Planet Textile Threads

October 23, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Frightening, somehow






Strangely chilling. All found on the same pinterest board.

Closer to home ... emerging from a drawer, these transfer-paint samples (a la Jawlensky) from a class taken some 20 years ago ... lurid, scary ... gone!
Centre to is an original; centre bottom is printed onto pale tights, the rest onto pelmet vilene

by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 23, 2014 05:40 PM

Olga Norris

Stretched grid

Jude made a comment on my last post about stretching grids - and that suddenly awakened a memory: Shirazeh Houshiary's east window for the church of St Martin in the Fields in London.  There are several photos of the window on her website, under site-specific works. This pic. is from there.
It is just such a simply beautiful, appropriate work which says so much with so little - and yet leaves room for pondering and ambiguity.  Speaking of which, there is also an interesting TateShots video of her talking about her work here (not about grids).
Indeed, I was only thinking about this artist this morning over breakfast as I read about her sculpture in the latest Sculpture magazine.

by Olga Norris (noreply@blogger.com) at October 23, 2014 05:39 PM

Rayna Gillman

Are you a robot?

I have set my blog to NO word verification. Nonetheless, it appeared today when I tried to leave a comment on my own blog from my iPad.  I wrote to Google, to no avail.  Please don't let it keep you from leaving comments if you get that thing when you try to leave one.  Just put in the numbers and know that it is there despite the fact that I have turned it off. GRRRRRRRR. Does anyone else have this problem with their blog?

On a more pleasant note: I received a package of Malaysian small batch artisinal batiks from Turtle Hand and opened it this morning. I didn't even know they produced batiks in Malaysia, but here they are.  Gorgeous!!  I can't wait to wash/iron/cut them and use them.  They remind me somewhat of the Indian batiks I love so much and they are totally different from the typical batiks you find in the stores.
I think they will go beautifully with the hand-dyes I have and I just hope I can get enough time in December (when I am actually home!!) to play.  Tina of Turtle Hand will have a booth in Houston at both Market and Festival and I suspect she will have an even more varied selection.  Yummy! Wish I were able to go to Houston this year but my teaching schedule just didn't want to cooperate.



by noreply@blogger.com (Rayna) at October 23, 2014 04:14 PM

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - The Red Cockatoo by Po Chu-i

Poster is available via ltmuseumshop
Sent as a present from Annam—
A red cockatoo.
Colored like the peach-tree blossom,
Speaking with the speech of men.

And they did to it what is always done
To the learned and eloquent.
They took a cage with stout bars
And shut it up inside. 

Po Chu-i (772-846), translated by Arthur Waley

(one of a set of "Chinese Poems on the Underground"; from New Poems on the Underground, 2006)


Also known as Bai Juyi, this poet lived during the Tang dynasty, an amazing time in Chinese cultural history - see a selection of its visual art here...horses, dancing ladies, and more! The Tang dynasty was a fertile time for poetry, too - 300 translated poems can be read here. The poets seemed to have a good time of it; drinking with friends in the moonlight was something they often wrote about.

Po Chu-i worked to develop a style that was easy to understand - the story goes that he would read his poems to an old peasant woman and would change any line that she didn't understand. A government official, he lived through the reign of eight or nine emperors. In 814 his writings got him into trouble when he overstepped his position as a minor palace official. He was demoted and sent into exile, which lasted till 819. Nor was this the only time he wrote contentious "memorials in remonstrance" with the current emperor.

A Buddhist, in 832 he repaired an unused part of the Xiangshan Monastery at Longmen, and on moving to this location, he began to refer to himself as the "Hermit of Xianshang". The area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site - it is famous for its tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples carved out of the rock.



by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 23, 2014 01:07 PM

Olga Norris

Thinking about grids

led me to thinking about deer fencing, and thence to the remainder of our fencing along that border.  The latter consists of now very old paling and wire fence which is more or less held up by the shrubs and ivy.  It needs replacing, but with the same, because although less effective, it is definitely more attractive than the straight grid. 
And that led to doodling a fence, which somehow with other thinking about grid structures, like baskets, led to this:
At this stage it is but a preliminary drawing - not much more than a doodle, but I do find it worth leaving in my files.

by Olga Norris (noreply@blogger.com) at October 23, 2014 12:26 PM

October 22, 2014

Virginia A. Spiegel

Inspired by Autumn – New paintings and more

Changing300 Changing
Acrylic paint on canvas
24″x24″x.75″
$500

I adore this time of year when all the plants and trees are winding down in a final burst of glory.  The skies are blue, the fields are golden, the air is cool – what’s not to love?  I hope you feel some of the dynamism of this time of year in these three new paintings and two assemblages.

BlueLeaf300BlueLeaf
Acrylic paint on canvas
24″x30″x.1.5″
$625

LeafFall300LeafFall
Acrylic paint on canvas
24″x24″x.75″
$500

BlueBird300BlueBird 1
Paper, acrylic paint, wood found object on stretched canvas
10″x8″x1.25″
$95

BlueBird2300 BlueBird 2
Paper, acrylic paint, wood found object on stretched canvas
10″x8″x1.25″
$95

by Virginia at October 22, 2014 12:53 PM

Olga Norris

"... the ambience that is the artist ..."

I spend a deal of working time at my computer, and as a kind of breathing space from the intensity of creating designs I scroll through the ethereal world of the Internet.  More than usually interesting, sometimes I encounter real gems, and yesterday afternoon was one such time.
Through The Textile Blog I was introduced to the first issue of Inspirational
 described in its own introduction thus:
Inspirational seeks to walk a different path, it wants to raise awareness of the artist as muse, as imaginative catalyst, the individual who uses the creative arts to gain insight from the world that surrounds them, but also to gain insight from the world within themselves and within all of us.
I was initially enticed by the mention of two artists whose work I have long much admired: Joanie Gagnon San Chirico, and Jude Hill.  Now, having bought and downloaded the first issue I am enjoying a lyrical introduction to artists new to me, as well as a beautiful re-introduction to fond acquaintances.
Each article is substantial, satisfying yet forming a basis for thought-pulling curiosity not only about the artist and their work, but about what inspires them and how any of that fits our own life experience and outlook, and au fond what inspires us.  The beautiful photographs which occupy at least half of the four double page spreads dedicated to each artist are of the work.  The work represents the artist who is described in a text which is a single eloquent voice throughout - both presenting a poetic portrait in which we are also invited to look for elements of our own view of life. 
Magazine as meditation.

by Olga Norris (noreply@blogger.com) at October 22, 2014 01:43 PM

Margaret Cooter

Tuesday is drawing day (2 and 3)

Anticipating the start of the "drawing in museums" course today, I set aside the equivalent time on Tuesday mornings for the past couple of weeks and approached the task of drawing as a means of
- recording
- exploring
- experimenting
- communicating
... just about anything goes, it needn't be entirely observational ... which can make it hard to start!

The first week was "inky day" and I blogged about it here.

The second week was a continuation of the pen-and-ink theme. Some luggage labels had come my way, and over a couple of hours a handful received straight lines, applied with various pens.
Rotring art pen; Stabilo whiteboard marker; glass dip pen; bamboo pen
 My favourite marks -
Small and quick;  slow and deliberate;  quick, light, overlapping;  what happens with bamboo
 Least liked -
Tedious little circles;  energetic but chaotic;  horizontal=hard to control;  simply unsatisfying
 Also I tried a bit of piercing, not only on luggage labels...
Look what happens to the wodge of paper underneath!
... but also on other types of paper -
Inked paper folded and stitched by machine, without thread in the needle,
using an automatic embroidery pattern

Tissue paper folded and punctured with a dressmaker's wheel
The third week - today - was to be the first week of the five-week course, Drawing in Museums. But mere hours before the course was to start, yesterday evening in fact, came the email that due to low enrolment, the course had to be cancelled.

I had imagined being in a group that went to different galleries in the British Museum (nearest to the college) and at first thought I might go there anyway. But without someone else's schedule to follow, the whole city of museums was open to me ... where to go first?

My choice, the Wallace Collection, was influenced by needing to return something to John Lewis, and to do a little shoe shopping along the way... so it was after 11 before I reached the museum.

In the dim, quiet, carpeted corridor leading to the lecture theatre hang four wonderful cloths in a glass case. I sat down and got out my oil pastels and was working away quite happily when the place was invaded by a class of schoolchildren, being told to line up against the wall. I was a bit in their way. They were interested in what I (sitting on the carpet with back to wall)  was doing but I heartily wished they would hurry off to somewhere else ... which finally they did. Such are the perils of drawing in museums ...
Velvet applique and silk embroidery, with horizontal seams
The fabric was behind glass and about 2 metres away from my feeble eyes, so I did the best I could on a small scale with the garish colours, then had a good look with nose (and camera) pressed against the glass.
Views from far and near
The velvet is worn - indeed the background and floral decoration is very worn in places. At first I thought the red pile was woven in, confined to some areas, and on looking closer was surprised to see that is was applique, with decorative lines of parallel stitches.
Signs of wear
 And yet, it looked like the stitching had been done over the velvet, outlined with couched threads, at least in some areas -
Embroidery is more intact in this area
Information on this textile doesn't seem to be available online ... it's intriguing. I was originally drawn to the bird, invisible in the top of the first picture; the one in the photo above is a mirror image, much better preserved.

To escape the return of the schoolchildren I hurried to the nearby conservation gallery and got interested in how a boule casket was made, and the tools used to build, shape, and veneer it. The casket and tools were on a revolving display, which required quite a bit of patience to see properly ...
Spokeshave, gouges(?), gluepot, plane, clamps
Two hours of drawing passed quickly. You do it for your own pleasure and edification, but it really is so much nicer to be able to share the outcome of the session with others.

So ... I'd like to invite others (you?) to join me on one or another Tuesday, in one or other museum. Get in touch by adding a comment or via the contact form in the sidebar.

by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 22, 2014 09:53 AM

Rayna Gillman

If it's Tuesday it must be CRIT day

I am lucky enough to be part of two crit groups: a fiber group (not necessarily meaning "quilts") and a diverse group of artists that includes a printmaker, a painter, a glass/ceramic artist, and a mixed media artist.   Each is valuable and each gives different feedback on the same piece.    Very interesting.

This piece, for instance, which is pure surface design...

My fiber group thought I should stitch it.  My artists' group thought I should simply attach it to canvas, since it looked like a painting.  

Speaking of painting, I have bought gouache, charcoal, graphite, paper, brushes, and want to find the time to play on paper.  In the meantime, I play around with the drawing app, 53 Paper which delights me.
Here is today's effort.  Do not ask what it is.  I don't know and it does not matter.  Fun!



Tomorrow, back to the dentist and then some errands.  I think my life is strung together with errands and bills.
Maybe I should draw about it.

by noreply@blogger.com (Rayna) at October 22, 2014 01:55 AM

October 21, 2014

Sarah Ann Smith

England 2014, Friday Aug. 15: Sutton Hoo!!!!!

From a staff, at Sutton Hoo Burial Ground, near Woodbridge, Sussex, England

From a staff, at Sutton Hoo Burial Ground, near Woodbridge, Sussex, England

Back in 1978, I saw the Sutton Hoo artifacts at the British Museum for the first time.  And I NEVER forgot them.  The incredible artistry in the gold and silver works was stunning, especially because they were made in circa 625 a.d.   Seeing them again so many years later, they are still astounding.   As I mentioned in this post, which has lots of photos, you can see them at the museum and go to the burial grounds now (the lands were not public back in 1978).

This post is about our visit to Sutton Hoo Burial grounds.

Eli and I arrived before the facililty opened, but after the grounds opened.  Owned by the National Trust, families may come and visit, picnic, hike the grounds.  So we did!  This photo is shortly after we began our walk looking at Woodbridge in the distance, just across the river.  Think of rivers as the interstate highways of the days of yore--if you wanted to get some place in a hurry, going by water rather than overland was the way to do it.  It's only a few miles up hill from the river to this place.

Eli and I arrived before the facililty opened, but after the grounds opened. Owned by the National Trust, families may come and visit, picnic, hike the grounds. So we did! This photo is shortly after we began our walk looking at Woodbridge in the distance, just across the river. Think of rivers as the interstate highways of the days of yore–if you wanted to get some place in a hurry, going by water rather than overland was the way to do it. It’s only a few miles up hill from the river to this place.

On the way to the path in the photo above, we passed a playground for families with squirrelly kids who need to burn off some energy.  This includes 16 year olds .  As we found ourselves saying across England, isn't this a great playground, gosh this would never exist in the US because somebody would sue somebody else if a kid got a skinned knee.  Imagine, a zipline (low down obviously) in a playground!

On the way to the path in the photo above, we passed a playground for families with squirrelly kids who need to burn off some energy. This includes 16 year olds . As we found ourselves saying across England, isn’t this a great playground, gosh this would never exist in the US because somebody would sue somebody else if a kid got a skinned knee. Imagine, a zipline (low down obviously) in a playground!

There were blackberries and these in abundance.  Eli and I snarfed quite a few blackberries, reminiscing about San Juan Island.   I think these are currants, but wasn't sure so we didn't test taste any.  Great art inspiration though.

There were blackberries and these berries in abundance. Eli and I snarfed quite a few blackberries, reminiscing about San Juan Island. I think these are currants, but wasn’t sure so we didn’t test taste any. Great art inspiration though.

Trees.  England does trees.  BIG trees.  Majestic trees.  Trees made for climbing.  Eli is a climber.  By 6 months of age he could clamber out of his high chair, climb into his high chair, in and out of his crib by 18 months (hence the early switch to a bed with guard rail).

Trees. England does trees. BIG trees. Majestic trees. Trees made for climbing. Eli is a climber. By 6 months of age he could clamber out of his high chair, climb into his high chair, in and out of his crib by 18 months (hence the early switch to a bed with guard rail).   Keep in mind it would take multiple adults to hold hands and hug this tree, that’s how big it is.

Now look UP.  Waaaaaay Up.  Yep, that's my boy!

Now look UP. Waaaaaay Up. Yep, that’s my boy!  He is 5’9″ tall, so he’s WAY UP.  I did not pass out from holding my breath.  Barely.  I have this irrational fear of falling which extends to my kids, too.  But Eli LOVED it!

On the walk, we passed a farm and these awesome four-horned sheep, which someone on Facebook (where I posted some of the pics during the trip) told me these are Jacob's sheep.  Cool!  More inspiration.

On the walk, we passed a farm and these awesome four-horned sheep, which someone on Facebook (where I posted some of the pics during the trip) told me these are Jacob’s sheep. Cool! More inspiration.

At last, time to go in to the facilities, then go on our walk of the grounds.

At last, time to go in to the Sutton Hoo facilities, then go on our walk of the grounds.

And wouldn't you know it...opposite the register/till where you pay your entry fees, a quilt!  WOOT!

And wouldn’t you know it…opposite the register/till where you pay your entry fees, a quilt! WOOT!  Wish I knew who made this.  If anyone knows, please tell me and I’ll add the information!

I bought a book about the site which has this photo that shows some of the area that was excavated.  Burial mounds were subject to frequent raiding over the centuries and many of the magnificent artifacts were looted.

I bought a book about the site which has this photo that shows some of the area that was excavated. Burial mounds were subject to frequent raiding over the centuries and many of the magnificent artifacts were looted.

A burial ship being excavated.  The burial mound that was source of the most stunning Sutton Hoo artifacts, however, had partially collapsed, so the grave robbers missed the center point (where the good stuff is usually buried with the deceased).  That meant it was STILL THERE, and now lives in the British Museum.

A burial ship being excavated back in the 30s. The burial mound that was source of the most stunning Sutton Hoo artifacts, however, had partially collapsed, so the grave robbers missed the center point (where the good stuff is usually buried with the deceased). That meant it was STILL THERE, and now lives in the British Museum.

I took about a thousand (well, maybe a hundred) photos in the exhibit area, and as many as I could manage while we had our tour of the mounds. This was the only day it rained, and it POURED.  The heavens opened.  We got rather wet despite having good rain gear.  But it was still cool!

Here are some of the artifacts of a horse bridle at the Sutton Hoo facility.   Other items at the facility are reproductions, as the British Museum has a huge building and massive security for the gold works.

Here are some of the artifacts of a horse bridle at the Sutton Hoo facility. Other items at the facility are reproductions, as the British Museum has a huge building and massive security for the gold works.

A closer iew of the goldwork.  Aren't those designs amazing?

A closer view of the goldwork. Aren’t those designs amazing?

Our guide and some of the mounds in the burial grounds.

Our guide and some of the mounds in the burial grounds.  In this photo we are standing atop the mound where the most stunning artifacts were found.

And Eli on the left, daypack under the jacket, walking back to the exhibits area.

And Eli on the left, daypack under the jacket, walking back to the exhibits area.  A dream of 15 years to visit here, since I heard the public could finally get access.  Contended sigh.

And that photo up at the top, here's the staff/sceptre.   Incredible!

And that photo up at the top, here’s the staff/sceptre. Incredible!

Here's the Woodbridge train station that afternoon, where we began our 4 hour journey (three trains) to York.

Here’s the Woodbridge train station that afternoon, where we began our 4 hour journey (three trains) to York.

More design inspiration in the supports at the train stations.

More design inspiration in the supports at the train stations.  A thermofax screen perhaps?

At the YHA (Youth Hostel Assn.) York Hostel, my first ever Pimm's.   It will NOT be my last:  cucumber, strawberries, 7 Up, Pimm's, citrus over ice.   Summer perfection.

At the YHA (Youth Hostel Assn.) York Hostel, my first ever Pimm’s. It will NOT be my last: cucumber, strawberries, 7 Up, Pimm’s, citrus over ice. Summer perfection.

Next up on the England trip, York!   But quilty goodies in between, too.   Stay tuned!

by Sarah Ann Smith at October 21, 2014 01:32 PM

Margaret Cooter

Not everything works the way you thought it would

These bricks came down from the attic ... last used in the 1960s or early 70s. The idea wast to give the colourful ones to a friends' child.

So I spent a tranquil Sunday morning piecing together, from thicker fabrics on hand in the weekend studio, a bag for the bricks that would lie flat and become a play area, then gather itself up with bricks inside. This was from memories of a pattern I'd seen in the 70s. Which is some time ago.
80cm diameter
I had to improvise the way of holding the cord, and indeed the cord itself - it's a long piece of selvedge.
It gathers up, with a little effort...
... and leaves a bit of a tangle, and floppy bits...
Unfortunately the floppy bits will let bricks escape - I had hoped it would be "tidier" somehow. Next week I'll undo the loops and the edging and add a tunnel into which the cord will fit, and from which it will emerge at useful intervals. Aha, here is a tutorial - the cord emerges twice, not 12 times!

by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 21, 2014 09:32 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Western Anemone Seedpod in Glacier National Park

It was wonderful to be visiting late in the summer.  Sure, we missed seeing a lot of flowers, but the seedpods and berries were equally stunning.

by Cynthia St Charles (noreply@blogger.com) at October 21, 2014 06:00 AM

Rayna Gillman

I think it's Monday

Honestly, I can't keep track.  I got home from Philadelphia yesterday (thank god it was only a 2 hour drive and not a flight) and the rest of the day felt like a Saturday.  Probably because it wa an afternoon of errands.

The art cloth network meeting was excellent: business to be discussed, along with show & tell and fine dining at neighborhood restaurants. We had our meeting at Dianne Hricko's studio and loved being surrounded by her gorgeous wearables.

The gremlins have been at work and have stolen the plugs for my iPad & iPhone chargers.  Bah!
Left with only one, I had to go to the Apple store to buy two more.  THIS time I put my initial on them so that nobody can remove them by mistake.

Back to the supermarket, the kitchen, and the email today.  Carrot, potato and parsnip soup.
No recipe - I just threw the veggies into the pressure cooker, added seasoning, and 20 min later, soup.
Used my stick blender to puree it, added some curry powder and it was pretty good. Maybe even very.

Then I collected my mail and there was a grand jury summons, which has to be answered online. The only problem is, it told me my login was invalid. At this rate, there will be a warrant out for my arrest.
Never a dull moment:-)

by noreply@blogger.com (Rayna) at October 21, 2014 12:33 AM

October 20, 2014

Margaret Cooter

The comfort of materials

Contemplating this ...
(found on artpropelled; originating here, with more pages shown here)
... my brain whirrs. Pigment on pages of a sketchbook ... gradations, mixtures of paint ... masking tape resist ... perhaps a book that underwent a series of interventions on each page, in no particular order ... the sort of thing a person could do to PLAY ...

Something stops me though from rushing into the studio and plunging into this new project. Well, first I had to look at the rest of Elisabeth Couloigner's work, and that got a bit overwhelming!

My hesitation is about materials. This links with a similar thought that arose in Thursday's sketchbook class, when we used colour, and I didn't venture into using pastels ... because I'm not comfortable with them, don't like what happens when I use them, don't like the bold bright colours. And yet seeing what other people did with pastels ... that inspired me a bit, seeing the overlap of colours when simple (or not-so-simple) lines were used ...

So, you have to be comfortable with materials before you willingly pick them up and "just go". After the recent daily painting project, I'm so much more comfortable with (acrylic) paint and can happily mix and fail and start again to get a desired shade if something needs matching, even though I'm still not sure which shade is necessarily desired when painting "from imagination".

Do you have a "go to" material or tool? I'm comfortable with pen or biro, unfazed by drawing the line "wrong" when working fast - the pen feels like an extension of my eye, rather than something that must tell a recognisable truth to a critical viewer.

And I'm comfortable with a needle and thread, and with colourful fabric to choose from.

But I'm not comfortable - or even excited about - adding a different colour that has to be "thought up", even though I've played about with this for months. Hmm, for the daily painting of the ever-changing stripey picture, I had certain rules, even though they weren't written down... rules about how many colours to use per session (as few as possible), about not having leftover paint, about the shapes that were appearing. Rules, or a method (which is nothing if not implicit rules...) of how to start and what to do next. And an idea of what it will be like when it's "finished".

Play, now ... that has no rules (we are not playing a competitive game or sport). The starting point is vague ... you move a few things around. What happens next at any point is quite possibly random or accidental. "What it looks like" may not matter at any stage, it's about the process of doing, of playing. There is no predefined outcome ... you play till you're played out.

Playing with materials - putting lines or colour or pattern or marks on a scrap of paper or sketchbook page - what a fun thing to do. Remember colouring books? - as children we didn't feel compelled to colour all the pages before moving on to the next book ... we simply left blank the pictures that didn't appeal. (But oh boy, there were "good colourers" and "messy people"... and now we have inner critics...)

Well then ... let's play with one of our "uncomfortable" materials, say for 15 minutes a day for a week. First up for me is - oil pastels.

To end, another of Elisabeth Couloigner's pages from "I'm Searching" -

by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 20, 2014 08:24 PM

Sarah Ann Smith

Interweave DVDs on sale for 2 days, including mine

Hey…if you want to start Christmas shopping early, head over to Interweave.  Just got an email that stuff is ON SALE for two days only.   Price on my dvd is less than wholesale plus postage!  AND you can get 3 video downloads for only $35….use the link below to get there.

The cover (back and front) of my DVD, Art Quilt Design From Photo to Threadwork, with Fabric Collage and Machine Quilting.  Order the DVD from me here, or the download and DVD from Quilting Arts/Interweave here.

The cover (back and front) of my DVD, Art Quilt Design From Photo to Threadwork, with Fabric Collage and Machine Quilting. Order the DVD from me here, or the download and DVD from Quilting Arts/Interweave here.  Here’s the link to my DVD.

Save up to 60% during the Flash Sale at Interweave

by Sarah Ann Smith at October 20, 2014 05:52 PM

Martha Marques

Quince Invite to Submit Martha's Scarf

I was recently asked to rework my Fishbone Lace Scarf in Quince's Piper for sale on their website, Quince and Company.  I have followed Pam Allen's work for decades....since we lived in Hawaii where I bought American Knits from the newly opened Barnes and Nobles in downtown Hilo in 1994.  Pam had a wonderful pieced knit coat, hat and mittens that were modeled on her lovely young daughter.  I was doing a fair amount of knitting at that time, but it had to be shipped back to the nieces and nephews in Maine, of course.  Not a lot of demand for woolen mittens and socks in Hawaii.  I have had an ongoing need for knitting, however,  since I learned at the age of 4 in order to maintain my equanimity in the face of .... life stuff.  You know how they say that knitting is therapeutic?  I require daily therapy so the knitting takes place whether I am living in the tropics or in Maine.  I have continued to follow Pam Allen's career as the editor of and a prolific contributor to  Interweave Knits through the start up of her yarn company Quince which is located here in Portland, Maine.  This is also,  conveniently enough, the location of my home and Threads of Meaning studio since we purchased it in 2009. 

I was surprised and very pleased to be asked to contribute something to the Quince endeavor.  This scarf is knit up with one skein of Pam's Piper in the soft rose color Odessa.  Knit in this fine 50/50 Texas mohair/merino blend one skein makes a beautifully airy, long, luxurious scarf about 7x60 inches.  Two skeins would make a scarf twice as wide, twice as long or 1/3 wider (about 11 inches) and half again as long (say 90 inches).  This single ply yarn knits easily on size 7 needles with no catching or awkwardness and the pattern itself is very simple.  It is an excellent project for a first time lace knitter since you have a "working" row, followed by a purl row, and then another "working row" followed by a knit row.  In other words you have resting rows in between the attention paying rows which is soothing and therapeutic.  You can purchase the pattern through Ravelry, or by visiting the Quince website where you can also pop over to buy the yarn.  There are some lovely colors in Piper.  I knit up this sample for them but am considering knitting up one for me in the Teal hand dyed to go with my grey wool winter coat.

October 20, 2014 05:21 PM

Olga Norris

Brain-cleansing pause

This past weekend I have been stalwartly making my way through the excellent but enormous meal of input of the Marine Archaeology course.  I still have not completed last week's information, and in the middle of sections ranging both in time and geography I just had to give my brain a rest.  So I concentrated on something else to aid digestion.  Leftovers from my thinking about grids, Bauhaus, and the colours around me brought about this:
Autumn interior (design in progress)
On my way now to continue my attempted absorption of the facts about boat design through the ages, trade routes in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Bronze Age, Viking burials, ... etc. I took a few snaps in the bit of the garden I pass from the front door to the annex.  The spill over of seasons is such a delightful mix and I love spotting so many little gems.
The Dortmund rose is now in full hip, draped over the winter jasmine, the leaves of which are developing a gloss just as the rose's are turning.
The callicarpa as ever is just stunning at this time of year.  The birds never touch the lurid berries if there is alternative food around.  Can they see the 'unnatural' colour, I wonder?
And co-ordinating beautifully, not paying any attention to what time of year it is, the Mermaid rose is still flowering.
A drainage project for winter is waiting for the comfrey to realise that it should all be dying back - not flowering!
The annuals keep on going.  I cannot bear to take them out when they are still producing such lovely blooms.  The mass of leaves of the nasturtium are there even after a second flush of flowers - and look at the front rim of the pot: a new seedling!
The fuchsia drapes itself elegantly against the annex door.  Even though it soaks my skirt on rainy days, even though I bring so many flower heads into the annex with me, I love having to brush my way past it.  This is the last year of that ridiculous pleasure; this winter we are moving the plant to a more appropriate spot.
 
And down by the door the winter flowering ground cover is forming buds (sorry, I can never remember the name - I really must look it up), and I was astonished as I looked closer that the snowdrops' leaves are up and already being nibbled by some passing pest.
Now, back to facts aquatic!

by Olga Norris (noreply@blogger.com) at October 20, 2014 04:17 PM

Natalya Aikens

the finish line

I can see it from here! I have been very slowly stitching away on this small portrait of the St. Nicholas Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. Now it's a question of how much is too much and how much is not enough?

This started as a wool sweater that I pounded, ahem, felted into submission, to make it as flat as possible without loosing texture and pattern. I then strategically sprinkled thread clippings and tiny swatches for an indication of color and machine stitched the outline of the cathedral. All that went fairly quickly. The next part, the hand stitching part, is the slow part. I want the portrait to have a loose sketchy quality to it, almost like a quick watercolor sketch.

Here are a few close ups to show you where I am:





What do you think? Am I achieving the sketchy quality?

by Natalya Aikens (noreply@blogger.com) at October 20, 2014 01:51 PM

Margaret Cooter

Moan on Monday - adverbial overload

The world is sad about Colonel Meow (via)
Does no-one simply "die" - or rather, do newspaper reports not allow them to simply die? Every time you read a report of a death, the person has "sadly died". Soon there will be a new word in the language: sadlydied, replacing died ... in much the same way that "suggested" has replaced "said" in recent years (but that's another rant altogether).

I suspect a subeditor was at work in this sentence: "At present, about 8,000 people have been confirmed as diagnosed with Ebola, and of those 3,865 have, sadly, died. " Does the Guardian's style book have guidance on sadly died, detailing situations in which it needs to be bracketed by commas?

A search for "sadly died" (in quotes, entire phrase) gets only 549,000 hits ... perhaps there's hope yet. No, wait - "sadly he died" (no quotes) gets 22,600,000 hits, and "sadly she died" gets 5,240,000 ... and "sadly died", no quotes, gets 22,700,000, presumably including a lot of the "he"s and "she"s.

Sadly here can mean "unfortunately" ... but the ludicrous spectre of the person being sad to be dying will keep rearing its head as I read yet another occurrence of the phrase.

Furthermore, a death toll, eg in the current ebola outbreak, isn't just high (48% of those infected), but "tragically high" ... possibly because a nice long word was needed (high is just four letters, after all), and nothing sensible could be thought of.

by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 20, 2014 09:44 AM

Neki Rivera

inspiration is hard work

nº6

the more one works, the more inspired one gets. this is nº 5 already finished. it has given me some thoughts about the series; i can see the whole of it now not just the individual pieces.



'nother






next one already on its way. i just hope to get 10 pieces of work from this warp; the mess behind the heddles is mind blowing. hemp is beautiful, but weaves with pain.






neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by noreply@blogger.com (neki desu) at October 20, 2014 08:00 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

Trail to Grinnell Glacier

 Progress was kind of slow because we had to stop so often to take pictures.  It was just stunning at every step.  The light was just great at this early morning hour.

by Cynthia St Charles (noreply@blogger.com) at October 20, 2014 06:00 AM

October 19, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Simply gorgeous

Strip woven cloth made by the Ewe people of Togo (found here). Fabulous. I'm imagining using the stripeyness of the colourful squares for a scrappy quilt - with red lines of quilting on grey.

What makes it dance is the light and dark yellow, and the way thin lines of red are used throughout.

by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 19, 2014 01:13 PM

Mnemonics

Without writing things down, how do we remember?

The saying goes: I hear it and forget; I see it and remember; I do it and understand.

I heard birdsong and don't know what bird it is. I see artworks and sometimes remember the name of the artist. I follow a knitting pattern and get lost ... but once I understand the structure, I can look back and see where it's gone wrong. Different sorts of memory are at work, and  there are surely ways to enhance each of them.

One such is the phrase or sentence that helps us to remember lists - Roy G. Biv for the colours of the rainbow, for instance. Another method is to have a mental set of places and put objects in each one. Remember names by associating them with something meaningful to you. 

But what about the wider picture? In oral cultures, memory boards help to maintain and transmit historical knowledge. Someone who knows how to read them passes on the knowledge through a performance. 

Lukasa (memory board) in the form of a woman with a tortoise body. Luba culture, Congo (via)
"Lukasa, or memory boards, are hand-held wooden objects that present a conceptual map of fundamental aspects of Luba culture. They are at once illustrations of the Luba political system, historical chronicles of the Luba state, and territorial diagrams of local chiefdoms. Each board's design is unique and represents the divine revelations of a spirit medium expressed in sculptural form ... many lukasa utilize a system of denotation based on masses of shells and beads affixed to their wooden surfaces." (via)

" These wooden memory boards are used by Luba kings, diviners, geneologists and court historians in the Congo. The Lukasa is a memory aid, a means for evoking events, places and names which assist in initiation ceremonies. According to  A History of Art in Africa, "It stimulates thought and instructs in sacred lore, culture heroes, migrations, and sacred rule ...A configuration of beads, shells and pins coded by size and colour on one side refers to kings' lists. Beads may stand for individuals, a large bead encircled by smaller ones perhaps representing a chief and his entourage. Bead arrangements also refer to proverbs and praise phrases" as well as migratory paths and roads." (via)

" a great deal of ritual performance and ceremonial song is linked to repeating pragmatic and rational knowledge. This includes astronomical observations used to retain a calendar closely related to resource availability – be it from hunting, gathering or farming. Star patterns are often used as representations of mythological characters whose stories also encode rational knowledge." (via)

"Sets of locations in the landscape have been used as memory aids – the most effective memory aid known. ... the songlines of the Australian cultures, the sacred trails of the Native Americans and sacred paths found in cultures around the world served the needs of memory in exactly the same way." This is the method of loci, attributed to the Greek and Roman orators.

Medieval manuscripts too were designed as miniature memory spaces.
(via)
"In the Middle Ages, the memory arts changed purpose from the oratory of classical times to become the domain of the monks wishing to memorise great slabs of religious tracts. Monks were expected to memorise, at a minimum, all 150 psalms, a task which took somewhere between six months and three years.

"The heavily illustrated handwritten manuscripts were seen as a prompt for medieval memory when books were extremely rare and horrendously expensive. The words were enmeshed in images which match the classical recommendations for making information far more memorable: grotesque and violent acts along with fanciful beasts, strange figures, gross ugliness and extraordinary beauty. It was common to have each chapter start with a coloured initial, alternating between red and blue, with repeated letters each having their own design, such as in the Smithfield Decretal shown above."

To end, a contentious statement from the memoryspaces.com.au blog: "Art in oral cultures is primarily a memory aid to the knowledge system while art in literate cultures is primarily aesthetic."

by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 19, 2014 09:12 AM

October 18, 2014

Sarah Ann Smith

The most beautiful place on Earth

Yesterday evening, I dropped Eli off at a teammate’s home for the weekly Cross Country team potluck Spaghetti dinner.  The house is on Appleton Ridge Road, which has some of the most stunning views in the area, so I took the scenic route home.  Then today, on a quest for small halogen bulbs for our under counter kitchen lights, I took the back road–Barnestown to Gillette to Hope Roads to route 17.   OH MY… I truly live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and this is the finest example of autumn in the decade we have called Maine home.   Enjoy (and tell me you don’t want to grab paint and dye and play).  Click on photos to view larger.:

on Hope Road in south Hope, Maine.  Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

on Hope Road in south Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith.  The colorful foreground is wild blueberry barrens.  Rockport in the background.

Friday evening on Appleton Ridge Road in Appleton/Washington, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Friday evening on Appleton Ridge Road in Appleton/Washington, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Looking west from Appleton Ridge Road at sunset.  Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Looking west from Appleton Ridge Road at sunset. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Sumac at Barnestown and Gillette roads, Hope, Maine.

Sumac at Barnestown and Gillette roads, Hope, Maine.

From Gillette Road in south Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

From Hope Road in south Hope, Maine, looking back towards Gillette Road.  I am pretty sure this is the back side of Ragged Mountain. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

South Hope, Maine.  There is a trail head near here and I keep promising myself I'm going to go hiking there.  Maybe early this week as a treat?

South Hope, Maine. There is a trail head near here and I keep promising myself I’m going to go hiking there. Maybe early this week as a treat?

Tree and wild blueberry barrens on Hope Road, south Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Tree and wild blueberry barrens on Hope Road, south Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Looking towards Rockport from Hope Road, Hope, Maine.  Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Looking towards Rockport from Hope Road, Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Hatvhet Mountain as seen from in front of the Hope General Store.  Hope, Maine.  Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Hatchet Mountain as seen from in front of the Hope General Store. Hope, Maine. Photo (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Sure wish I’d had my good camera with me, but thank heavens for the iPhone Camera!

by Sarah Ann Smith at October 18, 2014 11:36 PM

Margaret Cooter

Why do we wait so long?

After weeks or is it months of meaning to make a new cover for the little ironing board, I finally did it! A manky towel gives it more padding. 
Times like this, you think: "Why did I wait so long to do this?"

Little things make a big difference. It's such a pleasure to use the board now. No more catching the iron in the ripped bit...


by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 18, 2014 01:05 PM

Contemporary art sketchbook walk - week 3

The theme for the week was colour; as it turned out, the shows were mostly black and white, but we gamely drew with coloured pencils and added accents with pastels... 

First stop, Iniva on Rivington Street, where a delightful primary school class was enjoying the "forgotten portraits", including the Black African Choir that toured Britain, coming from South Africa and dressing in "native costume" for publicity purposes - photographs "deeply buried" in the Hulton archive for 120 years. "The Black Chronicles II" runs till 29 November.
London Stereoscopic Photographic Society, 1891-3 (via)
Record books of the London Stereoscopic Society
Then to Calvert 22, a gallery that deals in contemporary Russian art; the current show is Beyond Zero, and includes an intriguing 1965 film, by  visual-effects pioneer Pavel Klushantsev, about the space race, from the Russian point of view ... all those American rockets that simply missed their moon target...
The show includes "a full set of hand-painted colour plates from Mikhail Matyushin’s Reference Book on Colour for the first time in the UK. Matyushin was an avant-garde artist, a musician and a close associate of Kazimir Malevich. Together with his students, Matyushin staged practical experiments to test his idea of ‘expanded vision’. In studying how a primary colour interacted with a surrounding colour, he observed how the neutral space between the two became tinged with a secondary tint. The results, recorded in these hand-painted tables in 1932, have helped generations of architects and designers find harmonious colour schemes for their work."

At Kate MacGarry is Ben Rivers' show "Things" (till 25 October); rather than watching the video I drew "Bedroom" -
Digital print, 102.5cm square, on the gallery's red wall
Next door, Johnathan Viner is showing "Goliad" by Will Boone (till 8 November) - " a new series of paintings which evolved from previous works which superimposed the letters of a word (also the paintings title) on the canvases' surface, thereby treading a fine line between legibility and abstraction" -
Hot seats, monoprinted canvases, and large works of layered stencilling by Will Boone

Lovely old bit of window-opening machinery; the gallery was a printing shop

Sharing sketchbooks over a delicious mocha
 Final stop: on Redchurch Street (artist )
Love the red double doors, very business-like

At the end of the day, sometimes a photo is all you need
Seeing how other people had augmented their sketchbooks from previous weeks by sticking in information and photos, and working on painted pages, I carried on working on my pages at home, sticking in photos, adding more colour (note to self: try oil pastels and chalks sometime soon), and writing a few notes about the works seen.
Blind drawings and overlaid images

Leaving well enough alone (rather than colouring-in)

The drawing made in the gallery (right) translated into cloth and collage; it includes
a transparent layer, as did the original

by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 18, 2014 09:35 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

On the Trail to Grinnell Glacier

The glacier is right above Joe's head in this picture.  We were about 3 miles away at this point.

by Cynthia St Charles (noreply@blogger.com) at October 18, 2014 06:00 AM

Dijanne Cevaal

In Charentes

The artists open studio weekend was great fun but alas only a few sales of printed panels.It was interesting spending time with other artists and we enjoyed each others company despite my bad french!
Here  is one of the cats with the quirky and fun recuperated sculptures of Catherine Pezaire



Then on Monday I picked up a hire car for two weeks as I wanted to go to  Charentes as a friend had offered the use of her house whilst she is away in the  US- and I have been with people since landing all those weeks ago constantly so it is nice to have some time on my own. And the ambience of the house is lovely and the weather apart from a bit of rain has been sensational. I have tried to be outdoors as much as I can in this gorgeous weather . Some of the outbuildings in Charentian white stone.

Then next week I head off to the Open European Quilt Championships in Veldhoven for the last time. There are still some places in my workshop working with Solufix on Sunday the 26th of October but you will need to contact them soon if you want to join the class!

On the way to Charentes which was about 5 hours from Paris I stopped in  at Au Fil d'Emma to get some dyes and to check out Emma's new premises. The shop is light and airy and the space so much better to where she used to be and the workshop space is much better. I shall look forward to teaching there in March 2015! Plus there is a small gallery area for small works and it is much easier to park!


And some of the hand dyed fabrics I made- I never knew I could be so careful with buckets and containers- in situ with some Charentian charm- I am seriously liking the reds. Maybe Charentes is calling to me?


And then last, I am wondering when my run of bad luck with cars is going to end? My youngest daughter was involved in an accident when  the car hydroplaned in bad weather conditions  in Melbourne. Fortunately for her ,she was not going  fast and she and her friend were not hurt ( thank goodness) but my car has been deemed a write off.  I am insured but as the car is old and a under 21 year old was driving  I think I won't get much change out of the market value! Sigh- anyone have a decent little car for sale- not expensive?

So I was very glad  to spend some time with Jane Rollason  and her partner Michel last night , I needed some laughs to take my mind off the demise of my little lemon of a Peugeot ( this car has had so many things fixed it is like a new car). I will be teaching a workshop at Jane's house in Viville on the 9th of November- linocutting and printing.

And I shall be starting an on-line linocutting class on 3 November 2014- contact me for information or if you are interested in joining!

by Dijanne Cevaal (noreply@blogger.com) at October 18, 2014 05:00 AM

Rayna Gillman

Time's winged chariot

Flies along.  We've been nonstop with our Art Cloth Network conference - meeting all day and going to a lecture on indigo dyeing tonight by Rowland Ricketts.  Go to his website www.rickettsindigo.com and you will see some beautiful work.  These are a few examples.

Philadelphia, which is not a small city, nevertheless has the feeling of one.  At 7 this morning I took this photo from our hotel room window: a city without traffic?  

Maybe just this morning.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

by noreply@blogger.com (Rayna) at October 18, 2014 02:23 AM

October 17, 2014

Margaret Cooter

Audacious installation

"Olafur Eliasson fills modern art museum with "giant landscape" of rocks." (via)

He filled an entire wing of Denmark's Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (north of Copenhagen) with a landscape of stones meant to emulate a riverbed. More photos are here.

The exhibition is on until 1st April 2015.

by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 17, 2014 09:30 PM

A little more art in W1

Claudi Casanovas, of whose show and work I wrote in 2009, has new work at Erskine, Hall & Coe (till 23 Oct) - all the work is shown online but here is my own overview -



We puzzled about how he got that conglomerate texture, so like stones, and whether the pieces were hollow.

"He explores complex ideas using a mixture of local and imported clays, subjecting both to physical, chemical and esthetic experiments. Organic materials, metals and metal oxides create porous openings and unusual colors in the unglazed surface. After firing, the piece is subjected to further cutting, sandblasting and polishing. The final sculpture is a very personal expression of fundamental emotional ties with the earth." (via)

Also at the gallery, a few drawings by Matthew Harris - strips of waxy paper sewn together with long, couched threads -
Mixed media on paper, bound with waxed threads
On to Marlborough Fine Art to see Paula Rego's "The Last King of Portugal" ... her always-interesting "slightly Freudian" scenarios and figures, this time mainly in pastels -
 All the pictures are on the gallery's website, at least till the show ends (25 Oct).
"Get out of here you and your filth" 120 x 160 cm (via)
Passing quickly by Dover Street Market - something to investigate another day -
Window by Phoebe English and Set Designer Phillip Cooper created using
components referencing Phoebe’s SS15 collection

by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 17, 2014 08:30 PM

Cynthia St. Charles

Lake Josephine in the Morning

The trail to Grinnell Glacier began at Swiftcurrent Lake, where we followed the shore along to Lake Josephine (above).  We paused for a photo from the dock used by the ferry boat that takes passengers to the other end of the lake (saving them a few miles of hiking to get to Grinnell Glacier).  We chose to hike instead of taking the ferry.  We had the trail to ourselves until we got to the other end of the lake, where we met up with the tour group that had just gotten off the boat.

by Cynthia St Charles (noreply@blogger.com) at October 17, 2014 05:34 PM

Terry Grant

Back at it

The hard thing about taking a vacation is that it ends. Just. Like. That. Vacation is over and you are back to real life, which is all the more real, because things kind of piled up while you were gone.

I came back to two shows that needed my immediate attention. I had two pieces juried into the Beaverton Arts Mix, and had to deliver my work the day after we got home. It was a really good show, that lots of people came to see. My son-in-law, Carlos, had one of his paintings in the show too. Always great to have work in a Fine Arts show. Even though I didn't sell anything, I hope people are enjoying and learning about fiber art. People were interested and asked me a lot of questions. The show the next weekend was bad. Nice people, nice venue, no customers. I won't do that again.

Now I am getting ready for the Washington County Artists Open Studios this weekend. On Monday I got up at a really brutal hour and went to one of the other artist's studio for an early morning TV show feature about the tour. Here I am demonstrating and talking to "Joe on the go" from channel 12, about how I make my art.

 

We started at 5 am and went until about 8, with demos and interviews interspersed into the live morning news program. Who watches TV at that hour? Apparently quite a few people. Lots of people have told me they saw me.

Meanwhile, I have been writing a magazine article for a Dutch magazine, and cleaning and arranging my studio for the Open Studios.

 

I have hung as much work as I can and put small pieces out on tables.

I can demonstrate free-motion stitching on the same sample I used for the TV show, and show a small finished project, which is what I made for the magazine article. Nice to be able to make good use of these things! Can you tell by what I'm making that my head is still on vacation? And I still dream about Spain every night.

 

 

by Terry Grant (noreply@blogger.com) at October 17, 2014 01:03 PM

Natalya Aikens

serene

That was one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I first saw the installation. This summer I got lost in the hallways of the Vermont Law School. I was looking for an art exhibit and got a double treat when I stumbled on the sticks. Yes sticks. But such perfectly arranged sticks. Or reeds. Because first I saw these reeds in the Cornell Library... I wanted to walk through them..
Phragmites by Elizabeth Billings
Phragmites detail
Then as I was wandering the hallways I found the sticks. They were whittled. Perfectly. I thought about the methodical, meditative way the artist must have sat there and whittled for days... I wished I was whittling along with her...


Unfortunately there is no name for this installation. It goes down a very long hallway...
There was no signs anywhere in the hallway or the library to tell me who this artist was. Fortunately once school started a quick phone call solved the mystery for me. Now I'll be on the look out for more serene art by Elizabeth Billings. Hopefully there will be signs. But I may not need them.

by Natalya Aikens (noreply@blogger.com) at October 17, 2014 09:59 AM

Neki Rivera

equinoctial splendor ii








riding to sagano  on the scenic autumn  train
have a great weekend




neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by noreply@blogger.com (neki desu) at October 17, 2014 08:00 AM

Gerrie Congdon

Making Progress

leafquiltrehab1

Yes, I am! I am making progress and I like how this is coming along.

leafquilt2

I love the ethereal look of these leaves compared to the previous leaves that I printed on silk.

leafquilt3

I am almost done stitching the leaves down. Then, I will work on the other quilt that I want to rehab for my crit group on Saturday.

That is all I have for tonight. Ta ta!

by Gerrie at October 17, 2014 06:04 AM

Kyra Hicks

San Diego People of Color Quilt Guild Opportunity Quilt 2014

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California - and when I was on the San Diego People of Color Quilt Guild website - I recognized that this was a California quilt!

This gorgeous 2014 Opportunity Quilt was hand pieced by Norma Jones and machined quilted by Vivian Townes.

Visit the guild's website to see this and other guild quilt photos. Enjoy!

by Kyra (noreply@blogger.com) at October 17, 2014 06:30 AM

Rayna Gillman

quickie post from the city of brotherly love

Art Cloth Network meeting from today till Sunday.  It was raining when I left home this morning, but cleared and I got here in 2 hours, door to door.  I will be showing my surface design on Saturday, but will post this transformation so you cn see what i did yesterday morning on the spur of the moment.

The very large shawl  on the left is a raucous yellow, but lovely fabric - a linen rayon blend.  I overdyed it last week and it came out a yucky color, so yesterday i tied it with rubber bands and threw it into a bath.  I am really happy with the results.
Tomorrow, meetings all day and I should have more interesting stuff to post.  Early bedtime after a late night and a full day.

by noreply@blogger.com (Rayna) at October 17, 2014 01:49 AM

October 16, 2014

Sarah Ann Smith

Intentional Printing by Lynn Krawczyk and giveaway!

The drawing is concluded.  Any comments left now (after 5 pm Saturday) will be appreciated but won’t be in the drawing.  The lucky winner (chosen by a random number generator on the internet) is comment number 16, Sylvia!  I’ll email you directly.

Sometimes the right book comes along at the right time.  For me, Intentional Printing by Lynn Krawczyk was that book. Lynn is funny (love her Facebook posts), creative and has been able in her book to get me (and hopefully you) to just “fling some paint” and have fun making cloth you will actually USE.  So I’m going to tell you a bit about her book.  Then I’m going to send you over to her website and blog:  if you’d like to win a copy of her book, comment here by 5 pm East Coast Time on Saturday, October 18th (that’s SOON), and tell me something that you liked about her website and/or blog.   Here’s her site, Smudged Textiles Studio and her blog.  Read on!

Lynn Krawczyk's Intentional Printing

Lynn Krawczyk’s Intentional Printing.  Here’s a link to Lynn’s website page about her book, complete with a fun video of her telling you about the book and showing her printed cloth.

For years now I’ve been buying books about dyeing fabric and surface design, yet I do precious little (almost no) surface design in my own work.  So WHY do I keep buying the books?  There must be some deep desire to make my own cloth in a way that goes beyond dyeing fabric.  Many of the books I’ve purchased are intimidating:  so much to do, so many options, too many supplies, too much set up and clean up time.

With Lynn’s book, which is about paint (not dye),  all of a sudden I got up and started DOING.  No fuss, perhaps some mess (the fun kind), and productive work that has got me to develop a whole new workshop that combines the best parts of a class I used to teach (and eliminated because I hated teaching the other parts of the class) with Lynn’s approach to paint on cloth.

Lynn discovered that the pieces she made just didn’t quite work, didn’t fit what she wanted to do.  So she figured out how she could work to create pieces she wanted to use, was inspired to use, while keeping the spontaneity of the process intact.   The chapters of the book are:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1:  Exploring Intentional Printing
  • Chapter 2:  Tools and Materials
  • Chapter 3:  Fabric Printing Techniques
  • Chapter 4:  Handstitching
  • Chapter 5:  Layered Printing
  • Chapter 6:  The Projects
  • Templates
  • Acknowledgments, Resources and Index

Inspired by this book, I worked up two pieces that you’ve seen recently on this blog, The Nest and my X and O (Hugs and Kisses?) pieces that I’ll be teaching in the Fiber on a Whim Booth at International Quilt Festival in a mere two weeks!   Here’s a link to more information about my mini-class and to my thermofax screens blogpost (and to Fiber on a Whim where you can ORDER those screens!)   Once you see the inside of the book, you’ll see Lynn’s X and O piece, which must have been in my subconscious when I made mine!

Learn to make the painted fabrics in this project in my mini-Whimsy class at IQF-International Quilt Festival Fall 2014.

Learn to make the painted fabrics in this project in my mini-Whimsy class at IQF-International Quilt Festival Fall 2014.

And some art cloth--this is SO not my typical, but I could see playing with surface design, a lot, to make more fabrics to use in my more typical style.  I wanted to have something totally "not me" though so that students get to try both representational and not!

And some art cloth–this is SO not my typical, but I could see playing with surface design, a lot, to make more fabrics to use in my more typical style. I wanted to have something totally “not me” though so that students get to try both representational and not!

What I really liked was that Lynn’s approach can work for the way I use fabric.  So many of the surface design books are by people for whom the fabric and the process are the be-all and end-all.  Once the cloth is done, no more needs to be done.  But I don’t like abstract stuff very much, and I don’t think the cloth is the artwork (for me! if it is for you, that’s great, but it’s not what I want to do), it is something that goes into creating the art.  With Lynn’s book, the cloth can be the goal and the finished product, OR it can be a component that goes in to the artwork.

In The Nest, for example, I used a couple techniques Lynn covers in creating the background fabric, the nest, and the eggs.    In a quilt that I will share with you next week, Insalata, I dyed the fabric for the background but it just wasn’t quite enough.  So I used paint and a couple stencils to create background texture that got the fabric from “pretty good” to “just right.”  That’s exactly what Lynn’s book is about:  getting the fabric you need for the idea in your head / the project you want to make.

For novices to surface design, this book is a great start.  For folks like me who have tried it some but just weren’t jazzed, this book is a great way to help focus random flinging of paint into a process that will give you something with which to create (instead of a pile of “what am I going to do with that now?” cloth).  HIGHLY Recommended!

So if you want to WIN A COPY, here’s what to do:  go to Lynn’s website and blog,  Then come back here and  leave a comment  by 5 pm East Coast Time on Saturday, October 18th (that’s SOON), and tell me something that you liked about her website and/or blog.   Here’s her site, Smudged Textiles Studio and her blog.  I’ll post the winner probably on Sunday–Eli has a Cross Country meet that will last all day Saturday.   ENJOY!

And thank you Lynn for offering a copy of your book…I LOVE IT!

by Sarah Ann Smith at October 16, 2014 06:43 PM

Margaret Cooter

Poetry Thursday - Java Jive by The Inkspots

You're pouring out your morning coffee and a phrase, a line, comes to you ... For me today, it was "cuppa cuppa cuppa cup" - where was that from? A quick search led to this - Java Jive, sung by The Inkspots in 1940.
Lyrics are by Milton Drake (who also wrote the words to Mairzy Doats). The words need to be taken off the page and into a song to make sense ... perhaps this is the very opposite of poetry?

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jiving and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
I love java, sweet and hot
Whoops! Mr. Moto, I'm a coffee pot
Shoot me the pot and I'll pour me a shot
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
Oh, slip me a slug from the wonderful mug
And I cut a rug till I'm snug in a jug
A slice of onion and a raw one, draw one.

Waiter, waiter, percolator!
I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jiving and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
Boston bean, soy bean
Lima bean, string bean.
You know that I'm not keen for a bean
Unless it is a cheery coffee bean.

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jiving and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
I love java, sweet and hot
Whoops! Mr. Moto, I'm a coffee pot
Shoot me the pot and I'll pour me a shot
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
Oh, slip me a slug from the wonderful mug
And I cut a rug till I'm snug in a jug
Drop me a nickel in my pot, Joe, Taking it slow.

Waiter, waiter, percolator!
I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jiving and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup

The words hide mysteries ... Mr Moto was the fictional Japanese secret agent in eight films starting in 1937, but how is he connected with coffee?* "A slice of onion" - ? - lunch counter slang is one suggestion for that ... or just filling up the lines. "Think prohibition slang" is another suggestion, which leads to the idea that "a raw one" could be a hangover cure - and wasn't coffee itself a remedy for hangover?

"Cut a rug" = to dance, especially in a vigorous manner and in one of the dance styles of the first half of the twentieth century. "Tea" is slang for weed [itself slang for cannabis], "cabbage" and "green" can refer to money. "Drop me a nickel" ... from Louis Armstrong's delightful account of being busted in 1931 we learn that to drop a nickel is to put a nickel (5 cents) into a telephone is to call the cops and stoolpigeon on someone ... but is that relevant here?

Of "cheery coffee bean" Wikipedia says: "The song "Java Jive", a hit song for The Ink Spots in 1940, originally featured the couplet "I'm not keen about a bean / Unless it is a 'cheery beery bean'", as a pun on Ciribiribin, but the Ink Spots' lead singer inadvertently sang it as "cheery cheery bean", and recordings by subsequent artists have generally either followed suit or changed it to "chili chili bean"."

*As with "true" poetry, there are layers under the surface, and varying readings. One interpretation (halfway down this page) suggests the entire song is about personal recreational use of controlled substances:

'Whoops, Mister Moto, I'm a coffee pot' is, on the surface, a reference to pop culture: Peter Lorre films. At that surface level the line is incoherent. Everything falls into place if we interpret it as drug slang: 

Whoops, Mr Moto!
(Whoops, Mr Marijuana Supplier!)
I'm a coffee pot!
(I blend pills/beans with my pot!)
Shoot me the pot
(Give me the marijuana)
and I'll pour me a shot 
(I'll pour in my special ingredients)

As with other cryptic songs, from 'Follow the Drinking Gourd' to 'Proud Mary' and 'Poker Face', the surface meaning of the words is what gets the lyrics past censors and makes the song acceptable to a general audience. The words make a kind of sense on a surface level as long as the listener isn't paying much attention. Attentive listeners find quickly, though, that the literal surface meanings have trouble adding up to anything coherent. The difficulties point to code--slang--as key in understanding the song. 

"Moto" is also Mexican Spanish slang for marijuana.

(If that's the case, what might Mairzy Doats (1944) be about...? Nothing, it seems: it's a novelty song based on a nursery rhyme.)

All that speculation aside, I love the unexpectedness and sheer nonsense of "waiter waiter percolator" in the song.
1940s percolator - the colour of coffee splashing up into the
glass knob showed how the brewing was coming along

by Margaret Cooter (noreply@blogger.com) at October 16, 2014 09:05 AM

Neki Rivera

my friend blu-tack



if there is an essential that is blu-tack (of a thousand uses) whe i'm running short i tend to get anxious and run to the school supply store( yes, we still have them, no office depot around here) for a refill.

 i am using it  here to hack the spindle of the bobbin winder and adapt it to these silk bobbins which have small orifices.i first tape a useless needle from the knitting machine with gaffer tape and tighten it to the spindle. i have  a good supply of those,  no worries about that :(
i know i could buy a dedicated winder for those bobbins, but do i really need more stuff when i can solve it with a little tack and gaffer tape?





then put some blu-tack  on the needle shaft and push the bobbin towards it making a tight fit. i sometimes even put a bit in the
bobbin hole as it really has to sit put so that it winds correctly.
 you can also use a bamboo skewer if need be.





neki desu
Creative Commons License 

by noreply@blogger.com (neki desu) at October 16, 2014 08:00 AM

Kyra Hicks

Have you met Roy Mitchell Jr., the Watermelun Babies quilter?

Roy Mitchell Jr. - Photo Q.S.O.S.

Roy Mitchell, Jr. is a Virginia quilter, who recently presented at the Flint (MI) African American Quilters Guild celebration in September 2014.

Mitchell, a collector of African American memorabilia, is pictured here with his Watermelun Babies quilt he stitched.

In 2008, the Quilt Alliance's Save Our Stories project interviewed him. It's a fascinating read - including how his father and teenage son now also quilt!

Mitchell teaches a popular course in quiltmaking at the Culpeper (VA) Juvenile Correctional Center - and ensures another generation learns the joy of quilting!  Enjoy!

by Kyra (noreply@blogger.com) at October 16, 2014 06:30 AM

Cynthia St. Charles

At the Trailhead for Grinnell Glacier

 We had beautiful weather for (part of) our trip to Glacier National Park, and we'd allowed at least one day for a hike.  We chose to go to Grinnell Glacier, 5 1/2 miles each way from the Swiftcurrent trailhead.  It was described in our guidebook and map as having breathtaking views, so that sounded great.  Here is Joe at the trailhead before we set out at about 8 AM.


by Cynthia St Charles (noreply@blogger.com) at October 16, 2014 06:00 AM

Rayna Gillman

My dinner, as we speak


I am eating this as I blog, trying to pace myself and savor every bite.  This is to die for: of course, Mark Bittman's recipe. I have never made one of his recipes I didn't love. It was in last Wednesday's Times and I saved the page because it was so easy and because I had cherry tomatoes and a small eggplant.  One day last week I was home and I put the cherry tomatoes into the oven and roasted them s-l-o-w-l-y, as per instructions while I went on with my life. 

No time to cook so I put them in the fridge and left them there till yesterday, when I cooked the eggplant, before it passed its eat-by date.  This took all of five minutes.  Fortunately, the supermarket had had a sale on these cute little mini penne for 99 cents, so for a change I had all the ingredients. But any pasta will do.

Of course, I cheated a bit.  I saute'd an onion and added some leftover canned tomatoes (sans jus) and some salt/red pepper flakes before I added the cherry tomatoes and aubergine. (I think that is a much sexier word than eggplant, don't you?? -- or is that just because I was French in a pervious life?)

 Cooked the penne for 7 minutes, added the other stuff, grated some fresh romano cheese and that was last night's dinner.  I had cooked just a cup of dry pasta and there was enough left over for tonight.  Perfect, since I am leaving for Philly in the morning.  Come to think of it, I have some regular-sized tomatoes that will rot while I am away for 4 days, so I think I will put them into a slow oven with some garlic and olive oil and let them roast while I finish packing tonight. Here they are, sometime later.
I am not kidding, this is better than almost any pasta I have had in a restaurant -- and believe me, I eat out a lot. This is inexpensive, easy, elegant and delicious. All it needs is a salad and some red wine.You could add capers and anchovies and it would still be fabulous.

On another note...Yes, I did see a friend today!  The lovely and talented LInda Hicks (http://lindahicksweb.com) and her charming husband Joe came to Montclair to see my exhibit and then were going to the Newark Museum to see the wonderful quilt exhibit I posted about a few days ago.  Linda and Joe live in Boston and were in NY for the week, so the drive to my part of NJ was not a problem.

We met for lunch and while I can't speak for them, I had such a delightful time that I was sorry we didn't have longer.  Next time they are in NY, we need to meet in the city.  Ah...the joys and perks of friendships that are born on the Internet and turn out to be real!

Using up more food that will go bad in the next 4 ays, I made some goats's milk strawberry ice cream and while I think I put in too much sugar, it will be okay and maybe when I get back I will go back into it and see how I can make it better. 

For now, I am waiting for the tomatoes to finish roasting and then I'll tie up a few loose ends.

by noreply@blogger.com (Rayna) at October 16, 2014 01:25 AM