I spent Saturday at the studio picking out the fabrics for the next set of Blades. I need a lot of time to sort it, unfold it, look at it with other fabric, move it around, and fold it up again. I was able to make initial fabric choices for the other six Blades which feels like a big accomplishment. Today I did a little more dyeing, hopefully the last I’ll need to do for these pieces.
Here are some of the combinations of fabrics I looked at. Do you have a favorite?
Color. After the flour paste resist lines that were inspired by my beach walk dried, I went over the fabrics with thickened dyes. Here you can see them after they’ve been batched and washed out. But are they finished? No! Too bright a contrast where the resist was and the fabric stayed white.
It’s been a difficult week. My youngest has had a bad cold and a high fever. The fever is down finally and now she’s in the kvetchy, miserable stage. Needless to say, Mom hasn’t been able to get to her work and is feeling a bit stressed.
I was able to grab a couple of hours at the studio today and did some speed dyeing. I overdyed these pieces along with seven others and dyed three white pieces of fabric. Twelve pieces all together! Of course, I only used four colors, but still it was good therapy and at least I can feel like I’m moving forward.
speed dyeing results
At the end of last week I had a blank canvas experience. I’m starting the next set of Blades and ready to start choosing fabrics. But when I went through my fabrics for this series I realized that I didn’t have enough fabric to choose from. All of a sudden I felt like a deer in the headlights and I couldn’t think of what to do next. It didn’t help that I was getting over a cold. So what to do when the well runs dry?
Answer: Go outside! Saturday the sun came out, a rare occurrence in Seattle in January. I dragged my husband and oldest daughter along with me for a walk on the beach. Just getting out next to the Sound jogged some inspiration loose. Lines and patterns in nature, what I like best!
After the beach, I went to the studio and used flour paste to make patterns on the cloth. Next step, dye.
The other night I made red cabbage with pork chops for dinner. Wow! What a gorgeous vegetable. The color, the lines, that perfect little triangle of the cut out core blew my mind. So I had to get out my camera and document it. Then I chopped it up and cooked it. Beautiful, a little suggestive in these photos, and delicious, too.
Talia sewing the postcards to the organza
Our Easelstan group show at the Phinney Neighborhood Center is fast approaching. I’m going to be showing a mixture of old and new pieces. One piece I knew I wanted to show was the postcard series I did in 2006. Each week of the year I made a mixed media 4 x 6 inch postcard including a playing card and mailed it to the studio. At the end of the year, 52 weeks, I had made a full deck of 52 cards. One reason I love this series are that it gave me a chance to try a lot of different techniques and media in a small size. It also became a journal of a very intense and busy year during which we remodeled our house. A lot of those weeks when we were out of our house and trying to keep up with remodel decision making, it was all I could do to make a small piece of art and get it in the mail. It was good to have a commitment to myself during those busy times. And I know that Anna and Paul enjoyed getting the cards each week in the mail. All the cards arrived, some a little tattered and with missing postage, and I’ve often wondered what the mailman thought about my project.
I’ve shown them a couple times and it’s a challenge to figure out how to show 52 small pieces. For the Phinney show the studio mates and I decided to hang them in a way that people could see the back of the cards as well as the front. I stitched them (with help from my new intern, Talia) to a piece of silk organza that I’m hanging from a bamboo pole. It works great! Come on by the Phinney Neighborhood Center between February 2-25th, 2011 and see them for yourself. Better yet, come on February 11th for the Artist’s Reception and say “Hello.”
all 52 cards, front
There’s nothing more satisfying than getting something finished. Last night I finished the seventh piece for the April Foster/White show. Even though there is much more work to be done (another 15 pieces hopefully) I feel like I can take a deep breath. I’ll be delivering these seven on Saturday and I want to share these photos of the interiors of them before I do.
At the top is Blade One: Lunaria. You see the interior of the front and the exterior of the back panel of the piece. I really liked the contrast of the light thread against the darker background as I worked on the front and decided to use it on the back, too. On the exterior front of the piece the stitching is a very subtle white on white, but not here.
In Blade Five I used a piece of silk that I had printed in a Jane Dunnewold workshop about three years ago. It was pretty big, about 50 inches and I had never really liked it. It was too busy and the imagery never fit with my work. But the colors worked with the exterior of this piece and here it adds a sense of whimsy. You could never tell, except through these photos, that such a wild piece of fabric is hidden inside this piece.
exterior front panels and interior back panel of Blade Five
interior front and exterior back panel of Blade Five
This last one here is Blade Eleven. Again, a piece of fabric that been kicking around for a number of years. It was a piece of cotton I had discharged, a little too wild for use by itself. I used part of the fabric on one of the front panels, covering it with a layer of silk crepe to tone it down and add color and texture. I used the rest of it on the three inside panels. It’s whimsical all right! I love the way the stitching contrasts with the pattern on the fabric.
interior panels of Blade Eleven
I’ve been working, working, working and sewing, sewing, sewing to finish some pieces for the April show. I’m taking three pieces off the photographer today and should have seven pieces finished by the end of the day tomorrow! Then it will be right back at it, no rest for the weary, although I am going to fit in a pedicure somehow.
This is Blade #4 in its final stages of construction. In the top photo the panels are ready for stitching and I’m auditioning thread colors on my work table.This photo shows the inside of the piece before I sew it together. I like to take photos of the inside of the panels after they are stitched but before I sew the panels together. I like that there is this secret, unseen part of the piece and try to keep it at the same level of craftsmanship as the outside. I think of the idea of the beauty of our secret inner selves that shines through our skin.
And below is the finished piece and a couple of detail shots. The fabrics are a hand-stitched shibori piece I did earlier this year, (there’s a blog post about making it from February 1st, 2010) and a really nice piece of silk broadcloth that I used maple leaves to print then overdyed a couple times to tone down the red. I’m happy with the piece, it’s dark but rich and I like the shape. It’s good to see these take their final shapes, to see them come together after being in pieces for so long. And it’s a relief to get them finished!