reinventing the wheel

I've been thinking a lot about sheers lately. Or semi-sheers. And the look of them with light behind them--which means an abandonment of batting, maybe even of more than one layer. Not on every piece, but some.

But the problem with this is the seams. Hiding ravelly edges, mainly. There's always techniques like the flat fell seam, or French seam. I've been looking at pojagi, but most of the pictures are full shots, no details of the actual seams. And many of the people using these techniques seem to want to make the seam not noticeable.

I want to celebrate the seam, have it become part of the art and texture of the piece. So I've been playing around with scraps, seeing what I can do--reinventing the wheel because I can't find instructions on building one myself.

This one involves a sheer between two silk pieces, done on the machine with an overcast stitch and a straight stitch--kind of what I think a French seam is, but since I don't know tailoring, don't really know. It's ok. Gets the job done. Need to work on tension (might have had the wrong needle). But meh.

Here's a couple of views of a hand done piece, front and back:

Hastily done, and fairly irregular. I know I could even out the stitching, go after that perfect hand made stitch that mimics machine stitching and confuses the viewer as to the tool used. But even though some may think it sloppy, or a sign of bad construction, I enjoy the unevenness, the obvious hand of the artist, varying the stich, celebrating the seam.

I think I could do something with this.

That is all.


new gallery

My work has been accepted into the Dempsey Gallery at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, Illinois.

The gallery changes work three times a year, the pieces I am putting in now will be available for sale until the end of January, 2010.

This is a great art center, with lots of classes--including many fiber oriented ones. I recommend it to anyone in the area.

And they're hosting a two person show with Ann Miller Titus and me in January 2010.

That is all.


it was a very nice moon

I am working on one of the larger pieces in my new series. It mostly is a whole cloth piece at the moment--that is subject to change. And so it occurred to me to try placing a new moon (i.e. one that is dark colored) on it. I cut one out of my scraps from the big dye in the shape of a circle and let it stew for a couple of days. I like the piece better with it than without it--something I learned from some workshop or book in my past--anyway, it's a good gut check.

But how to fasten it to the background? Fusible web seemed the best choice--silk is so slippery, it's better to have some control over it. So I applied the fusing (not mentioning the brand because it is not the fusing's fault, it's mine).

Then I thought of using some discharge paste to create a thin crescent moon--you know how you can see the mass of the moon from the light of the thin fingernail moon? So I would use the Jacquard discharge paste with a paintbrush.

But first I need to stabilize the silk so I could paint that fine line. So I ironed it on to the shiny side of freezer paper and proceeded. Big OOPS. Apparently, and I probably already knew this and forgot it, the fusing and the waxy side form a permanent bond.

I discovered this too late. I tried soaking the paper off:

But no go. It came out pretty good, maybe I can use it in a future multi-media piece. But I'll have to do another one for this piece. Live and learn.

That is all.


absent on leave

I have been absent from my studio for going on two weeks. But for a good reason--vacation. Breaks are good, even for self-employed artists. Renewal of the soul, rest of the weary, that sort of thing.

But my brain, while relaxed, still thought in artistic ways. And some of what I saw will show up in later work. It stews in the back of my brain, waiting for the right time to burst out.

Here's some of what stands out:

One of my goals in life is to see the redwoods. Until I manage that trip, these tall pine trees will do. They were an unexpected sight at Lake Itasca State Park, MN.

This is the Mighty Mississippi River in its infancy--yards from where it tumbles out of its official headwaters, Lake Itasca. I walked across it on a bridge made of a single log. Here it is clear, reedy, slow moving, giving no hint to what is downstream. We crossed it several times in the next few days, and by the time it got to the Twin Cities, finally it was beginning to look like the river I came to know so well in Keokuk.

And it was in Stillwater, MN that I became fascinated with this old building:

Don't know how or when, but like every other experience in my life, these things will show up in my art some day. Until then, I've taken tentative steps back into the studio, and soon will be up to full speed.

That is all.