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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Domesticity...



has me in its grip (see the other blog for the evidence!), and the house is filled with interesting smells. Not that it's stopping me thinking about other things to do with my time...I've just signed up for an altered shoe shrine swap, which sounds like great fun. Off to the charity shop I go to find a pair of stilettos, methinks... And the joy of it, is that I get to make two, keep one, and swap the other! I think it's a great idea.

Meanwhile, though, I'm going to sort through the assorted twigs and bits I have, and make some more Totem Dolls, and perhaps a few more cloth dolls. I like making dolls, and this happy, upbeat mood seems to suggest that it's a good time to do this sort of work... a bit like making hay while the sun shines.
Meanwhile, this is the most recent totem doll I've made, basking in the autumn sunshine. She's wearing a turban, and I'm not sure what that says about her, exactly... but she looks happy to be out in the natural world.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I've Been Wandering...


through the archives again...and found this image, a small quilt that I made some time ago. I'm very fond of it. It is called 'Window', and it is part of the Texture of Memory series. The 'window' has 'curtains', a blue one and a pink one, reflecting the key idea of the Texture of Memory work, that our memories are always coloured by our emotions. Depending on how you look at that day, or perhaps which part of it, the part that was happy, or the part that was not, the 'colour' of the memory will change. That's how I think it works, anyway, and the Texture of Memory had a lot of work with sheers included in it. Not all of my work is quite as literal as this is, but you can see from the detail how the pink affects the colour of the 'sun'.

I'll put up another Texture of Memory image tomorrow, let you see what I mean. Meanwhile, there are more images of Window on Etsy.

Friday, September 28, 2007

PS


You might remember seeing Cipher (detail photo above), when I used the embellisher to add some red cotton muslin to some black velveteen...it's now finished, and featuring on the Emporium , why not go see the whole completed piece?

If You're Going...




to fuse letters into words on quilts, you clearly have to make sure that you stick the letters on properly. I made this little thing this morning, Pretty In Pink. Though I have to say that when I looked at it closely, the R had fallen off, and it read as Petty in Pink...which is not quite the same thing.

I'm having great fun making these tiny quilts (Pretty is 12.5" by 15", Poppy Power is 12" by 13"). Yes, I know, I always did work small. But not usually with such frivolous subject matter!
I love pink, though, never used to, but started wearing it recently, the same with purple...strange how we change our ideas about things as we get older. I thought people grew OUT of pink, not INTO it!!
I'm using my Brother machine to piece these days. This is fine, you understand, it's a good wee machine. However, there's a fault in the foot control which makes the computerised bit of the machine convinced that there's a jam... Now that's not a problem in itself; there's a stop/start button on the machine, and I rather like using it. Only thing is, I seem to have developed a permanent twitch in my leg. Clearly my mind thinks that I should be pressing down with my leg with or without a foot control. I do get a good laugh at myself every time I do this, but it's showing no signs of going away. If that was my only bad sewing habit, I guess I'm not doing too badly! (I'm sure it's not, though...sigh...)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dragonfly...


took me at my word, and flew away to a new home. I only finished it yesterday, for me, that's the fastest sale I've ever made! I did get into a tizzy thinking that I'd put it on etsy, but I clearly didn't get round to it, so that's not a bridge I have to cross right this minute...just as well, really!
And now I'm tired with all the happydancing...think I might go for a nap...zzzz....

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Stitch'n'Snap




I said I'd been working on a couple of small quilts...and here they are, Fly, Fly, Dragonfly and Surf's Up. No, I really don't know where these are coming from, but I'm having huge amounts of fun doing them! So, I spent a wee while quilting them today, and rather a long time taking out some stitching from one of them that just Didn't Look Right. Sigh. I rarely ever undo quilting, especially when the stitches are small...so I was frothing at the mouth by the time I'd finished! But given that I *did* finish, I then went on to take photos, not just of them, but of some hand dye (see below for an example) that I thought I'd add to Etsy and the Emporium this evening, given that Robin is going to be late, so I can eat when I like. Actually, now would be good, I'm starving!! I'm on a diet of sorts. Okay, I'm eating sensibly (look, Ma, no chocolate). I'm not snacking, eating fruit and generally Being Good, whilst my friend Moira intends to take me swimming once a week or so. I might even go to the gym...or not...I've never done The Gym Thing, and I'm not sure it's me.

Psychotherapy tomorrow, and then back home to play some more, if I can stay awake long enough, I always find it tiring. And on Saturday, there's a builder coming to give me a quote for the erection of the Shudio...which I'm really looking forward to. Here's hoping it's not too exorbitant...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

By The Way...

I've also added a new blog; Artmixter's Emporium, where you will find the occasional artwork for sale, starting with today's picture, 'Abstracted I'. Or there's always etsy...

Having Fun...


with little quilts, more in what increasingly looks like a series of 'Let's Have Fun' quiltlets. I'm working on two at the same time, one with a surfing theme, the other with dragonflies. I've no idea quite why this is happening, I've always been Serious before, but I'm really enjoying it. It's as if my inner censor has been sent on holiday, and I get to play with ideas and images that I wouldn't have dreamed of working with before.

The odd postcard is getting done, too, this one isn't titled, isn't particularly fun, but isn't all that serious, either... see what you think.

Incidentally, I went out for a bloodtest today. I'd been quilting, minding my own business, and thought, omigoodness I'm going to be late... conscious that I was wearing my dye clothes, which are black, but covered in paint of various hues, I popped on a pair of teal trousers, thinking to add a black tshirt. Couldn't find tshirt...added a different one...and driving to the doctor's surgery, realised just how violently the tshirt clashed with the trousers...oh well... the style police weren't on duty today!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Other Peoples' Art...


is something I usually look at, admire, occasionally lust after but rarely bring home. I made an exception for this lovely fairy, who now keeps me company next to the printer (she kept falling off the desk...). She was made by artist Kate Whitmore, and I found her at Lavenham Comtemporary, surrounded by an exhibit of Paul Evans' landscapes, which you can go look at by clicking the gallery name. (I'm showing her picture with the gallery's consent, incidentally). The landscapes are beautiful, and you'll see that Paul's shoes are even more paint encrusted than mine... I ruined a perfectly good Ecos with paint and dye...Must Do Better...

Yes, I could have made her myself...but that really wasn't the point. Everyone deserves an indulgence now and again, and she was mine. I haven't named her, yet, but doubtless Something Will Come To Me... She has made me think about making more totem dolls...but right now, I'm finishing off pieces that have been lying about for a while, and waiting for the handdyes I made this morning to finish their final wash. And so to ironing...sigh...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Having Fun.


I talk about it...I even do it, sometimes. But I never make art about it. This is going to change...I feel a new series coming on!!! The first is called 'Lets Have Fun', and is a little wall hanging (10" by 12.5")with a BIG attitude! Yes, that's it in the picture.

How did it come about...well, I was improvising yesterday...so the floor looked a tad messy today. I happened to spot a piece of red fabric with children playing traditional games on it, that I'd been given in a bag of scraps (thanks, Heather!). I took that as the basis, and started improvising around it...and out came the words, 'let's have fun' and the nursery rhyme 'boys and girls come out to play'. And there it was, finished, though I did have to move Molliecat (a very unhappy Molliecat) from the chair in front of the free motion machine to do it. She'll cheer up in a minute, I'll put her dinner out...but for the meantime, I'm just going to giggle at this wee piece.

I have a strong sense of humour...I think it even comes out in my posts, now and again. But I've never actually applied it to visual art before. But believe me, I'm going to do it again!! Meanwhile, I'll pop this onto Etsy, just for fun!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Making Lemonade...



metaphorically speaking. You know the saying, 'when life hands you lemons, make lemonade'. Well, I thought I'd tell you the story of how I struggled with my inner critic and won...in a manner of speaking.

Yesterday I created an Etsy shop. I've been talking about it, thinking about it, tying myself up in knots about it for a very long time, but yesterday , I bit the bullet. Now, usually' if I do something like that, I prepare really well, do all the thinking beforehand, then commit. Yesterday, I committed first, and worried about it later. My, did I worry! My photos aren't good enough...my work isn't good enough...you get the drift...over and over. This morning, I was in a slump, thinking I should have read the small print, and generally berating myself for overstepping some mark or other. And so, in a right tizzy (as they say in the part of Scotland I come from), I decided that, as the cloth I had upstairs was awful (told you it was a tizzy!), I might as well overdye it.

And that's when I started making lemonade from my self induced lemons...tizzies are full of energy, after all. As I sorted through the fabric, I found a couple of bits that were interesting, and started combining them at random with other things that seemed to go with them, that were lying around. I now have two completed tops, one of which I'm really pleased with, and a little quilt called Monument, which is pictured here. It's 10" by 17", a bit longer than a journal quilt, and it's made from a couple of bits of commercial fabric and a piece of my handdye, which I'd overprinted (looks like a monoprint, but I can't honestly remember). Together, they seem to work...they even work the other way up (which was the way I had intended them, until I turned it round to look at it, and liked it better upside down!). And along the way, I thought about developing a class around my particular take on impro quilting (also known as making it up as you go along...). I think it would be fun!

I think what I'm trying to say is that we think our emotions, our moods, our feelings are in charge of us. I think it's the other way round; if we don't assume that anger, or depression, or other negative feelings stop us doing things, then we can use the energy we're generating to get on with some work...which gives us good feelings...and we break the cycle of down, down, and deeper down. So I'm going to put this wee thing on Etsy, too, and see what happens. Maybe nothing...maybe something...lets wait and see!

ps I still don't feel great about my Etsy shop...but that's going to change, too!! Which is what I meant by beating the inner critic 'in a manner of speaking'; I didn't get rid of the initial bad feelings, but I did get something good out of them. Least I think it's good...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I've Started...



so I'm keeping going. Yesterday, I worked on a second quilt, 'Lost In Translation', since I was having such a good time with 'Mixed Mythologies' (which is demanding hand stitch, so a photo may be Some Time In Coming...). I used the monoprinted lutradur produced by the paper here, and the . I combined it with a vibrant African inspired commercial print, which I'd had for a very long time, given by a fellow quilter in the US in a mixed bag of swap stuff. I couldn't work out what to do with it...until I combined it with the lutradur. It was intruiging... I could see most of the pattern through the lutradur, but not all of it, and stitching into it produced a pattern of its own, based on the original, but not identical by any means. That reminded me of translation work (I trained originally as a translator); when you translate, you sometimes distort the meaning of a piece because rendering it exactly is not possible for any number of good, sound, linguistic or cultural reasons. Hence the title, 'Lost In Translation'. But despite the fact you can never render anything completely in translation, there are lots of moments in there that shine as clearly as the original (or they do if the translator is any good at the job!); hence the distressing of the lutradur to show little bits of the original.

Perhaps that layer of meaning would not be clear to anyone without an explanation/artists' statement, but it is clear to me...I wonder if it works for anyone else. I'd be interested to hear what you think of the piece. The first picture is the whole piece, the second, a detail shot.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

You Can Always Tell...


when I'm struggling with depression; I go very quiet. Don't say much, either online or in person. I got up today and decided to sew, and feel the better for it...a picture when it's finished, an evolon piece I started ages ago, before Lyon, and that has been sitting around waiting for me to feel like it. Well, I didn't feel like it, but I did it anyway, and it has emerged that rather than wanting to be a rose garden, it wanted to be 'Mixed Mythologies'. Yesterday was a day for discharge dyeing, some interesting results, and for playing with the embellisher; Tango is one of the results. It's now waiting to tell me if it wants stitch or not. It's simply made; a drawing of dyed wool tops (thanks, Carol, for the brown...) on mauvey coloured felt. Never thought I'd use mauve...just goes to show, you should never say never...or think it, either...it just comes back to haunt you later!

Incidentally, I speak a number of languages (quietly or otherwise!). French, Russian, some German, English of course...but above all, I speak Cloth. As do we all, of course. So if you're struggling with my English, from one of these other languages, it might be worth emailing me for an explanation...my computer doesn't speak Russian, but I do, and I'm good at paraphrasing...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

As Promised...


a picture of the discharge dyed piece I made yesterday, which I'm rather pleased with. I think I'll make some more in this style, in fact. I have Plans.

This particular piece was inspired by a visit to an exhibit in the Kettle's Yard Gallery in Cambridge. The work is by a Scottish painter, Callum Innes, one of my favourite artists. The work I had seen by him before had been blacks, greys and whites, but the first thing I saw when I entered the gallery was a huge, wonderful piece in ochre colours. The first thing I thought was, shibori, the second, discharge dyeing. But I have intentions for my piece that are quite different from the original. I rarely ever use someone else's work as a springboard for my own, but this was screeching out to be started...so I have. It'll be interesting to see what comes of it. It is already quite different from the original (sadly, I can't find the original on the web, so I can't direct you to it).

The cloth is beautiful by itself...it's a cotton sateen bought from Heide Stoll-Weber It's delightful to work with, I'm looking forward to continuing with it. It has dried somewhat lighter, but I'm still very pleased. Now to make some more brown cloth this week...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Surprises...


Three of them, to be precise. Firstly, I was poddling around this afternoon when the phone rang. It was an old friend, Greta, whom I hadn't spoken to in several years. (Hi, Greta, if you're reading!). To say I was surprised was an understatement...but it turned out she got my contact details from the lutradur worksheet (which is still available, email me if you'd like a copy, lutradur(at)tiscali.co.uk). So we had a happy time catching up on this and that... and will surely stay in touch. We're already muttering about a play day...Scottish bloggers, be warned! And let me know if you're interested; I'm sure we could sort something out...

The second surprise? I'm making new friends, too, thanks to Shirley . She was talking on her blog about the fiberarts/mixed media group, which I joined last night, and had Much Fun in the process. As if I needed another blog, right enough...but hey! If you can't have too many fabrics, surely you can't have too many blogs. Or too many friends for that matter.

And talking of friends... Two kind friends sent me bleach pens recently...just to prove that I've been using them, a piece of cloth nonchalantly draped over the mayhem on my work table which I'm looking forward to stitching.

The third surprise, though, to get back to the original theme of the post, is that I managed to discharge dye my leggings today whilst working on another piece of cloth...oops...!

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's Been Quiet...


...here, in a manner of speaking. I've had friends from Scotland visiting, and there's been nothing done. Unless, of course, you count laughing, eating, drinking, visiting touristy attractions, more laughing... I'm sure you get the drift. And given that it's Friday today, I don't see myself getting back out of the holiday spirit til Monday. I may blog before then, of course, and I have been up in the paint studio, moving things around, tidying up, but I don't think any work will get done. So, in the meantime, something for you to admire. I asked Robin to make me something that I could use to hang up newly finished work to photograph. He, being an obliging soul, promptly produced this stand. The quilt on it is Nefertiti, which is back from its time at the Quilters' Hall of Fame as part of the 'She Made Her Mark' exhibit. I promised a photo of it, and failed to provide...so here she is. See what you think...there was rather a breeze on the day it was taken.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

On A Whim...



I sat down at the embellisher this morning and spent about half an hour playing with two pieces of felt that I'd brought down for a friend to play with, plus some fibres I'd dyed, and some scraps of rust dyed silk. These are the results, ready for some stitch.

I wrote a post to AQL about the keeping of sketch books; I keep a plethora of sketchbooks, all different sizes, most of them with lots of drawing in them, some text, the occasional set of notes... What I've found intriguing up to now is that the work doesn't seem to echo the sketchbooks. It's as if drawing was completely separate from stitching or painting. These two pieces, though, are very like my drawings. Clearly, it's taken me some time to process the ideas...but they're coming together. Hurrah. I love it when a plan comes together...