Apr TIF: changing river

Apr TIF Hadley
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

The verbal challenge/prompt for the April Take it Further challenge is "how do you think about/deal with change?"

The short answer is "badly".

The longer answer is, well, much longer.

Mostly I stand as still as possible and try to see what is coming so I can brace for it. Sometimes I have a dim kind of plan, like my over all outline for how to get the children to walk with me, bike with me, sail with me, camp with me. (Those are the easy ones. Keep it short and fun, always leave them wanting more.) Sometimes I am completely blindsided – parenting in general is SO not what I expected…

Thinking about change made me think about the seasons changing, and about the the way the river changes the valley.

The seasons change constantly, but we are made most aware of it when it happens quickest, during the spring and fall as the sun races from one extreme of daylight to the other. The seasons seem to pause, and hover at midsummer and midwinter, then the time piles up and we roar forward through another whirlwind of seasonal change.

To address that, I am trying to show my river in spring. I can see the faint ridges where the river used to run, with fields starting to spring green across it. I can see, in the oxbow and the older nearly obliterated oxbow, where it ran centuries ago. I can see the greening of the trees as new leaves start. The river is high and wide and muscular, rolling through the valley it has carved.

Apr TIF oxbow 2
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

Week 15 riverscape

Week 15 riverscape
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

For the TIF challenge I am working on a riverscape. I wanted to test some ideas, and got off on a different tangent for this piece. I like the curvy feelings, and the back and forth bits along the edges that echo the fields, but the river does not show up as strongly as I was thinking when I was working on.

The girls and I went to Washington DC in the early part of this week. We took the train down, and walked all over everything. We spent most of our time at the Air and Space Museum, with short detours to see the Calder in the East Wing Art Museum (plus an Andy Goldsworthy) and into and out of the Natural History Museum briefly.

Alice correctly pointed out that the drawback to staying within walking distance to everything is that you walk, everywhere. There is no sitting happily on the Metro being whisked to or from anywhere. Our feet hurt, and we were pleased for the chance to sit quietly on the train all the way home. Except that Alice trotted from one end to the other of the train appreciating that she didn’t have a seatbelt. And that she did have a bathroom. Today was laundry day. What is it about travel that requires such a lot of re-entry effort?

Week 14 nesting

Week 14 nesting
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I was thinking originally about eggs for easter, but I got so captivated making the nest i stopped at the end. It is too cold still for eggs anyhow. Well, actually, for the last couple days it has felt like summer; warm and smooth and sunny and blue skied.

I’m taking the girls to DC tomorrow, we’ll be there two nights, three if a room opens up in the hotel while we are there. We’re going to the Air and Space Museum, and back to the Air and Space Museum (again) and maybe to the new Native American Museum and maybe the Natural History Museum (we are science geeks, after all). Maybe the zoo to say hi to the Pandas too.

Week 13 dogwood redux

Week 13 dogwood redux
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I still have two more up my sleeve, or lurking somewhere in limbo between my ears, my sewing machine and my camera.

The pieces from the Dogwood TIF challenge piece were underfoot, so I layered some of the left over parts until I got something interesting, and held it together with a lot of thread. The top center two blocks have printed film overlaid, one with stitching over, one with stitching under. Other blocks are printed on cotton or silk.

I like the more unified look for this piece. It argues for a reinterpretation of the TIF piece, except I am done with that one.

March TIF done

Mar TIF done
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

The TIF theme for this month was "details."  After a perfectly useful crit from my new group (hi guys) I decided to push it forward, rather than pull things off. It is only a rough draft (they are all rough drafts, I keep telling myself) and I wanted to see if I could get closer to my original thought.

The thought was to work the 2 inch squares as a series of details in different techniques, and then see how they fell together into the dogwood blossom at a distance. All my stuff works best at arm’s length – that seems to be where I think about it most, and the size I work with. This was an attempt to get past arm’s length to across-the-room. The consensus of the critique was that there was enough material here for five or six pieces, and to pull some of the squares off and work to unify the whole. I couldn’t take anything off, because it was glued on too tight. And because I still kind of like it that way. So I thought about ways to pull the parts together to make a single thing. My best idea was lots and lots of thread.

On Monday, I started working into the background with thread. Then I did it some more. Then I did it some more after that. I broke two needles and ran through 5 or 6 bobbins of thread underneath. There is probably 300 yards of thread all over the background there. The theory was to pull the background together in a more unified way, so the squares weren’t quite so blocky, and make the blossom pop out. I tried to work into the non-blossom edges of the little squares too, to integrate them more into the background, and make the edges of the squares matter less than the edge of the blossom. It was surprisingly counterintuitive to make the stitching lines cross each other. My first thought was more stitching in the same direction, but it needed something else instead, so I tried to go across all the first set of stitches with the second set.

I do think the stitching improved the unity of the background. I don’t think it did it enough. I do like the little squares of close-up in the picture, but I can see how they are distracting pasted on like that. One suggestion was to make a border of them, but I think that would have been even busier, and harder to understand where the details were coming from – what they were details of.

The TIF challenge for April is "change".

I’m good with change.

Library love

I love my library. I love almost all libraries, but the local one, with the friends who check your books out, and the books that are friends, old and new; all that – total love.

In the Grand Room Emptying Scheme, I collected all the Cloth Paper Scissors and Quilting Arts magazines together, and prepared to donate them to the local library. There were interested, so I Was Not dumping them. I had a lovely talk with the Periodicals woman, and she arranged for there to be shelf space and labels for both. In the interim I gave Cloth Paper Scissors to someone else. I can’t remember who. That part is embarrassing. But I did get the Quilting Arts subscription shifted to the local library, and all the back issues (which I think are All the back issues) to them.

And then I got a very nice call from the Periodicals Keeper asking if I minded if they swapped their new subscription from QA to CPS. So I said that really it is up to them, because it is a gift and they should do what makes them happy. But she pressed me and I allowed as how I had been hoping to visit QA in its new home and keep up, sharing the bounty among other aficionados (and incidentally not having to shelve it here). So she decided they really wanted both. So I will have twice as many friends to visit at the Library. Now all I have to do is start checking them out, to prove that they are fabulous, and totally worth having both of….