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Archive for May, 2010

As this post’s title suggests, the past week was spent finishing things up.  The Icelandic top rug took forever to roll.  I mean FOREVER!  I think that is because of the wool batt I used for the base.  It was suppose to be an Icelandic cross.  Who knows what it was?   Finally took it off the rolling machine today.  It’s hard felt, worthy of many years of footwear. Again I was reminded of the importance of laying out a piece like this with equal amounts of wool everywhere.  If the wool isn’t layered equally there will inevitably be soft spots.

Here’s a picture of it “in situ”.  Looks much like it did in the picture of it wetted down but before rolling.

I spent several hours at the sewing machine, stitching a maze pattern on the piece I call Maze #3. I really like the layering I did with the stitching.  I’m not sure if my out-of-focus picture shows the smaller maze pattern with finer stitches.  It’s meant to be a kind of “ghost” pattern.  And the bigger maze with heavier stitching the main pattern.  I want to play around with this idea (feeling?) of layers of stitches more.

I think this one (also out of focus 😦  ) might show it better.

As I sewed I once again ruminated about hand vs. machine stitching. The effect that I have gotten from the machine stitching I would not have been able to get with hand stitching.  So what’s the difference between using my sewing machine and that automatic cross-stitch machine I saw at the quilt shop?  Is there one?  I know my reactions to them are different.  It’s an interesting quandary for me.  One could ask the same question about the use of my rolling machine. Are my rugs truly hand-felted if I roll them on a machine?  I do know that I probably wouldn’t be making rugs without the machine. And I have several felter friends who are very limited in the felt they can make because of physical disabilities.  So there is some freedom granted by the machine. But I digress.

I also spent quite a bit of time working on framing or mounting finished pieces.  And that was my week in the studio.

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I did manage to get into the studio a bit in the last week, despite the glorious summer weather.  I will admit, I spent more time in the garden than the studio.

I’ve already started one rug using some of the new Icelandic fleece I got.  I mentioned that in my last posting.  It is now thoroughly massaged and I’ve started it rolling.  I got some pictures before the rolling began.

I love the natural look of the Icelandic, but I’m not so sure about the brown batt for background.  The next one I do will be in the all natural state I think. No fiber processing at all. Here’s another shot. Gives a better feel of the top layer don’t you think?

Here’s a detail where you can actually see fibers.

I’ve also started another landscape. This was a photo I took when visiting with my Mom in April.  I wished I’d taken the time to get closer.

I thought it would be fun to have a shot of the different colors of wool I pulled out to start with.

Here is the layout of wool on a simple pale blue/green silk chiffon. Hoping to achieve more visual interest as well as the effect of shadows, I blended several colors together in both the brown areas and the green areas.

This layout technique is different from the one I used for the Winter at Natural Bridge landscape (which, by the way, is still sitting near my sewing machine, patiently waiting to be finished).  The winter scene had a plain piece of silk chiffon, on top of which wool was laid out, then a piece of hand-dyed silk chiffon was placed on top of that, then fabric and yarn for imagery was the final layer. Here the piece of fabric is the bottom layer, then comes the wool, and finally the imagery.

Gosh, this is looking awfully realistic.  Not my usual style.  Perhaps the felting and ruching (crinkling) will add a more abstract look.  Check back next week to find out.

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Here it is Tuesday already!  We had a gorgeous weekend and I just couldn’t make myself sit at the computer.  So much for Sunday postings.  Guess it’s more realistic to tell you I’ll post Monday nights or Tuesday mornings.

I spent Sunday in the garden,weeding and such. When I woke up Monday morning I knew with total certainty I just HAD TO HAVE ROSES!   I’ve never especially wanted to grow roses before. But here we are Tuesday morning and there is a new flower bed with 4 rose bushes in my yard.  Time will tell if I succeed with their cultivation.

Many pieces have been blooming in the studio.  The piece I made for Jesse is somewhere over the Pacific right now, winging it’s way to her.  Here’s s shot of the finished piece.

Also a couple of details.

Do you remember the piece I started a few weeks ago that is based on a photo of tree roots?  It’s felted now.  I am very pleased with it.

Here it is next to the original photo.

However, I’m stuck….I can’t decide which way is up.  What do you think?

This way:

Or this way?

During the course of the past week I was thinking about the piece I call Maze #1.  All pastels — very unusual for me.  I wondered what it would be like to do a similar piece in dark colors?  So I decided to find out.

This is the background laid out .

Before felting:

After felting:

I am rather pleased with the wavy edges.  I like the way it looks.

A detail:

Both Maze #3 and Roots will need some kind of surface embellishments.  I’m not sure exactly what yet.  This is the point in my creative process where a piece hangs on the studio wall and I just look at it whenever I pass by.  One of these days I’ll get some ideas. Then I’ll proceed.

On Saturday my friend and partner in crime, Dawna, and I went to visit sheep farms.  Yeah, you guessed.  I came home with several new fleeces, as did she.  Icelandic sheep appear to be our new passion. If I had the acreage I’d buy a few lambs.  Probably a good thing I don’t.  After washing a fleece, I excitedly layed out a new rug, wet it down and started massaging.  I totally forgot to take pictures.  Aaargh!  and I’d been doing so well.  However, I promise a picture today as I keep massaging.

Stay tuned…Mondays or Tuesdays.

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This week has been a time of sadness.  I have 2 cousins, Sunday and Jesse, who have lived their whole adult lives in Hawaii.  When we were kids, and especially during adolescence, I worshipped Sunday and Jesse.  They were everything I was not.  They lived in the city (New York City, that is), and were sophisticated.  They were pretty, fashionable, exotic.  And they had boyfriends! During adulthood, with 6000 miles separating us, our lives grew apart.  But they were always there; still quite beautiful and exotic.

Jesse, who to this day is absolutely gorgeous, with a smile a mile wide and a musical laugh, is dying of cancer.  I just found out Sunday morning that she has but a short time to live.  I stumbled through the day blinded by tears; mourning both this beautiful woman’s all-too-short life, and perhaps my own mortality as well.  Finally I realized that all I could do — both for her and for myself — would be to make a piece of art celebrating her life.

Here you see the piece of an Indian silk sari that I will use.  Being part of a silk sari is fitting as it was with Jesse and Sunday that I got my first taste of Indian Yoga, a most important part of my life ever since. The fabric is vibrant, bright and beautiful — and full of flowers, just like Jesse.

Here are the colors of wool I will put behind the silk.  They signify the earth, the sky and everything in between.

Here you see the flowers that I have put down to adorn the silk, just as her smiles and laughter adorn our lives.  The bright yellow lines are the sunshine Jesse spread everywhere she went.

The piece is still being felted.  It is taking a long time since the silk is thick and all the metallic threads in it make it rather slippery – hard for the wool fibers to penetrate. But already I can see some movement, which will increase as the piece becomes more felted.  The movement is the subtle suggestion of swaying hips as this woman of Hawaii dances the hula – now and forever!

I love you Jesse.

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Our weather has been gorgeous this past week or 2.  It’s been hard to stay out of the garden, so I haven’t!  Lots of weeding and cleaning to do. It’s been such an early spring.  But the cool nights have kept spring flowers going, and going, and going.

Look what’s blooming in my yard.

Here come the peonies!

But that has meant no time in the studio making felt.

I had pretty extensive oral surgery this week.  So between all the “digging” there’s been no time in the studio.  Sorry. Hopefully this coming week.

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