Tuesday, April 30, 2013

still shuffling and WTF Word(OP)press!

Gonna let this one perk a few days before I consider adding any color. It will come but at the moment I am both burned up and anxious.

Arlee Barrs blog has been suspended by Wordpress for some imagined TOS violation. If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you probably follow hers too and know she's not some kind of sleazeball entrepreneur pill pushing hacker, or whatever they are trying to brand her.

Like me and many other artists, she primarily uses her blog do document her process. Imagine one morning trying to log in to your blog and finding it GONE -NADA-ZILCH..with no explanations, warnings or easily apparent appeals process.

Makes my stomach roll over just thinking about it and I will spend several hours later today downloading my entire history here, just in case blogger decides to get its knickers into a knot over some imagined shit or other. All I can  say is WTF?

I've written to WP on Arlees behalf..if you want, here's the link for you to do the same but if you are a WP user I'd worry that the bastards are casting some kind of net...

Monday, April 29, 2013

monday wipping

little by little, gnitaerc< >creating the current WIP. As much as I loved all that gold edged lavender, it just wasn't working here.

more in a bit...sleep overtakes me.

Friday, April 26, 2013

big bad voodoo daddy

I'm having a good time with this one as pesky as it's been. There is no batting because most of the elements are a very open damask which is prone to bearding when you stitch with doubled six floss.

There's no freebirding this one..it has to stay locked in the hoops or the pieces wander all over despite the basting.

I may tuck the basket into the trunk of the car tomorrow and bring it along. If there's poker game and no room at the table, I'll take myself outside for some wilderness stitching.

WIP update

This one  has been peering over my shoulder for a week now and it's not making a good impression. It's time for radical dismemberment. First I focus on the passages I like and ask myself  "Why?" These will be saved. Then I go after the parts that I actively dislike and again question self.

There's rarely ever any middle ground.

Then I get out the Big Knife, er, I mean, scissors...

We will be away from home for most of the day tomorrow...there's a big housewarming party up in the mountains. This one will have to wait.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

rejects and rescues

the motley crew of the upper deck garden 

I don't know whether to call it a hobby or gambling - it's not really gardening.

I buy the plants that have been pronounced dead by grocery and big box stores. They have a high mortality rate there and a lot of plants wind up in a heap and marked down to a quarter. 

I bring them home, put them in fresh soil, give them a little water and sun and hope for the best. More often than not, they come around. The bleeding heart was a bag of dried sticks that never made a peep or showed a poke of green at all last year. I thought they were truly gone. This year, flowers!

This lush beauty is a bougainvillea and I suspect the entire shipment was not really intended for Georgia. I have never seen them for sale here. The wiki info makes me think they may take over the way Kudzu has if given half a chance and I put one up by the mailbox - the desert of dog piss and neglect. Some thrive, some don't.

The magic invisibility cloak revisited

 I've been doing a lot of hand stitching these past few days and spent some time looking over the Magic Invisibility cloak to re-clue my eyes and fingers.

My stitch repertoire is limited in the first place so I didn't want to miss any tricks and keep from getting bored with the current project.

I wear this often and some of the elements have suffered and need some attention.
The base shirt was a very worn, thin chambray workshirt. I'm thinking I may have to salvage the elements I like the best and relocate the onto a sturdier base..maybe something in a smaller size.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review!

If you are a regular reader here chances are you have more than a dim notion about how to go about making an art quilt but how many times have you been asked by the uninitiated to explain what an art quilt is and how you actually make one?  Now you can point them to a valuable resource.

Some of us know that grabbing fistfuls of cloth, clenching scissors in your teeth and running howling into the woods at night will not get the job done. Like any endeavor worth pursuing, it's good to have a guidebook written by a master.

I'm please to have been asked to review such a book. “Inspired to Design – Seven Steps to Successful Art Quilts”, by Elizabeth Barton, is a comprehensive overview of the process of making a successful art quilt written in a user friendly voice with clear emphasis on good design.
Petergate (36.5"w, 53"h) 

The first time I saw an art quilt was at a solo show of Elizabeth Bartons work hanging in the gallery at the Hudgen's Art Center. I had been making crazed bed quilts and I was stunned by the idea of textile art being afforded all the respect due any painting or sculpture in a contemporary art gallery. I was hooked hard then and have been fumbling my hopeful way every since.

This book is a distillation of her years of experience and success as an internationally recognized artist and teacher. Liberally illustrated with selections from her amazing body of award winning work, “Inspired to Design...” will do just that  and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a light on the path

You can buy an autographed copy direct from Elizabeth for $35 (which includes priority mail delivery inside the USA)  by emailing her directly.  
You'll thank me later!

A Summer Day, Long Ago (46"w, 28"h) by Elizabeth Barton

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Sunday stitchery

I spent the morning working on the little piece that Sweetie was sleeping on yesterday after sticky-rolling her fur off of it.

It's clear to me that time spent with my hands busy at something familiar and comforting like this leaves the mind free to think about other new things from different perspectives.

There was also this very timely post about size  by Altoon Sultan

Saturday, April 20, 2013

new WIP

The more I work on it the more I like it. Big, four by four feet and could get bigger. So far it's all pins and possible paths.

The past six hours have been blessed escape from the world and technology - the madness in  Boston, please be over.

And I'm coming out of the stone age phonewise going from a pre-blackberry to what I call a Pokephone. All this poking and swiping reminds me of cats in a sandbox. The learning curve is very steep.

And speaking of them, Sweetie looks like she is trying on a new pair of legwarmers this morning. She is seriously aggrieved with the weather going from the overcast 80s to the brilliant 50s overnight...springtime in Georgia.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

cloth sketch

I extended my studio time last night by taking the scrap and tool basket to bed to do some cloth sketching while listening to TV. It helps me loosen up before working on  bigger pieces on the design wall

This one is only 22x25 - I like having a small piece to hold and work on at the same time that I'm designing something large that will most likely will be worked on the machine.

But today there's a homecoming to prepare for - my Goodman is headed back to me!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

studio day finally

Who else do you know gets all excited about finding a box of oatmeal that has bugs in it?

I set out a few pieces of cloth this morning sprinkled with dye laden oatmeal but switched up the soda ash application to after-dye rather than before-dye and I'm not entirely convinced it's best for the buggy oatmeal approach to dye delivery.

and down here we have some broad strokes on the design wall. nothing carved in stone or even loose stitches yet...I've already hacked open two of the larger bound by black pieces..They are not sitting well with me at the moment but I'll leave this up and tinker on it later.

Monday, April 15, 2013

more players arrive

I reworked the white areas with dishwasher gel this morning, standing over them watching, checking, the garden hose ready. Then they were hustled into a rewash with antichlor and Synthrapol.

No sooner did I get them on the line when it began to sprinkle so I brought them indoors still damp and pinned them up on the design wall...all the previous fabrics dumped unceremoniously  into the river basket. Now to see if and how things will work together.

sunday escape

JR and I broke out of stir yesterday and paid a visit “uptown” that is, Phipps Plaza. In your average American mall they have the latest Ford or Chevy on display- here there was a Maserati.

It was Fendi, Gucci, Versace and the rest of the gang at every turn. Everywhere seemingly intelligent people were spending money like the government. I examined a 90$ straw purse in Belk that was the identical twin of one I saw (and rejected) at Walmart for 18$. Seriously people, how the hell does any mass produced item become so highly prized that criminals will kill you in the parking deck for it? Nothing is that well made or essential and I don't care whose name is on the label.

I do have to say that, at least in this particular mall, all the sales people have apparently been trained NOT to judge the books by their covers. I go out in my usual everyday duds which, for me, means a denim work shirt, jeans and eight year old Sketchers 'cause they fit and they are comfortable.

In every shop we went into we were greeted by the staff in a friendly and respectful manner as if I very well could have walked into Arhaus or Bang & Olufsen and waved my arm and said “Have this entire room delivered to my palace by Thursday and take that old crap with you when you go”. Why not? They are operating on the assumption that it's entirely possible that, despite my retired rodeo clown appearance, I could be filthy rich and fresh in port.

The real reason we were over there was to catch “The Place Beyond the Pines” which I won't talk about much because I suspect (and highly recommend) that a lot of my readers would rather go see this than say, Evil Dead or the Croods. 
I don't want to be a spoiler. Just go see it soon.

Let's just say I found it to be about what happens when people cross paths and how some of them make lousy choices because they have limited their thinking about life's possibilities and spend too much of their headspace wrapped up in the moment of “me”. It was intense and emotionally compelling watching actors doing it all with their faces, eyes and body language - no curtain chewing or special effects needed.

The movie was filmed in and around Schenectady, New York at the upper reaches of the Hudson Valley. Homesickness washed over me repeatedly as the camera followed the two lane blacktops through green tunnels in the lush woods. I'll see it again for sure.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

beautiful creeps

 Each piece of cloth behaves differently under the dye. Wet, dry, soda ash or not,  always a surprise and not a whole lot of control over the outcomes.

I altered the black blend as I worked my way through the pieces, cooling with navy, warming with curry.  I may decide to correct these a bit with discharging. this one has too much creep but it's beautiful creep.

Hope to get these into the wash & dry before I got to work at 4:30.  Right now, I got a game.

carping my diem

It's going to be a spectacular day so I'll have to spend at least part of it outdoors. There's still planting and deck cleaning to get done.Such a suffering!  But even before I put the coffee on I took the dyestock out of the fridge so it could warm up.

I stuck most of the usual suspects up on the design wall - mostly to keep them from becoming a cat nest. I know that they all won't be major players but the flavor and size (46" square) for the next piece is semi-set. Yes, that is my gator head floating over all.

Despite appearances there will still be a lot of black and white going on. I am very interested in the wet in wet transition that happens in dye painting and have almost no scraps left over from last summer.

Once the dyes are up to temp, I'll be cutting and ripping some raw shapes and seeing what the new blacks from Prochem can really do.

Friday, April 12, 2013

auditions and calls

 That great white whale on the design wall is getting on my nerves so I've rounded up some Unusual Suspects for the  next piece. Yes, your eyes are not playing tricks - you are seeing a commercial print in there. No promises, just a thought.

I was going to dye paint some black&white pieces for it this morning but  got sidetracked with errands, gardening and supervising cooking (Colin had 90% hand in a batch of chili).

I just finished pulling up most of the mailbox ivy to give the other perennials a fair crack at the dog piss and neglect that goes on up there. The peonies are just breaking through the soil.

This shot has the look of a Renaissance painting somehow, hate to disturb it but if I don't someone will be making it her nap bed. Speaking of naps....

Thursday, April 11, 2013

seams and the Eye

I finally decided where that blue eye belonged last night. Why be coy? I knew it was an eye when I found it in the bottom of the scrap basket.

Jude has posted about seams this morning. Here seams appear to be a way of gracefully transitioning  from one cloth to another. Mine feel more like electric fences and will get stronger as I wrap some of the ropes.

the blank canvas b00gie

Yeah, that's a big empty cloth canvas peering over my shoulder. Right now it's not wearing a welcoming smile -it's leering. I took the black one down. It never stopped laughing at me loudly.

I spent a lot of time sketching digitally last night without anything jumping up and waving its arms screaming "make me!" so my fleeting notion of direct dye painting has been effectively quashed.

Later this morning, I'll take some raw cloth outside and paint some shapes...weather permitting. We are about to take our spring weather licks here in Georgia.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

First fruits of the season

Here they are washed and dried. Early outcomes are always guideposts for me. I can see that one of the warm color blends has a level of Fuschia in it that I will have to ferret out. The muslin that I pulled from the closet seems to have a level of resistance to dye that I find surprising while the old damask remains extremely open to the dye...less would be fine.

I'm taking the three intensely colored pieces straight to the design wall..the pale one will go back to the dye table for further clean up service.

Monday, April 08, 2013

color rescue

I thought about it some overnight and remembered how much I liked the  results from using various dry agents to carry and distribute raw dye powder.
(see Sugar Dyeing for a full explanation and some rules) .

Today it was a half pound of quinoa that I bought last year with the intention of cooking it up to see if I like it.  I wasn't in the mood for cooking or eating any weird or good for me so it's languished in the pantry since last summer.

 Since then there's been some controversy about how the booming demand from other places for quinoa has driven up the price devastated  the local culture and economies where it was a staple crop. More about that here and here.
So I went ahead and put my half pound to work in the service of my art.

These are outside in the garbage bag incubator baking in the sun. I'm wondering if the dry grains will swell with the heat and water and make patterns on the cloth.  If there's time I'll hatch them out before work today. Below is the first tablemopper of the season - always full of promise.