mining the past again

That’s a page from a 2007 “fabric art journal”, a time for me of experimenting and heavy machine embroidery. “Kirlian Hand” is a portrayal of the so-called phenomena of a person’s “aura”. Named after Semyon Kirlian’s accidentally discovered observation in 1939, that if an object on a photographic plate is connected to a high-voltage source, an image is produced on the photographic plate—- and touted in the 70’s as captures of the human spirit! (My ex was heavily into this, Hollow Earth theory, pyramid power, Chariots of the Gods alien conspiracy, and the whole “new age” crapola of the time….used to drive me nuts…but then *he* was/is.)

Anyhoo, i did like the design possibilities of this, so wth. The hand was cut from screen printed fabric, all of the embroidery is by free motion and the abalone shell piece was attached with glue and beads (i think..the page is somewhere in a box with other relics of the time, in a little room at the back of the house so stuffed i can’t get into it. Note to self: do something about that this weekend, there’s some Good Stuff in there too…)

It’s interesting to look at old work and not only remember how and why it was done, but to go forward with it as well, in a new direction. Yeah, some of the results from the way back machine are either embarrassing or weak, but some of it is still valid, good, intriguing, and touches a chord. Let’s roll with it!

As i mentioned in a previous post, i’m working on improving my ecoprinting skills, and while my little tests are very quite promising, i’m not completely satisfied yet, BUT, i can still use some of the bits in the Summer of Madder Study project 🙂 I’m going to “condense” the above layout a bit, due to the size of the moon i want to use, because the original layout would make too big a section to work on comfortably, considering the scale.

I’ll have to be tender with the moon too: a silk, i always have problems with stitching on this fabric, by hand or machine, as the threads of the fabric tend to “pull” when the needle goes through. I’ve tried finer threads, and smaller eye bulbed needles, but haven’t solved the mystery yet, so minimal stitching on the moon. Given though that the details are so fine and so delicious, less is more anyways: not everything has to be encrusted!

And the potential layout–just pretend/imagine the fingers are separate so the moon shines through 🙂

It’s now time then to set up the outside stitching corner!




Admittedly, i overthought this section, but i’m happy anyways with the results (still in progress). The idea/execution however is getting a bit *too* “figurative”! It’s time to think of texture and effect as well as the “embrilting”.

As soon as i finished the wing on the upper right figure, i flashed back to 2014, when i was working on “The Weight She Carries”. At the time, though i wanted redder madders than i was getting, i used synthetic dyes (Procion/Rit/Dylon, whatever was in the drawer) to get a range of reds. (The coral/peach “puffs” in the photo are the madder results i was getting at that time.) The feathers on this wing are a textural smorgasbord, and perhaps i can draw from these, literally, in shape, and figuratively, in feel.

I could see wings on the back of this garment,  but that might be a bit much! I can’t/don’t want to make them smaller to fit in a section either, as they would be too fiddly to work, and would lose the point and effect. Perhaps a few scattered?

embroidery finished on pocket!

I just have to add some beading, and a bit of vintage lace (also madder dyed 🙂 ), a top band and then can move on to other parts of the garment.

I think it’s wonderful that all shades on this, except for the greens, are from various mordants and modifiers with madder on cotton (background), and wool, silk and cotton threads.

I *like* getting madder!

looking rosey

I do love this detail.


They were a bit naked without the leaves, so dipping into the stash, i found a bit more of my naturally dyed greens.

Of course, as it so often happens when one falls in love with something, the supplies run out….  I have very limited quantities of these wools, because i “never use them”—-HA! Fortunately, i found a small ball undyed, so guess what i’m doing today? (Yes, i hear you groaning “oh fer…more damn madder dyeing….”) AND i have to dye more greens as well, as *that* part of the stash is also very low.

gonna rock some pockets

Most women’s garments just don’t have pockets, or real, decent pockets. I’m tired of jeans with fake ones (a cop-out “detail” at its worst–who’s looking at me that cares if it looks like a pocket if it isn’t????????), tired of ones that are too small, or so small and deep that you can’t get anything in, but if you do, you can’t get it back out, ones that don’t lie flat, ones that twist, ones that are placed too high, too low or impossible to find behind your back, and pockets that quickly develop holes.

I have SO many ideas for this Summer Madder Project garment, too many maybe, or maybe enough that there could be a couple of pieces! As things go in, (some delicate vintage lace now! and more threads!) and things come out of the madder pot (hopefully, an even deeper red), i thought one best start somewhere, so pockets, pockets it is. I want capacious, generous baggy pockets, suitable for gathering leaves, stuffing monies in and snacks, carrying lost journals, lost kittens, injured birds, rocks, whatever: pockets should be able to comfortably CARRY things. That’s their function, truly. And if these don’t work as pockets, then they become small bags!

I’ve used similar little figures before, but since i plan on using them scattered around, the above are newly “designed” ones, along with 4 others not shown. Previous incarnation of the originals is here. (There will be other motifs as well, but these are a good start.)

Since this project when done will have to be washed by hand (due to natural dye Ph considerations), i’m not hesitating to mix silk/wool, wool, silk, and cotton threads, and fabrics in silk and cotton. The range of colours is more enticing on all the different fibres than using just cellulose or just protein fabrics and threads. The original plan was to create a “top” from a Tina Givens pattern, and i’m still going to use that (minus the ruffle, and lengthened a bit), but given that most of my embroidery is done with a flannel backing, this is going to have to be lined somehow, to hide the flannel and protect the reverse of the stitches. That means it’s a bit “heavier” than normal summer wear, but given that our nights here in the summer are a lot cooler than elsewhere, due to our altitude, that’s perfectly acceptable. I will however be using a thinner flannel than normal. I *could* use a finer cotton as a backing, but then the effect that stitching on a backing like flannel is lost–and that’s what my work is about, that added little dimension and depth. That’s why, for years, i’ve called it “embrilting” 🙂

As i’ve thought of the stitching itself, i’ve also come to the decision that more dimension will be “needed” as well, to personalize this to me. I might be going overboard, but time and effort will tell!


unfinished business is getting busy with finished!

Too many bits and bobs, unfinished, but not used for anything. I have to keep my hands busy, and sometimes despair of what to use things for. I’ve never been precious about what i do, so what the hell, let’s have some fun! I could look on the burgeoning piles as exercises, samples, tests, even a bit of wasted time and effort.

It’s like an athlete who has to continually keep moving, exercising, stretching, twisting, extending. Such a nasty word, *wasted, all definitions pointing to loss, garbage, effluence, used up, thrown away, the only comforting interpretive “a gradual passing of time” resonating… So, let’s say these are running in place exercises.

How many does a person really need (to do)? Simple: as many as a person needs (to do). But i DO know what i want to do with some of them.

It was past time to dip into the bead stash again. If i died tonight, there are so many, poor Greyman would be overwhelmed!

A Spring Burst!

hand embroidered Spring Burst textile art moon

And a Tango Tangerine too 🙂

hand embroidered tango tangerine moon textile art

Baby juice moons, weighing in (errr, measuring in) at 4″ square.

Working on things incorporating those eyes in the third photo too! It’s slow time in the studio–though i’m being patient, i’m finding it hard to corral beads, thread ultrafine needles, and deal calmly with fraying threads and smashed beads! It doesn’t help that i dropped a mouthful of grapes and cheese into my coffee either!

And quite honestly, though it seems all i’m doing lately is pushing my shop, these are *in* my shop 🙂 Since i’m no longer employed by anyone else, and am hoping NOT to go back to ANY ffFlower Mine, hey, a Woman has to do what a Woman has to do. Thank you to those who *do* support me–you’re all Wonderful Blossoms!