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Monday, July 31, 2006

Sums up the day, really!

A wonderful piece to find snuggled in a little nook; the artist intends to do some more work on it with her children.

Playday Saturday...

with Making Marks, a team of artists who make public art (check out their website, it's wonderful work). When I rang to ask what I needed to bring with me, the answer came, 'nothing except yourself and a packed lunch'. This was something of a surprise, given the exhaustive supplies lists that usually go along with attending a workshop...but a good surprise! So up I turned, with lunch in hand, wondering what we would be doing... and the truth of it is, we were playing, and a great deal of fun was had by all concerned. The workshop was based around exploring the letters of the alphabet, choosing one (or a word with that letter in it), and making a 3D piece (or two...or three...) about what you had explored.

I really wanted to work with S...well, it's sinuous, sensuous, slippery, all these lovely sibilant sounds and thoughts...but when it came down to it, I couldn't get the word 'why' out of my head. It relates in part, I suppose, to the piece I've got in the Festival of Quilts this year, entitled 'Where'. I'd made a number of pieces of cloth with writing on them, mostly discharge dyed and then overdyed or painted. Why was one of them, but I hadn't got round to using it...and I found myself thinking about the conflicts around the globe, and wondering, WHY????? So I made a piece from wire and jute string, asking exactly that. You'll have to look hard to find it in the photograph...but I hope you'll think it was worth the study. In the end, I made three pieces, two from wire, one from willow, a material I'd never worked with and with which I fell instantly in love. So watch this space for willow work...

It was fascinating, not just to make the work, but to see what everyone else was making with what was a relatively limited selection of materials; cardboard, cloth, wire, yarns and wools, some other bits and pieces... In particular, at the end, we were encouraged to go and find a place to display the pieces in the churchyard at Salthouse, just next door to the hall we were working in. It was interesting to see where people chose to display their work, and how good it looked in situ. Amusing, too, to think about the exhibition goers wandering round the churchyard looking at the legitimate pieces that were displayed there as part of the exhibition, and possibly wondering what this 'alternative' exhibit was all about... I took a few photos of the work in situ, and am pleased to share a couple of other folk's work along with mine. Sadly, my memory has failed me...if I'm showing your piece, please get in touch and I'll provide proper attribution...sorry...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Salthouse and Contemporary Art

Norfolk is full of beautiful churches, many of them in tiny villages. Salthouse Church, though an active, functioning church, hosts a number of art exhibits every year, of which the annual Salthouse modern art exhibition is the best known, at least in Norfolk. The theme of the exhibit, which, this year, was curated by Sarah Cannell, was of work by artists crossing the boundaries of art and craft. The curator said of it in the catalogue; 'This year's show...has provided an opportunity for artists and craftspeople to work side by side to create a contemporary art exhibition. Traditional materials or techniques have been fused with new ideas and approaches to create objects and artworks that question the art/craft relationship'. Sadly, there are no pictures yet on the site, but there will be in the next few weeks, so worth bookmarking it to return.

I visited the exhibition last week, but returned to Salthouse yesterday to attend a workshop given by Making Marks. Workshops for the community are a feature of this particular exhibition, and they are of consistently high quality, to judge by the comments of other participants who had attended more than one workshop. This one was no exception; more about the workshop tomorrow (though I did write about the first of them in the blog,a textile workshop with Jan Miller, around about the 10th July)

The gravestones pictured here were incorporated into a piece by Juliet Arnott, described in the catalogue as 'a large woven installation that intertwines with the shroud of trees which enclose the ruins of the medieval chapel'. For me, it was the most atmospheric of the pieces shown this year, having, as it did, a real sympathy for its environment, and a sense of both enclosure and openness. That sounds odd, but really, that is how it I stood in it, I felt both hidden by the weaving and the trees, and yet very aware of the installation's openness to the sky and the environment around it. I understand that the installation will remain after the closure of the exhibit, and that the willow used in its construction might potentially take root and grow. Wonderful, to make growing, living art from the remains of the past. Truly magical work.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Killing Time

This is not something I have a lot of experience in...there's usually always something to do. But it was hot in Norwich today, and I had several hours to kill, as my car was being serviced and wouldn't be ready til mid afternoon. So I spent a bit of time in the Norwich Library, and borrowed a couple of fascinating books on Outsider Art. Doubtless, I'll be in a position to tell you more when I've read them...but just looking at the illustrations is inspiring enough. Outsider Art always makes me ask myself the question, what if you just made art, without trying to hide anything, or obscure anything, just turned up and worked with the paint...what could happen if you forget all the rules that other people made, or that you made, or whatever...and just paint.
Then, everything and anything becomes possible.

Blogger ate my post yesterday, I waxed lyrical about finding that I'm an INFJ, rather than the INFP I'd always thought myself to be... but when it comes down to it, no matter what test I do, Myers Briggs or otherwise, I remain myself. Just as well really.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

In More Than One Language : Body Talk. Which might, or might not, be finished.

Windblown, the piece that IMTOL: Body Talk reminded me of.


It's not possible to overwork in this heat...Robin said that his car was registering somewhere in the region of 98degF yesterday, and it's hotter hot it's hard to settle to doing anything at all. But it's more than possible to overwork a concept, as I came to realise, today.

I've been working with the idea of 'In More Than One Language' (or IMTOL, for short). For me, it works in a number of ways. There's the language of art itself, the different styles and methods of working with a given set of materials. There are languages themselves, that vary in writing methods and styles. There is the hidden language of symbol and metaphor. And then there is the language of the half seen, half glimpsed and half understood; the marks, manmade or natural, that seem to suggest some sort of meaning, but which is neither word nor symbol.

It is a broad, broad concept, but I have found myself recently focussing almost entirely on the latter part of it, the half seen, the forgotten, the potential language. In doing so, I find that I've been limiting myself to a particular way of thinking about the painting, and a particular approach, also. And then I found myself wondering why I wasn't actually working the way I want to work. Instead of flowing, as they usually do, the paintings have been stuttering along, complexity over complexity, hard to understand and to make. Yesterday, though, I went upstairs, really only intending to move some paintings out of the studio space, so that I could make some new ones. What I found, though, was that there was a painting up there, waiting to be I ended up spending some time with a large canvas and some blue paint. The result is at the top of the blog. It is so unlike the rest of the IMTOL work; it has space, movement, light... all the things that are important to me as an artist.

Finally, I realised two things. One was that it was related to another, earlier painting, that was started as an IMTOL, but seemed to end as something different. The other, was that the reason it was unlike the other IMTOL work, was that I'd stopped *thinking*... rather than making an IMTOL painting, I was making a painting...and whilst it fits into the IMTOL concept, it is its own sweet self. Basically, I managed to get out of my own way, and make a painting that is real.

I work best when I let the unconscious mind do the thinking, and just turn up with a paintbrush to record the results. When my conscious mind says, you have to do x, or y, then the painting is stilted, self conscious and overdone. So there. That doesn't mean that the rest of the IMTOL work is bad, necessarily...I've learned a lot from it, about painting and about myself. But it does mean that I'm going to lighten up a bit, think less and just turn up at the canvas more often. Even on hot days like today!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Molly Takes A Break

Nothing is sacred from a napping cat...including cloth scoured, ready for dyeing. Molly isn't proud, she'll sleep anywhere. And in today's heat, that's not surprising. It just gets hotter every day, and I'm at the point where catnapping like this seems like the only option. So I've collected the paperwork I need to do, taken it up to the bedroom, switched on the big fan and that's the plan for today. Except when I need to send emails to other folks about The Well. Then, it's on with the fan in the dining room...

People tend to think of artists as just doing nothing but art. They forget that there's always paperwork, in every field of occupation. Price lists, contracts, which work is where at what time, entry forms...all this kind of thing has to be done by someone...and I know the cat isn't going to help out, so today is an admin day, and a reading day, a catnapping sort of day. Well, okay, maybe a bit of drawing, too... Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 24, 2006

The scene of the devastation...without the books, but with a totem doll. She is bone dry, the books are ruined. Posted by Picasa

Rule 43

When working outside, bring anything that is water absorbent inside when you have finished. Or, at the very least, don't forget that the said water absorbent stuff is outside... That way, unexpected thunderstorms don't drench the three (three...sigh...) altered books you had got half way through prepping. Everything else survived...I remembered to take the dolls inside much earlier...but those books will never be the same. Actually, I don't think they'll ever dry out, either... Oh well. Back to the drawing board, or, in this case, the charity shop...just as well there's a constant supply of books for altering.

I bought a copy of Winnie the Pooh to alter, a new book, but I don't know that I have the heart to do it... what might be interesting is to take quotations from it, and use them in altered books. My altered books tend to be paintings, rather than collages, and abstracts, to boot...wonder how that'll work...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Balancing The (Creative) Diet

In a comment on this blog on Friday, Margaret reflects on the downtime we all have as artists. I was out with a friend on Thursday at an art exhibition. She asked if I didn't experience something 'like writer's block' from time to time, and then promptly apologised for asking the 'wrong' question when I didn't answer all at once. The truth is, that there are no wrong questions, and I don't believe in block, whether for writers or artists or anyone. The world is full of opportunity, of clues, hints and suggestions that we can take up...or not... I think, myself, that when we commit ourselves to working as artists, that we assume that that's all there is to it...that we'll just happily work on for ever, and all will be well with the world. And that's exactly it. I think we do. But who said we had to be permanently creating? The physical act of creation is important, but it's not the only part of the process.

Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I have a passion for chocolate. Swiss, in particular, but any chocolate will do (providing it doesn't have nuts in it...though marzipan is splendid...). But I don't eat it exclusively, and wouldn't, even if I could, despite believing that it is a major food group all by itself! There are days when only cherries will do, or crispy salads, chicken, salmon... the world offers a banquet of tastes and textures. Similarly, in the creative life, we have times for reflection and renewal, or even just plain rest, to complement the active parts of the work, the planning and making. So I enjoy all the different parts of the cycle, knowing that none of them last for ever, and all of them are good for me. Even the Christian God took a rest on Sunday after completing what might be considered the ultimate act of creation, the making of the world. I can't think of any creation myths that don't have a bit of rest in there, sometime... Call it a block, and it becomes a problem, a black hole we get stuck in. Call it part of the creative cycle, and it becomes creative chocolate... good to nibble on, a surprise, a treat, but not the whole of the diet.

There are, of course, moments when one's creative path is disrupted...hence the picture. I know the saying, 'A cat can look at a king', so I dare say that Milly is perfectly in her rights to sit on Nefertiti, and attempt to stare her down...but it does rather Hold Things Up...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

An unexpected painting...

 Posted by Picasa

Unexpected Joys.

I like surprises. So when I picked up the phone to Maureen, an old friend from Strathpeffer on Thursday night, I was pleased to hear from her. Even more so when I discovered that she and Shirley were in Cromer, on the North Norfolk coast, and planning to come to visit on Friday. They called me again yesterday. We're in the village, they said. Now it's not difficult to find the road we live in, but the house itself is another thing. But why was I not surprised when they said they were in the pub...! So I walked up to meet them, to be met by three delighted dogs, who wiggled, barked and wagged enthusiastically (clearly they remembered who I was...), and of course, two enthusiastic humans, who hugged and laughed and told me all about the goings on in the Strath, admired the village, and, eventually, the house, and generally just picked up where we left off just over two years ago.

The painting above is a surprise, too. Not sure where it came from, what it's about, or even if it's finished. It just appeared the other day, as I worked. The joys of painting are, of course, expected. It's when you surprise yourself, though, that the true joys appear. I've been reading June Underwood's blog avidly, about her QSDS trip and workshop with Michael James. Today's edition shows the work she did, and I suspect it took her by surprise, too. But my, it's worth it; strong, original, feisty...not unlike her wonderful self. Watching friends grow and change is another unexpected joy...long may it continue.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Totem Dolls...

and tiny journals, were what I made on Wednesday. Ukraina, in the photograph, surprised me a little...the leaf, as a headdress reminded me of traditional dress in the Ukraine, so hence her name. I also found myself making little folded books, pocket sized, that you could use to journal, say, on a visit to somewhere (like I visited the Salthouse exhibit, yesterday), so that you caught the essence of the day in little notes and sketches. The little book stands on its own, with the outside covered in pattern and colour, and the inside also painted, ready for notes and sketches, no scary white paper to put you off! These are smaller versions of the book I made at the workshop a couple of weeks ago. Every way you look at it, there is a different thing to see, and the same as you begin to unfold it. Inspiration in the palm of your hand...or so I hope. Must take one with me, and see. More about them on the other blog...

Returning to the dolls; I have much bigger twigs to work with, or perhaps they should be called little branches...I'm contemplating making totem dolls that will sit outside, to watch how they change over time as they deteriorate, as will their clothes...returning to the earth, completing the cycle. Not every piece of art can live for ever, and sometimes it's good to make something that is intended to reflect growth and change, as these dolls will. I may not be the greatest of gardeners, but the totems would be a spot of colour all year round...and they won't need watering, either!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Photo They Didn't Want Me To Post

This is 'Straight Talking', from the 'In More Than One Language' series. I'm hoping it will publish third time lucky...blogger doesn't seem to like this particular painting. Hope somebody other than me does, or I'm in trouble... Posted by Picasa

More Mobile

Well, it's something when you create a post about a mobile, forget to mention it altogether except in the title, and then don't publish the photo. Did I mention that today is the hottest day of summer so far? And that it has gone to my brain? And not improved it? Sigh. Posted by Picasa

Downwardly Mobile?

I had forgotten just how important it is to me as a person to paint. I've been avoiding the paint studio, partly because of the heat, partly because I'm in the middle of working out a series, and it's never simple, or swift. Yesterday, though, I spent most of the day working on paintings, and whilst they still might not be right, or finished, they are making much more sense to me. And therefore I am making much more sense to myself. I feel balanced, the first time in a while that I have felt that way.

The painting above is called Straight Talking, part of the In More Than One Language series. It is proving to be a challenging concept for me to work with, as I've said before. Layer upon layer, and waiting between them til the paint is dry enough to add more to. I've got a tendency to work alla prima, putting everything down in one fell swoop. This is more like a series of swoops on one canvas. I'm sure it's probably good for me. And while I was painting, I did fix the scratched painting. So you won't be bored by me referring to it least until it is framed and I've got a photo of it!

Today, though, I've put the oil paints aside and brought out the acrylics, intending to make books. Doubtless I shall do so, this evening, but I've spent most of the day making dolls, instead. How easy it is to be sidetracked when you do lots of different things. Partly, I'm sure, I made some dolls to celebrate joining the art doll makers webring... I like webrings, they introduce us to art that we would never see, otherwise.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I Seem To Be...

repeating myself, endlessly and boringly...I'm sorry. It is hot, I do have to fix a painting, both are true, neither bears repeating... and oh, damn, I just did it again...

Today, I'm going to make another mobile. The one I made in the workshop a couple of weekends ago is now reassembled, slightly edited, and looking good in a corner of my dining room. This was not where I intended to hang it, but it was most convenient for making it up (there was a chair and table directly underneath), and, once I'd finished, it looked good there. So there, it will stay (photo to follow when I've taken one...).

The new mobile will be for elementals, and based on the bits of dried seaweed, shells, strips of sheer silk and other excitements, suspended from a ring covered in netting... or that's the image in my head. We'll see. Nothing ever succeeds as planned. I thought that one with crystals wrapped in wire, combined with silk strips, might also be interesting. And I'd like to make one big enough to stand in/under, with a companion wall piece to look at, perhaps inspired by a piece of music... I've had that idea in my head for many years, ever since attending a music workshop and hearing a particular piece of (newly composed) modern music. There's a piece of modern lute music, made by my friend and erstwhile lute teacher Rob Mackillop, that I'd love to work with...must ask him for permission. Haven't spoken to him in a while...wonder if he even remembers me...oh well, a girl can ask! The piece is called The Healing, and I find it haunting... it would be interesting to work with it in visual terms.

Meanwhile, back to today, and the need to audition fabrics for the 'Doing Small Things' challenge/exhibition. Perhaps the piece at the top of the blog, one of the dye paintings from last week...right colours, certainly, but possibly not quite the right cloth... I'm fascinated by the appearance of an eye in there, where eye was not intended. Eyes seem to be appearing with interesting regularity in my work, one way or another, must refer back to the dictionary of symbols... For myself, I think it's to do with the need to be seen clearly, and to see clearly. Back to meaning, as always.

And did I mention I have a painting to mend...only kidding!!!!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Day Off

Actually, I suppose I should call it a long weekend...I haven't done much since the meeting on Friday. Today, though, I started to rebuild the mobile I made the weekend before, and it's looking promising. And studied the painted sticks that will become dolls, soon. Then, someone came to deliver my sixty (count 'em!) paintbrushes, ordered from ebay. I use house painting brushes, mostly for painting with dye, though occasionally for working with oil paint. At less than 30p a brush, it works out well...what did we do before we had ebay?

Tomorrow, though, I want to do some serious work, so may have to get up with Robin at 7am rather than doze on. The temperature is set to rise even higher than it was today, and it was frankly warm enough...low eighties, I think. By Thursday, the London area is supposedly set for temperatures around 100 degF, and not much less up here. That's hotter than I care to think about. You can dress for cold...but undressing only works so well...and scares the horses, into the bargain! Not to mention scaring other humans... So the early start would let me do some discharge dyeing out in the garden before it gets too hot, and put the fans on in the studios, because I have some painting to do, also. Robin has framed one of my earlier paintings, but before it gets framed, I have to mend the slight scratches it has acquired during the moves. Still, hot or not, it isn't a bad way to spend a day.

So now, I'm off to finish the mobile, and redo the photos...I took some this morning, but they don't seem to be on the disc I'm using, so I'll need to reburn.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Hot, Hot, Hot

Too hot to iron, really, but I want to catch this cloth, and the rest of the batch, while it is dampish, and maybe then work with it this afternoon. For lo, I did find the energy to rinse and wash it yesterday after all, and now it demands ironing...sigh. I have a list of things I Really Must Do Next Week...make some more dolls, and some books, for the Elementals exhibit, sort out that mobile, do some discharge dyeing, continue the prep I started yesterday of some books for altering, repair a painting that Robin wants to frame (it got scratched in the move here). And, of course, make a small piece for the the Fiber Arts Connection of Southern California's challenge, 'Doing Small Things'. Finally, I have it clear in my mind what I want to do, all I have to do now is Get On With It! Come to think of it, must find my diary and check that I don't have anything on, other than the admin meeting for The Well on Monday, and the informal Well meeting on Friday... And there's something about travel arrangements for the Carrefour in September, not to mention where to stay when I get there... So much to do, so little time, but since most of it is art, it doesn't sound altogether onerous. Besides, it doesn't sound a lot if you say it quick!!

What do you have planned for your week?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What's In A Name?

We had the second formal meeting of the group for artists with mental health issues yesterday. I found myself at an AGM, giving a talk about 'the group with no name'... but it went well, anyway, and we have had offers of help and support within the wider East Anglian artists community, which is very encouraging. And we now have a name...The Well. As you can see, it suggests all sorts of things...a resource, a state of name but two. We hope we will be all of those things as time moves on. We also have a constitution, which means we can go about doing the things organisations a bank account, raise funds, look for name but three. We also managed to start work on a we'll soon have A Cunning Plan for the next eighteen months or so. Something to look forward to!

It was a good meeting, very productive, but I suspect that, like me, everyone's tired today. So I'm going to have a nice, lazy day, reading the Times and all its supplements (well, ok, maybe not the business pages!), waiting for my brushes to be delivered (bought from ebay in a moment of enthusiasm, delivered yesterday, of course, when I was out). And, if I scrape up the energy, the rinsing and washing of the fabric that has been painted or dyed this week. Even the ironing! I'm considering buying a press, mainly to help me work with transfer dyes. I admit it openly, I'd rather have an etching press, but I have neither the room nor the cash for that, sadly. I could just squeeze a press for ironing into my workroom. Anyone got one that they can tell me about? All advice gratefully received, as always.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nefertiti. She seems suitably regal...


I usually like surprises, but this was not the kind of surprise I enjoy, necessarily. When I unwrapped the dye paintings, I discovered that those on the Egyptian cotton were muted, pastel in nature, whilst those on the linen tablecloths were their usual bright selves. Sally and I discussed it at lenght yesterday, and came to the conclusion that I'd not scoured the egyptian cotton robustly enough. Strangely, though, it has been in my mind for a while now to dye some pastels...the cloth thing just forced my hand! So some, I've overpainted, they're batching now, and We'll See...others, like the one in the picture, I've ironed, and intend to use.

I started off dyepainting last week with the intention of painting cloth to cut up, rather like the Eight Blue Dots And A Circle piece, ie nine small pieces cut from the same piece of dyepainted cloth. But at least two of the pieces are staying whole, including the piece above the blog, entitled 'Nefertiti'. I think I have to accept that I do what I do when I do it, no matter what I've been thinking or intending beforehand. And it seems to work for me! It does feel 'undisciplined', though...

I've been thinking quite a bit about discipline, or the lack of it, particularly with the Elemental exhibit coming up at the end of next month. I've been finding it hard to generate work for that theme, even though it was me who suggested it...sigh... Maybe, I thought, I'm just lazy. But at the weekend, I seemed to be inspired to do things for it...perhaps it was the collections theme, working as I was with stone, things of the earth... but either way, next week is set aside for work in that vein. Books, I think.... more on the other blog...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Things You Learn At Workshops...

are not always what you expect to learn. The sharpest lesson, for me, was that you should not make a mobile at a workshop... for a start, it's impossible to work on it with any ease (in the end, as you can see, someone strang up some string, and it is precariously hung from that). And lo, getting it home in one piece is impossible, and in my case, things got so tangled up that I had to cut it all away, and now have to reassemble...sigh...

Still, it was worth it. I've had the idea of a textile mobile in my head for a long time, and finally, I've been and gone and done it! I often find myself doing things like that in workshops, ideas that are on hold for one reason or another. Rightly or wrongly, I look at workshops as playtime, where anything goes, usually within the structure of the workshop itself, and as this was a process based thing, rather than a technique workshop, it was indeed possible to do your own thing. I love it when people use a workshop I'm teaching as a springboard for their own 'stuff'; I see it as a compliment. I hope that Jan did, too... The photos were taken at an early stage in the development of the piece..when I've found the time to restring, and deal with the hanging issues, I'll take photos in situ, and you can compare.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Leaping Out Of The Box

Sometimes, you need a push to do what you know you ought...or even do. I've been flirting with pastel colours, or at least, the thought of them, for some time, but it has taken a workshop to nudge me into actually doing something about the thoughts.

I rarely attend workshops. This one, associated with the ongoing art exhibition at Salthouse in North Norfolk, sounded like fun, based, as it is, on collections. The tutor, Jan Miller, is doing a sterling job, and I'm tending to wander off on tangents of my own. Nothing New There, huh?

I often use workshops or classes for playing purposes. In this case, I've been pushing myself out of the 'box', and into areas I don't usually go. Like hand stitching. Pastel and light colours. Even smaller work than usual. The collection I'm working with, or rather, from, is a collection of rocks and fossils, plus a beautiful raku vase in glorious Scottish Highland colours...blues, golds, pinks... I seem to be arriving at two different kinds of work based on that collection, though I suspect that there is infinite possibilities in it. The first one is shown here, a small, four or five inch square of handdyed velvet, handstitched with string, and with silk and paper applique'd onto it. There will be three, or maybe four, of those. The other is an emerging collection (that word again) of small pieces, some handstitched, some not, in blues and pinks...again with that interesting string stitched into them. It will be interesting to continue tomorrow, and see where I end up. It's a lovely way to spend a summer weekend.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Rain Stopped Play.

It's an English tradition. It rains for Wimbledon. It rains, too, for cricket matches. But I didn't think that something as simple as setting up my dye painting studio outside would bring on the rains...but that's exactly what it seems to have done. After days of heat and sun, we've now got rain...and heat...and incredible thunderstorms. Good for the garden, and the pond...not so good for wee dye paint tables are inside and folded up, now.

Still, there are half a dozen bundles curing in the conservatory as we speak. One of them seems to refer in some way to Nefertiti, others are just abstract patterns and colours. And since it seems that the rain is set for the rest of the week, I guess it's time to cut up some of the cloth, and make small pieces on the kitchen worktop. It's not ideal, but it will keep me out of mischief!
Mind you, there's the Print Gocco, all ready to use...and the stencils cut for screenprinting...and the painting studio...and the sewing machine... spoiled by choice, I am...but what a way to go!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Splash! Uh oh....

There I was, minding my own business, thinking that Doing Something would be a good way of beating the blues. So I decided to dye. I had some premixed dye from working on that skirt (it didn't help, by the way...), so used the thickened brown dye to paint a largeish square, and the unthickened brown and green on a piece of silk noil that had previously been dyed turquoise. So, then I thought, might as well make some dye paint for playing with. And at some point, added the soda ash to the silk, thinking, must time that...

So, cleared the decks, put most stuff on the floor, mixed happily, if slowly, as there's no sink in the utility room where I dye, and it means trailing backwards and forwards to the kitchen. And then thought, oh, that piece, must rinse it...tried to open the washing machine door (front loader). It wouldn't budge past a few inches. So, instead of looking, I did what any dyer in a hurry would do...I tugged....and SPLASH!!! Eight litres of soda ash solution all over the floor. And the air filled with words that would make a navvy blush!

Still, first things first. Into the rinse with the silk, first. And then, newspapers and towels to mop up the sea of soda ash... My floor is now extremely clean, with the occasional pattern on it where not all the soda ash has been wiped away.

Was it worth it? Judge for yourself; the cloth at the top of the blog is the silk I dyed yesterday. What do you think?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Dyeing in the Key of Seuss.

Dr Seuss Does The Dyeing
I dyed it up,
I dyed it down,
I dyed it pink,
I dyed it brown,
I dyed it red,
I dyed it green,
(The brightest green
You've ever seen),
I dyed it orange,
I dyed it mustard,
I dyed it banana,
I dyed it custard.
I chopped it up
When I had done,
And made a quilt,
Oh, just for fun.
The quilt it sings,
The quilt it glows
(just why it glows,
Nobody knows).
The quilt is fancy,
The quilt is bright,
The quilt it shines
Into the night.
The quilt is loved
By my young son Fred
Because he likes
To read in bed.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


QFATT is no more. I looked at the picture on the blog and thought, no. But rather than cut it up, I cut it down (as it were). Judicious editing is as important in art as it is in writing, it would appear. And now the piece is known as Red Flight. It may not be the best thing I've ever done, but it certainly has had some time and effort put into it!

It is even hotter today than yesterday, as I struggle to get a decent photograph of Eight Blue Dots And A Circle. For some reason, I can't get anything to work as I want it to...the camera, the computer, the software. And I can't find the manual for my camera, so have ordered another this picture, required for a catalogue, may be later than I thought...the curator will probably never speak to me again... Sigh. If it were cooler, I might be able to think straight. Today, I have a sneaking sympathy, nay, more than sneaking, for the trolls (I think it is...) in Terry Pratchett's books, who are slow and thick at normal temperatures, but in the cold, their brains suddenly wake up and they think clearly... Not that I'm about to lock myself in the deep freeze (it's not big enough, for a start!), but I could do with cooling down.

And the work seems to have ground to a halt. Or maybe it's just me. I was reminded on Friday that when push comes to shove, I'm still that small, pathetic depressive, and it doesn't take much to shove me over the edge. On Friday, it was a parking machine that refused to take my parking ticket and let me pay... repeatedly... on with the shaking, the tearfulness and the Works, really. All it took to fix it, of course, was a conversation with A Human...albeit one who seemed to think that it was All My Fault that the ticket was smudged... but emotional overreactions are exhausting, and, for the most part, out of my control. So now, I find myself doubting everything, the direction the work is taking, its quality, my abilities... But not all the time! At present, I'd settle for a decent photo of blue dots... and a long, cool drink. And tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Heat Madness?

It's Saturday. It's the hottest day of the year so far. And what am I doing? Yes, you've guessed it. I'm upstairs in the sewing studio, using the iron. A girl's gotta fuse when a girl's gotta fuse...
and so, the QFATT has yet another incarnation. It seems to be improving, slowly. I decided that there was a problem with the scale of the marks, and wanted to introduce something that was larger...hence the strips of handdyed red silk velvet overstitched with a black metallic with flecks of colour through it. And still it isn't finished. It's getting there, though. Slowly.