On The Mend!

I have put the two badly damaged linen scarves that were the same size together and stitched them along the edges with threads harvested from the warp or weft of a lovely scrap of cloth that I contact printed with leaves in Australia. Each thread was made up of three smaller somewhat furry threads that might be wool. And of course they are naturally variegated due to the coloring process of the cloth. I was trying not to harvest too much from the scrap because what remains could be a lovely tubular scarf. The colors are scrumptious and there is a good fringe on each side due to the pulling of threads to sew the linen scarves together and emphasize holes.

The scarred linen scarves became very soft after rinsing out the earth pigments. Sort of a nice drape.

I worked with some interference and managed to hold the two pieces together with the threads I did have. It is a bit washed out looking but I love the feel of it. And it does actually look like it was borrowed from a mummy. Here are some detail images.

And the finished scarf.

I am tempted to now add some small beads to this one to give it a bit of color. The mummy likely would have had them there. This piece strikes me as genuinely “boro”. Putting together worn and ragged pieces together in the hopes of extending the life and use of a piece of cloth. Adding beads will certainly take away from that idea….but still, color can be a good thing here. If you ever see me wearing it, you are welcome to touch it. It feels, for lack of another word, “loved”. And I do love it.

So does Sadie.

On the next piece….the large linen shawl that was even more eaten up by the green earth pigment….I am going to patch it with scraps of silk that were printed at the Botanical Studio in Australia. These pieces of silk were just remnants from the bin that I tucked into my very serious attempts to get that quintessential Australian look of leaves on cloth. And they were very successful scarves indeed with a few more to give to friends. See below.

And here are the silk scraps with the very holey linen shawl that is now folded in half lengthwise to make even another scarf.

The linen weave and threads on the shawl are much finer, hence the more damage. But it too is very soft now.  I am wondering whether to use the silk scraps behind the holes between the two layers or cover over the tops with edges turned under. I might do all the patching while it is still not folded in half to avoid so many stitches showing on each side. It is going to be fun to work on and the bits of sheen from the silk should give it a whole different look than the first one. If this came from a mummy, it was a mummy of means, I am sure.

I am not the only one ready to start in on another rescue.

Next week the this one should be finished. Til then.


Oops! That Pesky Earth Pigment – Carl Green Green

So it looked good a couple of weeks ago on my soy milk treated linen scarves from Beautiful Silks. Granted the Carl Green Green was a bit gritty but there was lots of color there and it went on easily in a paste of pigment and soy milk. All the colors looked good then…looked like they might take.

So last Friday I took one of the small scarves and rinsed it out. I found a bit of a hole where one of the green dots were.

The loose weave of the linen was not conducive to holding onto much color but the reds and yellows showed promise if I left them another week. One scarf and one shawl left on the table to wait.

Showing different things to the Art Group on Sunday, I included the linen scarf with the small hole and said that I would just put a patch of something over it and maybe stitch more remnants on the piece. I told them it could be quite interesting and soft. Might even look like it was pulled from a mummy…..which is something I would be more interested in wearing than something new.

But this morning I got to thinking that maybe it was not a good idea to let them sit under the penetrating green pigment too much longer, so I “rescued” the other two. Good idea. Here is the green patterned end of the second scarf.

And here are some images of the shawl.

Those are pretty big holes because I made large circles or squares with the green pigment. But I have to admit that I like the feel and the tatteriness of them. So I will sacrifice the least holey of the two smaller scarves to patch the holes of the other two…..especially the large shawl. I might also add some scraps of contact printing from leaves on silk/wool just for more interest.

I made this a few years ago with the spare parts of more or less ruined shirts. I love this scarf and wear it often. And it never fails to get compliments and questions.

Of course those tattered scarves do remind me of the middle stages of some of my shifu papers using earth pigments.

I think that there is something very appealing in the raggity look. My spell check did not like that word “raggity”…..suggested “fragility”…..which is where these linen scarves are right now out there drying in the sun. They look rotted and dug up from the earth. I think there are possibilities abound with them. They could be fragments in a book or wall piece but I think right now I want to wear them. And I am trying very hard to not make things that go on walls and require framing, glass and a place to show.  Of course now that I have said that and started thinking about it, pieces of the scarves and unspun shifu  would be very interesting worked into collage with prints and more pigments……

Anyway just an early blog on the latest development here in the studio. Maybe next time I can have them patched and stitched….at least one of them anyway.

Til then.



Cleaning Up and Clearing Space

Six bags of things I have no use for came out of the studio closet this week. All went to the trash. It is amazing how many things you think will be used that just end up under or behind something else. Now I can actually see everything in here.

In the main studio there are still corners left to be gone through.

And things that are hard to part with right now like favorite undergraduate pieces.

But I am getting close. There are now several boxes of books to be donated to the Fiber Arts and Book Arts studios of a local craft school. Many more to be given to a used book store.

The best part of cleaning up my space this week was finding a home for my collection of pop up books. When I went to catalog them, I found the collection had grown to over ninety. And I have not added any in at least five years.

I will likely give the same alma mater some of my artist books that have been exhibited but never sold. It is nice to think of them being appreciated by budding book artists. Lots of these are tucked into corners of shelves.

But not the many years of Australia travel journals. Those I will keep for several more years. Here is just one end of the shelf full of those and the few things I brought home from my last trip over in March.

And another group of things I find it hard to part with now are the small wooden tools and foundry molds. They feel so good in the hand and need to be used somehow.

But the studio is cleaner, neater and ready for the Art Group meeting tomorrow. I will sit at my desk/work table ready to take notes.

And they will find their usual places to do the same.

Next week I will go deeper into corners and clear out some more. Ready some things for a burn pile. And get back to the Specimen Journal. Maybe redo the linen scarves that did not seem to hold much of the earth pigments due to their gauziness. And maybe work more with the photos taken of what the driveway has to say to me about the daily trek from one end to the other and back. I am beginning to see a language in the temporary marks of shadows and patches and rain.

More next week about work and workshops.

Planning Workshops and Back to Work in the Studio

This is the journal and map I am working on as a sample of how the class in Halls Gap for Grampians Texture will start. It is a six day masters class titled, “An Expedition that Begins with One Square Metre”. I use that measurement because most of my students are lucky to get that much space to work on in class. And the funny thing is that in Australia they are usually concerned that their neighbor has enough space to work on and adjust their bits and pieces accordingly. A generous, considerate lot to say the least.

In this class we will start by making this small leather field journal to write about our excursions. The map is one I learned how to cut and fold to be used for field work. It will tuck neatly into the back of the journal.  And the rest of the journey is anything the students want it to be. They can go where they want to go and accumulate “artifacts” and “evidence” along the way. Some may go to places of memory, others into a literal square metre outside the studio, and others making it up as they go…..like I am.

I will be teaching a white line printmaking introductory class in Hobart, Tasmania early March. It is one of my most favorite places. Tasmania is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. My mid nineties experiences with the basket makers there have made it a place to want to return to again and again. Here is a bit of white line they might relate to.

Although the image above was colored with watercolors made from Australian soils, this might just be the first time in several years that I am not teaching that technique there. It will save on packing space, that is for sure. Not to mention examined luggage.

My third class scheduled in Australia will be in Ocean Grove, Victoria. So far it is titled, “Book, Basket, Boat – Vessel for Memory”. Students just need to show up with a memory and the materials they like working with, and together we build something that houses a memory that can be saved of dispatched, wherever it needs to go. …sort of excavating followed by expediting. Here is one of mine.

It is a page from “Ties to Home”, a book about leaving one home for another.

Speaking of home, I see these things on my walk close to the house. The first is this glorious fungus along the road that appears only in this one spot every year come summer.

And this tree, an old very tall pine that has been leaning for many years and grew to adjust. But this year with so much rain, I think it is tipping ever so slightly more towards just dropping straight down to the ground. See what I mean?

I don’t know how it manages to hang on. It is a determined tree and I remember photographing it for a book of pictures of trees for an assignment in my photography class in undergraduate school. They were all so much more impressive in black and white and many of them reminded me of old men just waiting to be asked something they knew all about. The book took an award and I still have it….another thing I need to find a home for. Don’t you just look around at times and wonder, “Where did all this stuff come from?” and “Did I really need to buy or make that?!”

And here is one of my cats. Some blogs it is the picture of their cat that makes the reading worthwhile…..

She likes to watch me read in bed at night….it only lasts ten minutes and we are both gone.

And aside from all that, I have been back at the Specimen Journal. More pages as I start on the third of eight signatures between wooden covers.

There will be some writing on these last pages. Surely he had to take notes on what he was seeing and recording.

It is a wet day here in Brasstown, NC and I will stay in the studio packing things up I need to get rid of and maybe working on this Specimen Journal. I put all of the papers I made in Claudia Lee’s class away and wondered what in the world I am supposed to do with them and all the others they are keeping company with. If I take them out and make something, then that something needs to sit on a shelf. I am trying to clear off the shelves. What was I thinking?! I keep asking myself that more and more lately. Maybe I will just sit and look out this window and write some poetry. That at least ends up on one or two pages or even better in the bin.

Til next week.