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Category Archives: a collusion of ideas

the wings of possibility

Rarely are things set in stone here in the Stately Barr Manor Studio. Evolution, the Baby,  and tossing out part of the bathwater is part of the game as well, to mix several metaphors…….

Samara’s wings aren’t exactly what i’d call problematic, but with a clear vision in mind that somehow isn’t getting to the actual execution, it appears that the plan has to be changed somewhat. When i started her wings, the “feathers” were like this:

Not quite what i wanted, though i like them, so i started these:

Ha, still not quite what i wanted, so i’m going to combine the ideas. I also like both fabrics i used, so redrawing the pattern is also going to have to take into account the placement of both to present an integrated it-makes-sense design.

And no res exhibit for me after all. There is no way human for me to even get enough done to vaguely represent what the whole will be. I can live with that, studio work being the more pleasant result than forcing a deadline.

 

 

 

progress on Samara

A samara is a winged nut or achene containing one seed (ash and maple for example, though there are many others that are unfamiliar and unexpected shapes), and it’s also a feminine name of Hebrew origin, meaning “Guardian” (or protected by God). I don’t believe in God/*A* god, but i do believe that Mother Nature is a powerful force, one i hold with reverence and fear equally. (The Calgary flood in 2013 shaped a lot of my attitudes to my art and to my environs.)

 

I digitally manipulated my own photo to get these colours, more suited to the work than the original:

And though i don’t think i have quite enough naturally dyed threads, i have some that will work, and will couple nicely with the commercial ones i’ve already used on the body. (If i had known i would get that far with dyeing my own threads, they’d all be used, but c’est la vie: it doesn’t bastardize the idea, so i carry on with both for this piece. I ain’t such a purist that one is better than the other.)

Originally i had deliberately created “filler fabrics”, small motifs with clearer imprints, but now i’ve found this chunk, and fell in love with it. There’s *just* enough to use for both wings! (The main fabric she’s on now, and this, were all created during my 2016 residency.)

This doesn’t look like wings (yet), but when you see how they come together, it will make sense in the grand scheme of concept 🙂 While i know i won’t “finish” the piece in time for my deadline, these are portable enough and easy enough as i go along, that i may have enough progress to make it worthwhile showing an “incomplete” work.

I’m excited again about working in the studio. That’s more important than a deadline.

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On a side note, since this post is *sort of* about this summer’s residency, i’m pretty sure this is my last one. As much as i loved having the space to spread out, with ACAD having fixed the air conditioning (!) in the dye studio, it means there’s not the right environ now for that wonderful process that occurs between iron and oxidization. It’s not something you can force, and waiting for days instead of overnight is neither productive, nor satisfying. And honestly, since most of the results go into my commerce site (which essentially “pays” for my residency, and sometimes gives me a little “gravy”), i might as well be doing it at home. I’ll be back to fighting with the wind, shooing birds away so they don’t make deposits, chasing squirrels so they don’t borgle everything up as they try to build their stash (HEY, that’s MY stash!), but wth, the backyard is very hot and sunny this summer, so, wth again.

The last couple of years too, some have been been very lax about the security of the home studio. Sitting across the hall with the doors open, does NOT give a clear view of who’s going into the home studio, often people who do not have any clearance to do so. And anyone who is to lazy to spin the numbers on the combination either, after shutting the door, is really an ASSHAT, because this week i discovered that someone had gotten in, and rifled through my suitcase of supplies…..buried at the bottom were two Maiwa dyes that are now missing. (I refuse to believe that it’s any Contextural member, as i know *most* of them.) I’m out $73 bucks there, plus the shipping……thanks.

This all being said, i have decided to buy my own potassium permanganate (expensive initially, but not with “cost per wear”), build my own steamer with parts and pieces i already have, and as i mentioned, set up in the backyard again.

Of course, now the damned weather will turn again…………………………

 

 
 

maybe it’s this, maybe it’s that, maybe it’s neither, or both

I’ve never before experienced such vacillation in choosing to do something! The residency exhibit is going to be hung Aug 27th, and i still haven’t started anything for it, going back and forth with so many, too many ideas that just aren’t inspiring, or gelling. I *do* usually have a fallow period after completing a big work, but months long is just not going to cut it.

I am still looking at this cloth though:

now with these:

and maybe doing a free style work like this from 2010:

Haystack, 2010, hand and machine embroidery, naturally dyes, ecoprint. In private collection.

combined with elements from this (2011):

“Girl: Strength”, 2011, natural dyes, hand and machine embroidery, in private collection

Obviously this year the work will be much smaller than previous years, due to the time frame! Best get cracking!!!!

 

keeping the ball rolling

Definitely a different weight, lovely, looks like #5 perle when relaxed, but with tension in stitch will be equivalent to a #3–perfect!!

And i’ll be rolling it into balls–no desire to fight the twangles otherwise!

I had to resort to card bobbins after all for the previously dyed batch—the skeins are too fine to keep unsnarled otherwise, even in little zippies. (The silk i will leave as is ( :O ) as it actually is easier to unravel as i work!)

I’ll be doing all these colours again, as this new one is a silk/wool blend (previous was all wool), but am going to add some other colours as well, and some fermentation dyeing as well. I have a lovely vat of bubbling hollyhock…………….. I’m premordanting today, and tonight will pop them into their sweaty little baths.

I’ve been busy fondling and admiring these and figuring out what to stitch next. I think some will be on this fabric:

Tired yet of seeing that one languish in a heap!  I’ve never before experienced such vacillation in choosing to do something! The residency exhibit is going to be hung Aug 27th, and i still haven’t started anything for it, going back and forth with so many, too many ideas that just aren’t inspiring, or gelling. I *do* usually have a fallow period after completing a big work, but months long is just not going to cut it.

I might look to this for inspiration:

Haystack, 2010, hand and machine embroidery, naturally dyed cotton. In private collection.

 

 

for my next trick

Working on the commissioned piece “Tabula Memoria” has taken much of my time over the past 6 months, in thinking and in doing, not leaving much wiggle room for other projects. It’s time to rev up and get something done for the end of “res” exhibit!

On my work blog (private), i’ve been looking at photos of older work, from sketch to sample to finished pieces, and finally decided i just might do something with this from 2012. The original figure was sketched out and used in 96 (?) as applique on a vest, back in the days when my business was wearable art. (I had intended to do this from years ago, but the fabric processes that i envisioned for it just aren’t co-operating!)

Given that i have a definite timeline, (the exhibit takes place at ACAD from Aug 27 to September something….) this piece will be MUCH smaller than works done lately 😉  I’ve bogged myself down in some sense with large expanses, and while i love the finished work, i’m going to go back to more intimate sizes. For years i was afraid to go big, but i think it’s time to be reasonable in terms of what i am able to accomplish—size does matter as they say, but there’s no proscribed acreage for successful work.

 

codex

Hopefully my reasoning will now make sense, and the explanation clear. I embroidered most of the phrase in binary code, but left some words, and some parts of some words as text. ( I did leave “by” as binary too.)  Those sections became their own phrase, poetic, and meaningful within the context of the whole original phrase, and the intent of the whole work.

I’m nearing the final phase of the other embroidery on this piece: a teeny bit on the standing figure still to do, then to attach both figures,do a bit more work on the top left panel, and then sit back for a week, just looking at it, sensing if it needs anything more.

The next phase is to figure out the journal that goes with it, the explanation, the sketches and samples, the whole meaning and the subtexts, the wonderings and wanderings, the crux of the biscuit.

 
 

an elegant solution

That’s a Binary table above. I wrote out the entire phrase in it, punctuation included, and surmised that it would be insane to stitch the whole thing this way…………I’m “translating” a phrase that holds 58 characters, a piece of cake in regular text, but multiply those by 8 and that’s 464 little marks! The space available for that means my “numbers” have to be too tiny, which makes them impossible to read, and therefore pointless, and the TIME to do this wholly in Binary would exceed my timeline–given that there are other parts that still need working.

 

EUREKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Truly, the punctuation does not have to be in Binary, and when i started looking at the phrase, certain words jumped out, and became another phrase in themselves, fitting with(in) the original phrase, the meaning of the whole and *as* another consequential but purposeful catch of words. It also lessens the numbers of signifiers by 238, so i have “only” (HA) 226 to do. Given that some of these are now going to be actual letters/words, it’s less daunting, and requires less space, time and layout!

Yesterday at ACAD, i made a start as i waited for fabrics to percolate and imprint. And it took less time than i thought, not as much a worry as anticipated!

Proofreading was the hardest part 🙂