Monday, March 28, 2011

Miniatures - developing

Work on the October Contextural exhibition is proving challenging but I think I am making progress with these mini worms.  No apologies to Kraken from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I C I C l E

 These are going to be great for me to work with at the ACAD summer residency this year.
And I am proper proud of them as images in their own right....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thaw Thaw - Not

This is what I had missed in the morning because I didn't have my camera with me.  We went back for a shoot at 4pm, the light wasn't at its best but I think we were all well-pleased.  The best shot was taken by my daughter and I cannot show it here because she might submit it to the school photography competition - who knows.  I was particularly pleased with the school bus aerial... seen below.  There are more spikes today... but it is snowing a thin snizzle (drizzling snow) which will cover over much of the fine detail.  But wow, what a wonderful world.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Haw Haw

For those of you who like something to read...

You might like to picture this - Spring officially started this week in Canada.  We had snow!  Not to worry, I love the snow it is beautiful and apparently so pure.  We all enjoy the miraculous shapes that the snow and ice make and continue to enjoy being out and about in the snowy and wintery weather.  But being the end of the season, the air has become a little damper and certainly warmer.  The result is that the character of the snow changes and we even had freezing rain yesterday morning.

This morning I awoke and, as normal, took a look out of the front window to see if there was snow (as I need to clear the drive and public pathways if there is, I like to check early in the day, so that I can get out there before driving my daughter to school).  There was a light dusting of white on the ground which had been cleared yesterday. But the trees appeared a little light against the sky.  It looked different.

As the sky lightened the wonderful white tree shapes came out of the gloom and beyond it, so that by the time I had driven back from school drop-off, the trees stood out, bright white, against the off-white sky, in a reversal of the norm.  A negative image had developed that is, ironically, impossible to capture on film.

What we have today is a magnificent haw frost... the length of some of the crystals that have grown with the gentle wind is amazing - far longer than my photos show (I didn't have a camera with me at school).  They stand like white magnetic hairs on the heads of all fence posts and form Mohican hair styles extending downwind of all the fence posts.  Similarly they top and line the branches of the trees and hedges.  

I am reminded that it is a wonderful world, for all the difficulties the natural world can throw at us as well as those that, sadly, man creates across its surface.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Can I make a proposal?

It all takes time.  I write, I edit, I edit, I edit... and still I can't fill in the slots that ask for costs.  And time moves on... seasons change... It is spring here in Calgary and it snowed yesterday.  Above is an area of defrostation, that is defrostation... not deforestation, as the ice melts off the roof and whoa betide anyone who tries to climb the steps to our front door.  I am busy writing proposals... so you just slip away.
This photo really was a Dogme moment, nothing planned or arranged....
And still I go on re-reading and re-writing and wondering why someone who likes to stitch has to be good with words.
I do like the House Elves best...
Here is Creatch.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thank you Gabi

Imagine my surprise at receiving this through the post on Friday... it is a beautifully illustrated book about the Hungarian artist - Julia Erdos... and was sent to me by my wonderfully thoughtful friend Gabi, who sent it from Oman! and it took more than 6 weeks to get here even with loads of stamps and an Air Mail sticker!  But since I had no idea it was coming - I wasn't frustrated by the travel time.

It is gorgeous... I don't think I am supposed to reproduce the images... though because it is in Hungarian I am not sure!  If you can come to the stitching group on Wednesday you can see it... and translate it if your Hungarian is up to it!

Thank you Thank you Thank you
Make Perhaps This Out Sense Of Can You 
I take my preparations for teaching the Kreative Momentum classes rather seriously - for the next class we are taking disperse dyes to another level.
I work on the theory that the end point is not important - I simply create and learn and adjust things as I go along... I am taken away by the process...
Sorry to go on about my recent thrill at attending Marjolein's workshop but she stated the same philosophy and it gave me a buzz to hear it from another voice... and then sure enough, yesterday - whilst working and listening to the BBC world Service,  I heard the same theory from the visual poet Bob Cobbing *

"I think I never set out to do anything.  I think that's fatal.  I think to have an aim in mind is probably very restricting.  It's really a matter of doing things to see what happens.  Really, you know, you don't know what it is going to sound like until you've done it,  and the second time is different and the third...  (chuckles...)  "

 *Be quick there are only 12 days left to listen

Sunday, March 20, 2011

One divided by 2 is 2

1 LegWarmer = 2 ArmWarmers

Thanks to the workshop (see below) my daughter now has two arm-warmers.
I just cut down the middle of the leg-warmer and blocked the pieces to fit her arms.
A little backstitch and felting later (sorry Marjolein it wasn't by hand) and the arm-warmers are just to her taste.
And in her hands are the pebbles she made after being inspired by Marjolein's talk at ACAD this week... wonderful show by the textile students and an incredible talk.

All this writing of leg and arm-warmers has reminded me of "Little Bear's Trousers" Jane Hissey 1987 which every small child should have read to them hundreds of times - ("They're not icing bags, they're my TROUSERS!!! ") well it didn't do us any harm.  In this day and age... guess what, Little Bears stories are available online though the animation isn't a patch on the book illustrations - complete with one's imagination.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A busy week in March

I knew this was going to be a busy week with Kreative Momentum workshop on snow dyeing, teaching English, Felt workshop with Marjolein Dallinga, and then teaching my own workshop on disperse dyes and finally Friday's cross-country skiing in West Bragg Creek to finish (me) off.

The snow dye workshop was successful. 
We did the dyeing on Monday and met up on Thursday to share out the basins' goodies.  I had orange and yellow (turned out to be more orange than yellow) and the violet became blue with a hint of violet.  All my fabrics went under the snow with out dampening.  I think this made the colour pick-up stronger.  I saw that my sail-cloth fabric took the dye very well (bottom right).  Pure colours didn't give as good an effect, this was as expected.
I had kept the left-over dyes in their pots at room temperature for 3 days, but I used them up on more sail-cloth just to see how well they worked with mixing of colours. I was really pleased with the results.  Some areas are really very interesting and these fabrics will form good grounds for more stitching and samples.  Sail - cloth is quite stiff though, but will be great for machine embroidery.

Instead of using inclined plastic sheeting as suggested in Quilting Arts magazine, I used pieces of fabric - muslin=cheesecloth (canadian English) taped to the bowl and forming a surface on which to place the fabric and drain away the snow/dye mix.  The advantage is that the muslin is dyed at the same time...
I have just found this tutorial from Rebecca J Kemble who wrote the article in QA. if you would like to take a look
These are the results of the Felting workshop with Marjolein.  Where we learnt to felt with very little wool roving.  A 12" square was laid out using only 10g of roving and felted down by 50% to create a very sturdy piece of fabric.  On the right you see one legwarmer!  which used 30g of roving and was fun and thrilling to make.  I would have been happier to learn more techniques of 3D surfaces but we only had one day...  and M. did well to cope with the mixed-ability group.

Important outcome - Kiss your Face olive oil soap (used for felting all day long)  is wonderful... especially for my skin in this dehydrating atmosphere of Calgary.  Recommended.

Next stop during the week was a workshop with Kreative Momentum where we looked into disperse dyes. And created lots of interesting surfaces with so much potential that we are going to carry on with this at the next workshop... I had better start preparing some more progressive samples....