the artworks on show

Here's my group, discussing the relative merits of the antique quilt at ground level and the Fassett response on the wall.

One of our readers tells me she saw the Fassett and antique exhibit in York Quilt Museum in the UK.  So now I've seen it here.  Fassett has a local connection, which is why we got lucky and this became one of only three locations in the US for the exhibit.  Still up till late February, it's worth the trip if you're anywhere in the region.

Michener, the novelist, philanthropist and traveler and for whom the museum is named, had an interest in Japanese art and landscaping, probably influenced by his Japanese wife (!) and this shows in a lot of the design of the museum galleries, including the Nakashima room, with shoji screens and Nakashima furniture,  and in the landscaping.  

Here there's a nod to nature, where fallen seed pods are left to blend with other plants, a quiet art form in itself. 

There is hardly anything that's better than spending time in the company of people who are knowledgeable about what you're looking at, and great company too.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The tapestry goes on, and the butterfly emerges

The tapestry is starting to take on meaning now.  Here's how it looks this morning.  The two insertions are just pinned in place for now, but I think they will stay. You'll recognize the lower one as one of those fringy sawblade weavings, painted.  Once the tapestry's off the loom, I'll take pix that will be a bit easier to read, with less background interference.

It's shaping up as a World Under a Tropical Sun piece.  There will be more weaving, but some of those open areas you see will remain open, and I think some of the woven parts will be pushed about a bit to express the ideas more clearly. This is a great stage to be at, where it starts to come together with a concept and rewards all the groping about in the dark earlier.  It does fall in conceptually with the Planet Suite, too, both in the ideas and in the materials I'm using.

And, since I have to have something portable to take with me to see me mates at the stitching guild, here's another stumpwork butterfly from the  butterfly habitat in progress, one of the more junior bflies here, not competing with the big beaded and goldworked ones. 

I'm just stitching on the wire which will enable it to pose on the final work, after I've cut it out around the stitching. It's a piece I stamped from the stamp I carved and showed you a while back.  First I ran a line of split stitching around the edges, and now I'm overcasting the wire with the same thread to create a firm wired margin. The fabric has a built-in sparkle, so little ornamentation will be needed.

Tomorrow: plans for a road trip with stitching friends to the Michener Museum, in Pennsylvania not far from here, to see antique quilts from the collection in York, UK, along with Kaffe Fassett's responding quilts.  Look for pix if they let me take them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Tapestry is growing apace

More work on the tapestry this morning, while I wait for my supplies of wire to arrive to continue with the planets.

Here we are, with the insert temporarily in place, and the design going on pretty well

 Closer up, with a cloth behind to let you see better

And stepping back so you can see the relative size of it to the surrounding furniture. Weaving includes the copper wire, llama yarn, perle cotton, boucle and merino roving.  The textures are nice when you encounter this in person, particularly between the sharpness of the fine copper wire and the cloudlike softness of the roving.  The next section will use the llama yarn, for a darker contrast to the light yarns at the bottom here.

Possibly one or more more inserts might happen, too.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Celebration of Collage at the Library Gallery

Yesterday was the opening reception for the joint collage exhibit of Elaine Rosenberg and Nancy Scott at the Library Gallery of Plainsboro Public Library.

Great fun, with friends, artists' families and colleagues, catching up with old friends and making new ones, in the course of the afternoon.  There was a crowd, but the light was not conducive for putting the pix in here, sorry.  

A few shots of Elaine's work here

and here's Nancy conferring with Julie D., who hosted the event and greeted the artists and guests

Elaine with one of her favorite works.  

It was great to get a guided tour of her works with an account of the intuitive way she works.  I recommend asking exhibiting artists to walk the gallery with you and talk about the work.  It's a great way to get insight and respect for their approach.

Nancy's work, collage with a different take, not surprising for someone who is also a poet, is intricate and fine-tuned.  

Two very gifted artists here, who presented a strong show. If you're in the Plainsboro area before the end of the month, do stop in any time the library's open, for a great experience.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Planets are pushing their way in...

This is the latest in the planet visitation.  Copper wire warp, roving, floss and perle cotton weft, with boucle yarn.

 This is the same piece on two backgrounds.  One a green rug, one a pale yellow wall.  Very similar lighting though.  Huge difference in effect.  I like this a lot, since it means that as the light changes in the exhibit, the piece will change its nature.  This will probably be true of other pieces in this series, too.  

And I like the way the fringes wave wildly when on the rug, as they will if included in a tapestry and secured that way. It contrasts with the quieter effect of gravity if the piece is secured only in the main body and the fringes left loose.  The wire retreats on the green surface, and is assertive on the wall.  Future thinking there.

Note to self: need more copper wire.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Sawblade weavings, both sides of the loom

I completed two more sections of the planet piece, and thought you might like to see how they were set up, one on either side of the sawblade, using the same warping for both.  Here's the blade with the other side showing in the mirror

and here's the completed second side, still attached to the loom. Spanish merino roving is that cloudy area, and there's llama yarn as well as other threads.

and here are the two pieces, now released from the loom, warp ends knotted off. I love the wildness of the warp ends, and want to preserve that if I can

 At this point I'm wondering if they are freestanding or should be included in the big tapestry.  I'll try out the idea and see.  I like the freestanding notion, though.

Technical note: if you are following this blog using Google Friend Connect but not a Google account, you may find it vanishes on Monday.  Google has had an idea, sigh, about cutting back on GFC..  

Anyway, if you don't want to find your blog feed's gone missing, and you are not on a Google account, you can sign up via Bloglovin, see right, which I don't think will be affected, or you can request to be on my direct mailing list.  If you're already doing either of those things, no worries. 

There are probably other workarounds, but these are the fastest and simplest I can think of.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Sawblade Weavings are now becoming the Planet Suite

The sawblade weavings are moving right along, and I was thinking planets and a planet suite series of freestanding weavings, then it dawned on me that this is the centenary, more or less, of Holst's Planet Suite.  Cool, I knew there was a subterreanean process going on there, and now I've identified it.  These are ideas of planets rather than literal interpretations of them.  And if I want Pluto, I'll HAVE Pluto!

So once again I'm doing several things all at once, but these will probably work pretty well.  Here's the latest:

You notice it's still on the sawblade.  That's because I had another idea:  I had warped the blade across the back anyway, so as to have long fringes.  But I realize I can do a second weaving on the back, using the one warp for two pieces, and still have some inches of fringe to work with.  So I'm trying that out.  Stay tuned.

These are also pretty resilient for displaying other than in the gallery.  They can be touched without damage, unlike a lot of unframed embroidery.  So there are possibilities here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Wool on Wool Adventures

Here's my try at wool on wool, as taught by Ginny at the embroiderers' guild meeting on Sunday.  Just testing the method.

This was quite fun for a cold day.  I used mostly scraps from her leftover bag rather than the circles and other shapes she had typical, as she said, that I would go for the negative space. The green motifs on the right are not stuffed, that's just an illusion created by the black stitching. I'm sure you'll recognize the Rule of Three at work here!

And, since a lot of people read this blog on a handheld device which turns the image as you turn the device, so you can't turn it upside down, here's the other way up if you're interested in seeing which you would prefer

They're two separate items, just put them in the same pic to show you two approaches. All the pieces were donated by Ginny.  The colors are not very true on here, more subtle in rl.

These might become needlebooks, but I need more felt for the pages and don't seem to have any to hand at the moment.  

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year and New Art to All!

I spent New Year's Day, once I got my eyes operating, doing weavings using the sawblade which seems to have become a vital tool in the studio.

The idea was to make a couple of inserts for the big weaving, but it got away from me, and I think I may have one freestanding small weaving, using cotton perle thread and boucle yarn

 and one, using llama yarn and fun fur, which will be part of the butterfly habitat one, part of a tree with hanging foliage.  Here I'm showing it before 

 and after painting

If you wonder how this stuff came from a sawblade loom, what I did was warp it completely across the back as well as the front. 

This means that when the weaving is complete, you cut the warp threads from the middle of the back, and end with a huge and lovely sweep of fringe for your finished piece. This is different from warping just around the teeth, when you end with short warp ends to knot and tie off.  Different style.

You can arrange the fringe like a sunburst, if that suits your purpose, and fix them with either stitching, or weaving into a bigger piece.  For these, I wanted them trailing, though.

You can do this with a cardboard loom, too, if you want to weave a seamless bag -- just continue the weft thread across the front, turn and continue across the back.  Since cardboard bends, it's not hard to remove the loom at the end of the piece.

Next I'll try to make a couple of inserts for the big weaving, wait, this sounds familiar. I remembered to update the year on my copyright notice, my New Year's Resolution already done!  No need to get carried away planning major life changes.