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.


Nov TIF ampersand etc

Nov TIF ampersand etc
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

Second one of a set for the November TIF challenge – use type as a design element.

I have to admit to a couple of strong opinions concerning type. It has to be black, on white. It has to have thick and thin places. It is nice to have serifs but not necessary.

I worked for a couple years on the Massachusetts State Atlas Project. I was lucky to be there close to the beginning, when we got to think about which type face we liked, and the grid for the pages, and the sizes of maps we would use for different themes. I love type with the same kind of abstracted affection many people feel for maps – I know it carries information, but I like the graphic detail of it as much as the information carried.

When choosing a type, we looked at Ps and Qs, and ampersands. The P showed up enough in regular use that it had to be elegant without being too frilly. Qs because they had to look unified even though they were used infrequently. Ampersands because they could, and did, contain every flourish the type designer could cram into them. They made me laugh, every time.

I still have trouble separating affection for type from affection for the fact that I can read, so I knew I had to use an ampersand as part of my design. The et cetera is because type has to say something, and it pleases me to "yadda yadda" in latin.

I still have two in process, but I did want to demonstrate proper effort before the end of the month.

October TIF

I am behind-hand in almost everything at the moment. The excitement of the elections, new babies and a perfect storm of kid related activities is making it hard to sit and sew.

The challenge for October was to make a piece that reflects how I feel/think about my work space. I am lucky to have a half a room to call my own – shared with Al's electronics and robot building. I spent most of September taking things out of it and making it nicer. I spent a good deal of October putting things back into it again, but only things I need, use, or love.

I rely on my room for making my work. I don't do a lot of handwork, most is a combination of fusing and heavy machine embroidery. I have found that I can't work if I am not in my room. I can make tiny thumbnail sketches for design ideas, I can make lists of what I think I making next, but I can't work on a particular piece if I am not in my room. It makes it hard to do something like a Quilter's Retreat, because I inevitably forget the piece I need most, or want a scrap or bauble (or yard of fabric) I have left at home.

Being in my room, making things in my room, is soothing work, most of the time. I have the current work pile, the pile of things that are ready to fuse, and a gorgeous box of thread ready to use on the machine. I can sit and look out the window, or poke along on the current piece. When I haven't made something for a while, a couple days or a week, I start to get itchy and grumpy. My husband recognizes it before I do, and tells me "go make something."

I did work on some pieces in October. You can find them here, and here.

Lists, UFOs, WISPs and keeping track

When I first thought about lists, I thought "I am a list based person" but I am less sure about that these days. It is true I cannot go into a store for anything – food, clothes, hardware – without a list. If I attempt list-less shopping it generally involves things I didn't need combined with signal failure to acquire things I do need. But the lists I've found while returning to my work room are not so important. I should know, I keep finding them.

I have found dozens of small notebooks (apparently I love notebooks almost as much as I love boxes) with lists in the first two or three pages and blank pages beyond. The lists remind me of what I was thinking at the time, but I find I am not terribly compelled by my old ideas of things to make. I can remember that I was inspired to write down series of things, sets of projects that are all clearly related and grow from each other, except the list is all there is. Apparently for making stuff, once I get it onto a list, the impetus to make it starts to be dissipated. If I don't put it (a concept, an idea for a piece, whatever IT is) on a list it rattles around in my head and gains intensity and urgency each time around until I HAVE to make it NOW. So I stopped making the lists of things to make a couple years ago, when I started a postcard a day. I have a long list of themes, things that I thought might be inspiring for a month, but beyond that I haven't got much written down.

I am much more interested in the parts or progress on pieces I have partly done. More than the lists, they represent things I started, materials collected, cut, some sewn together… These are much more interesting to me. Many are lovely enough, or meaningful enough, or expensive enough, or have enough work done on them that I can't simply throw them out or give them away. In a much realer fashion than the lists, these tell me what I was thinking about, who I was fond of, and how much free time I had to work on things. I have had to separate them into categories; those likely to be finished, and those to be re-purposed to other projects.

front of July TIF

Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

just a quick peek at the a piece of the front – a layer of painted white cotton jacuqard stitched to a plain white cotton twill.

I’ve been inspired by jude’s efforts to try this month all by hand. Go see her stuff now – it is always inspirational.

Aside from my fingers hurting (my thread is too fat) and my impatience showing, it has been educational. Plus it is rather more portable than previous efforts, making it possible to transport and work on in VT for my third and final week of assorted camps.

issues with Flickr

I'm having trouble loading and seeing stuff on Flickr – I hadn't realized how much I relied on it for dealing with pictures.  I posted 3 more backgrounds, but I can't see them to tell you about them. Kind of distressing. So there  are three more backgrounds over on Flickr, they were inspired by images of iridescent structures on butterfly wings. It took some thinking to make the overlapping pieces come out right. I think 5 of them, the ones that look most related, will be pages in a book, rather than stitched together somehow. I have the cover started, I'll post an image of that too, soon.

In the rest of life, I took the girls, and some neighbors and the Toenail to the DAR pond again. There are no life guards at Swim Beach this year, so you can do anything.