Joy of Making: Knots

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Custom work filled many summer days at the studio this year.  Completed projects are now delivered. Before I completely shift into next season’s work, my hands and mind are revisiting techniques and tools: a bit like a family reunion.

Grandma Alice showed me how to tie quilts when I was a teenager.  My fingers readily repeat the old motions. I enjoy adding this simple bit of thread into textile art. Seen here, knots added to wall hanging  used in the worship space of The Legacy, Staunton, VA.

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Hone: Knowing And Maintaining A Tool

I use different scissors for different tasks in the studio just as I use a variety of knives in the kitchen. Practice informs me which tool works best for a particular task.  Experimentation increases the scope of usefulness for each tool I own.

Recently, I have begun to regard my screen images as tools.  This set of little suns was designed for a custom project.  Before I use it for its intended purpose, I want to know more about how it works when repeated, when worked in multiple colors, when overlapped or spaced irregularly on the background.

A morning’s play with screen and paint introduced the potential of this simple design; I think I would like it in multiple sizes.

Origins Of A Crisp Finish

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This gallery contains 4 photos.

The conversion of garage to art studio began this week.  I tiptoed upstairs to see the progress during lunch.  The framing confirms that I like my plans; it assures me that the end results will work.  The craftsmanship also informs … Continue reading

3 Patterns, 7 Colors, and 10 Women

I led my first dyeing workshop this month.

10 good women braved a cold night to gather in a pottery studio to put their hands and minds to dyeing silk scarves.  After I demonstrated three fold and tie patterns, each participant received a scarf to manipulate and then color.  Here are their results.

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I discovered anew how much a teacher learns from the students.  Color and pattern are a universal delight!

Bring On The Heat


The sewing machine or a pair of scissors are often the tools first associated with my art practice.  But it is the iron that is used most frequently and consistently. When I am working well, focused on what is before me and its purpose, it is the iron that guides me into good evaluation.

Fabric new to inventory is often washed, and always pressed. The sole plate glides over the surface.  My eyes check for flaws.  My hands absorb the quality of the texture.

After dyeing and painting, during applique and piecing projects return to press board. Heat smooths out the rough places.  The iron’s point leads my eyes to fresh views of the work.  I prefer to schedule this work early in the day.  The closer scrutiny frequently suggests next steps for the fabric.

When the work is complete, each project gets a final press with the iron. Seams are checked and hems measured. Labels are attached and small threads are snipped clear. Bring the heat.  Begin and end.

Chiseling The Craft of Business

There are many woodworkers on my family tree.  I have an appreciation for the medium and for the work.  It is my delight to have a local woodworker as a friend and business buddy.


Ron Light creates wood furniture and accessories here in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.  About once a quarter we meet up in his workshop, a space with a view of the Blue Ridge that always distracts me until Ron offers me coffee. I get to preview his projects and then we get down to the talk.

Vendors, markets, price points.  We roll the topics around.  We question.  We disagree.  We suggest new products.  We share past experience. It is a pleasant process to keep ourselves in check.  I recommend this type of creative company for any self-employed maker of things and ideas.

Good conversation with Ron creates clarity for my work.  He is an excellent sounding board, as sure as the pieces he creates.  Learn more about him at lighthousewoodworking.com.

A Chasuble Returns to the Studio

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Occasionally my work returns to me for an adjustment or repair. The chasubles made for the chapel at The Village at Orchard Ridge were lined in slippery fabric, so that they hang away from the pastor’s alb.

 

The Chaplin reported that they slipped backward during worship, becoming uncomfortable. We devised a solution of cotton “patches” added to the shoulder area. Future chasubles will have a yoke lining of non-slippery fabric .

It is always a joy for me to participate in dialogue that increases the effectiveness of my work. I also enjoy the opportunity to touch and see what has gone into service.
I began my professional life doing garment alterations while a college student. I am pleased to still include craftsmanship and individual attention in my toolbox of skills.image

Sister says “Share!”

Beth Nyland, my sister, chastised me when I hesitated to post some of my recent work. She said I needed to work on the discipline of sharing.

Noah Scalin’s Creative Sprint appeared as an opportunity to follow Beth’s advice and to have some fun creating and sharing.

Today the task was to make something that will fit in the palm of my hand using materials close at hand.  I found unfinished art fabric in mats a few days ago.  I connected with one of my oldest pairs of scissors.  I returned to the joy of intuitive cutting.  The little feather brought to mind Emily Dickinson’s: Hope is a thing with Feathers.

Traveling in Spirals: Completed Circles

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I completed the play with circle shapes on a silk scarf.  After the Color Magnet prints were dry, I dyed the white scarf with blues and purples.  The photograph above shows the finished product.

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This is the starting point from several weeks ago.  When I travel in spirals I get to revisit starting points from a new perspective.

Traveling in Spirals: Repeated Shapes

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It’s time to have some fun in the studio.  I gathered supplies: a jar of Color Magnet by Jacquard, a solid white silk scarf, a foam brush, and a few simple stamps.  I carefully brushed the fluid onto the stamps and pressed the design onto the scarf.  Now I am waiting.

I like repeating the same shape onto the design field, considering the relationship with the other marks and the untouched areas.  It is easier to focus on composition when I use the same shape.  It reminds me of placing 8 identical chairs at a dining table:  4 on a side or 3 on each side and one at each end.

The scarf dries for 24 hours, then it will be dyed, rinsed, washed, dried, and ironed.  I’ll post the results when the process is complete.  Look for repeated shapes today.  Do you like them?