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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.

 

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!!!!

 

becoming a purple thread

Certainly a vanity, thinking one knows everything, but i’ve always subscribed to “Learn something new everyday, and you know you’re not dead” — i *don’t* know everything, but i do my research and i’m happy to not only do the correct thing, but to riff on that once the lesson is learned. If i need an affirmation of something i’ve done or a puzzlement needs solving, i’ll ask, but i don’t JUST ask and expect the whole answer “with 8×10 glossies and paragraphs and arrows on the back” to be handed to me on a silver platter.

I remember asking a Contextural member a long time ago how she achieved a certain shade in her natural dyeing/ecoprinting, and she sweetly and truthfully replied “Every dyer has her secrets” with no smugness, and in all honesty. I took that to heart, learning what i could and often failing because i didn’t follow the basics first.

I’ve got that part well sussed now, and am quietly thrilled with the tried and true, and the experimenting. All of this past week’s naturally dyed threads here have notes on each as to what it is, but you’ll have to figure out certain parts for yourself πŸ™‚

And the details in close-up:

Where these threads go next will be “the long white gown”,Β  metaphorically speaking.

 

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

 

string theory in the hollyhock bed

In physics, string theory is a theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called strings. It describes how these strings propagate through space and interact with each other. Here’s my version πŸ™‚ Let’s see how one dimensional my threads are after they propagate with dyes, mordants and modifiers, and how they interact with a needle and cloth!

I’ve collected hollyhock blooms ever since i realized they could be used to dye with (2010). “Amassing” is not really a word i’d apply to this practice though: in the beginning i had huge swathes of them growing beside the house, but as the years went by, rust disease and aphids took their toll.

Above, this is what it looked like when we moved into this house in 2009.

And now……

very sad in comparison, but there is hope, because last year it looked like this:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These were the darkest i’ve had before:

I have maybe 8 plants now, only 4 of which are any good for dyeing with. One of my summer morning rituals is to go with coffee in hand, and collect the finished blooms from all the dark flowering specimens. The pale pinks give barely any results, and anything in any other colour family yields nothing. Each plant gives up maybe 30-50 blooms each *over the season*, so there’s not a lot of frenzied picking activity! Patience and anticipation are the key words πŸ™‚

This year i have this beauty in the side bed:

Darker than any i’ve had before, and with a huge bloom, i’m keeping them separate from the others, curious to see if there is a difference.

These are the wool threads i did with the smaller blooms collected from previous years:

I’ll have to wait probably until the end of August to have enough of the new darker blooms to work with though!

I have a fermentation hollyhock bath going as well, and will decant that when i can stand waiting no longer.

Β 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 2, 2017 in garden dye plants, hollyhock

 

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!Β  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.