Quiet Time in the Studio

Today I finished five loads of wash and put it all away, wrapped some Christmas gifts, made chili for lunch, saw a bit of news and had my 10,000 steps in by 9:30 this morning.  When I finish here and turn off Lyle Lovett, I will head back upstairs, check on Lee, finish a beer I started for lunch and make tomato basil soup for dinner. It is a very cold day here in North Carolina. A day for things cooked in pots over flames. But earlier this week……..

I finished the right hand of new responsibilities….the things Lee can no longer do or remember to do. Now I have another outline of the left hand again to start to fill that one in…next week maybe I will do some drawing into it.

I also finished the cane toad spine small journal.

It took a lot of fussing to get the hide to adhere to the already waxed covers, but I like how it feels in the hand. It is about 3.5″ x 5″ x 1″. It is a good fit in the hand. The inside end papers are a paper I “marbled” using the soils from home.

I made a thick pool of corn starch paste to float the pigments that had been mixed with linseed oil and then thinned with mineral spirits to be flicked onto the paste surface with turkey feathers. I did not mix the colors very much before draping the paper over the top and pulling it off to dry. The smell stayed for a while but eventually disappeared. I like how the paper looks and it seems more relevant to my work than fancier marbled papers. Those papers always look like the end papers to something by Shakespeare or a blank journal that will likely never be used.

Then I got back to the shawl that is a very tactile representation of dementia. It is so soft to work on.

I am almost through covering the piece with these embroidery thread kantha stitches. Just six more inches on one end. Then I am going to use a finer thread and go into the patches of silks and contact printed light weight wools.

The green earth pigment I used on the linen shawl ate right through to give me some lovely holes to work with. After placing the silk and wool scraps to fill the holes, I backed it with another linen shawl the same size.

Here it is from many months ago.

It was at the point where most people would have just thrown it out. But something about it holding parts of the land Lee and I invested in and the unexpected turns that happen in art making and life was simply too appealing. So now when I have some time, I take it out, put on my glasses to see the thread and eye of the needle come together in not too many attempts, pull it through and tie a knot at one end that looks more like a snarl of loops, pick a direction and try to keep the stitching somewhat straight.

All sounds rather pitiful when I read that paragraph over but I do like doing it.

Til next time.