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Category Archives: Residency 2017

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…………………………

 

 
 

i *can* “just can’t do it”

SIGH. Well, chalk it up to “know your limitations”, whether they’re skill set or interest.

I’m sure you’re all tired–hell, I’M tired, of all the blah blah about the end of res exhibit. *Nothing* i’ve pulled has really got the crank turned, even with the possibility of using the recent naturally dyed threads. And since we’re now down to 18 days until the show is hung, well, whatever……………..

SO, instead of beating myself up, and worrying about what i might Finish (in 18 days??? yeah, right…) , i’m going back to this:

Started last year, however much i get done on her will be my goal, and that’s good enough. She may have to be hung “creatively”!

Her body is almost done, though who knows what else may happen on those large alabaster thighs 🙂 ?

I’m going to be doing her wings similarly to what i did on “Strange Soul Take Flight” (left), and “The Weight She Carries” (right), but not so slavishly that i’d be repeating myself.

Yeah, yeah, what will be, will be.

 

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.

 

 

slow slow summer

All i’m doing is experimenting, and adding knowledge, no stitching since finishing “Tabula Memoria”.

In all honesty too, time at ACAD for the residency has slipped away and i am left with a little more than a month to go, with very very little to show for it. Most of my ideas though are being utilized at home though so no loss really!

 

As much as i love all my commercially dyed threads, especially all the permutations of the variegated ones, i also want more naturally dyed choices, so i’m doing it myself. I can’t/won’t be doing huge batches, but enough to keep me happy at least. I’ll still use the “boughten” threads, and hopefully if all goes well with the pre-mordanting, will have a range of natural dye colours to supplement the arsenal.

I’ve gone through all my dyes and have enough of everything to get a BIG collection of colours, after different mordants and modifiers. This is more manageable in terms of space, time and effort also, as the batches can be quite small for threads.

Hoofies crossed.

 

 

residency exhibit plans again, revised

Nothing has really been turning my crank, despite plans to maybe work from this or this. Sometimes it *is* good, or necessary to return to what we’ve done before, but as i looked for fabrics, i realized this is what has the juice flowing:

This piece of cotton lent to be used as a table protector by another residency participant, and neither of us is sure why or how it became so black. (It reads blue in these photos, but truly is BLACK.)

There’s also this piece of silk. Though i’m hesitant to cut it up, or obscure the patterning with stitch, it doesn’t do much good making fabrics that are juicey, but never get used.

For the minute, they are piled neatly with a few thread choices. I’m working on the journal that goes with “Tabula Memoria” and as i shuffle around photos and chunks of writing, the back of the vasty head will stew on the possibilities. I do know i am going to be more “sculptural” this time, something i have wanted to do for a long time. I need to dye some more silk thread with my hoarded rhubarb root as well for this plan.

We’ll see by the end of the week if “best laid plans” are going to work out.

Our vacation this summer has turned to a “stay-cation”: it’s painfully hot (hot enough you want to take your skin off, hot enough you want to kill someone, something, anything if it touches you), old Mo Cat is signalling the Rainbow Bridge’s FerryMan (sigh…), barely eating, moving or drinking, and the Greyman is sick, sick, sick. (When a die hard coffee drinker who even has a cup before bedtime won’t take one sip, you know he’s really Sick, not just that ManBaby thing.)