Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Worth the Wait

Talk about slow cloth...I wove this piece of fabric six years ago (woven shibori), gathered the threads within the last month, and just dyed it on Monday.

The fabric was woven with cotton/tencel warp and organic cotton weft.  Finished size is 70x22 inches, shawl sized.

It's the occasional finished piece like this that makes me wish I were still weaving.  Also that short stack of natural colored handwoven fabrics I still have.  Woven shibori and weaving plain fabric were what I loved best.

Anyway, weaving is the past for me.  If I ever had another opportunity, I know what I'd weave.  But on with life.

I've become a much better dyer since I wove this piece.  In fact, this is the only woven shibori piece that I dyed with fiber reactive dyes.  My earlier work was all silk, dyed with acid dyes, or cellulose fibers dyed with natural dyes -- and way before ecodyeing, for me.

After applying dyes to this piece I had leftovers, so I dyed the piece below as well.  That is a piece of recycled tablecloth cotton that I hand stitched a month or so ago.

Slowly I am working my way through those poled and/or bound pieces of cloth that were prepped for shibori in February.  I simply can't do everything all at once these days like I used to do -- quilting, dyeing, shibori prep, eco bundling, etc.

My new mantra is ~ Slower is better.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

What Goes Around, Comes Around

What Goes Around Comes Around ~ 23x22 inches
I completed this latest recycled, ecodyed, hand quilted piece yesterday, after four full days of passionate stitching.
The fabrics are cotton and linen dyed with tin can lids, rusted washers and squiggly ornament hooks in various plant/metal concoctions.   Backing is walnut dyed recycled cotton, and the quilt is sandwiched with cotton batting.

This is the biggest recycled-ecodyed-hand quilted piece I've done, and I love it.   I have another piece, slightly bigger than this one's 23x22 inches, ready to quilt.  But I have other projects to move forward on before that.

Eons ago (like, the mid 1970s), this little 1x2 inch scrap of index card fell out of a used book I'd purchased at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in West Hollywood.  It's one of the tidbits of ephemera that's traveled with me since then.

What's most interesting to me is that I still remember where it came from and even what book it was in (an early edition of Ernest Holmes' The Science of Mind), but I can't remember what I had for supper on Friday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stacks and Stacks

Went through my stash on Monday pulling out fabrics for Fiberactions' 3rd color challenge ~ split complementary colors.  First possibility is violet, yellow orange, yellow green. 

Second is turquoise, orange, red.

And third is red violet, green, yellow.  I haven't a clue yet which colors I'll choose or what I'll do or whether I'll do just one, or two pieces again.  What I can say at this time is that I've been revisiting some of my earlier quilts, and I think I'm over wholecloth pieces for a while.  Want to get more fabrics and techniques into the mix again.

This is a split complementary piece I did very early in 2011.  Actually it was an experiment using a piece of fabric that someone else had dyed that I'd won in a "Bad Fabric" swap.  The other person's fabric are the bottom two pieces.  The color scheme is blue, yellow orange, red orange. Most of the yellow orange is in the stitching, all done with yellow orange thread.  It was fun.  So I'm looking forward to working on the current challenge.


Monday, March 19, 2012

On the Path

On the Path ~ 26.5x10.5 inches

I created this small quilt over the last few days, from one of my favorite pieces of ecodyed recycled raw silk from mid last year.  The mordant here was alum, but I can't remember whether I presoaked the fabric in alum, put alum water or a chunk of aluminum in the pot, or wrapped the silk/leaves around an aluminum pipe.

So this gets added to my inventory of pieces to show at Yarn in Eureka in April.

I'm considering submitting some of my recent ecodyed hand stitched work to a show back east called Small Stories, being curated by Joetta Maue, embroiderer extraordinare.  Joetta's work, and the work of many other artists doing hand stitching and/or embroidery, is very narrative.  Each piece tells a story, albeit perhaps just a tiny slice of life.

So I've been thinking about my work in the context of narrative art, and I feel that mine isn't, for the most part.  I really don't know.  Much of my machine-quilted work is abstract, and something about each piece evokes a thought or a feeling or an essence, or is an abstraction of something figurative.

My hand stitched pieces seem more like snapshots of moments in time, and maybe these are narrative, then.  Again, I'm just not sure.

This new piece, On the Path, might tell a story about walking on a woodland path and seeing these beautiful leaves beneath my feet.  The title also suggests to me my own sense of being on both spiritual and creative paths that are evolving and emerging one day at a time.  Perhaps that's also narrative.

I'm curious to know what you think about narrative art, and whether you consider your own art in this context.

Have a great week.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Relative Values

This piece of discharged linen had been waiting for the right time to become a quilt, and Fiberactions' "monochromatic" challenge was it.  Today is the reveal day, so do go to the other blog to see what our other team members have come up with.

This piece is called Peak Experience and it measures 13x14 inches.

But wait, there's more ~

This is a piece of shiboried recycled linen, called Silver Lining and measuring 15x21 inches.  I had several pieces of shiboried fabric that would have worked for the challenge, but I thought I'd stick with one, like the first piece above, that relied on tonal values of dark to light rather than add color to the mix this time around.

So there you have it ~ two monochromatic quilts.  Check out our others at Fiberactions.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Last Summer

This is the quilt I've been working on the last four days.  I began Friday morning from scratch, and completely finished it yesterday.  All the fabrics are ecodyed, and there's silk, rayon, linen and cotton in the mix.  And it is entirely hand stitched/hand quilted.  The name is  Last Summer and it measures 16 x 21 inches.

I began it originally because I momentarily worried that the two quilts I've completed for this week's Fiberactions reveal might not satisfy the "monotone" challenge theme -- although in reality, they do.  But with this quilt I also have another piece to hang for my April show in Eureka.

For some time I've been pondering the best way to hang these more delicate ecodyed hand quilted pieces in lieu of using the traditional sleeve and slat which would be overkill.  I've asked a few other artists doing delicate work how theirs hangs in galleries, and all stated that they simply put pins through the corners of the fabric right onto the gallery wall.  Well, that might work in some galleries, but I've been leery of considering entering shows with this work knowing the gallery would have to pin it to the wall when everything else in the show quilt-wise would arrive with an attached sleeve and hanging slat.

And then it came to me ~ I'm stitching small sterling silver rings, the kind that came with sterling clasps and fancy S-hooks when I was a jeweler, onto the upper corners of the pieces.  The rings slip over tiny nails in the wall, just like eyehooks on slats do.  And the rings have the added advantage of letting the quilt or fabric hang with more drape than it would with a traditional setup.

Look for my two challenge quilts this Thursday.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Enduring Traces

I finished this eco dyed, hand quilted piece yesterday, calling it October Oak.  It's 26x15 inches of recycled linen.

I especially love the prints I've gotten with these oak leaves.  I don't know a lot about oak trees except that there are quite a few in the genus.  The "tree" I get these leaves from is more of a shrub that started as a volunteer right on the edge of the bluff where I live.  Its 3/4 inch branches have repeatedly been cut back so they don't block the view.  It's a small bush I could virtually put my arms around if it were standing on solid ground and not entwined with various other plant life.  But, small is beautiful, I love its leaves.

I'll be having a show of eco dyed hand quilted pieces at Yarn in April.  Yarn is a tiny, very wonderful yarn shop on 2nd Street in Old Town Eureka.  I'm calling the show Enduring Traces ~ recycled, eco dyed, hand quilted fabric.  So for most of the rest of March I'll be working on new pieces for the show.  Deadlines are good, they definitely inspire one to be more productive than usual.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Recycled Art

I hadn't thought of my collages as being recycled art, but in fact they are.  I rescue magazines that have interesting photos that I'll use in my daily collages, tear out the photos (often most of the magazine), and send what's left to the recycling center to become post-consumer recycled paper and God knows what else.

In other recycled art news, one of my handstitched quilts, Kalachakra, was mentioned earlier this week in a story at the TAFA List website.  Click here for the article.  My piece is the 4th photo image.  And do check out TAFA to see what over 400 other textile and fiber artists are up to world wide.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sources of Inspiration

I had the honor yesterday of being given the Liebster Blog award by Carol Larson over at Live2Dye.  Thanks, Carol!

The tradition with this award is that it is passed along to five bloggers who have motivated and inspired.  To accept the award, you must ~

  • Link back to the person who gave it to you, and thank them
  • Post the award to your blog
  • Give the award to 5 blogs with fewer than 200 followers* each that you appreciate and value
  • Leave a comment on those 5 blogs to let them know they've been offered this award. 

Now for my five ~

Alice Fox at Alice Fox Textiles for her amazing prints and other works with found objects

Jenclair at Bayou Quilts for the wonderful art she creates with all things fiber

Pat Vivod at Sentimental Pentimento for her jaw-droppingly beautiful botanically dyed art cloth

Valerie Kamikubo at Sew On & On for ongoing fiber and photographic inspirations from my home town (Los Angeles)

Wendy Fyfe at Threadborne for her no-holds-barred experiments in eco dyeing.

Congrats to all of you, you'll be receiving an email from me shortly.

* Now, a note of explanation about followers...All of the five blogs I've chosen have the Google Followers widget installed on their blogs, and each one has fewer than 200 followers.  My blog, on which I do not have the Followers widget installed, has 90 followers, but I've actually got 400 subscribers according to Feedburner (another Google offshoot), which is why I don't bother with the Followers widget.  For me, Feedburner's stats are a better indicator of blog reach than Google Followers.  Just thought I'd pass on the details of that for anyone who's interested in what the Follower thing is all about.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Working Weekend

Yesterday I low water dyed two of the pieces I recently stitched for shibori.  I had stitched two large old linen napkins with the same pattern so that I'd have a lovely pair of napkins in the end.  To use or giveaway?  Who knows.

The design is handstitched mokume, but instead of the basic rows of uneven stitching, I tried something different.  Back when I was doing woven shibori, I wove gathering threads into the fabric in a Monk's Belt pattern.  Weavers will know what I'm talking about here.  The gist of it is that the gathering threads are not random but follow a pattern, which produces more of a structured design on the fabric after gathering and dyeing.  So I thought, why not do this by hand?!

I drew inch-wide columns on the fabric with disappearing ink, then handstitched several rows of over-under stitches between the lines before alternating which threads were over or under, creating short columns of rows of straight stitches. Sure enough, the resulting fabric looks quite a bit like it would had the linen napkins been handwoven with gathering threads woven in.

Also yesterday, I nearly completed my second Fiberactions' challenge quilt with the "monotone" theme.  The group's reveal will be March 15.  And besides that, I'm nearly finished with my oak leaf eco dyed hand quilted piece.

It's being a wonderful working weekend indeed!