Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Project Table

Thanks to Sarah for posting the link to Terri Windling's series of pictures of people's desks--I love seeing how other people set things up. A touch of voyeurism, I suppose, coupled with dosages of "oh, I'd like that" and "oh, I'm glad I'm not the only one that ends up like that." My personal best example: realizing I was just about to set a dish of inky water on top of a piece of velvet. It would be nice to have two work surfaces...and a large enough space that I could not reach both from the same seat. I have more space in my new apartment, but two work surfaces...not feasible at the moment.

Here is my project table--which looked radically different about an hour later, as I removed the embroidery stratum to provide access to the painting stratum.

A bit closer, with the embroidery on top of the weaving notes on top of the sketchbook (and a glimpse of my new little haworthia in the background):

There was a spot of sun today. I took a few photos of the charming feline; this is the only one where she was looking out intently. In the other photos she was obviously sitting there with her eyes closed!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mini Projects COMPLETE

This summer I decided I need to start making tiny, finite projects so I could actually finish something once in a while to kind of get the idea what that was like. There are pictures of the first two of these from back in July.

I did finish one of them pretty quickly. It was inspired by two samples from the fabric store--the orange velveteen was just appealing, and the magenta seemed to go with it (the colors are off on my monitor, making the magenta bluish). Two by three inches in size, chain stitch, several couched ribbons, and a scattering of French knots. This may be the first time--in an embroidery, at least--that I consciously added some complementary color, having finally realized that complete lack of contrast was what made pleasingly analogous color schemes kinda boring.

And then there was this one, not so quickly finished because of how I "had" to do the leaves. They're not chain stitches--it seemed like that would be too bulky. I had one needle with three strands of DMC, and I'd make a tiny loop and couch down the tip of it with the single strand of DMC in another needle. So that's why it took so long; I couldn't usually stand to do more than about 10 leaves at a time! and usually less.

A bit over a week ago I added the beads and filled in the trunk, and yesterday I did the hill--I had tried last week, but couldn't figure out what to do (it turns out I needed to use a different green and a plainer stitch). It doesn't lie flat, between tension of stitch and thickness of thread. I'm not sure how (or, honestly if) I will finish off the edges--I wish the fabric paint had been a touch more thorough at the edges; I like the raw edges fine, I'm just not keen on the white showing.

Notes (so I can find them again): 22-count cotton evenweave a bit over 4x4 inches square, painted with Jacquard Textile colors and embroidered with DMC cotton:

*one strand each of 4070, 4050, and 907 for the leaves
*one strand each of 304, 498, and 3831 for the trunk
*one strand each of 335, 602, and 3705 to sew the beads on (I originally was going to have French knot "flowers" along with the bead "fruit" but there really wasn't room for both)
*three strands of 562 for the grass

Monday, November 1, 2010

Musical Boxes

This is another "post move" update.

Last night's idea was "move boxes." (Oil painting from Sunday was not dry enough to finish.) So I moved boxes. Things have been stagnant for a while, and it's been getting to me. All the easier/more obvious things have been dealt with, and the last bit is taking forever because I'm trying to not just put stuff away to get it out of sight, since out of sight = out of mind, and I really, truly wish to sort things out and have them accessible in order to (gasp) USE them.

I poked through several small cardboard boxes, dislodged a hammer and several nails, and hung two more things on the wall (for a total of three). The box containing my camera software is now more accessible, so when I feel up to it I will be able to mess around with trying to get it to work again on my computer.

I moved boxes, shifting a bin of camping things into the coat closet, which entailed first emptying the floor of said closet, which was not as bad as it sounds since said closet is not very big.

I need to find a place for the vacuum cleaner. In my last apartment, the camping stuff lived in the bedroom closet and the vacuum cleaner lived in the coat closet. My current bedroom closet doesn't seem to have room for it. (Much smaller closet.) The closet in the studio also does not have room for the camping stuff. Since I'm naturally using the somewhat larger master bedroom for the studio, that bedroom closet is somewhat larger than the other one, but it's full of Cool Stuff and, behind that, flattened boxes for the next time I move. And the water heater is in there, too. So the coat closet had to be the place for the camping stuff, and there is no room in the coat closet for the vacuum cleaner.

I should be able to put the vacuum cleaner in the linen closet. The shelves are only half the depth of the closet, so there is a lot of vertical air. In that case, I have to find somewhere else to put my clothes drying racks, which I currently keep in the linen closet, because there wouldn't be enough room for them if the vacuum cleaner was in there. They might fit in the bedroom closet if I didn't have the suitcases there. But that's kind of the only place for the suitcases.

Due to the layout of my apartment, the main bathroom has a lot of wasted space, mainly in the corner behind the door. I'll probably end up putting the boxes from the outdoor/balcony closet there. (The outdoor closet is smaller, too, and this balcony is not shaped like an outdoor room, so once again I have to come up with a new system.) Once I get the boxes out of the outdoor closet, I can install a hook to hang up my bicycle, which otherwise won't fit. But in the meantime, before I move the boxes, perhaps I can put the clothes drying racks behind the door in the bathroom, so I can put the vacuum cleaner in the linen closet instead of leaving it in the living room where it has been since late August.

Then, once I rearrange the boxes in the living room, I can move the fabric storage dresser out of the studio, where it is completely blocking the other fabric storage dresser, to the living room, where it will stay until I decide what to do with it.

Soothing picture of trees. It's impossible--for an amateur like me, at least--to take a really satisfactory photo of giant redwoods:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mailing Myself a Book

Unfortunately I can't post pictures at the moment--or, more accurately, I can't download new pictorial evidence of Sunday's productive painting frenzy, since my computer is unable to use the camera program. Apparently adding internet has addled its brain. Once I dig out the CD with the software I'll try reinstalling it.

Late last Wednesday, for the first time, I sat at home and bought a book on Amazon! Today it arrived: Orientalische Briefumschläge in Schwedischem Besitz, or in other words, Oriental Letter Wrappers in Swedish...well, "Possession" is literal, but I think a more English translation would use "collections." It is a charming book by Agnes Geijer and C.J. Lamm, printed in 1944--charming not because of the contents, but by virtue of being a small paperback with its original dustjacket.

Bibliographic interlude: Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademiens Handlingar, Del 58:1; Stockholm, 1944, Wahlström & Widstrand.

I think the first time I came across a citation was in the Textiles volume of the Topkapi Museum.

[Insert intermission as the computer shuts off in protest when I attempt to look up the citation because I don't feel like hauling the book off the shelf. No citation tonight.]

Not quite 50 pages of text, two tipped in color plates, and 40 black and white illustrations--as usual with textile books, the emphasis is on the textile and not the thing the textile was made into. But luckily there are several photos which give an idea of just what these "Briefbeutels" looked like--tall, skinny bags. It's easier to imagine the documents being rolled instead of folded. There are Turkish, Persian, and "Tartar" fabrics.

Friday, October 22, 2010


It was a week.

This weekend I hope to get in some time painting. More on that when I've painted something and have a picture.

In the meantime, at some point--oh my, a year ago!--I entertained myself by taking dozens of photos of fruit. I was so enthralled with the little fruits, I neglected to pay sufficient attention to the small bushes that grew them, so that I don't even remember what the foliage looked like.

I experimented with the camera, and ended up with ones like this:

Along the way I realized oh, I guess I *do* see some chance of sometime needing to use some of those methods I've read about for transferring photos to fabric.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Small Luxuries

The torturously long saga of relocation has concluded. I'm reasonably settled in the new apartment--it has been well over a month now--and it has turned out to be a little quicker to unpack in a larger space.

Decadence: I'm sitting here in my pajamas with a glass of wine, online, doing laundry. (Firstly, my compulsive detail-oriented self, with twinges lingering from my upbringing, compels me to clarify that it is less than 1/4 glass of wine, otherwise I would fall asleep.)

*I now have internet access at home for the first time ever (whoah). This has made it plain that my inherited laptop is not up to the exigencies of web surfing and that I will have to upgrade sooner than I planned.

*I also have my own washer, so I can do laundry without quarters, and wearing whatever I want. (I didn't even like wearing my pajamas in public when I was in college.)

*I also now have a second bedroom, aka the studio, which is full of ingredients for projects. They're not all in there, but most of them are. And even though I kind of wince every time I call it a studio, I keep practicing. (I feel like I have not made enough stuff in the past few years to warrant a "studio." I'd be fine calling it a "project room" but if I think I want to feel comfortable calling myself an artist without wincing, I need to get used to having a studio.)

Two pictures: er, make that one. Trying to upload two caused my computer to shut off. So, one picture, being the Finnish style embroidery, at its latest iteration (I haven't worked on it in months, and I'm starting to be interested in it again).

Meanwhile, time to hang up my laundry.

Friday, July 2, 2010

July (?)

I was up very early this morning (pre-dawn feline hairball emission cleanup services required). Eventually I gave up trying to get back to sleep, and got up--I put on two sweatshirts (does the calendar really say July?)(is it correct?) and worked on some embroidery until it was time to go to work. Here's the embroidery I was working on--though the picture is now out of date! Also two little "quick" projects I recently started because obviously I need some new projects to work on in between packing boxes to move. (I gave up on a house--even renting is too expensive--and picked an apartment.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Nature Pics

Two weeks ago I took a walk around the lovely park by where I work. I was thrilled when I spotted this stereotypical silhouette:

And even more excited when I used the maximum zoom (digital):

After that I saw numerous wildfowl, and the nutria, and took some abstract water photos, and then on the way back I found a four-leaf clover! It was an excellent day.

Last month I took a walk at Mt. Pisgah Arboretum, near Eugene, Oregon, and took a bunch of pictures. This is one of my favorites--a bee in an Oregon Fawn Lily (thanks to my hiking partner for noticing the bee!).

And this is a photo of a venerable incense cedar.

[Camera: Canon PowerShot SX110 IS]

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dalek Update

This is the picture I didn't manage to find last time; it's from early January. I haven't worked on it since then, mainly because I haven't figured out how to resolve the empty spaces. Handy tip: it is a good idea to plan your counted embroidery piece before you start to embroider it.

Okay, I guess I did plan it. But then horror vacui kicked in and I was unable to stop with just the central figure. You can't really tell from the photo, but the edge of the fabric is less than an inch from all the embroidery.

I must say I have been entertained for the past month with thoughts of blackwork Daleks--seek, locate, decorate!--and it might be necessary to embroider one!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Brief Update

It's been very busy at work, and I generally have been too tired to stay extra for fun internet things (still haven't moved, so I still don't have internet access at home).

Here's a picture of the Russian-inspired embrodery, in its late-December state:

Since the computer has decided I do not get to add more pictures, I'll stop here.