Redux start

I know i’ve started when the printouts, and the plans for the plans begin. I write all my meanderings on my private blog, with wild flights of fancy, because hey, ya never know what will connect, then slap all that in a dedicated sketchbook, and start colouring in the lines, way out of the lines, adding “patterns”, shapes and technique notes, and even more scribbled why nots.  So far there are elements of several previous (finished) projects (Mother’s Heart, Nightmare Interrupted, Ebb and Flow, The Difference Between A Plum, unused Leighton work) and seeing how the interpretations fit together is where the fun, and the serious work, begins. I have the notes from those previous endeavours as well, and will riffle through them, slotting them in and out and away, as needed or rejected. It also makes it impossible then to “COPY” myself, as now there are Frankensteiny mishmashes happening!

I even have a title, though that will wait until some definite work has started.

This little bit has been stored in one of my sampling/”component” boxes since Jan 2013. It’s not the “thingness” of it that draws me, but the potassium permanganate dyed cheesecloth, and that wild stitching on its peripheries.

Though that stitching was done by machine, i don’t want to use Lalage again, bitch that she is, because she *is* a bitch to work with. (One of THE worst machines i’ve ever had…) After the work i did on the figures for TM, i now know that it is possible to tame the harem cloth enough to stitch, by putting it in bondage on a tapestry style embroidery frame. (Never say never though…) I can do the stitching also pre or post dyeing, depending on the effect i want with the threads.

I’ve decided to start the intended Redux project with some sampling for hearts a la “Mother’s Heart”. Off to the potassium permanganate vat in the Dye Dungeon!

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Redux

I’m still rattling ideas around, getting lost and frustrated, but slowly slooooooooowly pulling things together. Remember when “word of the year” was really trending? I don’t do that anymore, but am thinking anyways of one year in particular when i found myself: 2012 the year of “Origin”, going back to old ideas and techniques, staying true to myself, letting myself rest. I need to do that again. Because seriously, the months since completing Tabula Memoria have been one long nasty picnic of doubt, self loathing, frustration, boredom and, yes, even Anger with myself. (Don’t get me wrong: i love that piece, but it took a LOT out of me, something i didn’t realize was happening at the time.)

Certain things keep popping into view in old files, in Flickr and my private blog, and i do believe it’s time to work ’em again/finally.

From 2011, this weaving idea has been pinned up and removed from the inspiration board so many times it now has a fine cloud of holes around the edges 🙂

The interpretation is actually going to be a bit different than i originally planned, and involves the harem cloth (and natural dyes) mentioned in a previous post. Also using that fabric in something like this has sparked some ideas:

I loved making Mother’s Heart in 2013, still one of my favourite pieces, and maybe i could shake it/make it on/with the languishing Anno Suturae. (Photo above is when i was auditioning background pieces for MH). Redux’s are always fun as you evolve and riff from them I seem to do better/feel more in tune with what i am doing, when seemingly disparate elements are combined, and i feel i’ve misplaced that somewhere in the lat few years.

I have Anno Suturae pinned up rather haphazardly so i can see the whole, check different orientations and decide where to cut, move, remove and add, because it’s time to really combine some ideas. I may even “lose” the stitching that is already on there, as most of the intent is gone. Perhaps it should be renamed Annos Suturae!

My Inner Critic of course is snargling.

“Yeah right, another “Plan”, wonder how long that will last?”

“Oh, you’re just copying yourself again.”

“You obviously don’t have any original ideas anymore. Ha, original, get it: you talked about Origin, but you’re way off base. Ha.”

“It’s easy to sit on the computer and blether about it. When ya acshully gonna get off yer bazotski and do it? Oh yeah, never.”

Going to have to shut that bitch in a box and throw her in the freezing many yards away garage.

 

what to make when you can’t make, “figuratively”

I find myself unable to just sit, and think. Or not think. I have to accept that sometimes my mind *is* in low drive, for whatever reason, but i’m also one of those who *have* to keep my hands busy, so i’ve turned to “finishing” small things that have sat around for aeons.

At times like this, i often look to old work, whether sketch or textile, and found two small bits that were based on a 1975 pen and ink. The first is a little happier than the original at least! A bit to do in the top corner and maybe off to a new home for someone?

All naturally dyed threads again (some in the shop), and approximately 5×7″. I cropped the original below, sparing you the other portion of the teen angst sketch it was then 🙂

A smaller one (also still being worked on):

That figure was also on “How the Light Bends”, the piece that was accepted for the SDA “Materialities” conference/exhibit in 2015, so she’s been around the block a few times.

“How the Light Bends” 2015 rusted cotton, ecoprint and potassium permanganate dyed cotton, hand embroidery, fabric manipulation, 26×21″

However……these have led to this:

I dipped some of this treasured “lace” in potassium permanganate, and being a nylon base , it soaked it up. (I think it’s nylon, i know it’s definitely NOT a natural fibre, but it’s had pieces dyed in brazilwood, indigo and walnut and they all “took”! Some nylons will take up some natural dyes.)  I’ve been eking out this fabric for 6 years now, and will be quite bereft when it’s gone. I found it at the local thrift shop, a shower curtain cover, and it’s almost a signature fabric. (Now that i think of it, why couldn’t i make my own with a sheer and some soluble???) I started stitching on this (other than the outline), and have decided already to rip out what i did!

This figure was also the basis for work on “Tabula Memoria”:

I don’t really do well with abstract, or fields of just colour or just shape, so i think the figures will be on the worktable for awhile. They’re easy to read, fundamental to most viewers for interpretation and even when the same, *not* the same. (And i’m still looking for the blue figure from the previous post, in a “safe spot” no doubt, just like my wedding ring which i lost last week…)

And i need to do some self directed workshops again 🙂 Quite frankly, i seem to be repeating myself–and i don’t mean the re-iterations above! I’ve  let go by the wayside the experiments, making mistakes and messes, and throwing things together in serendipitous mixes. Every day now i have a moment of “i’m not doing this anymore”……….

 

why do i bother???

It was all planned out in my head, but the needle and thread sampling did nada for me. Went back to the work blog and zipped through all the photos, and tada.

This figure (never attached to anything, from Jan 2016)

on this PP dyed cloth

and logwood threads

and this strip that came from aborted work (two photos because it’s too long to photograph easily)

with this manipulation on the PP

yes

’cause apparently planning is taking a hit lately, so i’m not going to waste time, just jump in.

“In progress” un-named.

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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!!!!