colour fields

 

 

Spring dyeing has commenced, trying new combos, a few new recipes. Some of these have been/are/will be in the shop, some i’ve sent to good homes thanks to word of mouth and social media.

I have few words to share these days. It’s as if something in me has shifted: i’d rather Do than write *about* doing. The Crone in me is stepping up and wants to spend more time with the materials. I’ve been, strangely enough in these times of isolation and caution, connecting more with old friends offline. It’s also time and season for out of the house, longer walks with DogFaced Girl, the two of us appreciating small moments of a glimpse of jackrabbit, a pussywillow budding, a violet sneaking from the moss in the woods, the smell of soil as seeds pop up, and finding where tansy and solidago sway, dried but greening at their own feet.

YUMSHUSNESS piles

I’ve been dyeing all week:

Swanky Panky: Packs of teasing texture in pearlescent cotton damask, mellow cotton velveteen, sultry silk habotai, crisp cotton and slinky silk/rayon velvet, naturally dyed in madder, quebracho rojo, lac, marigold and eucalyptus with historically accurate processes.

AND
Earthing: A more rustic version of the Swanky Panky mix, each pack with a different fibre mix. Naturally dyed in madder, quebracho rojo, lac, marigold and cutch with historically accurate processes.

 

 

 

Making piles. Sorting bits. Prepping projects. Skeining threads.

And then it’s time to play!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

(drum roll, please) Unknown Sister is back

I love what i do,  but it’s time to add a new approach. I had a reasonably successful run as a wearable art designer (Albedo Artclothing) from ’93 to about 2001, and my big big studio was always humming with work. Over the last couple of months, ideas have been popping into my head as to how to translate what i do into something one would wear, fun, bright, unique but comfortable, un-contrived and mixable with a person’s favourite skirt, top or pants, not so over-the-top as to be laughable or “inappropriate” for an occasion, but still completely different from what every one else has.

I have NO idea how long each piece will take at this point of planning. Making art by hand is not the same as whipping up something on the sewing machine or serger, slapping on a few applique and some exotic buttons—not that at that time there was anything wrong with that–it was “of the times” after all, and there were not a lot of truly hand crafted pieces, unless you were one of the 11tybajillion dollar rich persons who shopped bespoke couture somewhere in Milan or Paris or some exclusive by appointment only atelier on a hidden street in Lower wherever……

Yes, there will be machine work to assemble, because the “hand crafted” aspect i’m talking about is the design, the fabrics and embellishments, and the embellishing itself.

AND it’s still going to be with natural fibres and natural dyes, because that truly is my passion in all of this. I’m rarely attracted now to commercial fabrics, and i never wear synthetics as they make me feel strangled, hot and stinky, as they just don’t breathe.

This piece is what started me thinking about wearables again:

Tower to the Moon, 8″ SOLD

I’ve culled other ideas from previous work too, most done in the last 2 or 3 years. I’m also going through photographs of the previous work i did as Albedo Artclothing, because i know there’s stuff there that can be distilled as well, without being re-hashes or cop-outs. I believe it’s just ambitious enough to accomplish but not so much that i get bogged down or lose interest. Waking up excited this morning tells me i could be right about this, as i haven’t felt this way for a lonnnnnnng time!

“Unknown Sister” was a separate online shop and blog for awhile, for wearable accessories, and i decided to resurrect the idea specifically for this again.

Since i have no idea how long it will take to finish something like this as a wearable, i am projecting the first project won’t be done until the end of March. I’ll be keeping a log of sorts about time spent on it, so i can pre-plan future pieces, and re-learn time management (not a strong suit anymore!). Maybe it will be done before that deadline, but that IS the deadline, so we’ll see!

Let’s have some fun!

Just a nobody who ain’t gonna take it lying down

I am fucking PISSED OFF. I received a notice this morning that a piece of my ORIGINAL art was removed from RedBubble, due to a “copyright violation” reported. I own the original artwork that is MINE, i have in process shots of it, documentation and sketches and other venues i have shown the art in. I received no prior notice of this but for the shocking email this morning. If in fact, venues allow artists to be removed like this, with no proof from the artist, you are going to lose a lot of your artists. (Of course you DON’T get any notice beforehand: you have no recourse to defend yourself until after the “offending” work is removed.)

In all honesty, i have never HAD a sale from RedBubble, Society6, Print All Over Me, Blurb or any of the million “print on demand” sites. (Spoonflower has been okay however…) That ain’t the point though. Someone or somebody is either being nasty, or is micro-managing something that has nothing to do with them, reported my work as a trademark infringement and BOOM. It’s gone and all i can do is file a counterclaim. Sure i could completely deactivate my account—but that’s cutting off your nose and taking the ball home because no one is playing by your rules. It solves nothing, even if i’m vindicated, and do after the resolution.

*This* is the removed artwork:

“Spinal Tap”, 2011

Now, HOW THE HELL does this have anything to do with a parody band??????

SERIOUSLY???????????????????? Do you/they really think that any sale of a PRINT of MY artwork is going to affect their bottom line? How petty is that?

My artwork has NOTHING to do with the band in any way shape or form, no reference to them, no depiction, no imagery reminiscent of them, no branding, zip, zero, zilch. You know why? BECAUSE IT’S NOT ABOUT THEM, IT’S ABOUT A MEDICAL PROCEDURE AT THE LEAST, AND AT THE BEST A PIECE ABOUT *MY* SPINE. From the RedBubble site: “A NOTE ON FAIR USE: You might be able to incorporate someone else’s copyright or trademark into your own work, if you do it in such a way that that is considered “fair use” or in such a way that qualifies as another permissible use.” SO, tell me, HOW does this “hurt” the band’s trademark, image, etc????

I didn’t even use the term in a QUOTE parody, satire, critical commentary UNQUOTE use, as it has NOTHING to do with the band. Are they going to sue the Mayo Clinic, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, etc etc etc who use/d the term? HOW do you trademark that in the first place? As stupid as a Kardassian trying to trademark Kimono for her crap underwear…………….

So, i contacted both RedBubble through their initial email, filed a counterclaim on their DMCA page, left a public message on their FB page, AND left a message on the “group/band” FB DM. If nothing is resolved, i will file a complaint with the BBB.

I’m pretty sure nothing will be resolved, but i can’t just lie down and take this. It’s the principle. In the grand scheme of things, i’m a Nobody: i have no real power, no weapon, am not enriching anyone (especially /including myself) and neither the “band” or RB will truly give a shit or fix this. Basically, i am just pissing into the wind, with no hope or realization of anything but wet pants and anger.

Still, ya gotta stand up for yourself. No one else will.

Edit: Feb 25/21 Of course i have heard nothing from RedBubble, either by email saying they were wrong, not on Twitter, not on FB, not on IG, not by any private message, phone call or letter. I have subsequently filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (which won’t show for 5 days from this date apparently so they can make sure i’m not all sweary and troll-y…..).

Their post says this: “We’re still coming to terms with life after Schitt’s Creek. Thankfully, @bexrocks has got our back with these awesome hand lettered quotes. We’ve partnered with ITV studios so you can have your Schitt’s Creek fan art officially licensed to sell on Redbubble.” Well, that’s all fine and dandy BUT I DIDN’T USE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE DAMN BAND, so why should i/anyone pay for license agreements????????????????

Flime ties!!!!!

Where have i been? Nowhere. Like most of us. I did manage to get my arse shuffling faster for the Christmas season in the shop, but that stopped mid December, with Dog Duties taking precedence.

I made a plan, yes i did, on the 2nd of January. It looks looked good, but as of the 28th, i haven’t taken it to heart. As of today however, i’m going to. I like what i do, when i do it, so what’s the dealio? I look at the calendar and all of a sudden it’s the 25th, and precious little has happened. A little has happened, but rare to show and some mostly unfinished. Reading has been the stopper on the creativity bottle (not a terrible thing in itself), but not conducive to any expressed rather than just internal imagination. Might have to pretend the computer is broken, as my escape is all ebooks online though our public library!

The Ragmates2020/DillyDally Coat is still in my stitch corner, and somewhere along the way since August (?), i did do some work on it. I’m going to switch out one section from the sleeve to the back when i saw that most of the work would be hidden on the inside of the sleeve against the body. Shall have to be less flamboyant there 🙂

I’ve been fiddling with Itty Bitty Beaded Bits, thinking the focus might help. Mmmm, i do ♥♥♥ the look of these!

(In the shop!) Two more are still in the studio be be completed!

I’m trying to figure out a way to make my own studio space more enticing too. Is it that the sun doesn’t pour into this one? Oh i miss that sun in my eyes! 🙂

DogFaced Girl has done very well through her convalescence and healing period, with no problems with the incision or the use of the leg. We have concluded however, that Madame is a Madame, apt to whinge and whine, pretending things are worse if she doesn’t want to be bothered! Perfectly capable of going for walks and excitedly bouncing when “go get ready” is mentioned, but oh what a Prima Dona when told breakfast is IN the kitchen and will not be served to her in bed, a mere 10 feet away. She does need help getting into the car, but that’s a confidence issue with ice and a bit of height.

Not an issue now, that last sentence 🙂

She can easily get into the back of this one, just like coming in from the patio to the livingroom! It looks rather “posh”, and is incredibly sporty, our “Bruce 2.0”. A 2018 Honda Civic CRX SI, we were looking at “new cars” lately because the Saturn we inherited from MIL a few years back is on its last wheels. It’s serendipity that we saw this one and amazingly, got a stupifyingly incredibly clutchthepearlsandsqueal far from a new vehicle would cost deal on it. We knew buying again, it had to be used and that it was something that would have to last the rest of our (driving) lives, because honestly, let’s face it, both of us are not *that* far from retirement age. (And i still haven’t learned to drive and never will now…) The bonus is this baby has only 18,400K on it, was serviced within an inch of “AGAIN you’re bringing it in for care???” in the time the first owner had it, Hondas have fabulous resale value, even years old and both of us are Honda fans.

So, back into the studio and off the arse!

when is enough

This is me this week. I’m just not as cute or lovable. The last three weeks, i was pushing, running, pushing more, running again, as piles grew, but the piles while working didn’t feel that big when i’d stop, so i’d push and run some more. After last weekend and the following days, explanations for which i am not going to go into again, i’m exhausted. Physically, emotionally, cerebral-y (that is SO a word, even if i just made it up). Small world of one’s own, large world one lives in, i’m just so tired of it all. All i want to do is sleep. I’m taking two naps a day, going to bed early (though i do get up early from years of habit), but it’s still not enough sleep.

I’ve got plans, lists, ideas. I try to be disciplined. I keep a sketchbook handy. I’m not short on materials. I’m pleased with what i have done, confident in my skills, assured of future work– but I still just want to sleep.

Isn’t “lockdown” perfect for sleep? Sleep it all away, all the wilful ignorance, vanity, hatred, jealousy, self righteousness, self entitlement, self importance. Keep the circle small, make it smaller than it already is. If i sleep until January, maybe that magic flip of the calendar page will work this time.

I’m trying to find that one bit of perfection in a day but for whatever reason, sleep is the thing.

different kinds of simple

What makes something simple? Minimal colour, minimal texture, big details or small? Clean lines, perfect angles, closed shapes? Archetypal symbols, personal interpretations of symbols, no symbols? (That’s a non issue the “no symbols”: somebody somewhere is going to read something into it.) One swoop on a colour field? No flowers, frillies or lacies? One technique? Maximum  ℑ/⊇/ℜ**** techniques (that merge, don’t fight)?

This is simple:

Original Truths, detail 2, hand embroidery on cottons, natural dyes and rust processes, 20×31″

So is this:

Winter Prairie, detail, 2012, rust cotton, hand embroidery, 18×26″

And this:

Lady of Sky, indigo and Procion dyed cotton, ecoprinted cotton, naturally dyed and commercial threads, 9×24″, arlee barr©, in private collection

So too are these:

I find myself fighting with things, trying to be more direct. Ideally, the goal is that last simple dotted circle: THAT is the kind of minimalism i desire, but it’s not as easy as it looks, having a harsh Inner Critic.

Spent three hours on this today (base with minimal work SO FAR in photo):

To the left, i scattered three hot pink dots, and then ripped out four versions of stitching around them–flowers yes, but i want simple, not foofy. Sometimes i see too much in these, then overwork, then rip out, start again (or toss aside). How’d i let myself be distracted by all the jeuje-ing of colour and texture?

Actually, the above started like this:

Because what i WANTED to start with, i think i threw out when we did the Big Move downsizing in September and October of last year:

I’ve torn apart my whole studio trying to find it. I wanted to cut it into at least 3 parts, then use the offcuts in a fourth piece, but. But but but, the one i came up with is not even near what i wanted, or expected of myself.

 

Each interpretation/mistake/solution-change-fix though does usually lead to other work being “easier”. Maybe that’s the point.

****imaginary part/superset/real part symbol

madder returns, and baby blue hopes

So………………..this is the culmination of 3 and a half years of growing madder. There were 4 winters in that time span, and the first three i had the good fortune of a large garden, where the huge pot could be heeled in (buried and well covered in other words) for our harsh winters. Not so with the recent move and downsizing though: i kept the pot against our sunny house wall by the heat escape vents, wrapped and covered it well, but no growth at all when spring started. Time to “harvest” roots, regardless, as madder is good to dig up in at least it’s third year (5 is optimum apparently).

I dumped the pot, and pawed through it, working as fast as possible because there was a new ant home in the bottom (i HATE ants: they creep me out, have done since i saw Salvador Dali’s “Un Chien Andalou” when i was 16…..) and was very disappointed. Not only did the roots never get below the depth of half the pot, but they were SMALL, stringy and unfortunately, had started to rot. POOP.

I ended up with 65 grams of “fresh” root, which as i understand means they would dry down to about one sixth of that, not quite 11 GRAMS…… I can see a red tint to them, but am not hopeful for good depth. I will use as soon as i can because they don’t *have* to be dry to use, though it’s suggested that letting them “age” develops more of the alazarin. (Although as i hit “publish” on this post, i note they have been drying now for 32 days, admittedly a far cry from drying for a year 🙂 ) I won’t be trying to grow it again as our new garden space is too tiny to heel anything in, and seriously, the “return” on all the effort was not worth the effort… If i ever win the lottery, and have my big space in the country and a proper greenhouse, well, then we’ll revisit that.

Most of the Indigo suffruticosa seeds i planted did pop up. I lost a couple to drying out, because of the winds we’ve had lately, and due to the fact that Calgary is very dry at the best of times. I’m not assuming these will get as big as they grow in Texas at Deb’s though (SHE”S HARVESTING ALREADY!), because we have a shorter growing season, much cooler nights (due to our altitude) and so far this season not a lot of heat….. They did manage to get through 3 hail storms unscathed, probably because they are so tiny! I’m going to cloche them for awhile, trying to keep some heat in, and hopefully they will get big enough that i can get something. I still have a very tiny harvest from my first indigo Persicaria tinctoria attempts at the old house–a handful stored dry since 2015! (Edit: Even cloching these babies didn’t do much though they did double in size in a week. Still pretty teeny! And i don’t know if a bug/virus got them, or it’s the cold weather, but they are all spotted.)

I’ve decided in future, i won’t be sharing much about the actual process of natural dyeing, just the results. I get a fair number of hits on my “how to/how i did it” posts, but since 99.9% of readers don’t acknowledge even with a simple “thank you”, it seems rather pointless. (I’m sure it also bores the hell out of my readers that don’t care about that part of the process.) I seriously think schools have done a poor job teaching anyone HOW to research correctly, but i ain’t getting into that. All i can say is “just because it’s on the internet, or “popular”, doesn’t make it true”.

booked out–and back

I needed a nice long break. I just read. No stitching, drawing, planning, dyeing, sewing, painting, nothing.

Worked my way through 75 books since the first of May, when i finally figured out how to access library ebooks. And yes, that is correct, 75 books. I learned to read fast, and i mean really fast when i was a kid, 900 words a minute at that time–we all did the three of us kids, this was “self defense/interest” in my family because if you wanted to finish the book that the family was all reading at once, you had to be speedy before Dad got it and spent hours with it! I read about 700 per minute now as i get older 🙂

I gardened a little, walked the dog, did the minimum (TOO minimal, actually…) housework, watched piss all TV as even Netflix is rather boring right now as all i can find that i am interested in is usually Scandinavian with stiffly translated english subtitles, and read, read, read, for hours at a time. Books were a big escape for me when i was a kid and a single mother, and in times like we’ve had lately, and the times i’ve had lately, escapism was needed. I feel neither guilty nor as if i wasted time. Worked my way through series of David Baldacci, Frances Fyfield, Karin Slaughter, Nicci French, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Jo Nesbo, Kathy Reichs, the first volume in the Villanelle series —totally different than the tv series— and assorted “one off” novels by various writers. I read NOTHING for research purposes, nothing to learn new techniques, nothing to do with my passions.

The only exciting/worrying/dire/nasty thing that happened during all this was my mother ending up in hospital for a few days with something bad happening–but fortunately with a woman who speaks her mind and impresses upon doctors and staff that SHE IS NOT STUPID, SENILE, OR LOSING HER MARBLES: JUST TELL ME THE DAMN TRUTH (GO MOM!) that worked out and she’s home under the care of my Super Brother. Late night phone calls from family members are always agonizing, and i know there will be more happening as the year goes by…….. (Hopefully yearS!) (Hopefully with little frequency.)

Since my other library requests are “holds” where i am #57 on 2 copies and similar ridiculous wait times, i guess it’s time to get back to studio hours.

 

yesterday and today

Yesterday, i felt like this:

Pomegranate dyed/mordanted cotton, post modified with iron solutions. A base for bad days, i haven’t decided if i should work on it ON the bad days, or wait until a good day to do! Either way is valid–maybe both to see how it affects the work?

When the going gets tough though, it’s time to get out the brightest crayons and have a good scribble. My version of that is vivid natural dyes, and today these results on mostly cellulosic fibres (linen, cotton lace trim, cotton scrim, cotton threads– and small skeins of wool thread on the far left) came out of the quebracho rojo dye pot.

I’m thrilled with these results as previous experiments, while gorgeous on silk threads, silk habotai and silk velvet were rich, my cottons were pastel pinky browns, nothing exciting, and the threads were even more boring. The water IS different in this house, obviously quite different from the Grand Old Lady’s 100+ pipes.

I *might* use some of the wool thread on the top grey piece, still auditioning thread colours for it.

Scribble, scribble, scribble.