Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Not Geology

Here is a pic showing the painted offcuts from the wedding dresses, collaged together, to use as backgrounds in embroideries.

This pic shows the beads leftover from the serpent and some threads I found in the Challenge colours. I wanted to use these to work on the geology idea.

This pic shows what I'm working on now, with some bits from the painted offcuts. I was thinking of the geology idea but it doesn't seem very rocky to me just yet. It's one of those pieces that is just making itself so I'm going along for the ride, to see where it ends up.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Having another go

I had a good old rummage through stash and found these two bags of offcuts from wedding dresses, which I bought for the regal sum of 2 Pounds Sterling per bag from a mate at West of England Lace Club, years ago. They are mostly silk or satin with some machine lace.

I had a fun morning dropping silk paints onto the wet piles, then folding them up to dry. This results in blotchy uneven colour mixes, which is what I wanted...

before I could start a collage which I stitched down onto plain calico.

This collage makes me think of summer, regatta, sails in the distance, beach, in a sort of cubist take on that bayscape. What I was really thinking was geology - I have a picture in my head of rocks by the beach in beige and blues, and I have some lovely little shells I want to use along with beads to create this image, but it's just not coming out of my hands - I got this instead. I'm not complaining - I can't wait to play with this image and embellish it with stitch, bead, shell.

What I like about this collage is the fact that it's made from scraps of wedding dresses - are those people still married? Where are they now? How was their special day? What are their stories?

Then I read Comment 66 on the June TIF Challenge and checked out the blog, and there were photos very similar to the ones at the top of this post, and a similar story about using wedding dress scraps - I wonder if she got them from the same person? Except she made a beautiful Cinderella dress. It's this synchronicity that I love so much in doing this challenge - people may start with the same design brief and even similar materials, but finish with wildly different pieces.

Here are a couple of pix of the old "Halles" (covered markets, usually for fishmonger, butcher, delicatessan, cheese merchants) in the Bastide St. Louis, that have recently been renovated. They made one section into an art gallery for sculptures and I think it's been wonderfully done, showing the charpente (the beams holding the roof) and the columns, and best of all - it's FREE! We took a shortcut through it to go to the butcher. There was also a marching band in the fruit & veg part of the market in the Place Carnot.
Had lunch at this little restaurant beside the river Aude, looking across to the Medieval City of Carcassonne. I feel back to my blissful self. Must get stitching now.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June TIF Finished

Here is a series of pix showing the June TIF Challenge in progress and completed. I think. It needs to live in my portfolio for a while before I decide whether it remains just a little mat or becomes the basis for a little purse. In the end, it didn't seem to want beads added to it, and because there's still almost half of June left, I may spend the time revisiting my original ideas and trying to come up with a bead design.

Things I like about the piece:
The stripey-ness of the grasses, reminds me of zebras.
The softness of the chenille contrasting with the hardness of the other yarns.
This technique - I think it has potential, and I worked out a lot of things while doing it, such as how to change direction, how to change colours, what to do on the selveges, how to hold the frame while working so it's comfortable. One thing - the back is less dense than the front because when you chain stitch, the front has two threads for every one on the back if you know what I mean, so the fabric created is not truly reversible.

This I don't like about the piece:
Snakes. Yes, I admire their beauty but I can't seem to get over their creepiness. This snake in particular. I think the piece would have been better without the snake shape, just the grasses.
The warps on the left-hand side seem to show up more as ribs.
This combination of colours.
It is not really telling a story - it's just a snake in the grass - so I don't think it is very successful as a TIF Challenge. O well.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More June TIF Progress

I finished the snake shape and started on the background grasses. It's at that stage where it doesn't look like much but the snake has started to take on a life of its own. It is very pleasant to the touch - soft - not what you would expect a snake to fee like. I can't wait to get to the beading. I really like this technique - it goes pretty quickly once you decide where you are going - it's kind of a cross between weaving and crochet.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

June TIF Progress

Trying to work with the schizophrenia idea, I found this article, "How Prevalent is Schizophrenia?" , with this astonishing painting by Craig Finn, which is frequently used to teach undergraduates what a person with schizophrenia experiences. Just looking at it made me feel unwell, so I thought I might use the hallucinations of serpents and stains as a design source.

Wow - are there ever a lot of images out there on the web of serpents! I also found this silk evening jacket I bought in New York in my younger and more foolish days. I thought I'd make something beaded, perhaps a bracelet, but found that that has already been done exquisitely by loads of people. Anyway, I printed out a couple of photos for reference, then rummaged through stash for the colours.

I only had the light and medium brown colours in this thin chenille which doesn't like to be sewn, so I had to decide on a technique like knitting or crochet, but then I remembered my January TIF piece and decided to use a similar technique. I wrapped this tubular frame with the chenille and am starting to chain stitch using a crochet hook in a snake shape. We'll see where this goes. I started on the left-hand side, with the brown sparkly goldfingering yarn, using Raised Chain Band stitch before I got going with the crochet hook on the snake shape.

These pix show an old piece I did almost entirely in RCB - back & front. Like many of my finished pieces, it lives in my green book until I decide whether I want it to be a bag or a book cover. I'm currently photographing my green book, to post in a slide show eventually.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm Back

We took a short trip to Normandy for 12 days to visit DH's family and friends. I was only organised enough to take the green crochet cotton with me to stitch, so this is a repeat of the little bag I made earlier, except I'm using Pea Stitch Variation for the filling, and trying out open edges all around.

I didn't finish the fish piece in May, but looking back on my blog posts, I think I covered the challenge sufficiently that I can move on to the June TIF Challenge, which is, "stories that are and stories that are possible," relating to stash.

Here are my initial ideas:

"Stash exists in geological time." This is an amusing comment made by a Honiton Lace buddy, Judith Greene, now sadly passed away. We were chatting one evening in class, about our stashes and she said she had some in her loft that she knew she'd never have the time to work with, but just knowing that it was there was good for her soul. I said that I'd made a rule that I was not going to buy any more fabric until I'd used up what I already had (I can't imagine making such a bizarre rule now - in fact, I think there may be no such thing as too much stash), but that I had some fabrics that dated back a long time. That's when she made this comment. To translate this into a project, the colour palette suggests earth, rock, geology.

Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you're young at heart - remember that song? This relates to stories, and gives the idea of fairies but I don't see them in the pallette colours.

Guns into ploughshares. This idea came from the pallette, and the idea of things that are and things that could be. I see a farmer ploughing a field, with one of those big horses with fetlocks, but a rifle in the place of the ploughshare - I don't know...

The dictionary definition of stash gives the idea of concealment, of things hidden in a safe place, which makes me think of making something that you open to reveal something else, much the same as a story unfolds. Maybe a book or a box.

Schizophrenia. Part of the reason for the visit to Normandy was to see a family member who suffers from this. He lives in an institution now, and we were both really distressed when we visited him because he was in a psychotic phase, seeing serpents, being agressive with other patients, trying to scrub the walls and floors. For safety, all photos, paintings, books, pencils, etc. had been removed from his room so he really had nothing to look at or to do, and it made me think, "No wonder he's inventing serpents and spots - he's creating interest for himself where there is none." When we returned home, we looked up schizophrenia on the internet and read some case histories, and it seems that the TIF theme relates - most of us see reality in a similar way (stories that are), but people with schizophrenia see stories that are possible as well, in a kind of jumble of reality and imagination. It makes me think that they are using their creativity in a very specific way, to help them cope with their emotional world. I think I'd like to work with this idea, hoping that it will help me get through the emotional shock we had at seeing a loved one in this state. But how to represent it? Hmmmmm...