Friday, December 28, 2018

Tis The Season

Almost every year I make Christmas ornaments and, since I am still recovering from the marathon stitching event this summer,  I was looking for a design this year that wouldn't require a lot of handwork. As I was pondering this problem, there on my cutting table were some perle cotton leftover ends from my current project that had piled themselves into a pleasing entanglement. So I pulled out my bag of thread ends (yes, I save the ends) and began to experiment. And here is my first attempt:

I created a square from my hand-dyes and then piled thread onto a doubled piece of Mistyfuse and trimmed a bit of the excess off around the shape. Then I held the iron on it extra long, hoping the extra fusible would burn away and held my breath as I removed the parchment paper that protected my iron. Most of the extra fusible was gone and I was able to remove the few curled pieces left with tweezers. Then I peeled the shape off the backing and ironed it to the fabric square. I did tack the design down at a few points with invisible thread and, as a finish, added a bead as a focal point.

This is a little bigger, more complicated design but I worried that the fusible on the back would not be enough to hold the layers. So I tried adding a layer of fusible on top as well but again ironing it enough so that it was not visible on the top threads. It took several attempts but the fusible haze was finally gone and the top threads still were held together. This one was double sided as well.

I made several more, some to sell at the Open Studio weekend and some to give as family gifts--the reason I could not post this until after Christmas day since at least one of the recipients looks at this blog sometimes.

Merry Creative Christmas! And may we each find joy amid all the surprises the New Year will bring us!

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Old and the New

Due to the hard work of Alanna Nelson, a historical signature quilt inscribed with many names from Melrose, MA, is on display at the Beebe Estate in Melrose:

Image may contain: indoor

Surrounding the quilt and the research that gives background to those names on the quilt and their connections with current Melrose residents, Alanna envisioned an exhibit of contemporary fiber art. She enlisted the help of five other fiber artists/friends to create "Stitched Connections." Five of my pieces are in the show and here are some glimpses.

Thread stitched by Sue Colozzi

Collage by Agusta Agustsson

Two of my pieces (Influence and Once) below two of Valerie Maser-Flanagan's

My piece ('Tis a Gift) on left and piece by Sue Colozzi on right

Historic homes with all their fireplaces and woodwork and wainscoting are wonderful places to hang fiber art. And this post is a clear example of the serendipity nature of this portion of my life. If I had taken time to plan ahead I would have realized I needed photos for a blog post and taken long shots of some of the rooms and I would certainly have made sure I included work by the other artists as well ( Janis Doucette and Alanna Nelson). But the reception came at the end of a long week and a busy day and I am left with snippets rather than a fully illustrated post. Ah, well. Next time. . .

Linked with Off the Wall Fridays. Check out some other fiber art posts!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Experiment 2

The end of the summer found me playing with scrunching fabric without sewing it down to give my hands a bit of relief from the intense stitching of the Explorations piece. While I am happily back at work stitching two pieces I had begun early last year, I took some time to play with the new technique as well. The result is "Allusion,"

named for the joining of two seemingly unrelated things.

Originally I had planned to lay down a neutral gray background (I began with black on the first two pieces) and then add lots of color, but I liked the way the gray on the heavy texture was so evocative of rock, of stability, but weathered and changed by time that I decided to let that make its statement. I broke the textured background into two parts, which I also painted with several layers and the piece began to suggest the contrast of flow and connection that represents life. I added a circle for focus but also for the cycles of the seasons, the endless return. And to this piece I added stitching, not on the texture but to add texture to the open space--and to see how stitching and paint interact.

As I was figuring out how to wrap all this texture on a wrapped canvas, I began reading The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin, one of my favorite wise women. I had just declared the piece finished when I read these words LeGuin gives to the main character, Shevek: "So then time has two aspects. There is the arrow, the running river, without which there is no change, no progress, or direction, or creation. And there is the circle or the cycle, without which there is chaos, meaningless succession of instants, a world without clocks or season or promises."

Hope this early December week is going well for all of you!

Linking with Off the Wall Fridays!