Tuesday, February 26, 2013

orienteering drama (decision!)

Thanks to everyone who commented here and in private emails! Horizontal wins the day but when it's sold, I will offer the patron the option of another sleeve. 

Now to cut, fit, pin and stitch, stitch, stitch. Because my pieces are large and sometimes heavy (not this one) I'm kind of obsessive about attaching the sleeves. I use a coated, cotton quilting thread and bury five or six old fashioned hem stitches per inch. It's like moving a mountain with a teaspoon; you look up, and it's gone.
 I haven't looked at Cephalopod 1 since it was finished back before the holidays and now I'm not so sure about the vertical orientation. It's pretty imposing either way but now I'm inclined to want it displayed horizontally.

Before I commit to 136 inches of tiny hand stitches for the horizontal sleeve (it's 60 inches on it's longest side) , WHAT SAY YE?   And...has anyone ever put TWO sleeves on a piece making the orientation optional? All input would be most welcome.

Monday, February 25, 2013

shifting the art around

I picked "Pirate Circus" (center) up from Phoenix & Dragon yesterday. It's been on display in their learning annex since the show last fall and it will be heading to another display opportunity in NY.

"Front Runner" will be taking its place shortly.

I had mixed feelings about both these pieces even while I was still working on them. Even though they are only a few years old, I feel very distanced from both of them. The banner series I had in mind didn't go forward because..well, I just fell out of love with the project. I had envisioned majestic battle flags fluttering  in the air - not these imposing but ponderous works.

As an artist, have you ever found yourself derailed by the limitations of your medium or technique?

Friday, February 22, 2013

a week evaporated

 Despite whispered reports, I've not gone into witness protection. Just days full of details.  Measuring, cutting, pinning and hand stitching sleeves is my reward for finishing five major pieces all bound for better things than languishing rolled up on the shelf in the closet. There is more tedium on the horizon - photography and forms to fill out, but most of you know the drill.
 More thinking about how Diego Rivera consistently lit his subjects from below, as if there was a mirror on the floor in the late afternoon light.

And just this morning I unearthed one more very large WIP that is equal parts wonderful and awful. This one is headed for major surgery but will be born again transformed.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

at the High

the Flower Carrier - 1935 - Diego Rivera
 Linda and I ventured into the city yesterday to see "Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting" at the High Museum.

I found Frida Kahlo's work sad and depressing and could    only  think how a caring therapist or the right meds could have helped her. Given her physical calamities, she had every right to her sorrow but it was tedious alongside the lush exuberance of Diego Rivera's work.  If you are in or near Atlanta don't miss this show.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lush Life rescue

What I really need to be doing is cutting and fitting five sleeves onto the black and white series. The biggest, KV, is pinned and I'm stitching away. Hours of mindlessness.

And here's more..."Lush Life" dates back I don't know how many years. There is so much I love here and I hope I can save at least some of it. It's another example of being in love with specific elements  of a piece and totally disregarding crucial design concerns.

The first order of business will be picking out all the insane, loopy and the ill-advised machine quilting buried in the tender damask and a half inch of a felted cotton batting that weighs a ton.

 I'll just sit here and pick.

Monday, February 18, 2013

chapters end

I finished "Karma V" this morning. I never did count all those french knots. Final size - 44"x36".  Nothing new on the design wall right now but soon.

This one is still under the needle but there isn't going to be a lot of stitching. The truth is that I was in love with each of these pieces of cloth on their own and don't want any of the colors or textures to be secondary to any unnecessary surface embellishment. Color field painting has always been a favorite  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

a tear soaked headless blue horse

Here I am happily working away through the rerun of last week's episode of Downton Abbey blissfully unaware of what was heading down the pike at the end of the one that followed.

Jimmy, it was good you were not here for this one because the weeping and swearing was just awful! You would have woken up growling.

It's crazy that I get so emotionally invested in one or two TV shows a season. The funny thing is I've only just started watching this show and have barely gotten the names and faces straight before the writers started knocking people off!


Jake's cat Juicy has lived with us for a while now but he is still extremely shy, mostly of me.

He misses Jim, who has become his best bud.

A consummate opportunist, he has made camp in the first place in the house that gets the morning sun, my sewing chair in the studio.

(the little quilt he is claiming was made for a cat and says "you can help by sleeping here")

Friday, February 15, 2013


That's me. Headless and blue. Talking about being on my own and actually living it are two different things.
Jimmy left mid morning and was 20 minutes out when he somehow realized that he had left the power cord to his laptop at home. Colin saddled up and got it to him with little to no time lost.
At least it's a beautiful day for driving in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Meanwhile, up in New York, my Pop is having a hard time of it. Life that is.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

love all year long

Have I really committed to several hundred french knots? Looks that way...

It turns out that one of the UFOs ("blue headless horse" is the unhappy working title) is going to be machine quilted after all, so this one will be my "hands on" work for some time to come.

In case you were wondering, me and my Goodman celebrate Valentine's Day all year round so we don't do the Hallmark hokey-pokey. There will be much boo-hooing in the driveway tomorrow though when he drives off to the mountains for a few months at a work location.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

color comes to light

There has been some scurrying about here at Lacativa Abbey. My Goodman will be hitting the road for a new job and needed just the right sized tub with lid to safely transport his printer and such. My WIP bucket was just the ticket and there were only three things inside. Waiting, waiting and the time is here.

I'll be needing handwork now to keep me company while he is away.  Work is good, being away from home for weeks at a time can be tough.  We just figured out how we can make video calls via FB...funny from one floor to the next in the same house but it will be wonderful when he's five hours away.
This last great expanse of fleece came out of the UFO box too and it's big.

I found it very interesting that a blank white canvas of this size can be intimidating but this black one prompted so many visions of what will come next, it's exciting. For the moment, I'm just going to let it brood over my shoulder.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Season Finale already?

Did the announcer really just say that?  That next Sunday will be the season finale of Downton Abbey? Woe is me. 
 I am so glad that I decided to spend the past two hours in that past rather than sit wondering and frowning over what passes for musical talent on the Grammys.

Once upon a time people conducted themselves with a measure of dignity. I like that. And the hats.

The hand stitching and finishing is done on Karma 4 and I can give over the rest of my studio time to finishing K5.

Changes are afoot in our household (more about that when I know more) and changes are coming in my work. Color is calling me back and I'll be answering soon.

Karma IV (30"x39")

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Karma V continued

 Machine stitching continues on this piece alternating with hand stitching on K4. I really should stay out of the morning light.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Sand, Ashes and Roses

I had a long overdue day on the town with my buddy Janice yesterday. The world cooperated and sprung me sunshine and 60's. I ate off the chain at a food court - yeah there was bourbon chicken and a red velvet brownie - and then saw "Silver Lining Playbook" which was terrific. Halfway through the flick my stomach started  flipping like I was on a carnival ride. I'm sure it was a combination of the rich food and the onscreen emotional mayhem but I toughed it out, kept the lunch and was restored by a little more fresh air and sunshine. A good time was had by all.

Today, by several special requests I have put my nose back to the grindstone to update the inventory over at Random Acts of Dyeness. Seems like folks are in the mood for the muted, natural tones that some people work so hard to achieve using a variety of natural dye processes so I've put together a grouping titled "Sand, Ashes and Roses.

I tip my hat to the natural dyers but my colors all come from Procion MX dyes. This grouping comes from my "overdye" basket because I'm inclined to harder edged, more saturated colors and were destined for another dose of color.
 My loss is your gain!  More about it here

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

shift, grind, shift

I've been plodding away on this still just laying in  what I call the construction lines. My goodman has been stalled by what I hope is merely a cold (the things you will get when being out and about!) so I've had an ear out for him as he sleeps his way through it.

Mid morning I was called upon to write up a deposition for a child custody case - I can't go into any details  but suffice it to say that the mental place I had to go to to write this was ugly and I really hope that my words make a difference in court and the beast gets her just desserts. Pity the children involved.

Monday, February 04, 2013

commercial hang over

We are bleary-eyed and butt-dragging around here today having watched the entire Blackout Bowl. It was my first time actually watching (and trying to comprehend)  the whole game. I kept losing track of who had the ball which Jimmy says is the whole point of the action. I will be sticking with baseball.

Normally I only look up from reading or stitching when the commercials come on but my eyes have been tired so I rested them at 12 feet instead of 12 inches. What I really need is a distant horizon, preferably one over a beach somewhere.

After getting my annual dose of disappointment from the tax Preparer's office this morning, I spent some time at the machine stitching on this one.

Voodoo overturned a large box of prints in the studio and uncovered a set of pictures of magnolia blooms that I took years ago.

And look at this beauty...rescued from sure annihilation at the hands of scrap metal thieves by Grace of the West

Saturday, February 02, 2013

K4 revisited while the machine operator rests.

I decided that C. was right about the orientation for this one. Horizontal won out over the possessed palm tree trip.

Two of the three chunks of school bus were pruned out and I cropped the entire piece back to it's black damask edge, lopping off the excess fleece.

I stayed true to the original shape when I cropped it so the wonkiness is intentional but the loss of overall size makes me kind of sad.  I'm thinking I'll grow it back to the original dimensions and keep it closer to rectangular. People who are not familiar with textile work in the first place have a hard enough time with that aspect of the work, let alone the unframed shape wandering off from the box they are so accustomed to.

Friday, February 01, 2013

its Janome time

Today we take Karma V under the needle. No hand work at all for this big bad boy. Enjoy your weekend. I know I will.