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Category Archives: in progress

the “Tabula Memoria” journal

Whoa! It’s a good thing that Blurb has easy to follow parameters and diagrams, and a better thing that i was able to bring into play old layout skills i learned in my teens!

I finished this on Aug 13th, and immediately ordered two copies: one for me, and one for the person who commissioned the work. Had to hold my breath until the 24th of August (Actually arrived on the 21st!) ) to have them in my hands, but OH OH OH, i’m so glad i did this.

Right from the beginning, i had all the digital originals in backed up files, and the physical sampling, writing and sketches in a distinct studio folder. The first time i tried to “make book”, i had no idea what i was doing, and tried to upload small photos with low resolution. (KEEP YOUR ORIGINALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And make sure they are properly edited and presented, none of this “there’s my 3 feet of floor around the 1 foot sized piece…. ) Figuring out the layout, the order, and the relevance of specific things for that endeavour was a nightmare, as i hadn’t documented as i went along. I also didn’t hit “save as” when i should have, and that book is gone, except for a few screenshots!

You *have* to pay attention to details, when self publishing. Unless you have a trusted, erudite, educated and very literate friend to proofread for you, trust the guides they give you!

In my mid teens, i worked for a small Canadian “literary” magazine in Guelph, Ontario, and one of my many jobs was actual layout of photos and text. Those were the days when it was “physical” work, printouts that had to be manually manipulated and then pasted down to a master sheet. While i had naive dreams then of being a poet, i never actually thought i could do my own books, never mind have them printed. The exception is a slim “chapbook” of poetry, published by a small London Ontario press, in 1978. “Tiger of a Different Colour” does have an ISBN though πŸ™‚Β  (That little magazine converted to Communism, and fired me when i wouldn’t go to Ottawa and participate in a possibly dangerous and illegal protest, risking arrest and jail! I was 16 and incredibly innocent, but i wasn’t STOOPID.) Edit: an hour after, i still have *most* of the work that was to be featured in that first book–i *can* rephotograph!

 

 

 

Now i’m thinking i really want to do a How To book after all, possibly from the FrankenStitch classes i have taught online.

 

 

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 22, 2017 in Commission, Tabula Memoria

 

the wings of possibility

Rarely are things set in stone here in the Stately Barr Manor Studio. Evolution, the Baby,Β  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 πŸ™‚ 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…………………………

 

 
 

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 πŸ™‚ ?

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.

 

making book

A real learning curve! I tried several years ago to do a Blurb book, but got so bogged down that it’s still sidelined.

However, i’m older and smarter now :), and have more patience and persistence, so i go i go i go–for hours, working on the accompanying journal for “Tabula Memoria”.

I knew from the beginning of this project that i didn’t want to send off a haphazard accumulation of the writing, sketches and samples i did as i went along, that it had to be something that would last, possibly be passed on (to “heirs”?), and that looked professional. From the start of this to the end, i kept a separate file for the physical work (said writing, sketches, samples) and a digital one with folders and sub folders (and sub sub folders….!), planning somehow to collate and correlate at the end.

Once you learn the program, it *is* easy. The hard part is picking and choosing what truly is relevant, deciding what should be featured and what is less “interesting”, writing coherently and in a timeframe sense for each photo, and then deciding how many pages really are needed.

From the initial query from Mr X, to the first concept scribblings, through process and progress, thoughts, changes, references and honestly some blah-blah, i’m up to 45 pages, with only a few left to do. You have to know when to stop too! There could always be another book for the “extras”, incorporated for a “how to” maybe…..

And maybe, just maybe, i’ll finish that first one, because there are others i’d like to do too.

 

 

 

“Tabula Memoria” reveal

I didn’t consider it complete until it was stretched and mounted, though the stitching was finished the first week of July.

The first figure attachment was a bit nerve-wracking. I had to be very aware of not only placement–imagine if i’d had to tear out hundreds of little stitches because it’s 1cm from where it should be, and then worry about the original *and* added tension also. Too tight and i can’t properly stretch the whole work, and too loose and it will be floppy instead of floating….

Second figure was much easier, “old hand” now that i am now πŸ™‚

The binary quotation:

 

 

I am very lucky in having a patron who commissioned this, and gave me leeway as to subject matter and timeline. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this, Mister X!

Because of the size, i bought stretcher bars, a cross brace and canvas and put it together myself. No doubt, i will/can do this again for other works that don’t fit “conventional” sizes of ready-made. When i start a work, it is the size it is to begin with πŸ™‚

EDIT: A. Thank goodness for Greyman’s help. The joints were SO tight, we had to shave them.

B. WTF? I measured this sucker THREE times, so HOW the hell did i buy stretchers that are TOO BIG????

C. Started again with new shorter bars………… Now there’s a really big extra canvas to use for something else………….

The shorter stretcher bars i bought went together much easier. I asked the fellow at the art supply store, and he said we shouldn’t shave at all, that the pieces DO fit together very tightly (demonstrating by actually shoving the pieces together with no body english involved–his 30-year-old hands are obviously much stronger than our 50something appendages!). I’m thinking because it was so hot and humid that week we did the first one, that it swelled. (That’s our excuse reasoning.) I sweated profusely andΒ  my hands shook when it was time to actually mount it: i was petrified i’d booboo’d again, that threads would snap, and areas would pull too much, that it would be wonky, miscentred, and just WRONG. Took me an hour to do because i had to keep stopping to calm down!

Now we had to crate it for shipping (fortunately for “domestic” delivery, ie within Canada)–and that means we’ll be building the crate too.

The next part of this project is to complete the accompanying journal, front and back covers below:

 

I feel a bit like this now that it’s done:

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Commission, Tabula Memoria

 

two milestones marked

“Tabula Memoria” is done. You won’t see it though until it’s mounted πŸ™‚ I’m taking a much needed break from the studio and from the Dayjob for the next week or so. (We gotta “get out of Dodge”, as it’s Calgary’s Stampede Week.)

 

And i’m featured at one of our favourite magazines: HandEye.