This has been a decade of a year. I don’t even know what to say about it, that other people haven’t already said, and said better. It has, like most years, both crawled and flown. It has definitely had some comedically awful parts, as well as heartbreakingly awful, and plain boring and awful, and glimmers of the completely ridiculous.
I started 2020 as oblivious as anyone. I started the 100 Day Project on Jan 22, 2020, slated to end April 30. By the time the time April 30 happened, we were in the middle of lockdown for the pandemic, and it seemed silly to stop. So I kept going. I kept going past 200 pieces, and past 300 pieces, and through the election, and the subjective month it took to count and recount the votes, and here I am closing on a full year.
Oddly for me, I am not sure how to stop. I could keep going – I’d have to stop labeling each day as N of 100, because working on the second year is just a complete failure to comprehend the idea of a limited project. I could stop with Inauguration Day. I could stop at a full year, on Jan 22. (Your comments are welcome on this topic!)
I leave you with some retrospective pictures of the tiny finished things, massed together.
Notes: Pieces are glued to tie-tack pins and stuck into twelve inch square cork tiles. The first 100 were in varied frames, with double-size frames every Sunday. For 1-50 and 51-100 the taller frames meant it was easier to fit 50 pieces/cork tile. Continuing the project, I chose uniform size frames to fit better on the display tiles. Numbers 101 – present fit sixty-four to a tile.
Three little ones – about 2×4″ – and one working on getting bigger – 4×8″
I’m figuring out how to draw the laser cutting lines right on the stitched material, so I am working in response to the stitching I have already done instead of carefully sewing the places I know will be cut out later. It is a small distinction, but it lets me work more fluidly in the early part of the process, with fabric and thread.
I made this yesterday, and it took me two years, plus an afternoon.
It has been two years that I’ve been thinking about the ways I could make use of laser cutting in my work. It has been two years of getting a grip on the software and concepts, the capabilities and limitations of the tool and the materials it could cut. Each time I learned something, my vision of what I wanted to do got clearer.
And so I can make things like this now.
I feel like I am balanced at the top of whole new mountain – gathering my courage to descend into a valley full of ideas and projects.
Milkweed and staghorn sumac finished, framed and ready to travel. The first weekend in November is the Crane Estate Art Show and Sale, to benefit the Massachusetts Trustees of Reservations. There’s a fancy meet and greet Friday evening, (nice canapes) and then the entire thing is open to the public and free on Saturday and Sunday. I’ve been lucky to participate for several years now. Seeing what other artists bring is amazing, and seeing what people buy is educational.
I have these two small pieces (6×6″) for the small works section, and I’m bringing the shell button river for a large piece. I hope someone will want it!
Frames, laser cut from 1/8″ birch plywood, in various shapes. A different interfacing interfacing – this has no fusible on it, so I will fuse the fabric with Wonder Under.
Cut the interfacing to the size and shape of the interior shape. It works better, ultimately, if the interfacing is juuust slightly smaller than the inner shape.
Interfacing gets fused to the fabric backgrounds.
The interfacing adds a nice layer of padding when the frames are attached, and also works to keep the embroidered image smooth.
I like one more layer of interest on these tiny things, so I add a bead (or several) by hand. Then the work is placed over the interior shape, and the outside frame pressed gently into place. If it isn’t going to fit with minimal persuasion, make certain the fabric is smooth around the edge between the inside shape and the frame. Once it is in place, run a bead of liquid super glue on the back around the place where the fabric comes through from the front. Liquid superglue is important, because it soaks into the fabric between the pieces of frame, and holds everything together. I have done it with the gel super glue but the results are not satisfactory. Cheap superglue works really well.
Once the super glue is hardened, trim off the leftover fabric using whatever is handy. If you can’t find a sharp blade, a brisk application of sandpaper also works.
And behold! tiny scraps of fabric, small amounts of embroidery and some loose beads turned into something magical.
There is a reason why I try not to make resolutions until February – because January always disappears so fast it makes my head spin. Sometimes I am on top of the change, and I can leap into a new year with new projects and new enthusiasm. I think this year my energies were elsewhere. But! I finished a new abstract river, and started the Finished Work 2015 folder, and things are looking up!
I'm not sure why this one took so long to finish, but it might have had to do with breaking ten needles on it. Generally the needle body count ranges from zero to three (they do run in threes) so I am not entirely sure what made this one so voracious.
I'm leading with it because I am really proud of it. I still need to finish the edges and stretch it, but the piece itself is finished.
I also started Book 5 – white pages for the next two books/four weeks.
foolishness with circle stamps, and thinking about rivers (again)
Half the fun with stamps is combining them with other stamps to make patterns and repeats. Although I still have the story stamp I made with some friends. Each of us got an eraser, and using all six sides, we had to carve stamps to tell a four panel story. Mine had to do with lightning, and a forest fire, and rain putting it out. I remember Lynne's better though – a princess lost her cats. It was funny, and the faces were all characteristically hers.
I also managed to break four needles tonight, and finish a small piece:
It will be 5×7" once it is cropped and the edges finished.