Friday, February 10, 2017

art on backward

Have you ever taken a peek behind a work of art? The backside of a painting may not be that interesting but the backside of anything stitched is most intriguing.

It's there that you see the mistakes, the knots, the frayed lines. It's the behind the scenes of the emotion, the frustrations, the perfect running stitch, the failed French knot. It's an entire dialogue between artist and fabric that takes place in thread.

I've always loved the backside of stitches. I like the tactile ridges and wrinkles. I enjoy running my fingers over the bumps and bruises, seeing the scars and the faded smudges of blood. There is sweat and tears in every work of art. There's also immense joy. Regardless of medium, the artist puts a bit of himself in every work. The imperfections that are unseen, that are told to face the wall, are the real story.

I don't want to hide my bumps and bruises. I limp on the bad days, stand up a bit straighter on the good. Why shouldn't my stitches communicate the same? An emotional road map that sings of the journey we took: needle, thread, fabric, idea. Think of the fabric, the canvas, the page, as your odyssey and your tools your companions. 

Go forth and create.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017


I've been enjoying creating some basic templates for some paper projects I'm hoping to begin work on soon.

the stitching project is coming along. I want to do an entire series, possibly of 3-5 hoops with some rambling stitchery. this first series will be called if on a winter's night. Calvino's book really moved me. these stitches appear a path and the fringed fabric a forest. I want to play more with perspective, not just in my art but in my writing. the way Greer Gilman plays with words and shifts perspective by using the most root definition of words. yes, yes, that's what I'm hoping for.

on and on the rambling way goes, 
weaving through winter like so much freshly fallen snow. 
hoof print of deer, pad of fox and squirrel; 
i follow, i become, more of me, this lost little girl

I love the idea of creating "little books" to house sketches and words. they will be small stories about things: projects that are medium specific. perhaps Miss Imogene will get her start here. her story is coming to me and I'm excited to write it down but there's hesitancy...I am unsure where the weaving will take me. it's away from the literary fiction I've begun exploring. I should amend: the magical realism, the literature of the fantastic. ah, yes.


bye baby buntings

these will take on new lives as buntings and flags, kits perhaps so others can craft their own?

the possibilities, they say, are endless! these paper pieces will become the houses of my designs. all my little sketches. first they get life as paper, then, I hope, to progress to fabric.

fabric of my very own.

to tell my story in ink and stitches where all the fibers are mine?


Saturday, February 4, 2017

a stitch in time

saturday has been lovely.

it's cold again, threatening to warm up by sunday, late.

as usual we're experiencing a southern winter: freezing temperatures on monday, mild and spring-like on tuesday, blustery and rainy on wednesday, with fluctuations between humid, fog, cold, and warm from then on through the weekend.

i'm holed up at home, being without car, listening to records and working on my current gentle work:

this is a departure from my usual work. I'm not even sure where the idea came from. isn't that delicious? a random idea, passing by, blew through my open door and *snatch* my imagination caught it.

I'll post a finished portrait soon. I only need to add one more color of little dashes along these strange, tattered roads.

happy weekend



I did not post yesterday.

I spent the evening reading

and herding cats.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

roughly drafting

last night I did some rough sketches of Ranunculus ficaria or, as it is called now, Ficaria verna. the common names for this little herb are lesser celandine, figwort, smallwort, pilewort, and fig buttercup. if I had to chose one, I'd choose the latter. I know the suffix -wort is commonly used in botanical nomenclature but still: it doesn't sound very pretty, does it? and pilewort comes from the old use of the mucilaginous properties of the plant for piles aka hemorrhoids. bleck. 

they are darling little plants with absolutely no relation to the greater celandine which, as I've found, is more available and more commonly used as a medicinal herb. everywhere I looked, however, there was caution: don't plant this! the expert scream. it's invasive! it will choke out native plants! people were asking about using weed killer to eradicate this poor, European transplant. I did come across one site that suggested appreciating the sunshine yellow flowers for what they are and said that writers such as Wordsworth, Lewis and Tolkien all sang it's praises.

for my next go at little fig buttercup,
 I'll outline in ink and give it a bit of color

give it a chance, the website urged.
let it work its magic on you.


and that's my lesson for my botanical drawing practice.

give it a chance and let it work its magic.

thank you, lesser celandine-fig buttercup. perhaps, if I can find you, I'll give you a little pot in a shady corner of my back yard. take that, weed haters.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

a stitch in time

ideas take time to manifest. this is a hard lesson for me to learn. you'd think after almost 40 years on this planet I'd know that life isn't instantaneous. sometimes I wish I could go from idea to completed product in a matter of seconds: the time it takes to form the idea. but would I really? would I really want to have things without the work?

I'm laughing right now. my impulse is the shout, "yes, yes, yes!" but truthfully, no.

without the work there can be no true victory. without the time it takes to learn and falter, step backwards and start over we can't really say that we learned anything. when I first started sewing, I wanted to be GOOD. I wanted to already know how to do everything. I made a skirt and wore it. it was horrible but still I wore it. it was too soon and it made me feel like a failure because people saw it and asked, "oh, you make that didn't you?" that's never a good sign.

still, I kept at it. that was almost fifteen years ago and I can see how much my stitching has progressed. many times I've longed for a sewing machine that worked, one that didn't stick and pull and mangle the fabric. but it's forced me to really pay attention to my hand sewing and I can see progress. fifteen years in and I'm seeing progress.

that's got to count for something, eh?

the project above is an experiment. my work is usually kept to the embroidery hoop or is used as an ornament, decoration, or little creature to keep one company. this is going to be a doll. not a typical doll, of course not, but one with hair and arms and personality. my little stuffies were the first creatures I ever put together. they look just fine without appendages. I'm curious how my little hedge witch is going to look. she'll have arms but not legs; just a little friend to sit on shelf or window sill or terracotta pot.

I'm adding the arms soon.

* gulp *

here we go!