I'm in countdown mode for Art and Soul. Since I wasn't sure about flying with chemicals, dyes, gas masks, and soldering tools, most of those kind of items are in boxes and winging their way to my roomate, Kathy Wasilewski, who lives nearby in Virginia and will drive them on down (if you're going to Art and Soul and don't have a Monday class scheduled yet, Kathy teaches The Clearly Visible Journal -- a very cool class that has a few spots still open). Some of the rest of my class supplies are sorted into little piles all around the house. I've still got images to print out and wee collages to make for my soldering class on Thursday.
I took a few minutes out to put some of my hand-dyed yarn into mini-skeins for Vendor's Night.
I love this particular fiber, and have dyed it up in several different vintage-looking colorways for artists' use.
I also took some time out and made myself a comfortable skirt with one of those stretchy yoga waistbands to wear for class. I also did a matching messenger bag. Unfortunately, the only available photographer was my 15 year old Teddy, who managed to get only one picture with me even in the frame. This is it:
"Mom" he told me, "I thought you wanted a picture of your top. Kids with non-verbal learning order don't know what to do unless you tell them exactly." This cracked me up and made me appreciate how much his school is doing for him. That's the first time he has ever asserted his "disability" as an excuse, and he grinned while he was doing it. One of the fringe benefits of having a special kid like Teddy is watching him grow into himself in the most unexpected ways. Needless to say, we'll be having a photography class this weekend, to insure that he "gets it." But for now, that's all of the skirt and messenger bag you get to see.
I suppose I should make a list, but I think it would scare me: collect, pack, create. But I can't wait for Wednesday, when I'll be on the plane to Virginia and I can't wait to see all of my Art Sistahs.
Today has been a day to stop and smell the roses. Literally.
Can't you just smell them? That is Souvenir de la Malmaison -- virtually thornless and with a pure, gentle rose scent.
I planted her while I was pregnant with Ellie, and every year, she rewards me: blooming through drought, never asking for fertilizer, and always generous with her beautiful flowers. I love her, and couldn't resist taking a picture of yarn (ok, not just yarn, cashmere sock yarn) tucked into her leaves.
After I stopped to smell Souvenir, I stopped again on the way into the house -- there was an envelope from my friend Angie. She e-mailed earlier this week to say she had sent me a little envelope to thank me for a wee piece of silk I had popped in the mail to her. Look at this! Her "little envelope" turned out to be a world of art, itself.
It's all wonderful. Especially the vintage German linen ribbon, which I am going to take along to Art and Soul. I have plans to use it in my Girls Got Goth necklace in Sally Jean's class. I really don't deserve friends like Angie and feel very fortunate have them. Thank you girlfriend.
After years of struggling with the correct approach to discipline for the teenage boy, whose brain sometimes lags behind when good judgment is called for, I think I'm onto something.
The 17 year old left this morning for his school Latin convention (about an hour and a half away). Apparently, without telling anyone, he left with the family Wii, a discovery made by first his brother and then his sister. The Judge called to confirm that he had it with him. The Judge is not nearly as diabolical as I am.
I took some time out tonight from dyeing and rinsing and otherwise getting fabric and silk ribbon ready for Art & Soul to participate in one of my favorite weekly artists' inspirational challenges, the gothic arch challenge. I love working in this framework and even though I'm busy, busy tonight, I decided to steal away a few moment to complete a simple one.
This week's theme is Paris, a city near and dear to my heart, as I spent a great deal of time there while I was going to school in Germany. It took me a long time to warm to the French and especially to Paris, but I remember the exact moment. It was an incredible moment of generosity. Two friends and I were walking to the train station after a weekend in Chartre. A man, working in his front yard, pruning his trees, cut us a large branch from his cherry tree and handed it to us, motioning that we should eat the cherries. The cherries were delicious, the gesture of friendship irresistable, and by the time we returned to the station and were on our way to Paris I was convinced that France was a fine place to be.
The image of the little boy perched along the (horizontal) Eiffel Tower is one of my favorites from Karen Owen's wonderful collection of collage sheets.
Now I'm leaving Paris and returning to dyeing fabric. I've been working on Kona Cotton tonight (and prepping some silk jersey and organic cotton yardage) and using my multi-bath crackle dye technique. And please, knitters, don't be afraid that I have abandoned you -- I'm working on the colorway for May's Sock Club yarn, which is a delicious blend of Suri Alpaca and Blue Faced Leicester. I added 15 new Club slots today -- 10 three month slots and five for the six months of yarn. There are still a few left, you can sign up for one here.
I'm really happy with it! The RYC Soft Tweed yarn is a blend of wool, silk, rayon and nylon, and it is a pleasure to knit with.
I've decided to garter on down for a few more rows before I start the lace, which is an (I hope) simple six row repeat. I'm going for a sort of empire look, as opposed to starting the lace any higher. Hopefully I'll finish the garter and be all set to do the lace while flying to Art and Soul. I don't knit lace often, because it can be hard to keep track amidst all the "mommy, I need a drink" that goes on around here.
Lauren Finley's book in the colors round robin is black and white. She did a beautiful watercolor portrait in black and white on the first page, and wrote, in a beautiful calligraphy, "As simple as black and white."
It was obviously pretty simple for Lauren. Her beautiful illustrations and silhouettes float across the pages she made. And I loved the idea. I adore black. I adore white. What could be easier?
Turned out, it wasn't so easy. The book stared up at me for days, and the days turned into a week, and still inspiration didn't hit.
This weekend, I've been scanning some of my favorite images and photoshopping them to use at Art and Soul. And finally, it hit me. The collage came together with some fabric and vintage pearl buttons, along with words from a 1961 tract on caring for a newborn, "mother's love, generously given."
Aren't those beautiful words? They come from the booklet my Mother-in-Law was given when she brought the Judge home from the hospital. I hope that is how my own children will look back on their childhoods. It really was pretty simple after all.
It's been a long week of work, dodging thunder storms, and getting ready for Art and Soul; so I decided that I was entitled to a little bit of time to fool around in the studio. Just a little bit.
I've been overdyeing some black and white fabric, and had been eyeing a little floral piece all week. I decided to stud the centers of some of the flowers with pigment for a dab of color, since the fabric was overdyed a soft sage green. I used a little bit of the silk ribbon I've been dyeing, and decided to just cut loose with no plan and see where I ended up. This is the result.
I love doing these little pieces. Next up, I think, is to create some simple felted purses and applique the fabric collage pieces onto them. I'm thinking some simple rectangular bags, sort of tote style, and how much fun it would be, because then I could have a different bag for each of my knitting projects.
I thought I would share some of the fabric I've been working on for Art & Soul with y'all. I've been working with some muslin and silk for the last few days, and the results have been a lot of fun. (For you knitters who are here looking for my progress on Juliet, this fabric will be cut up to use in fabric collage, but I'm starting to think some of these pieces would make wonderful linings for knit purses.)
This is a blue piece, done in a sort-of-shibori, style of dyeing I have been obsessed with for the past year. This is a natural (unbleached) cotton muslin, that is perfect for this process.
Here is a pink piece done using a modification of the same technique.
And this is my favorite, so far, of the silk pieces, done using my crackle dye technique.
This is a close up inset of the same piece.
This is the perfect time of year for fabric dyeing in Alabama. The days are cool, with beautiful blue skies and blooming cherry trees and wisteria. It makes me wish I could take everything outside and dye all afternoon.
No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I know I usually blog a lot on weekends, but this weekend, I've been dyeing fabric and ribbon (in between childrens' birthday parties) to get ready for Art and Soul in Hampton, Virginia, the first week in May. In addition to getting the supplies together for the classes I'm taking, I'm putting together supplies for the class I'm teaching, Dyeing to Collage, and trying to put a few things together for my vendors table.
I've been putting together some little packets of my hand-dyed ribbons for the fabric artists to play with.
I've also been dyeing some fabric for my own use, and have been overdyeing some black and white fabrics as well, to use in fabric collage. I seem to be on a purple streak right now, and I really like the results. I'm hoping to find time to do some fabric collage this week.
I haven't forgotten my knitting. I guess the gray knitting is the counterpart to the purple fabric. The Gothic Scarf is growing longer.
I'm also about halfway down the neckline of Juliet. Strangely, when I went to my LYS yesterday, another woman was knitting Juliet, and had just finishing binding off the sleeves, so I got a preview of the fit -- I'm doing this in a size medium for a slightly looser fit -- and I think it's going to be perfect (okay, I always think that until I realize I'm a disaster at gauge, but a girl can hope, right?).
Is it just me or do the Knit Picks option needles wear your hands out? I love the flexibility the give me, but my right hand really starts hurting after just a few of these 200+ stitch rows. I'm hoping to get the bodice of Juliet finished down to wear the lace starts, and then work on that as my airplane knitting on the way to Art and Soul.