Friday, December 21, 2012

Studio Ready, Get set, tea.

My time spent with Karen Ruane at Contemporary Embroideries is at an end for now.

I have completed three of her online courses and enjoyed and learned a ton from each of them. Next year she is offering an 'Alchemy' course that is very intriguing in case it interests any of you.

My mind is spinning from all I've learned and feel it would be good to do some percolating and processing. I've been using masking tape to keep all the ideas from oozing out of my head. I was spinning around the studio in circles this morning and decided I needed to organize.

First, I have to clear out the room of all extraneous things, like recorders and vacuum cleaners and bills.

Then I had to set up multiple surfaces so each 'idea' has it's own home, I piled up any pieces of scrap fabrics or notes, any threads or buttons, even baskets to hold items in. Next, I sorted through the piles of whatever has landed in an idea's backyard and begin to add and subtract.

 This is an old project, based on the colours of a gas spill on water. When I was a girl, going to the gas station was an experience of a wild smell of the gas from the pumps and seeing amazing colours of the gas spilt on the tarmac. Years later I came across a photo of a gas spill and started replicating it in  a grid of these small postcard sized 'quilts'. I stalled because the stash of textiles to chose from was so large. I discovered a trick from Karen's class of using a back ground muslin to pin selected textiles into an approximation of how things might go. I've cut up the next four postcards worth of muslin and will dive into the scrap bin tomorrow to begin creating new groupings.

 In the top left corner is part of a finished piece, Detoor,  that imagines the view is up through the early spring leaves of a linden tree. It exhibited in the traveling show 'Rooted'. It is now time to get the second piece going, also based on looking up through leaves. I'm concentrating on transparent colours, using mostly see-through textiles. The white scrim in the centre and the middle left is a technique I learned, also from Karen, and it allows a nice variety of ways to see through to the next layer of stitching

The Vine Girls on the right need a new gal to join the gang.  There is a pattern for the new doll on the tracing paper, although it didn't show up well here. It is traced on the flesh tone fabric behind the dolls and the threads have been chosen. These threads are a bit darker than those adorning the first three dolls, but then this fourth doll has had to wait rather long to get a shape, so she's already a bit grumpy and aged.

This is where the Vine Girls live at the  moment. I found the tea pot on someone's boulevard grass on garbage day a few months back. I think it is the perfect bling for girls growing out of the earth.

It was at this point in the morning's work that I lost my glasses. I have no idea where they went, I checked the top of my head several times, the collar of my shirt as well. I checked the top of all the surfaces and gave up. I trolled through the house twice and the bathroom three times. Nope. There was too much stuff to look through and under. Hopefully, I wouldn't step or sit on them. I forged ahead, but had not a very clear idea of specific colours I was now looking at. 

 Way back during the first of Karen's classes, Extending Ledgers, I had a brainstorm based on a technique we were learning of doing mad free motion sewing on the sewing machine and then cutting away top surfaces to reveal whatever lay underneath. The bottom-most piece was what I was using to experiment with. There was also water colour paints being used on paper and I decided to try painting scrim, because I found the pure white with colours a bit too unsettling. The scrim here is a pale blue/mauve and it needs to be free motion sewn. I'm kind of excited about this, but who knows what it will look like. This is a cliff to jump off of in the new year.

 This is a sample of some of the cut-away work that started the above idea. There is another sample, but it is in horrible peach tones and I can't bear to post it and admit it is mine.

Everything is all tidied up and ready to begin. I even had a pants hanger available for true obsessive organization.

I promised my mom a quilt the last time I visited, about 6 months ago. Since then I have found a pattern she likes. Very luckily, my good friend, Linda, gave me this gift of hand dyed fabric, exactly the range of blues I had in mind for Mom. I promised to have the pattern all cut out over Christmas, so this is where my attention needs to go first.

 I also decided to offer my sister a textile gift for her 50th birthday this September. She gave me several guiding suggestions. From them all I came up with jewel toned fire works. Above is the beginning. I have only a vague idea where it will go to, I have to think about how best to depict fireworks without being literal about it. I'll have to do some sketches, sigh.

 Cleo Belle is beyond exhausted at this point. I thought she had a good idea and began to wrap things up. Afterall, it seems like a good pile of projects. Then I remembered I had posted on my midnight waters project before and hadn't done an update for a while. I have moved from this....

to this.....
It felt like a huge step at the time but it looked kind of tiny when I photographed it today. I have to remember that the piece at the top of this post is the result of nearly 18 weeks of work with Karen and this had been put on hold.

I took an extra half hour to tidy up, have lunch, get the hiccups and begin this post. I bent down to light the fire, hiccupped, and out fell my glasses. They were under the scarf I was wearing, tucked into my bra strap. I should really get one of those sports bands that keeps the glasses firmly on the head at all times.

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