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Category Archives: in progress

feelin’ the love (sort of)

As many of you know, i am a floral designer by day, and this being Valentine’s Day “week”, i haven’t had much stitching time! It’s been more stressful this year, when people seem to forget it’s the same day EVERY YEAR DUH (and wait until the last minute, and then bitch because we’ve run out of things), but our flowers were stuck in the mountains for 48 hours due to the road and weather conditions! You should have seen me beetling around yesterday, “power arranging” vases and bouquets, making up for the days we couldn’t do it! I’m thinking of adding a “F***you Fee” to difficult customer orders…….

slow-go-red-hexes

Every minute counts though, and a stitch here and there adds up. I’m loving this blue variegated on the axons and ganglia!

 
 
Image

texture

texture

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2017 in embrilting, in progress

 

break on through to the other side

Since when do i have to “finish” a section before i move to the next? Perhaps that “drag point” merely means it’s time to move on to something else to stop the dragging of heels?

red-and-blue-memory-hex

The other side is the same, but different 🙂 I decided to further “fragment” some of the hex/memory symbols, by using the blue and the red together behind. One or two of the smaller areas will be solid blue, but more of the red will be used, as i want this side to be more of the compartmentalizing and fracturing symbolism. The threads too will echo this, partly because the effect works, and partly because i have to marshall my stash carefully, as some of these threads can’t be replaced/re-ordered. Working the materials in this one is definitely a case of use what you have and don’t buy more, and more importantly, don’t change the plan just because you ran out of something!

It was also time to pin up on the wall, and see the whole. When you work by hand like this, and in intense areas, it gets a little myopic.

the-whole-feb-6

GADZOOKS! It sure FEELS like there’s more done…… (And the top third isn’t even in the photo…..)  Okay, well, considering how much hand work has gone into this, yes i have so done a lot. I *do* see progress, i like the feel, and while i was a tad concerned the red would be too powerful, i can see that in value, it pretty much “matches” the other side. Not that i worry about “matching”, but the eye must travel properly.

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2017 in in progress

 

drag point

There comes a time for me with every piece that is a drag point. I’ve been “in the zone” with the whole, but suddenly the whole has more parts than i realized, and there’s only so zoney you can get, to get it done! This is such a large piece, and it has many parts, not only in design and execution, but in meaning, so i’m looking at the pauses and stutters as part of the thinking process. I’ve done a lot of reading and research, something that had fallen by the wayside for awhile. I missed that, and am glad to be taking that time again.

The meanings of memory, of remembered, and true, time, the flashes of forgotten experience, the daily recognition and reflection, what would you do if you had no cognizance of most or any of this? Mental illness, dementia, repression, amnesia, delusion/illusion, cognitive conformity (oh that one really frosts my cookies), moral licensing, (the previous two can be/are linked), and most strangely of all, lifelong severely deficient autobiographical memory (SDAM) , and highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM). What if you could remember *everything*??????????

I remember things from when i was 3, vivid memories of sneaking into the bathroom and taking one of my father’s razor blades (the real ones in those days), sitting on the top step of the stairs and slicing my thumb open, and knowing i was going to be in trouble for it. From the same time, i remember re-assuring my younger brothers (they were 2 and 1) that the loud noise at night was just a train going by. I don’t remember anything from ages 9 and 10. I remember too much from some really bad personal years, but, as in the old joke, not what i had for dinner last night. Some of my memories are distorted, integrated with someone else’s, stolen, i know that from talking with family or friends, who remember differently. Absence of memory, strong memory are protective mechanisms, talismans, guides (yes, do it, no, don’t), for me.

And now i remember i have limited time.

to-feb-4

to-feb-4-detail

I’m close to done most of the hexes on the left panel of this work (more than these photos show), and wanting to “balance” the right side, will be adding more hexes, but with a different feeling, and configuration. (These photos are also “sideways” because the section is so long, easier to view this way, the bottom actually on the right!)

Next step will be to choose the threads for this side. The main one may still be a bamboo colourway “Stormy Weather”, of which i will have JUST enough (it’s ir-replaceable, as a gift and from a private dyer), OR this one below, and some warmer toned threads than the blues/greens i’ve been using on the left side. That red silk for “under” the hexes has been with me for at least 20 years!

right-side-hexes

I’ve used the hexagon shape over the past years in many ways, usually symbolizing nature and connectivity, and now  have added the element that the hexes represent memories—connecting and referring to each other but separating, compartmentalizing, fragmenting as we get older–as we age the connections become disparate, as time and self dissociate.

And i still don’t have even a “working title” for this.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2017 in in progress, journal: lessons to learn

 

a stitch, or many, in time

“How did it get so late so soon?” ― Dr. Seuss

Time and space are slowing with this one. Since the last “photo session” on the 25th, i have added 11 more hours worth of stitch to this area, and feel (while i’m loving it) that little more has been done…………..

Intricacy, tiny occlusions and inclusions, artistic license *and* accuracy, the Devil is in the details as They say.

to-jan-29

(I however have to pick parts of that top hex out, as it woogled and borgled.)

The indigo was definitely the right choice.

to-jan-29-detail-1

I’ve had to make tons of notes as i go along, because there are many steps for working each section of the neuron. I keep missing little bits as i go through each one!

to-jan-29-detail-2

I wanted to add what i thought were synapses somewhere, but my thinking about this has been wrong. I thought a synapse was a totally different animal, but research shows me it’s the space “between” neurons.

I can appreciate the beauty of this though, as it’s not all cut and dried facts. My favourite shot to date below, though the lighting is not true.

to-jan-29-morning-light-a

The “hand” of all this stitching is sore, but the “hand” of all this stitching is so wonderfully tactile too 🙂

I had a big long discussion with myself originally on this post about “meditative” and “mindful”, but blah blah so i deleted it.
 
 

hexes rising

indigo-hexes-jan-24A few years ago in a Yoshiko Wada workshop, i fortuitously dipped two previously ecoprinted hunks of silk in a henna based indigo pot. In the ensuing years i’ve often dug them out and admired the greeny blue that resulted, though often thought the mud colour induced by chemical reaction over the ecoprints was well, too muddy. Sometimes i’ve wondered about just tossing them or giving them away.

Whew, i didn’t. You never know what will be Useful and Beautiful and Perfect, if you throw it out. The earthiness now of those colours are what was called for in secret by this piece. I listened.

My biggest challenge with this though, is finding a UBP slab of true madder.

 

I’ve been tuning into certain words and phrases now as i stitch in the evenings, hearing from the strangest sources quotes about memory. A cheesy B movie yielded up “We survive by remembering, but sometimes we survive by forgetting,” and a Cicero quote from an episode of Criminal Minds “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” Proves one never knows what might be relevant or inspiring, and from the oddest “sources”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

stitching in semiotics

I wonder how meaning is created, not what it is. Symbolism, connotation, iconography, denotation, synecdoche: Memory.

neuron-sketch

(Sketch of normal neuron from 2011)

A long time ago, i worked a series i called the Artist’s Body. Bones, hearts and brains fascinated, still do fascinate me. How do all these things come together to make a living, breathing entity? Now i’m focusing on one of the more “ephemeral”, unquantifiable aspects of the brain, memory.

Not all of us will fall prey to Alzheimer’s, though most of us as we age, start having faulty memories, the connections becoming disparate, as time and self dissociate. And when you really think about it, all of life is memory, except for the moment of NOW, that changing moment of awareness as we live it, and instantly it becomes the past, another memory.

plaques-and-tangles-in-alzheimer-damaged-neurons

Memory is time as illustration also. (Even as i write this, i have to refer to my trusty Stitch Journal, for dates…) On the 22nd, i spent 5 hours laying this out and hand stitching.

neurons-jan-22Yesterday, another 5.25 hours:

neurons-jan-23I’m almost where i can start adding the indigo underneath certain pieces.

And can something so drifting and fleeting be so tangible to, and in, physical touch? Palpable, stirring, substantial, as i run my fingers over this.