contrast and progress

This is a close up of the shibori'd piece after quilting (I have taken to thinking of quilting as a middle step rather than an ending one). It's kind of a sun/osage orange image. But it didn't quite stand out like I wanted it to. So out came the discharge paste.

Here's the initial result:

Better, but not quite there. I've toned the circle a little with some dye sticks. That picture will come later when the piece is done.

Meantime, I'm taking an abstract art class, learning lots of techniques. One of our projects is to make a piece using the process of an artist. I chose Helen Frankenthaler, because I was intrigued by the fact that she poured paint on unprimed canvas--not that different a process than putting dye on regular fabric. Here is the beginning of my piece:

I also used one of her ideas of starting with the composition of a classical painting--mine is by Van Gogh. The puddling and process of having to move the piece while wet is causing it to stray some from that original notion, but I like where it's going so far. I could see doing this with fabric to make whole cloth pieces. But I can also see that it is something that I should only do outside--it is very messy. But fun. And that's part of the point of doing it,right?

That is all.



I am declaring a rebellion on the white and black (with touches of blue sky) world in which I live. I am consciously avoiding being subtle...well, mostly. The piece still calls the shots. But remember the subtle shibori piece (go to the bottom of the post)? It has had this added to it:

Not bad, huh? Take that, gray world!

I do have to confess that in the last couple of days I have found some color in my exterior world--a tinge of burnt sienna in some willow trees, and glorious gold and rust in some Indian grass sticking out of a snow bank. It's there, just hard to find.

We just survived the longest stretch of snowing days in Chicago history, and have this to show for it:

This is a typical rural style mailbox, usual height. We're thinking of sculpting an igloo over it next.

But in the meantime, if I can't find much color outside, I'll find it in my studio.

That is all.



I have come to accept that my watchword for this season seems to be 'subtle'. Everything I do art wise comes out this way, inviting close inspection to see the details, to 'get' the piece, but from a distance looking well toward the uninteresting side of things.

When I lived in Hancock County, further south than here, I thought that winter was quite subtle, especially on cloudy days. Everything was either some shade of brown or gray. So I craved the rare sunny day with its swash of bright blue, or those first twinges of yellow green in willow trees come February.

Here, in the cold, white north (and I'm not even that far north, there's a whole state and Canada between me and the North Pole), there's not so much subtlety. Just dark brown sticking out of white. I begin to understand fully why the houses in Quebec are brightly colored. The natural parts of the landscape here are either tree colored or they are white.

So I'm thinking I am missing the full range of subtle tones I used to see...and that's coming out in my art. Now I have to figure out a way to maintain that, but make the pieces attractive at a distance, too.

Meantime, here's a view of my unsubtle deck railing a few minutes ago:

That is all.



So I had this piece of raw silk that had previously been dyed in a couple of baths. Kind of interesting, but not that POW! it could be...I thought I would try out my newly learned trick of shibori and overdye it once again. I decided on horizontal lines of stitching about an inch apart (done without a ruler), with a circle near the upper right. Here is the stitching in progress:

I used red hand quilting thread because I had it and I thought it was strong enough to withstand the pulling force of gathering it up. Here the piece is all gathered up and ready for the dye bath:

I wanted to go with a darker blue. I used vinegar to set the Procion MX dyes, and left it overnight:

Here it is all washed out. In more ways than one.

The detail is subtle, which may be ok. I can think of two reasons for the results I got. It is cold here. Maybe I should have put the dye bath in a warmer place; but I think it was warm enough. The real reason, which I kind of already knew from a previous dyeing experience but had forgotten, is probably the water here. It's kind of hard even though it goes through a softener. I was going to use bottled or filtered water the next time I dyed, and I forgot. It is, however, only fabric; and probably I can do something good with it.

But the shibori stitching took a lot of time, and I'm not sure I like the results much better than if it had been pole wrapped. But what else am I do on a day like this?:

That is all.


hand me downs

In spite of my efforts to maintain a shabby look to my studio, I keep acquiring things that make it look quite nice. Like this monster:

This began life in Tom's workshop as the base for an entertainment center, back in the days when TV's were gigantic and heavy. It has six large drawers that used to hold cd's and dvd's. It didn't fit in our new family room, and while we found a home for it, it seemed like a waste of a nice piece of furniture.

So now it's down in my studio. I emptied several boxes of fabric into it, found (all too quickly) stuff to set on the top of the surface. And discovered this:

I have more than enough linens to keep me busy for several years. I got them all quite cheaply (especially when you think about the cost of good fabric these days), and they take Procion MX dyes wonderfully.

That is all.