time enough

I just realized this morning that I have time now that I have not had before. Entire days, uninterrupted by child care, elder care or distractions. Not that any of these interruptions were unwelcome, nor did they tend to take the entire day, but they did chop the day into discrete blocks of time, and the size and number of those blocks was finite. I certainly developed modes of working, and projects, that fit into the time available, but I always felt like time was short, and valuable, and needed to be used well.

For the last several weeks, I have been sinking into work that is complicated and layered. Work that takes a fair amount of brain space to hold all the pieces in relation to each other. This is a luxury I have not had in this quantity before, and I am coming to grips with what I owe my work, and what I owe the other parts of my life. Right now, the other parts of my life are definitely being shorted. I am also starting to understand better where some of my hurry came from, and how to combat it now that it no longer serves me as well.

all distraction, all the time!

I think this is now a blog of ways I am distracting myself – herein, more weaving.

Having done some more weaving now, I think I need to think more carefully about what to use for warping. I have used the Lion cotton yarn and it is fat, and some linen string I have lying around and that is skinny and fierce – there has to be some intermediate string that warps up nicely and can hold some tension. The franken-loom is surprisingly useful. The sett (the number of warp threads per inch) is close to 8, which means I can also warp it at twice that, 16 ends (warp threads) per inch.

I think I need to take the teeth-combs off the inside faces of the blocks they are mounted on, and mount them parallel to the strings and facing out – so that tensioning the loom pulls threads more firmly onto the teeth rather than letting strings slip or get bumped off the top.

There are all kinds of recommended choices for warp and weft and I have access to those recommendations courtesy of the Little Loom class I signed up for, but I also have a budget of basically zero and a lot of things on hand already, so found and repurposed has to be the majority of the weaving right now.

three more from the archives

Three abstract works, with an emphasis on the rhythm of repeating squares and circles;

From January 2007, a fabric postcard from the daily ones I made through 2007
Jan 8

From 2008, a larger work about rhythm and counting
May TIF done

And from 2009, counting to fifty. I was thinking hard about turning fifty years old, and wanted to count things. There are fifty tiny shells threaded on five different threads, and centered in fifty silk circles. It was cathartic to make!

April 19

long week

Wednesday I fell off the red mare, and landed hard on my butt.

Thursday the Dr. who'd pronounced me sound was over-ruled by someone with a different interpretation of the x-ray, and I was warned I'd probably broken my ankle. From falling on my butt. I think it has something to do with the stirrup, but I dunno. Plus, I can stand and walk on it?

Friday I got an air cast, got an earfull for walking around and got ready for the first of two set building Saturdays at the high school, except –

Saturday both Al and I had either a very fast virus or food poisoning. I won't go into details, but we basically slept or prowled around the house all day. Mostly slept. I handed off the plans, lists and lists of lists to somebody else, and was grateful there was someone around to pick up some slack.

Today I realized the month had changed while I was …out of it, and I need a new idea for February.

So for February I intend to make a new rubber stamp every day. I like carving stamps, and I have all the tools I'll need for it, including a couple dozen erasers. This should be fun, putting little pieces of design into practice. And then in March, I can try to make larger patterns with them, as part of the process I'm thinking about for teaching myself fabric design.

I'll post all the pictures tomorrow, from the end of January to the first couple of stamps of February.

maple moon (wings)

july 30

via www.flickr.com

Still experimenting with gelatin printing.

I used a biscuit cutter to cut nice round circles out of the sheet of gelatin, and experimented using those as block for printing. Since my biscuit cutter is smaller than my circle-a-day circles, there is an unprinted edge that I wanted to accentuate.

I realized I have not yet posted links to my sources for gelatin printing.

My favorite, and primary source, is Linda Germain, and her blog Printmaking Without a Press. Linda does lovely, delicate work. She has answers to frequently asked questions, and videos on YouTube for those who want to see what she's talking about.

The Sketchbook Challenge blog also has a tutorial, and some pictures of the process.

I have really enjoyed having the gelatin block around to experiment with this month. It has been a lovely cool way to spend time working with fabric and color. I found it easy to get started. The gelatin block was fun to make and fun to hold (and fun to make wiggle! think industrail strength Jello Wigglers…) The materials I used were things I had on hand (white fabric, fabric paint) so the project scrimmage was small. 

It took me a lot of experimenting to come up with truly lovely things, making me uneasy until I hit my groove. I am also not entirely sure what to do with the pieces I don't love. I finally decided I'd hold them as potential blocks for stitching together into a lightweight coverlet or unfilled quilt. Or maybe I'll just give them away. It is a good year for it!


twenty five

twenty five

I like square numbers. Nine was nice, sixteen was lovely, and now twenty five. 

I signed up for a drawing class. The first one was today. It was slow, and the teacher is opinionated. I am not sure about some of his opinions, but he can certainly draw, and he can probably help me draw better. The best thing he said was that he was tempted to bring a laminating machine to class so that he could issue Artistic Licenses to all his students. Our interpretation is what makes it art. 


new skillz

Alice cleverly convinced me to sign up for a pot throwing class with her. We couldn't fit the kid's class into our schedule, but the kind gentleman who runs the place said she'd be fine in one of the adult classes and I could come too if I wanted. I have yearned to throw pots in the same way I have yearned to spin and weave for years now. It isn't a burning kind of yearning, but one that persists from year to year.

In class today, our second so far, Alice and I made rapid progress backwards. Where we had both thrown fairly competent and rational looking things last week, this week all was wabbly and floppy. I realized I do my nicest work when it doesn't matter – clearly I need a certain level of relaxation to accomplish pots – and with practice clay. So I kept thrashing around with more and more water and clay…and ultimately produced only one thing I wanted to dry out and mess with further. But that one thing may be my cereal bowl if it comes out of the kiln well.

Alice was having similar problems with intensity of trying. Last week she produced a series of interesting little Ali Baba pots with bulbous bodies and little necks and flared tops. This week she was most interested in a double container, looking rather like a candle holder in a deep dish. She made a series of these and each time they were close to finished looking, she'd try to push it just a little farther or thinner and it would splorch. She is remarkably patient and resilient, but it wore thin on her after a while so we cleaned up and came home early.

There will be pictures when I remeber to bring my camera to class, or I manage to bring a piece home.

for future reference

When this show is finished and hung there are some things I want to experiment with, and I thought if I wrote them here, I might remember when I am lying about moaning and sick of myself and wondering what to do next. I don't think they are all on the agenda for February or March, just that I am trying to remember them to choose one (or two) when I am in the doldrums.

  • slow dyeing with rust, mold, other naturally occurring serendipitous things
  • screen printing
  • pick a tradition-not-your-own and explore it ([Asian]Indian is speaking to me) 
  • more painting directly on fabric
  • shibori kinds of resists
  • an indigo pot for ongoing dyeing experiments that will all be !blue!
  • one leaf n ways (a mathematical term, meaning some number, generally greater than one) and how big can I get n anyhow?
  • PAINT!! paint over thread, thread over paint, paint and thread and … markers? ink?
  • horses
  • crows
  • fish
  • tell me more in the comments – annual de-lurking day happened recently and should still be in effect!

I'm sure there will be more, but just looking at this list is energizing.

2009 intentions

My artistic intentions for 2009 are  to SHOW UP.

I have to trust things will happen, because they always do.
I have to do what is in front of me, because that is where the work is that needs to be done.

I will finish finish some big things – three sets of 10 Leaves, 2 Roadside Treasures (Weeds)

I am participating in Arlee Barr's Exquisite Corpse round robin which will be fun, and exciting, and involve me working well to deadlines. I like playing with others, and don't do it often enough.

I really have to reinstitute a daily art practice. Anything will do. I get weekends off, to try to make sense of the pieces, and maybe try to consolidate them into larger pieces.

I am liking 4" squares for the moment. In January, I will look at the sky, and translate what I see into fabric.

In February, I'll change the topic. Maybe the size/shape too.  

And lastly, I have been thinking about 3D objects – little things, maybe some big things (where big is inside a 1' cube, and little is under 3") supported by the thick interfacing I like.

For personal stuff, it seems to be the same things:

call your mother
talk to friends more
ride more horses
ride further on your bike
do some exercise every day

So that is my year, mapped out from here.

2008 in review

Just to review, I said I'd do the following things in 2008.

Art commitments:

  • media of the moment – an extended set of experiments with a
    particular media going for at least a month, possibly six weeks, and
    consisting of the daily thing and the weekly thing
  • daily thing – daily sample of the media of the moment
  • weekly thing – using the samples or new knowledge of the media of the moment, make a 5×7” work

The Media of the Moment didn't make it past the transfer paints and other transfer stuff. I let them lapse at the end of February because I don't like the feel of the man-made fabrics I had to use, and I was missing the cottons and the ability to paint and dye things.  The daily thing and the weekly thing failed at about the same time. I think for a daily thing it has to be completable – the giant advantage of the postcards is that each was an object, and when it was done, I was done for the day. I can rethink that for 2009.

  • monthly thing – SharonB's Take it Further Challenge  (TIF) – work off the colors every time, try to get to the theme as well

Pretty good success, I managed to finish all but one month, and I did one out of order and with no object to show for it (my workroom which was most of September and she wanted to hear about in October). Plus I got 10 interesting pieces from the year that are bigger than I have been making, and will go into a gallery show this coming year (more on that later).

  • trees/leaves – finish 5 of 10 leaves each series (a project I have been idly thinking about for a year) for gingko, birch, dogwood, maple, oak

oops. Not yet.

  • start the first of the weeds series on 12×12" backgrounds

yes, started one and have backgrounds for two more, and I am liking them a lot.

Personal stuff:

  • call your mother – do better
  • ride a horse – doing much better – three to ride steadily, a teacher, and the potential for competing with one in the spring
  • laugh with a friend – better
  • go to a gallery/museum – yes! almost monthly
  • ride your bike with your family – yes! two tandem rides totally rock!

In the unexpected successes department, I have some.

  1. First, I never really expected to get the work room emptied, wallpaper stripped, walls repainted, and new and usable furniture in and refilled. I still have some stuff in our bedroom that has to go back in, but the longer it remains in my bedroom, the less I think I need it in the workroom. More things into the cellar, and from there, probably on to the next owners. 
  2. I managed a sales milestone. I took my work to a craft show, which was interesting and I learned some things, like make sure there will be people going to the craft show so there will be someone to buy the stuff you bring. 
  3. I started an Etsy store, but I have to put things in it. 
  4. I applied to the gallery at the local library and I was invited to show my stuff. I do not have dates, but when I do I will tell Everyone, and there will an opening, with cheese and crackers and wine and beer. You MUST come.