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Monday, December 20, 2010

Back To Work

at last... the images are of 'Celtic Dreaming'. This piece has been lying about in my studio waiting for me to clear a path to the sewing machine for at least six months. It was made from cloth from my friend Lynn's stash. She made the rubbing that features in the centre; she and husband Don had a passion for things Celtic, to the point that they moved over to Scotland from the US on their retiral. As you know, if you read this blog regularly, I have a lot of cloth from her stash, which I 'inherited' thanks to Don's kindness. Interestingly, though the cloth is mostly her choice, the purples are all mine. When she came over from the US, I donated a lot of cloth to her stash, the kind of bits and pieces that you don't pay good money to send over from the US, the odds and sods that all of us keep just in case. All the purple is my hand dyes; the top piece is a jacquard weave, a piece of vintage cloth that I dyed. I like dyeing jacquards; the texture, as you can see, is just incredible when you do so. The narrow side borders were just ordinary cotton. The bottom piece, though, was a piece of dye catcher which had, indeed, caught rather a lot of dye! I deliberately put a piece in to the first rinse of a batch of blues/reds/purples, to see what would happen. Again, its texture is magnificent, and I'm intending to make more of these. I'm sure that I don't understand the dye chemistry of the sheets, and I'm equally sure that, for results like this, I don't care, either!

The piece is called 'Celtic Dreaming', and I've included some close ups of the quilting, either words or patterns that have a link with Scotland, such as the roses at the top, which are based on Rennie Mackintosh designs. It was his wife, I believe, who created the pattern for textiles, though Charles himself generally speaking got most, if not all, of the credit. The words read ; 'Dreaming Celtic Dreams' and 'Sleep sweetly, dreamer'. I think Lynn would approve. I miss her a lot.

I then went on to do a bit of quilting on my sister's lap quilt, which I've been working on for, oh, about two years. It's nearly done, but as she might take a squint at this blog, I'm not publishing pictures. She'll just have to wait... The quilting is interesting on this piece, too...I hope, a variety of patterns. You'll see when I eventually finish it and give it to her; I promise to add some photos here.

It was a real pleasure to work with cottons for a change; I'm not sure that they will ever replace the spun bonded polyesters in my affections, but there is something very comforting about the way in which cotton transforms as you stitch it. I'm clearing out my work rooms, ready for next year, and I'm discovering all sorts of wee bits and pieces that I'd like to play with. I've decided to work in two ways, next year. One is to work with the theme I've been working on for many years, cracks and scars, in the way that I've shown you recently. The other is to work with the theme of 'hearts and flowers'. A good friend pointed out recently that for someone whose life purpose was 'the creation of joy', I didn't make work that was, of its nature, joyful. For me, working with bad memories, and turning them into works of art that speak to people about their own stories, as well as mine, is a process that is inherently joyful, but I know what she means. Hence, the idea of 'hearts and flowers'.

Oh, and there's a third. I'm going to be making landscapes, this year, too, for an ongoing project with my lovely friend Jill Arnold. And a fourth; next year, I learn to frame properly. Hurrah! My friend Haydn has offered to teach me, and I'm going to rise to the challenge. And, as someone whose lines are never straight, I'm thinking that it might be a significant challenge! Thank goodness for the machines, which do the straight lines for you... wish me luck!

Oh, and ps. The reason for the hair on the second image was that Merlin decided in his infinite wisdom that the quilt was a kitty prayer mat, and stretched himself out accordingly. Might put that particular photo on I can haz Cheezeburger....

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