more galls...

Although the joys of homeowning have conspired to keep me out of the studio, I am making progress on one of the large pieces of my new series. I knew I wanted to quilt the gall shapes with little cell-like circles, so I did that first:

This piece started life as a sketch:

But how to finish the quilting? I decided to use an old trick, invented by someone in the distant past, tracing paper:

This is the basic plan I decided on--horizontal lines, becoming closer as they got to the center of interest, the galls.

So now that part is done. I think the piece isn't finished yet, though. I am currently thinking of couching down this textured yarn in vertical lines:

I like the way they look, but am not sure how they enhance the overall composition--which I think may be the issue I should be dealing with. Back to hanging on the design wall while I stew over it, I think.

Meanwhile, I've taking photos of recent works that I need to send off to various places, including some entries to shows. In the prepping of these photos, I have found a recent purchase quite useful--Digital Essentials, by Gloria Hansen. I used to bug Gloria with my digital problems, now I can just look them up.

Oh, and I'm now on twitter: @bjparady.

That is all.


the dull bits

After a fairly productive week last week--I made art!--this week I have to knuckle down to some of the dull bits and pieces of life, both as an artist and as a homeowner (painting, patching, climbing on ladders). I am getting ready to enter some shows again, but this involves doing the necessary photography. Here's the start of that stack:

On the bad side, that's only part of what I need to locate to photograph. On the good side, it's not much harder to shoot a bunch of pieces than it is to set up for one piece.

I'm scurrying right along on the goldenrod gall series (still refining the actual name). Three smaller pieces are probably done:

But part of the reason they're hanging on the wall in front of my ironing space is I'm not sure of that. In fact, the larger of the three has changed a little just since this picture was taken.

I've also started quilting on one of the large pieces. Still in love with discharge paste, especially on hand dyes that have been in multiple baths:

I am using the paste like paint--applying it with a paintbrush in a 'painterly' style. The result is varied, somewhat subtle, and rich in color.

And I have come to accept that I didn't make much art in the last year due to our move--that's ok, I won't be able to enter all the shows I want to enter, but I need to make more art.

Oh, and I joined the twittering masses. Follow me, if you want, at @bjparady.

That is all.


forward and onward

I think the dyeing process is finally done on the length of silk. Here is the final result:

There's lots of variation, and yet the whole holds together. Since this picture was taken, I have cut three larger pieces out of the whole, and begun work on a medium size piece.

This series, barely begun, has already morphed somewhat. My original concept was more restricted, an exploration of the shapes of goldenrod galls--shapes that always caught my eye during my walks in the restoration prairie at Kibbe Life Science Research Station.But as I looked at one of the bigger pieces hanging on my wall, and as I walked in another prairie yesterday at Morton Arboretum, I realized that what I wanted to capture was the assault on the senses of walking through a prairie in its glory--the grasses taller than your head, the spots of brilliant color, the flitting of butterflies from bloom to bloom, the memory of the past that we, modern men and women, have all but destroyed here in the 'Prairie State' of Illinois.

So what does this mean? That while I expect the shape to show up in the works (here is one of my monotypes exploring this shape:

it won't necessarily be the focus of the series. The focus is the experience, to maybe evoke a sense of what we're losing in the natural world.

On another note, I have made a printing surface for further screen printing. It uses a large scrap of old countertop, covered with two layers of white acrylic felt. This is supposed to provide the proper softness for sharp prints. The future will tell.

That is all.


the big dye

While driving to and from the Faire, I developed a plan for a new series of work. Somewhere I saw a suggestion that a good group of work to present to a gallery consists of 2-3 large pieces and 7-10 small pieces, all part of a series. So my plan is this:

  1. Chose a theme--done (goldenrod galls, bear with me on this as it will become more clear as the group develops)
  2. Dye a long length of silk to use as the main fabric in the pieces (in progress)
  3. Construct the big pieces first, then the small, maybe including some really small ones that could be matted to 4x6"

So I started the dyeing yesterday:

When I washed out this batch, there was a lot of white space left--apparently one of the colors I used didn't work well with silk. So I tried again with this sneak peek at the result:

I'm not sure if this is what I was going for. I may 'gray' this out some as I had been thinking of duller colors.

But ever since I did the snow dyeing, I've been trying to figure out why that fabric looks different. One of my hypotheses is that it is the result of the dye being still in powder form. So I sprinkled some powder on it. And this happened:

Very cool. And I also like this part:

So over the holiday, I will contemplate whether to go with the colors I have, or dye some more. The thing is, it's not like there's a wrong choice here.

That is all.