Friday, March 27, 2015

Big Doorway Emerges

If you've been idly wondering how those floating motifs work with the doorway theme, since you can't read my mind which is where all the art planning takes place, I thought I'd post this.

This is the first outline of the first part of the doorway. The motifs will float across it as they're developed -- one already does, as you see -- and there will be more lines to reinforce the shape visually as I go.  You see pins holding the couching thread in place here, so as not to lose the shape as I go, since markings wear off the fabric very fast.

The usual problem with scribing an arch is to get the curve working, and rather than resort to endless math computation ending in a wobbly result, I look around for an object already the size and curve I want. This can be a lengthy search, but this time it wasn't.

The  round metal dish I've been keeping my supplies for the project in, is just the ticket.  So I drew around it without emptying it, living dangerously with all those little containers of beads, and you see a nice result.  I reset the pins a couple of times to get the straight part straight and the curved part reasonably symmetrical.  

Unusual for me to be particular about a shape to the point of not freehanding it, but for this piece, the archway needs to be a firm readable contour, against which the freeform shapes can play and work better.  Just sayin'.

There's another work going on, too, but the progress is so slow that there's not much to show you yet.  It's the portable piece, the stitching on white silk with stumpwork one, a flower with leaves, maybe a waterlily, maybe a chrysanthemum, jury still out, not my design, or I'd know!   I can take it in to stitch-in evenings, unlike the Big Doorway, which is definitely not portable, what with the size and the different threads and the beads and different needles and all that.

I found today that I need to stand to work on this, just like old times, never sat in the studio.  I have it on a wooden cabinet with the edge sticking out far enough for me to work from underneath, and a good height for me to work at.  One big reason never to sit to make art is that you have to see it straight in order to understand it.  No use sitting and looking across the work as you go, since though we hardly notice it, that gives us a warped image.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Update on three pieces at once

The experiment with the goldwork initials is about done, and I think ready to frame.  

It's a combo of hand dyeing, goldwork, beads and painted dots.  I have a nice Japanese frame ready for it when I get to it.

And here's the Big Doorway Piece, more work done on it.  The trailing couched gold thread, of which there will be much more, around the other two motifs,  will enclose drifts of beads and  stitching.  

I can only do this for a short time, because the size is very tiring for my ribcage, oddly enough.  Reaching forward and back and guiding the thread front and back is more strenuous than you might think.  So a short period at a time works.

This is the interior petals of the flower, which will be done partly in stumpwork like this, partly with surface embroidery. 

 In the interests of transparency, very appropriate since I'm working on organza, the two open areas are you might say abandoned.  I tried them but the thread didn't work out, tried another thread, still wasn't right, so I switched to a floss which is working much better.

I've also moved on from drawing the petals and keeping the wire in the boundary, the usual stumpwork technique, to doing it more freehand, shaping the wire as I go, and it's better for my style than doggedly following a pattern. Why are you not surprised at this.

And this morning I found a gallon of white semi gloss enamel at the dumpster, so it's now up in the studio, and I think my paint requirements for the room have been met.  I need a bit of spackle and after that I can get under way.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Studio work of a different kind

My studio is at the top of the house, with access on each side to the rafters, where some neighbors store items, and I don't.  Most of the neighbors who use the eaves for storage, which I think is not a good idea, being of the school of thought that says if you need more and more storage you probably have too much stuff...anyway, they've got doors put in. 

The original access panels were ugly and awkward -- you had to raise your knee to your chin at the same time as stepping up and into a little opening -- then try to reverse the position once in, all without a solid floor.  And you had to unscrew and rescrew them every time anyone needed to be in.

See the size of this access door, resting against a table? My friend and handywoman par excellence once got stuck in there, couldn't get out again, slim, but too tall to fold down far enough! 

So I decided finally to get the accesses replaced by doors you can just open and walk in.  I rarely need to get in there, but when I do I'm not in a mood to be doing contortions, since I'm usually tracking down a leak or some weirdness. And when the roof people need to get in, it seems friendly not to make it as hard as possible for them to do it.

So finally, the weather moderated enough that it wasn't cruel and inhuman to ask Michael the Contractor to step into the unprotected eaves, and today he shows up ready to measure and go.  Like this:

And here's the first door, built, set in, hinged, awaiting trim and finishing.  The studio is swathed in sheets to protect from dust, though the way he works, there's very little of it. He's good.

Just one more day's work and it's done.He's a gem in that once he starts, he finishes. None of that oh, now I have to work somewhere else for three weeks..

The work I'm on had to be evacuated from there and I worked downstairs, a bit awkward, light not very good, and the portable lamp was all swathed and inaccessible upstairs.

But I did stitch and bead.  And here's where I am on one piece.

 I think this is another doorway concept, but much bigger than the earlier series.  And here are details of those bigger motifs

 I'm realizing that doorways seem to be a dominant motif in my life at the moment, too.  And that there's a LOT more work to be done on this piece.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

At long last, signs of spring!

Here's the first sighting this year, late but undaunted, of the patio snowdrops.  

In the words of the Zen master whose name totally escapes me, one flower blooms, spring everywhere!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Doorway Three, fragile little thing

It looks as if DoorwayThree might be done, not sure yet.  But I do know that this is one of those fragile, delicate artworks that can hardly be handled. It will be a bit of a challenge to exhibit this one, I think. 

It's not that the materials are fragile, just the construction is. Between slippery copper knitted ribbon weaving, and silk floss weaving, and the nylon doorway icon woven in sort of secured, and the net overlay, it looks nice, but I have to think how to stabilize the whole thing, perhaps.  Iron on stabilizer fabric might do a job on the weaving, though.  And possibly some weight at the bottom will help.  Anyway, we'll see.

On the offchance that this completes the Doorway series, I'm looking at other design ideas for later on, after the several stitching works I have under way are all done.  Here's a longterm idea, and you'll see all the contrasts in direction and subtleties of color and shape and negative space, and well, I like it.

The other stitching works going are looking like this:

 Japanese fabric, which I'm continuing from the original designer with goldwork, dyed, and beading. It's about 16 x 20 inches. Much more to happen here.  The goldwork icons were my self teaching tries way back, and I wanted to see if they would work in a context.

 Almost invisible, a transfer image of a waterlily, on silk, to be worked with gold threads and silk, and I'm going to add in some stumpwork petals as I go.  This is probably one to work on in warmer weather, on the patio, in the aforementioned Adirondack chair. A gift from our goldwork teacher.

And here's an initial set, created as an exercise in our goldwork class last year.  I dyed the thing with silk dye, after the stitching, and got quite a surprise at how the stitching all shriveled up and crinkled, but I managed to restore it with pressing and resting a printmaking press on it.  

I'm think that this, beaded and with more stitching, not yet decided if it will be a Japanese stitching deal, or what, but it will be a signature piece, once framed, to show up at the next exhibit just as my signature to the show.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A funny thing happened on the way to the weaving

The original thought was to create a weaving as a backdrop to Doorway Two, so I started on a weaving, using copper ribbon and silk floss, and a newly cut cardboard loom, and then realized I had started on Doorway Three...

there will be more parts to this in terms of manipulating the weaving, still to be decided.  But it does seem as if Doorway Two is done. And this is the last of the series.

It's a side effect of a lot of art material organization and moving yesterday, where all my little weaving bits and spinning bits were moved upstairs along with the embroidery materials and beads, finally all in one home in the studio.  And a couple of attendant catastrophes, which I will whine about in Field and Fen.

This including the catastrophes, the shakuhachi effect at work again, triggered all kinds of new ideas, including this one.  Just a helpless prawn, I tell you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Doorway Two almost there

As you see, a lot has happened to Doorway Two since all your helpful ideas on orientation. The original silk is now covered in a fine netting, and there's a roofline stitched in.  So it's become a kind of paradox, a childlike house containing a doorway, looking out at a house and doorways, and you don't know if you're inside looking out, or outside seeing it from the street,  or not. I like this.

Anyway,  this is the current state of Doorway Two, and since it's very fragile looking in person, it might also be backed with a piece of handweaving.  Not sure yet. I have to see it on the wall a couple of days before I know. And the fringes will need a day or two to calm down and lie flatter.  

The dowel type thing you see is a pickup stick, from a set I'll be using at my paper jewelry workshop to teach people beadmaking! this one had just the right color for the piece.

But as always, open to suggestions.  I'm thinking of a much finer weave than on Doorway One, using one of my cardboard looms and finer yarn, just so it's not overwhelmed.  If I decide on weaving, that is.

The glistening fringes look nice now, all knotted and frayed at the ends to make them airy and light, but they were definitely one of those why did I start this processes.  I was making lark's head knots through netting with the finest crochet hook, like working in mid air on nothing, and it was good when it was done.  But I do like how it worked.  This reminded me of working with that gold rayon thread, lovely when done, very trying to work with.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Some crowd sourcing requested here

At this point, I think the stitching on Doorway Two is done. There may or may not be beads, not sure yet.  But what I notice is that the artist is not always the best judge of which way is up.

So I took pix of all four aspects of the piece, and if you would be so kind as to look and study and think and let me know which way you think is the right orientation for this piece, that would be great. It will probably be appliqued to a bigger background, to work as a wallhanging.





Thank you, art collaborators!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Doorway Two now has net flying about

While I was looking for something else, I found a sleeve of netting, the kind you get fruit in, and cut parts to use here as a freeform trellis around the doorway.  

Not sure what total shape the doorway will be this time, curved, pointed, square, that will emerge. Here's a general picture, then a tighter shot to show a bit better detail.   The curving shapes at the top might end in a kind of point.

Meanwhile I stitched down the net at the junctions, pulling to make these more interesting shapes, then I'm couching a silver trail  around and across it. In rl the background has a lot more light green in it than you see here.  Disregard the trailing white thread, it's just the couching thread trailing from the needle.  I think this piece will probably be appliqued to some close woven fabric, yet to be found.

It's starting to look as if I'm doing time of day. Doorway One is a night scene, Doorway Two looks like early morning, and perhaps Doorway Three, yet to be figured out, might be afternoon/evening.

I'm finding that the LED lamp is a very handy little tasklight for brightening up the general ambiance around the piece for taking pix.  At this time of year when I can't take the camera outdoors, this is useful.  My little point and shoot needs all the help it can get.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Doorway One Complete

So after studying Doorway One on the wall for a while, and thinking I like those wonky beads, then I don't like those wbs, then I don't know about those wbs, I ended up realizing they were the wrong thing.  So today I removed all the beads and replaced them with straighter lines of blue beads, and a nice copper ribbon ending with beads of some semi precious material whose name escapes me.  

And I'm much happier with the whole thing.  This piece is surprisingly heavy, what with all the brass chain and the two heavy beads.  It feels good.

Last night at the embroiderers' stitch in I started on the next in the series, different color feeling, different sense of doorway.  

This is another polaroid transfer image on nylon superimposed on a piece of knitted sparkly fabric I hand dyed in greens.  So we'll see where this goes. The image looks big because it's in a very small hoop. But it's the same size as the Doorway One image up above.

 I started with the usual snailtrail not much idea of where it's going yet, but that will unfold, I expect.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Doorway One getting there

Current state of the unfinished doorway piece:

The pearls will be continued in a straight drop down, and the blue beads likewise.  I'm looking at the irregular shapes and wondering, but won't know if they should stay like that until I do the drops.

At that point I think it will be done. I like the brass chain effect pretty much. But I welcome reaction and suggestion, too.

There will be a couple more doorway pieces, I think.  This one's 12 inches high, 5.5 inches wide.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Doorway Piece continues...seeing how it will work now

The beaded and woven and stitched piece continues, thanks to bitter cold and snow and being safer indoors.

At this point I can see how it will work.  

Not framed after all, but once the rest of the beaded strings are done, it will come off the loom, hang on a dowel, and have some sort of beaded or tasseled features attached to all the bottom loops.  Side loops will be stitched down at the back.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Grow Your Blog Giveaway Announcement!

So, the Dollivers and Elton being a large part of the ongoing art work that is this life, they, along with Duncan the cat, took part in the Great Drawing this morning. Note the Tidepool piece in the background, to remind you what the award is.

I copied out the entrants' names and IDs onto a piece of paper, which I cut into slips, one slip per person, folded and crumpled them, put them in a dish, and invited Duncan to choose.  As you see, he did.  

The one he bit and tried to run away with was the winner, once I got it out of his mouth, a bit damp but still legible, note the toothmarks.

Elton agreed to hold it up for the camera.   And it's, wait for it, it's...

Mary Ann!! of Magpie's Mumblings, beloved crazy quilting corner of the blogosphere.  Send me your mailing address, MA, and I'll ship to you as soon as the PO opens after the holiday.  Enjoy your Tidepool piece.  And if you can send a pic of it with you once you receive it, that would be great. Especially if it also features your dragon..

And thank you everyone for taking part and signing up with such good humor, and inviting me to your corners, too.  And to Vicki, for running this huge event again and inviting both my blogs to take part in it.  My blog life has taken a great upward turn, and I now have a lot of new blogs to visit as well as people to welcome to mine.

Elton is playing us out with a selection of Ruffles and Flourishes, then There She Goes, Mi-hiss Canada, and Crazy.  And he threw in Teddy Bears' Picnic because he's got the piano and his new sweater set, there's no holding him.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Doorway piece at midway stage

Here's the doorway piece, central motif stitched and beaded and cut out of surrounding fabric, then stitched down to protect the raw edge. 

It's just set on top of the weaving for now, but will be secured there, and much more beading will happen around it, probably emphasizing the doorway motif.  All this happens before I remove it from the loom.  I'm thinking this might become the first of a series.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Reminder about Grow your Blog Party giveaway and Happy Vals day

The Dollivers, the art dolls of my blogs, along with accompanist Elton,  wish us all a Happy Val's Day tomorrow, and a reminder, that February 14th is also the last day to enter the Grow Your Blog Party giveaway.

To enter, if you haven't already, go here and make a comment.  Remember to make sure I can get back in touch with you if you are the lucky recipient.  I'll need to email you and get your mailing address from you.  And I hope the winner enjoys her beaded and goldworked piece.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Back to my own work, stitching and weaving

I'm back with my stitching, the doorway motif which was the polaroid transfer print, and with trapunto going on.  Here you can see some couching and beading in progress, and the small purple weaving in the background might possibly go with this stitching.

 Not sure yet, but I'll know more when I remove the stitching from the hoop and cut around it. The ragged edges of the transfer image won't be part of the finished work.  I might be able to mount the stitched piece onto the weaving, then frame them together that way. The weaving will fit into an 8 x 8 box frame.  Just a thought at this point.

I decided it didn't fit with the bigger work I originally had it in mind for, not right in spirit, so it will be a freestanding small work, possibly one of a series.  The bigger work has suggested doorways, but the overall feeling of it is different.

You'll see my latest toy there, too, my LED portable worklight. It folds right down to the size of a fat wallet, easy to carry about and work in places where the light isn't quite good enough for stitching. It has three light levels, and I use it at the brightest setting.  I'm an LED fan now!

And the dear little loom is another favorite tool, made in the US, yay, all metal, beautifully finished.  Designed largely for potholders, but I use it for all kinds of artworks.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Got lemons? what, not even lemons?

In the course of planning the paper jewelry workshop I'm teaching at the next general meeting of the EGA, the embroiderers, I thought it would be nice to find the bag of jewelry I made years ago and which was the reason I was asked to do the workshop.  People saw them, liked them, wanted to learn.

And found it has completely vanished. This is a bag of about 30 necklaces and little bags of beads.  Gone. An exhaustive search has not yielded anything.  This was a blow, since it was the samples I was going to use for the workshop.  Sooooooo, rather than waste even more time searching in the same places over and over, I figured I'd better make new ones.

This turns out to be a good idea, since I brushed up my skills, and I'll make a few new items to show and enjoy.  Not such a deprivation, to be forced to play at jewelry making, after all.

Since my printer is being a bit miserly in how many good copies it will give at one time, I have to figure out if I can get a single good copy to xerox from, to show the bead template, a simple one once you've seen it.  But I think I'll send out the workshop instructions as an email attachment.  Art thrives on restrictions.  At least I hope it will.

 Here's the current state of the studio in mid workshop prep. where I'm making sample beads, assembling papers to share, noting what to buy, what should go in the kits, who's signed up already, who gets kits by mail.  And on and on.  You have to do all this at once, really, since one thing suggests another, and you might as well note it right away.

And here are the beads I made this morning.  More to come.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Polaroid transfer stitching

After the excitement of the Grow Your Blog party yesterday, with new people greeting us in here, and visiting their blogs in turn and others too who had entered, today I'm back to the present! lovely to have new readers, too,  joining the people who've been here before.

This is an artwork I found when I organized the studio, from when I did some Polaroid transfers before they "improved" the film so that you couldn't lift the image off.  This I transferred onto sheer nylon.

To create a small artwork, I backed it with gauze, stitched a snailtrail of silk thread around, piercing both layers,  then did trapunto work.  If you're not familiar with trapunto, it's a kind of stuffing.  You pierce the backing then stuff batting, in this case a nice roving, into the selected areas from the back.  Deciding how to organize trapunto is an interesting phase of work.


It's a form of fabric sculpture, a bas relief in a way.

Then I started using goldwork, couched down with gold silk thread, and running round the contours of the raised sections.  This is very engrossing work, figuring out how to get around the stitched lines interestingly.

I think I will probably put a curved doorway shape around three sides of this image, and I'll applique it to a larger work I have under way, if it works there. There's a larger curved doorway in that work that might be compatible.  If not, it may be a freestanding artwork, one of a couple, since I have other transferred images similar to this one, to work on.

And there may be beading.  Watch this space!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grow Your Blog Day 2015

Today's the Annual Grow Your Blog day, organized and created by Vicki at Two Bags Full, much applause to her, and see the button on the right indicating this.

Welcome to new readers, and welcome back to current readers and followers.  My screen name is Boud, by which I'm often referred to, but my real life name is Liz. This is my art blog (I also have a general purpose blog, Field and Fen here )

Art the Beautiful Metaphor, a joke relating to soccer, the beautiful game, is the blog where I show my current and past art in a range of media, monotypes


 tapestry weaving

ink and wash watercolors

Portrait of the Artist




artist's books

 handmade paper

 here with reverse drawing on glass

 stick weaving


 my exhibits

what's up in the studio

 where I also review other people's exhibits 

 Homefront, a wonderful local organization helping with homeless emergencies and with people's need to restart their lives and whose artists show great work

 Ellarslie, Museum of the City of Trenton

 Mercer County College

and generally give an artist's eye view of the world and gladly welcome input from readers and observers, artists or not.

Sometimes I'm accompanied by my character dolls, the Dollivers, seen above modeling a handknit scarf I designed and made for a friend, five knitted creations with a large wardrobe each, to exhibits and to hindrance in the studio...they mainly live at Field and Fen, though, and if you like them, you can wander over there to see more of their exploits.

There will be a small giveaway to a random commenter on this blogpost, and to see it, scroll back a little way for a picture and description.  No need to have a blog in order to enter, no need to do more than comment in here and you're in.  I'll do the drawing on February 15 and announce the winner in here and get an address from him or her to ship the item to.

Meanwhile, browse enjoy, ask, comment, and thank you for being here.