not dead yet

I am up to my earlobes in clearing out.

Apparently I make too many things without a clear idea of where they will go next. I have projects that are years old, and parts of projects that are even older.

I did finish the May TIF but it is under some other stuff. If I can photograph it on the way between the pile of stuff and the place I plan to file things, I'll post that.



Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

Have a little orange in your Thursday.

I keep being gobsmacked by the amount of variation in a color that we can still recognizably call that color.

The May TIF is almost done, and then I’ll be offline for most of two weeks getting my work space changed and cleaned and emptied. I really can’t stand it any more. Plus I want to be able to get to the window so I can look out it, and open it and close it, and not have the sunlight reflecting off the foot plate of my sewing machine.

May TIF 1

May TIF 1
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

Sharon’s question for this month is "what do you call what you do".

I try to keep calling it Art with a straight face, really, but then I have to explain it, and it frequently feels as though I’d be better off just walking around with samples instead of business cards.

A while ago I read an article in Surface Design about a piece called "This is what I mean when I go like this."  Or maybe it was a book. But that is the phrase that has been going through my head, with variations…

This is what I do, when I go like this
This is what I mean when I say what I do
This is what I do

slow cloth

slow cloth
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I want to go on the record here – just because I use a sewing machine doesn’t mean it isn’t slow cloth…

There’s been a lot of discussion around the idea of Slow Cloth in the fiber art/ quilt community. The idea is derived from the slow food movement which was itself conceived as the antithesis to fast food. The idea with slow food is to enjoy the preparation of real food, and the the time it takes to eat it with enjoyment. I think the idea behind slow cloth is to take the time to do what it needs to finish it, not necessarily by hand, although handwork is certainly one way to take your time over a piece.

When I think of slow cloth I think instantly of spirit cloth and the astonishing work that jude accomplishes on the train to and from work every day. When I think of not-slow cloth, I think of any of the fast&easy kits that have a low threshold of competence and produce uninspiring results. Everyone’s work falls somewhere on that continuum.

There I was today working on a postcard and this lovely piece (it is scales, can you see it now?) and it occurred to me that it was slow. Peaceable, engaging even, but slooow.

Week 16 monochrome riverscape

Week 16 monochrome riverscape
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I was thinking that I’d try the underlying structure of the river with just texture, and then paint over it. But I rather like it plain white as well.

Last Sunday I went to see the Yarn Harlot, along with 999 other knitters including my old friend Mary Hulser and her friend with a new blog Michelle. We laughed for an hour straight. We filled the Calvin theater. We totally rocked the joint.

At one point, she was commenting on how people found time to knit. We know, of course, that we knit in the interstices of everything else. There are times when we sit and knit, instead of other things, there are times when we knit and watch TV. We knit waiting for things, and thinking about other things, and talking to people…

Two days later I caught up with one of my favorite blogs, and she mentioned Gin, Television and Social Surplus. In that piece, a writer and social commentator was speaking with a TV producer about what people do in their extra time. The TV producer asked where people found the time to do – anything – and the writer snapped that TV people couldn’t legitimately ask that question because they have been pushing TV for the last 50 years as the answer. There was a very interesting calculation of the TV hours equivalent in Wikipedia. And that, I thought in triumph, is where I find time to make things, and knit, and read. Time that is not spent watching TV or thinking about what I should be consuming.

That push to consume is the reason I seem to be reading all my magazines as blah blah blah too – I can’t read past the ads to see what the articles might be telling me, and what they seem to tell me is to buy (more) stuff. So I donated them. And don’t even get me started on mainstream women’s magazines. They make you nervous and make you feel awful about yourself and then sell you all the answers courtesy of the advertisers. I am understanding more and more why advertising-free is so important to magazines intent on having only the message heard, like the Caris Publishing ones that come to us for the kids, or Ms. Magazine.

I digress.

Apr TIF done

Apr TIF done
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

well – it feels like a studio fade for a finish… the original plan was to completely cover the surface of the fabric with thread, but I ran out of needles, patience and time, all at the same time. 12 needles died for this piece.

What I think about change is that it is all around, unavoidable, and mostly what has to happen. I was thinking very very hard about stepping in the same river twice. Rivers sem like the epitome of dynamic stability to me – they are constrained to the flood plains, but they wander profoundly within those boundaries. The wandering traces changes across the landscape.

If you’d like to see the original landscape try here:

View Larger Map

You can see I emphasized the landscape, and ignored many of the man made structures (like bridges and cities) although I like many of the field patterns enough to incorporate them. It was fun to make, but exhausting.