Thursday, January 31, 2013

storm passed

(Detail from K4)
I thought I was finished with this one last night but this morning I'm finding things I want to change; some places that look waiting/wanting and a few that look overworked. This is what happens when I spend too much time with a large piece in my hands and not enough time looking at it from six feet away. 

I dashed out before the storm came through yesterday and had lunch with Jake and was happy to learn that the wedding he and Missy are planning is going to be fun and not all that formal - a party to remember. This is a shot of Jake & Pop from last June. Poppy is still in the hospital making a slow recovery from pneumonia.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

color on hand

The big basket after I dumped and churned it.

The temps outside climbed to  70 today and the tree frogs started tuning up - prematurely I'm sure but all of this has conspired to get me  thinking about and planning out the first dyefest of 2013.

I have a whole host of new colors to work with and a growing stack of  vintage cotton and linen and a great swath of what I think is raw silk. No directions yet, just strong, complex color - a great cure for the blahs of January in Georgia.

unearthed and pending

I was digging through the large scrap basket yesterday, desperately trying to put together a neutral cloth burrito when I uncovered this little treasure. Here's the original post that explains it all.

For a little relief from the B&W series I'll finish it complete with the text somewhere on the panel. I may have to grow it a little to accommodate the word since it's only about 10x12.

My version of the prayer went like this:

Monday, January 28, 2013

we bring you an important interruption

I've been making very slow progress with the hand work on K4. It's taking a long time but I'm determined to finish this one before I commit to the intense machine work that I have planned for K5.

The goal is balancing the mechanical machine stitching with the organic and free flowing hand stitched lines.


But a certain feline codger has begun demanding that I devote my lap to his comfort. Somehow stitching can wait until he is back up to speed.

Voodoo anti-sketching

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I like to baste. A piece that's had all its pins replaced by big running or laddered stitches is in a kind of transitional state, fixed but fluxable. Relieved of its steel burden, KV felt weightless.

I use a monster long needle and a single strand of king tut cotton thread. It has just enough "grab" to hold things together with minimal slippage. A few, small back stitches will pass for a knot.

Just like moving a mountain with a teaspoon, one spoonful, one stitch at a look up, and it's done.

This is not me being all arty with Instagram's me being all forgetful about what and how my big Canon is capable of. Point and shoot it's not. Time to dig out the manual, tinker a bit and take some notes.

Shopping around, it looks like this one is what I want to replace the camera that my brother and I  dissected last week.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kv advanced

Some color comes creeping and someone else's orientation. 

working both brain halves

It still feels like Monday, with all that still needs to get done and all the things pending, good things.

I spent a little time updating the store this morning and, bit by bit, I'm tweaking KV...those splattery gray-green bits will have to go, no matter how much I love the cloth, they cannot play here.

That group of colors off to the left is called "Candy Bowl"

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

KV continues

Karma V

It's good to get back to work.

Although I brought something along to do some hand stitching on, nothing got done.

While I was in NY I paid a visit to the Benefit Shop in Bedford and met the owner Pam Stone. What an amazing place and great purpose.

 I scored several amazing pieces of vintage damask and a length of what I think is Shantung silk.

 I'm having it all shipped because I couldn't cram everything into the two little carryons that I made do with this trip. All of a sudden I realize that I have a bunch of very cool cloth gathering for the coming dye season.

Now I'm going to let this one rest a day and go downstairs with this one and catch up on Dowton Abbey. I think some tea is in order too.

the original


While it was wonderful to see my family, it's so great to be home. 
The chaos of a three generation household with elder illness and mama-baby drama thrown in is exhausting. I give my sibs all props for maintaining relative sanity any way they can.

Travel was thankfully uneventful but I'm not thrilled with Delta being the only choice between ATL and White Plains. On the way up they farted around on the ground 40 minutes past scheduled take off but someone how made up all but 15 minutes of it in the air. I could actually feel the g-forces. Coming back, Delta these winter-clad travelers needed heat on the plane instead of AC. By the time we arrived, envision a herd of steaming buffalos. I guess arriving alive is enough.

There are no pictures today because right after I took the night shots in the previous post, my camera broke when Charlie Brown yanked on his leash and sent it banking off my forehead on hard onto the frozen ground. My brother and I decided since it was already broken, maybe we could take it apart and see what was awry. NOT! Still, it was interesting to see what went on inside that slim little wonder. The other two Canons were waiting at home with dead batteries otherwise I would treat you to the chaos of my studio. Time to get back to work.

Monday, January 14, 2013

clean slate

It's easy to see how the possibilities never end I want to be completely satisfied  with each aspect of the piece as it develops - why push ahead and commit when it's just not right or working.

I will be leaving this one alone for a while since I'll be leaving to visit with family in NY and can't take it along chock fulla pins as it is.
And I have a notion that this is only half the finished size. When I get back,  I'll get another backing panel this size and mount it on the left.

I'd like to bring along some hand stitching but I don't really want to check a bag and don't want to risk losing any of my tools to the TSA. It will be a fiber free visit unless I go scrounging for used cloth with my sisters.
A change of scenery, climate, and activities will be good for me.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Failed at..

...being off the machine. mostly.

But at least it's been a productive day. This went up on the design wall between loads of laundry and during the Falcon's game. I don't follow football but the excitement of the locals, including my son Jake, is contagious.

All around that Jim and I watched, and thoroughly enjoyed, all of season one of Californication.
 Given the surprise ending of the last show, I don't want to see any more, happy endings being such a rare and endangered species but it's so well written and acted I'm happy I just found out that season six is just starting. We'll parcel out the rest over time.

I also mentally dragged my novel out of memory's closet and killed our little heroine on the second page. Who was it  said we must kill our darlings? This one on the wall is in deep shit right now.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy Friday!

Thought I'd leave you with a little color before I get off this electric treadmill for 48's a test.

There's a lot of work brewing on all fronts and I don't want to let the moments fritter away.

This was a quick and dirty sketch to see how those Inktense Blocks work...not so great in my sketchbook, I should have known because the paper is very closed, almost greasy.

I finished basting K4 this morning and already I'm looking around for more scraps of black and white cloth. The sun peeked out just as I snapped this shot, and then it retreated.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Karma IV wip

I've stopped looking at the other candidates now that this one has been peeled off the nasty, heavy base it started on and pinned to an nice expanse of black fleece. I'm not sure if I am going to lose the formerly irregular edges in exchange for this oh-so-tidy rectangle. There will be time enough for those decisions as I try to work from the center out to the edges. I'm not certain about that big central gold "butterfly" either. Even after I baste everything, nothing is carved in stone - all remains in flux.

still uncommitted

Judy, I was inclined to agree with you at first and I still haven't settled.

What I do know is that if I really want to, I can approximate any of the runner-ups another time, thanks to the digital gods.

What I do know for a fact is that this piece was built on two pieces of thick, synthetic mattress pad which is terrific (especially for large  pieces)  for its stability, but grisly to do hand stitching on. When the layers of cloth on top are three, four, even five in places, as this one is, hand stitching becomes tortuous.

The plan is to peel this off the base, one pin at a time, and then relocate it onto a piece of black fleece.Stitching through damask over fleece is like sewing butter -it's lighter, more flexible and very portable.

 I've got an acre of warm and natural cotton batting hanging around and I love it but experience has taught that hand stitching through vintage cloth over a  cotton batt is asking for gross bearding, especially bad when the piece is mostly very dark. I'll save the cotton for baby quilts.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

hooky Wednesday?


I'm ever tempted but instead, just going to spend the shift eyeballing these four on the screen and see which one makes the cut.

Right now it's just all pins, 24" x 40".
Once I make the final choice I'm going to do most of this one by hand. I need time to think and I'll want this one with me while I visit with family in NY next week.

Cast a vote in comments for your favorite if you have an opinion. Saying why would be a sweet bonus. I'm seeing just how contrary I can be

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

series finale

What was originally planned as a small, hand-stitched piece has ganged up with some other cloths and may turn out to be the largest in the Karma series.  Way to early for anything more to see. It's still brewing.

I know a lot of visitors came here for their daily  overdose of color and must be grumbling over this series. My motto has always been "fuck 'em if they can't take a joke" but this foray to the polar ends of the rainbow has been deadly serious for me and feels like a fork in the creative road. I won't know for sure until I take up with the colors once again.

Way back in the day at SVA we learned about black being the absence of color and white being all colors at once - or something to that effect. Keep in mind the teacher sold loose joints from his shirt pocket.  Any way I mix it, paint (in my hands) can't approach the complexity of cloth in black and white and all the stops between them.

I used to be impatient with the necessary techniques of cloth and raved about wanting to fling paint to achieve my vision, but, through this series, I've finally come to appreciate that cutting, trimming, pinning, basting, and stitching have forced me to take the time to consider at each step, keep one foot in front of the other and my eye on good design principles as each piece develops. It only took removing color from the equation for me to finally get comfortable.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Karma III

"Karma III"

36 x 36

(this is an updated photo..all machine quilting is finished)

I wasn't happy with the level of intensity on some of the black damask so I laid in what was left, piece by scrap, from those black linen slacks and now its jumping.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Karma 2

Karma II (20"x 24")
Just a quick and dirty snapshot - I shudder to think what the actual photo sessions are going to be like with this lot and I'm not totally convinced of the orientation of this one just yet, worked in the round as it was.

 I put the last delicious stitches in the pink just as Lady Mary came down the stairs in her so chic bridal gown. I explained to my son that in the twenties women didn't go out and buy breasts. Two hours of the new season of "Downton Abbey" put cream cheese frosting on a busy studio weekend. And now, right on it's heels, one of my Mum's favorite movie "An Affair to Remember". I'll be asleep before the weeping begins; I recall this movie was about an hour longer than it needed to be.

#3 is on the design wall now, chock full of pins and standing buy for about four hours of machine stitching tomorrow. I'd really like to wrap this series up before I head up to NY mid-month.

Friday, January 04, 2013

the details

I have four pieces in this series in varying stages of  "almost finished" and I don't want to get sidetracked and  let them languish.

This one has been backed and blocked and I'll spend some time anchoring the layers with (invisible) hand stitching for stability. I'm already thinking "bigger" and will be scouting around for more black and white clothing to recycle.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

fiber apostasy

I felt the need for some retail therapy yesterday. I got some nifty gift cards for Christmas and have waited to pair them up with some 50% coupons. At Michael's I  scored a long coveted set of Derwent Inktense blocks and busied my self seeing just how 'tense the ink was. I opted for the blocks instead of the pencils -why pay for wood?

They are pretty blazing amazing on paper but not worth wasting on cloth..I've dyes for that. Can you tell by the rainbow riot that I'm a little parched for color so deep in the B&W series? I feel a tattoo coming on.

inktense on muslin

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

questions from left field

The strangest things will come in dreams.

I had a dream that I was looking at a painting - it was a very large, old oil landscape, something like a Frederic Church spectacle - quickly, the painting morphed into an intricately worked leather belt and, when I looked again,  a bracelet of layered silver links and then, a very large watercolor seething with flowers.

Then I realized that I was looking at these things from the perspective of a person who had no concept of "making" anything - a pure consumer of end products made by others, the mysterious Makers.

It was the oddest feeling; an off-putting incompetence with a dash of defensive arrogance. I thought of a TV show where a crystal skull was being examined and it's provenance could not be explained so it was attributed to aliens. It was a little scary. Who are the Makers? What was their objective in creating these things?

My Maker guise quickly stepped up and took back control of the dream and I was left with questions.

Who are the non-makers and what do they think of Art? What does Art matter to them. Are they another tribe altogether? When does resentment fade and wonder take over?  Do they ever get over being on the outside looking in? I have to ask around outside of this space since I know 99% of my readers are Makers of some sort.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


"Starwatcher"  by Moebius

"The start of a new year can be like opening a magnificent gift"
 Thomas Haller Buchanan