Saturday, December 13, 2008

Creating Coordinates Part 2

To continue the project…
Using the same group of colors/ densities I’ve created patterns that are more complex.
These are what I’ve come up with intermixed with the solids and the stripes from the first group
18 new patterns that (hope fully) I can use in conjunction with the first group of patterns
This is the fun part of the project, I get to use a bunch of different fold patterns and multiple colors on the same piece with these. I didn’t keep track just played around and hoped they would come out.
Not a bad selection I’m not quite settled on what they will be used for...
Possibly a typography project
Next step is to color correct the scans and save them at different resolutions so when I do have a design I can just grab and go.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Creating Coordinates - Part 1

I had a nice group of dyes mixed for another project but they are a bit too old to be predictable anymore so I really can't use them on fabric.
Waste not want not right? I am using them to create a set of coordinates for virtual piecework.
To do virtual piece work I dye rice paper using itajime folding methods then scan it in and manipulate it virtually. I suppose I could do this with any fabric or paper but since I want to market my work I would eventually run into problems with copyright... not my scene, I'd much rather use something I made myself.
The rice paper dyes just like fabric but I haven't figured out how to set it so it is unstable and therefore it has limits as to what it can be used for. However once it is virtual I no longer have to worry about that technical stuff. Very sweet!
In this case I am working with a large palette of colors
(9 colors in 2 densities, light and dark = 18 all together).
I've done design groups like this before, and it is easy to get carried away with making multicolored pieces (they are fun!) and then find them very difficult to use together. If I use the patterns with solids it doesn't get too visually crazy, so this time I'm starting with solids then I will make the multicolored ones.
I decided to create a stripe of each color using the 2 densities and then something more solid with all the whites blown out
To make the stripe:
I started with by pleating the paper, then folding it into thirds and clamped it.

Then I dyed it using this dipping pattern to create a stripe with a slightly more dynamic quality to it I was hoping that I would lose the white but as it turned out the clamps created enough resist that I did end up with some white after all
To create a more solid design:
I folded it up diagonally then dipped it 1/2 and 1/2 into the dark and light dyes. In this case I didn't use clamps so I wouldn't get any white.

Here are the results.

Next up multicolored patterns

Friday, December 5, 2008


Until one is committed,
there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,
always ineffectiveness.

Concerning acts of initiative (and creativity)
there is one elementary truth
the ignorance of which kills countless ideas
and splendid plans:

That the moment one definitely commits oneself
then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one
that would never have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision
raising in ones favor all manner
of unforeseen incidents and meetings
and material assistance
which no man could have dreamt
would come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Begin it now.


I love that quote, I believe that quote... for others, for myself... mmm... not so much.

So choosing just one thing to pursue is a real act of faith on my part, not easy at all. Declaring a direction to the world is really hard to do. However it is time for me to quit dithering about and just pick something and do it.
The direction is chosen...

I will try to get some of my work licensed. Ive decided I'm going to stick to this goal for one year. (that is long enough to give it one hell of an effort) At the end of that time if it feels like a huge mistake I will pick something else.

I've been talking about licensing for an embarressingly long time without really doing much about it (in fact I'm pretty sure that I can hear the rolling of some of my friends eyes right now).

I'm not sure why this gives me the frights, I suspect that I am afraid I will choose"wrong" (like that is possible) and then there is the very real loss of having to put some things aside that in a perfect world (the one with 48 hour long days, no work and no distractions) I would be able to do.

I've got groups of designs finished as well as half done and reams of ideas that can be worked on and many thoughts on how to use shibori for this type of work so I will be continuing many of my experiments. I want to reduce the amount of time I spend on product, but as I will be keeping the ETSY store and doing a few select shows so I will have to do some. I think I can handle this as long as it doesn't consume me.

The pic above is of my studio wall, I got out all the sketches and notes as well as the half finished work that will be a part of my first design package and hung 'em up where I can see them. I've even started some new coordinating patterns on rice paper, but that is for another night, for now I think I will curl up with a book for the rest of the evening.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Phew! I finally finished up all of the runners just in time for the Christmas in the Valley craft show. I did a couple more of the blue design and added two other designs in cranberry and green.

I like the way they look, in fact I named them...

Lar remarked that the green one bears a remarkable resemblance to the demon who is Samuri Jack's nemisis so it has been designated Aku.

The cranberry is more plantlike and is now named Lei

The blue one has an edged weapon look to it (pointy) and is called Shuriken.

Whatever... it amused me.

For all of you who haven't enjoyed the awesomness of the Samuri Jack cartoon here is a little glimpse (note the Aku resemblance)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Shifting Gears

For the next few weeks I will be focusing on the holidays. Production, events, celebration, and visiting will effectively consume my time so there will be less of it for experiments and development than usual. Its just the nature of the beast.

I've been thinking a great deal about what I want to focus on after all that is done. In the last couple of years I have been exploring (in a very tentative way) some of the options that I can follow. I have watched as others around me have committed to new paths and zoomed off in pursuit of their goals while I dither about uncommitted unsure and unfocused.

I get that if I want something different I will have to really focus with laser-like intensity on a single goal and really follow through on it.

Even when it gets tough.

Even when I don't see much hope or I feel unsure of myself

Even when it looks like a great deal more fun to do something else

Even when I feel or am rejected

I have been looking at the stuff I like doing (designing, creating one special piece,experimenting)The stuff I don't like (production runs that are too big, being tied to a product line)

My special skill set (shibori, design, conceptualization, sewing/ embroidery, drawing...)

What inspires me (nature, textiles, myths, stories, psychology, dreams, pattern...)

And my personal vision of what success consists of

I have an idea of the direction I want to pursue, it will be a great deal of work and there are a number of aspects to it that I am more than a little unsure of. In fact in some ways it scares me, however I also think that it could be more than a bit rewarding and that it capitalizes on my weird skill set. I'd like to give it a try and see what happens when I settle in for the long haul, commit and really apply myself to a goal. It might be fun...
The pic has nothing to do with any of this , I just like to put a picture with my posts and the purple attracted me!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chihuly at RISD

Gallery night in Providence

took the opportunity to check out the Chihuly exhibit




Light made of glass... sigh
Pics taken with my phone, sorry not the best

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I got back from vacation to find that somehow the X-mas season is upon me already.
As is usual I'm not ready, I don't ever remember being ready for this season. How does it go directly from Halloween to X-mas? Where does November go? Why am I already being assaulted by Little Drummer Boy, Jingle Bell Rock and Felice Navidad? I enjoy the carols during the week before the big day not ad nauseum for 2 months. Probably because I sang in chorus for so many years, Little Drummer Boy is permanently ruined for me now.
So I hit the ground running, a production run of scarves, shirts, and socks was first up. That consumed most of my first week back. Now I am trying to get some more of the runners done, as well as a couple of new items all for my first seasonal show the weekend after Thanksgiving. Hope I can do it.
I was inspired by the Caribbean to try a new coloway on the scarves a soft buff/sand color and turquoise/aqua.
Here they are all dyed up
Here they are all ironed out

I like the results but I will probably adjust the recipes to get a bit more contrast next time...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Turks and Caicos

Once again I find myself halfway through the month wondering were it went. At least I have an excuse this time… I went on vacation!
I spent 5 blissful days in Turks and Caicos visiting my brother and sister-in-law who live in paradise and who welcomed us into their home.
I cannot begin to explain what a big deal this is for me because
A. I have never been anywhere that required a passport before
B. I have never been south of N. Carolina before
C. I never take two vacations in one year
Turks and Caicos is a really interesting place,
the beaches are just beautiful but the interior of the island we were on seemed to be a huge construction zone, partly because of new development but also because they were hit by a hurricane a couple of months ago so there are many buildings being repaired. The disparity between the haves and the have-nots is pretty extreme which is how I understand a great deal of the Caribbean is. Some of the resorts are simply beyond decadent while many people who come over illegally from Haiti for work live in cardboard boxes. We were somewhere in the middle staying at a very nice house of average middle class American size with a remarkable view of the Caribbean Ocean a hell of a pool and lovely gazebos to sit in as day turned into evening. The flowers were gorgeous its funny to see all the “ indoor” tropical plants that I see at Home Depot growing happily in gardens.
I saw my first coconut palms
and I got to snorkel the coral reef (my favorite thing)
and of course my pasty NE skin got a sunburn in spite of my best precautions.
Unfortunately Lar got hit with a virus and wasn’t feeling so terrific for a good deal of the time. He did spend some quality time with the hammock though and we did get to go on a submarine ride out in the coral reef so he got to see the underwater sights. (sea turtles! barracuda! tons of fish!) He was a good sport about it though and brought home a conch shell the size of my head in his carry on bag just cause I wanted it.

It was a wonderful adventure.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Old work part3 Mummies

These are some drawings I did of Chilean Mummies. Charcoal, ink and chalk on paper, I may have mushed in some gesso too. I think I ran into the original images of these in a National Geographic or something. I don’t know a lot about them but if memory serves many of them were children. Here is an actual picture of one:
First they were mummified by desiccation and then much later they were reconstructed with the masks and wrappings.

Then they were left or buried overlooking the sea.

They captured me.
Texture, mystery, age, freakiness I dunno why but I find these both creepy and compelling. I have a hard time trying to figure out why someone would create them in the first place. A photo of them half buried in boxes of sand is really fascinating to me, again not quite sure why and yes I know it is a fairly disturbing thing to be attracted to. As a general rule I’m quite normal but I am willing to accept my weirdness on occasion so I went with it and made the drawings.It is doubly weird in my case because I am really freaked out by dolls and ventriloquism dummies I just don’t like them at all… empty glassy eyes staring at you. It is just too easy to imagine them being possessed by some evil entity and brrrrr…Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Old Work Pt 2- Figure Drawings

More old stuff… These are some of the drawings I did going forward after my initiation back into classes. I decided to continue with the figure drawing, taking some Cont Ed classes and also going to open studios. I cannot recall how long this went on for, I’m guessing a year or so I know I did at least 1 class at the Attleboro Museum School with Robin Wiseman and attended a bunch of his open studios at his home. Robin has taught at RISD for a long time he is one of the Foundation instructors, teaches Cont Ed and gives a number of lectures each semester. Or at least he did at the time (I am currently out of touch with the state of RISD’s faculty and classes). A very talented man and teacher. I enjoyed his classes a great deal. I also did one figure painting class at RISD, oils, from a model, one long pose per class (no pics of paintings at present, will try to get some photos at some point).

I enjoyed this period of time. I felt as though I fought my way through some weaknesses in technique (such as leaving the head off of the initial sketch then trying to draw it in later- that has got to have some sort of psychological significance) an example:

This would have been a good drawing if the head had been developed at the same time as the rest of the figure not stuck on at the end.

I found I had a resistance to dealing with figure/ground preferring to zoom in on the figure so I didn’t have to deal (come to think of it that probably has a bit of significance too- I have a talent for navel gazing)
The photo at top is a 20 minute sketch that I felt incredibly good about. It was one of those moments when all the skills I had been honing came together and I made it over the "no head" issue. It’s a pretty good likeness too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Frozen in Time

Once upon a time I made a bunch of heat set ginkgo leaves. I thought I would do a large piece based off of the original sketch for this attempt and what I came up with here. Ginkgo leaves, circles... with the addition of the 3-D quality I started to think of ripples, leaves gently drifting down onto a pool of water, all very poetical and graceful. This is as far as it got and all I know for sure is its missing something... Shawn suggested color... maybe... all I do know is its missing something. For this picture I took it outside in the sun so the textures (which I still love) would be visible. Right now it is sitting in my studio sulking at me as it has done for months. grrr.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Old Work

Reorganizing all of my computer files this summer led me to discover some forgotten work. Thought I’d share…
After I quit college I started trying to draw and paint on my own, frustration quickly set in with my lack of skills and brought me to the beginning of a long career in Cont Ed classes mostly at RISD.
The very first class I took was Victor Lara’s figure drawing class. It was a good choice. The class was open enough in format for me to be able to relax and enjoy the process.

Each class began with an exercise in mark making with charcoal on newsprint. Designed to expand our drawing ”vocabulary” we would sometimes draw with our eyes closed or with charcoal on wet paper.
The point was to learn to make a variety of marks light, heavy, smeary, sharp, fuzzy with the medium. Mine tended to end up looking like cellular structures or gears on strange organic machines.

The second half of class was actual figure drawing from the model. Starting with quick scetches.
Then moving on to longer poses and more developed drawings.
We were to try to apply the vocabulary to express the form with all of the underlying structures of bone and muscle. Wonderful fun and incredibly messy I would emerge from this class looking as though I had just spent time digging in a mine.
Perfect for someone who was a bit shaky about reentering the academic world, even on a Cont Ed basis. It was fun, relaxed and helped me to push some barriers and learn a lot in the process. I gained back an iota of lost confidence with that step. Thanks Victor.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I love books, it’s a weakness. At the moment I’m trying not to buy (m)any but that being said I just got myself a couple that are kinda exciting.
First up is Fashioning Technology by Syuzi Pakhchyan which covers methods of for adding basic electronics to craft projects. Squee! I can think of so many things to try with this stuff. Of course it will have to wait as I’m not presently ready to start lying in all sorts of new supplies and tools (where would I put them?). I love the idea of trying fiber optics and LEDs with shibori, it sets my heart all aflutter!
The descriptions of how to do things seem pretty straightforward, as I haven’t tried any of the techniques yet I can’t say for sure. The projects they show range from cute to lunky but as I’m more interested in how the electronic stuff works this suits me just fine. I may follow a plan once but usually after that I just take the stuff that interests me and reapply it in some thing else.
The second book I got was A Collaboration With Nature by Andy Goldsworthy I’ve seen Andy Goldsworthy’s work before but only bits here and there.
I’ve never known much about him or his methods. It appeals to me so much, I love the process he goes through to create these ephemeral works of art. All of his sculpture is made on site with found materials. He visits a site many times and listens to what it tells him is possible. These are works that are meant to be reabsorbed by the environment they emerged from, either slowly in the case of stones or quickly in the case of leaves or ice.
He often works without tools simply using the things he finds at hand such as thorns or stones. He photographs all of his work including the things that break or disintegrate as he is working. There are terse descriptions along with the images and some of them are really quite funny and revealing. It makes me ridiculously happy that there is someone doing this work even if I never see it beyond books. I expect the reality of his life is quite mundane but the work evokes an image of a solitary druidic figure wandering the woods listening to the suggestion it makes and creating these stunning moments in time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Finished for Fall

The bird garden is open for business! All the transplants are in. I’ve hung and filled the feeders. It feels finished enough for this season. These pics are really dark the sun sets so early these days!
Just in time for the first frosts to start killing the leaves.
An hour after the feeders were up the birds showed up. So far I’ve seen all the usual suspects chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, blue jays, morning doves and one fat grey squirrel that I’m sure I will be cursing before too long. I will have to put some thistle seed out to get the finches. It is really pleasant to sit out there for an autumn afternoon and stitch in the sun.

This picture was taken at the height of the fall color a week ago (I am remiss in posting) This season is one of the prettier ones we’ve had for a few years. I’m a tough judge after living here for so many years. It seems we have had enough rain in the summer, not too much wind in the fall and enough of a proper cold snap to set the maples off properly. (If the leaves dry up before it gets cold the maples perform no better than down in the south, disappointing)
This year the maples have been a brilliant combination of yellow, orange, scarlet and crimson against bright blue skies. Now we will enter the second more muted stage of fall the oaks will turn tarnished gold, bronze and mahogany. A few holdouts of the maples will carry brilliant yellows but most will show silvery branches and the pines will remain steadfast. Lovely and rich a last lingering taste.